12 Lessons learned from Being Depressed - Anna Szabo

Have you ever looked for quotes about being depressed? About 1720 people search for depression quotes and stories every month. Let me share with you not only quotes but also my 12 lessons learned from being depressed.

My Story of Being Depressed

Depression was something I never had nor was I ever aware of anyone having something like this. It was the topic I never ever heard of.

I grew up in Soviet Russia where we had nothing, so the goal every day was to survive, not just poverty but also my violent family environment.

In addition to mere daily survival, there was hard work:

  • Doing laundry in a bathtub by hand
  • Washing dishes by hand in a microscopic sink
  • Boiling water to take a shower and wash my curly hair (there were 30 days of no hot water every Summer)
  • Peeling a 10-liter bucket of potatoes daily
  • Working on the farm
  • Cleaning after ten people

And so much more…

There was no time to think or feel.

There were no feelings as I was growing up, there were just hard daily work and innate desire to survive violence…

There was one feeling: anger. Yes, anger was an ok-to-have feeling. No, actually, anger wasn’t a feeling. It was my family’s lifestyle. Anger was a response to everything at home.

Everybody was angry all the time. It was an addiction, too. Anger fueled more anger, people screamed, fought, drank, fell asleep, woke up, screamed, raged, fought, drank, and so on.

That was what I saw growing up.

RELATED: Encouraging Poetry

Later, in my thirties, my therapist told me that anger masked unprocessed sadness and she encouraged me to grief, experience sadness, and cry.

I thought she was crazy and walked out. Later, I discovered that she was right. Today, I grieve and cry and I feel all human emotions.

I am fully human.

Yet, my life was filled with trauma and anger. I remember what life was like in Russia and who I was before I gave my life to Christ in 2014, which was the time I began learning about feelings.

In 2015, I was targeted and deceived into marriage by a very clever narcissist who portrayed himself to be a good Christian man.

RELATED: How Satan Came at Me Looking Saint

I was manipulated into depression and suicide by the narcissist who had intentionally targeted me, deceived me, and took advantage of me.

I was in such a dark place that two mental health professionals had to be deployed to help me survive that miserable marriage with the narcissist.

Every day, I struggled to get out of bed.

RELATED: What It’s Like To Be Depressed

My depression felt like darkness, dullness, and despair. It felt like hopelessness, anguish, sorrow, emptiness, pain, and profound sadness. Eventually, I became suicidal and did not want to live anymore.

Years later, I’m still here, and I love my life.

Sometimes life rocks and sometimes it sucks. Yet, life is worth living.

Anna Szabo

I’m grateful to God that He gave me the strength to persevere, to go through what I went through, to deal with my life (that genuinely sucked), and to get to a place where my life rocks again. Disclosure: my life is not perfect by any means, I am not perfect, but my life is awesome, it rocks, I made peace with myself, and me, myself, and I now have the best relationship ever.

READ MORE DEPRESSION ARTICLES

Let me share with you the 12 lessons I learned from being depressed from satanic abuse. Before we get started though, I want you to know that depression gave many people wonder-power, including me. Our testimony is the most powerful tool to fight in spiritual warfare as Christians.

RELATED: Spiritual Warfare

Many people turned their depression into art, songs, and businesses.

Use your depression for good. Don’t let Satan win.

Turn your baggage into blessings.

Lessons Learned from Being Depressed

  1. Feelings and emotions must be talked about and processed
  2. Trauma we endure in life needs our time and attention
  3. Pain needs to be felt, not avoided through addictions
  4. Avoidance leads to accumulation of pain and depression
  5. Emotions need to be recognized, labeled, and fully experienced
  6. Losses and hurt must be grieved appropriately and timely
  7. Grief is how humans must process all their sadness, not avoidance
  8. Life can be too stressful and too much to handle, it’s normal
  9. Stress is a part of life and must be dealt with productively
  10. Ignorance about stress and avoidance lead to your total collapse
  11. Realization that sometimes life rocks and sometimes it sucks helps
  12. Acceptance of how painful life sometimes is helps you persevere

Process Your Feelings Regularly

When I was depressed, I learned that what caused depression to escalate and compound was unprocessed sadness. I had to dig deep and figure out what it was that made me truly sad, which was what I avoided dealing with.

I took myself out to Cafe Intermezzo in Dunwoody. I came with a journal. While eating my lunch, I decided to dig deep and be completely honest. And the truth was this: I pretended as if I was ok but I wasn’t.

So, I wrote this poem called The Truth.

"The Truth" #PoemsFromGod

Dear God,

I am trying to hold it together
And persuade myself that I'm ok,
But the truth is I am not sure whether
Or not I can live with this pain another day.

"I accept this divorce and I forgive Michel" -
That's what I say to myself daily when I wake up,
But the truth is I'm going around a vicious cycle
With sadness and grief about this eternal breakup.

I'm in pain. I am sad. I am grieving, and I am angry.
I'm condemning myself and Michel for our mistakes.
My emotions from grace and love to hopelessness vary,
And I can't believe how much time and effort my healing takes. 

