Disclaimer: I sure as hell am not trying to say that these work for everyone — they might and they might not —  but I do know that when you feel and are in the deep hole that depression puts you in, anything and everything positive can be enough to provide hope. If you’re suffering and you need someone, please don’t hesitate to drop me a message using the contact information below and just know that, as cliche as it sounds, life won’t suck all the time and it does get better.

For just over two years, I have suffered from depression. It was an insanely difficult time in my life, and it was something that I thought I would never have to experience. I’ve gone through the horrible days of feeling that there is no point in continuing. There was a point that I did consider ending it all, but there was a voice inside that told me if I stuck around life would get better. And it did.

My recovery is ongoing — still going on now because I have to admit that there are periods of time that I do relapse and I feel hopeless, but I am able to move past it much quicker than in my darker days:

Regardless of who you are, depression really sucks, but I will say one thing: Some of the bravest people I’ve ever encountered are not just the people who battle with their minds, but those who battle and win.

This article is not just for people who are currently or have suffered from depression but for all of you reading, whether you know someone who has suffered from depression or not.

Here are three things that helped me with my recovery. I hope they do help you.

Having someone I can trust enough to talk to.

I am a strong believer in finding your own happiness and not putting too much of your dependence on other people because they can at times disappoint. But with depression, I found that it was very different and difficult to do this. For months and months, I had been carrying the weight of it around with me wherever I went, and it was definitely dragging me down to the point that I had no hope. But then I did something completely unusual. I actually talked to someone about the way I was feeling. A friend — someone I could trust. It can be a friend or family member or anyone, but it should definitely be someone you know will keep your feelings private and will be sensitive. It helps to share the burden that you are carrying. Depression is known in our society but still sometimes not taken as seriously as it should be.

Take yourself out of your comfort zone.

This one might seem strange and at first, it is seriously daunting… but just trust me. This might not be the case for everyone, but one of my biggest battles was my self-esteem and the discomfort I had when it came to talking to new people. To help this, I purposely went out of my way to start conversations with people. Again, please don’t do this if it does not make you feel comfortable as your comfort is the most important thing. But after a couple of times putting myself out there, I was able to do it a more of a natural act. It started to become the usual thing to do and one of the first things I would do was joke about how awkward a situation was or try and compliment someone to make them smile. It worked most times — sometimes you meet people who would rather stay quiet and you just have to respect that, but with others, it started a conversation and it made me feel better than people thought well of me. Other people’s opinions of you should never be a deciding factor in how you feel about yourself, but sometimes the comfort of other people does make you feel better and improve your self-esteem.

Recognise that you are loved.

One of the major battles I had to deal with was realising that I could be beautiful. I know this might sound strange to some of you but it is true, truer than you could ever imagine. I had been bullied and part of that involved people calling me nothing, ugly, that I’d never find someone to love me and that I was fat. Hearing that over and over for three years does cause you to believe it. I had to teach myself how to love myself all over again. I had to look at myself in the mirror and talk to myself every day before I left the house and at times that I doubted myself, I had to reinforce my point even further. I found it difficult to trust other when they said it to me at first, but as time went on, I was coming more and more appreciative. People don’t have to say I love you to say I love you. To me, simple messages and things like telling you to stay and saying goodnight go further than those three words. Caring for you and your wellbeing will benefit you much more than you give it credit for. After a while, you will come to realise that not only are you loved, but you deserve to be loved.

One thing to remember is that the recovery for depression can be long and sometimes it does feel hopeless, but it is worthwhile in the end. As I said before, there are times even this week that I relapsed, and in those times, it feels hopeless and that you’re back to square one, but everything you’ve learned and experienced from depression does help you get through it.

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