What strengths do people with depression or other mental illnesses often have?
I’ve been trying to figure out what I got out of depression. It nearly killed me, but it also gave me stuff. For one thing, I understand it now, and I think it helps me be more empathetic than I was before. It has also made me reach out to people online (which also got me in trouble), and it has made me write.
I write to save my life, but maybe one or two times I’m also able to help others. I cherish those times. It makes me feel like my depression wasn’t for nothing.
Depression has also given me a pass to a club of wonderful people. I never would have met the person who is now my best friend without it. She wouldn’t have saved my life, and there’s a really good chance I’d be road kill on the cement by now.
Having been depressed allows me to talk about things like suicide and other horrible things without so much fear. Talking about it makes it lose some of it’s mystery. And I know where people are coming from when they want it.
I think that it also makes sense to look at our illnesses for the gifts they provide. I think our illnesses give us strengths that other people don’t have. I don’t quite know what these strengths are good for, but I believe that if we brainstormed, we’d come up with some good ideas. This is not to say that it is desirable to have or seek out mental illness; just that if you have to have it, is there anything useful to get out of it?
What potentially useful strengths and talents could be conferred on people with mental illnesses?