Please help me move on from here, Father.
Please lead my walk and protect my mind and heart.
I don't know if my emotional ups and downs you actually bother,
But I am bothered by them and need to moving on finally start.

God, I trust in your goodness and your perfect plan for me.
I trust that you'll deliver me from this pain.
Humble, kind, and God-glorifying I want to be.
Please make my life productive and joyful once again. 


9/19/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Give Time and Attention to Trauma

My honesty led me to begin healing but only after a genuine self-pity party. Yes, I advocate for self-pity, wholeheartedly! I believe in the healing wonder-power of self-pity, I do. Why? Because when I wrote in my journal that day “My life sucks and it sucks to be me,” my healing began.

It felt like heavy weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

I didn’t have to pretend to be ok. I could accept being NOT ok and be ok with being not ok. That was my breakthrough.

I grieved, I wept, and I healed.

Five days later, I wrote this poem called Feeling The Feelings.

"Feeling The Feelings" #PoemsFromGod

Do you know how to feel feelings?
I mean - the whole range of them, all of them?
Like fear, faith, joy, surprise from others' dealings,
Like anger, peace, responsibility or defensiveness when people you condemn?

Do you know how to feel sadness and grieve appropriately?
Like sitting down with your sad thoughts and allowing yourself to cry?
Like writing heartfelt entries in your journal openly,
Without pretending and without saying a lie?

And just really pouring your heart out,
Just putting out all your emotions in the universe,
Just being open and vulnerable, without a doubt,
Just being yourself, who you really are, without any rehearse?

I've learned slowly how to feel my emotions.
In the past, my primary feelings were anger and rage.
I've been intentional about using the experience to write devotions
To help others with their own emotions to engage
.

Please take some time to be still and feel uncomfortable.
Please make it your priority to focus your mind 
On the important intention of being vulnerable,
So you can the special place of humanness within yourself find.

There's actually nothing much more to it:
Just sit, be quite, be still, and feel.
When you're feeling though make sure you  do admit
And label each emotion, without pretending, be real.

If you feel joy, say: "I feel joy now."
If you feel sadness, say: "I'm very sad."
If you're crushed, then the experience of pain allow
By saying "I'm in pain" and on that in your journal reflect.

It will feel odd and weird at first. It's normal.
Vulnerability is a skill like learning to drive a car.
Keep going, keep feeling, this process is very informal.
Soon, you’ll develop your powerful vulnerability inner star


9/24/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Feel Your Pain, Don’t Avoid It

I recommend you process your feelings regularly and honestly. Tell yourself truthfully how you’re doing, what you’re thinking, and the actual feelings you’re experiencing.

Don’t pretend, don’t use cliche BS, such as “I choose happiness!” or “I’m better than this, it won’t take me down!” That’s crap. Give it up!

Be a real human, accept your humanness humbly, be vulnerable.

Don’t Let Your Pain Accumulate

When I refused to honestly and humbly look at my actual feelings, when I followed the “choose happiness” BS, when I was walking around all maniacally-joyful and telling everyone that I was “just fine,” I accumulated so much pain that eventually, my mind and body quit on me.

I was in bed, paralyzed by my debilitating depression for a very long time. I don’t allow myself that kind of crap anymore. I have a journal where I write, dear Anna, tell me how you really feel. And off Anna goes to write about her honest feelings where I can read and see what me, myself, and I need to do with how Anna feels.

Just in case I lost you at some point, here’s clarification: Anna, me, myself, and I are all one person. That would be me, yep.

Here’s a letter I wrote to myself a few days after my lunch with myself at Cafe Intermezzo. It’s called Dear Anna Szabo.

"Dear Anna Szabo" #PoemsFromGod

Dear Anna Szabo,

I'm looking at you - a child of God
And think how sad that so often
Your mind is too clouded with negative mud
And hope that your heart will soon soften.

No plans for the future is not a good thing,
Especially, with all your awareness
Of who you are, whose you are, and your father King
Who gave you this life of true rareness.

do understand that your journey has been
Not easy, demanding, laborious...
But looking at you, I ask that you cling
To God, who is always victorious.

He loves you. He has real plan for you life.
It's just that you can't fully see it.
You've been through so much. And you're going to thrive,
I promise, you have to believe it.

Stop thinking those damaging thoughts from your past.
They're not even yours, they're inheritance.

You're now an heiress of God, because Christ
His life sacrificed as love evidence

You're loved. You're accepted. You're precious. You're blessed.
You're special and chosenYou're gifted.
I do understand: you can get depressed,
So what? Even Paul was afflicted!

Be sad and be quiet, experience pain,
But don't let your mind get too clouded. 
When life gets too tough, you still can stay sane,
If you just in Scriptures stay grounded.

Do you understand that your life is a gift
From God who created you purposefully?
Keep working on making this spiritual shift,
You've made so much progress, fortunately.

Continue to study the Bible and God,
Continue to build a relationship 
With Jesus Himself, who never forgot
To carry you through with His leadership
.

Continue to pray. Continue to grow.
Continue to ask for God's guidance.
The fact that He's good you very well know.
With Him, you can face all these giants.


