This I Believe

Elisa - Ames, Iowa
Entered on November 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe My Life is Better Because Of Depression

After I saw Dr. $300, I was a bit shaken up. Even though I’m not bipolar, the fact it occurred to him was unsettling It bothers me because with each mental break down, depression-episode, or whatever other neurological demons are being unearthed, I feel that much more… distanced? Not normal?

It makes me wonder where I’d be in my life if it weren’t for depression. What if I had been happy–or at least NOT depressed–for the last six years? Would I have been more open to relationships? Would I have been strong on my own instead of expecting relationships to make me happy? How much better could my life be if it weren’t for depression? Here’s where I choke on the irony: maybe my life is better BECAUSE of depression.

Recently I realized that all the good things have entered my life are because of depression. Hours of crying make for a lot of self examination. One day you get sick of crying and you ask yourself, “Why the heck am I crying so much? What’s wrong? What do I have to change so I don’t wake up and want to go right back to bed?” And then you go do something about it. Of course it takes a while for the depression cloud to lift, but it does. And then you wonder why you waited so long to listen to that little voice inside your head.

I’m thinking that depression can be a blessing if embraced as an opportunity to change. Why didn’t anyone tell me that six years ago? I got “Aww, poor you! Here are a bunch of books on depression that will make you feel worse than you already do because they are utterly uninspiring and make the guilt feast on what little remains of your soul! Kisses!” Why didn’t anyone tell me that depression doesn’t have to suck? By definition it sucks, but it doesn’t have to suck forever. It can be a motivator to change. I’ve become a much stronger and wiser person for going through depression than if I had coasted through my life on “normal”. After so much time spent silent I finally feel like I’m moving forward.

Depression is the reason I started writing. Depression is the reason I left a stupid relationship. Depression is the reason I’m busting my butt so I don’t spend the rest of my life with just a high school education. Depression is the reason why I’m happy now. It didn’t let me cruise through life. Over and over again it held up a mirror to me and asked “Can you face the person you see before you?” For the first time in years, the face in the mirror is looking at me straight in the eye. And the cheeky woman is winking.