Just some of the things depression has taught me:
1. Be gentle and go gently, with yourself and others.
2. Pray relentlessly, keeping a constant contact with God.
3. Stay connected to, and be honest with, people you trust.
4. Develop and maintain real relationships.
5. Throw yourself into the acquisition of virtue. Character growth is the best positive strategy to nurture resilience.
6. Tomorrow will be different. No matter how bad today was. Tomorrow will actually be different.
7. Ask often, "How important is [this issue], really?"
8. Be at peace with people and with life, as far as it depends on you.
9. Enjoy moments of lightness and hilarity.
10. Be whoever you can be for others. Our purposes in life are versatile and vast. But don't attract unnecessary pressure.
11. Don't worry about what others think of you regarding mental illness, but also seek to understand them and accept their views for what they are.
12. Hope will return, as will energy, spark and enthusiasm.
13. This, too, shall pass. The days of dread will pass.
14. Try not to compare yourself with others who seem to 'have it all together'. Nobody has it all together. Anyone who thinks they do still have this to learn.
15. There are depressed days; it doesn't automatically mean it's depression.
16. Everyone experiences grief; grief is not a mental illness. But we often experience depression with grief. Allow it to come and leave. Most grief lasts months, not years.
17. Expect the best and plan for the worst. Be prepared to accept what cannot be changed.
18. Show grace for those who appear insensitive. They probably aren't aware or they don't understand. They can be forgiven. They can only see what they can see.
19. Try to learn to say goodbye to things that are no longer helpful. It seems we are missing out even more, but better things are coming. This includes letting go of problematic relationships.
20. Accept the best that you are and can do on any given day.
21. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Be honest with yourself in the mirror. See yourself.
22. Plan a pleasurable day. Plan to have a pleasurable weekend, with activities that connect you into joy, hope, and peace.
23. Read about mental illness. Become a student of healthy spirituality, and how to nurture a sound head and steady heart.
Depression is a learning opportunity. As such, it's healthy to view depression as a life experience. Depression, as a catalyst for healing, makes us kinder, more compassionate, people.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.