9/30/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Recognize and Label Your Emotions

Growing up without any awareness of feelings, I didn’t know what there was to feel. I didn’t know the variety of different feelings available in God’s universe for us to experience. I always experienced happiness and anger. That’s all. But after my therapist in 2014 told me that my anger was unprocessed sadness, I began learning more about emotions.

I created this list of feelings for you. Use it to name everything you feel. There’s a difference between feeling anger and feeling sadness, feeling happiness and feeling joy. Feeling contentment is not the same as being indifferent. Feeling excited is different from feeling passionate. Learn to recognize and analyze your emotions.

"Feelings" #PoemsFromGod

Feelings are interesting and intriguing. 
It's not easy to differentiate what you feel.
Sometimes, you think you're angry but it's just your ego.
Other times, you think you're indifferent but everyone sees your true zeal.

So, how do you understand and embrace your feelings?
It takes practice and it takes willingness to feel.
To differentiate between mere sadness or true depression dealings,
You need to study emotions, so you can process them and heal.  


10/17/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA


p.s: a List of Feelings

Grieve Your Losses and Hurt

Crying helped me so much. Crying is more of just tearing up though… What truly helped me was weeping. What I mean is excessive, uncontrollable sobbing, shedding oceans of tears freely, and not worrying about what people say. Oh yes, I did this in front of people, yep, at Perimeter Church.

Who cares? Weep! Additionally, during my divorce with the narcissist, I signed up for a divorce recovery program at Roswell United Methodist Church near my home, and they gave me a workbook. I worked every single exercise in that book. It helped a lot. I also journaled. Additionally, I spoke openly about my trauma, hurt, divorce, depression, and suicidal ideation. When I share with you quotes about being depressed from famous people later here, you’ll see that they, too, speak openly about their depression experience. I won multiple “Best Speaker” for sharing my story.

Ann aSzabo Wonder Woman Speaker

Process Your Sadness Through Grief, Don’t Avoid It

The workbook I received as a part of the Divorce Care ministry at RUMC asked me to make a list of things I lost with the marriage. I made a list of 26 things, among which were companionship, love, etc. Then I was shocked.

You see, those things were the ones I never ever had with the Narcissist. Looking at my list of losses, I was puzzled. I only realized the truth after I did my grieving exercise and compiled the list.

But guess what?

Though he never gave me companionship or love, I did enter into a marriage with him in good faith planning on a lifetime of companionship and love, so when he filed for divorce twice in the first few months of marriage, I did lose the love and companionship I hoped for, not the love and companionship I never had.

So, don’t try to make sense of your feelings. If you genuinely feel like something is a loss to you and you’re hurt, grieve, cry, weep. It’s healthy. Do it timely, don’t wait to accumulate your hurts. That’s what leads to depression. Process your pain, grieve, and cry out to God like I did.

"Crying Out To God" #PoemsFromGod

God, lead my walk,
Show me the way.
I’m at a crosswalk
And your will I want to obey.

The desire to fulfill your purpose
Is burning daily in my heart.
Being where I am in life, I feel nervous.
Facing so much adversity has been so hard.

I do trust that your plan is good.
I’m surrendered completely. Do as you wish.
I left behind my childish ways and entered into a Spiritual Adulthood.
I’m ready to serve you and to no longer be selfish.

God, Abba, Daddy, Father,
I know you can hear me.
Take charge of my life and lead me further.
Don’t let go of me and please near always be. 


10/25/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Be Ok Not Being Ok, It’s Normal

I thought it was my duty to always be ok. That’s crap. Jesus felt sorrow, anger, anxiety, and many other feelings. He wasn’t always ok, though He was fully God, not just a man.

Read more about it here: Who is Jesus?

I’m just a fragile human woman. It’s totally ok for me not to be ok. I’m often a mess: walking in my pjs all day, journaling, crying. It’s a part of my routine now.

I get messy, quiet, and tearful often to process life and to prevent accumulation of sadness, which was what led to my depression before.

No one is happy all the time. When I share with you later here quotes about being depressed, you’ll hear what Dolly says about being perceived as being happy all the time. It isn’t possible. We are all human, sadness is normal.

If someone pretends to always be happy, they either want you to buy into their illusion or they bought into it themselves. Real life sometimes rocks and sometimes sucks. That’s for everyone. Yep.

Accept Stress as a Part of Life

I want the world to be a friendly place where people treat each other with kindness all the time, without exception, where everyone is happy and pain-free all the time, where I get everything I want and you get everything you want, and there are rainbows, unicorns, butterflies, and pink glitter everywhere. That’s a utopia, and expecting perfection from life, people, and myself led me into a dark place.

Now, I just accept stress as a part of life. Crap happens. Ok. No one is perfect. I am not perfect. Life is not perfect. But I can face stress if I anticipate it, get equipped to deal with it productively, and don’t get all worked up due to the fact that stress does exist. Instead, I know it does and when it shows up, I’m ready for it.

Better yet, I mitigate the risk of stress by practicing Self-Care.

"Self-Care" #PoemsFromGod
Practicing self-care brings inner peace
As trials and challenges you daily bear.
Your satisfaction with life to increase,
You for yourself must proactively care.

Intentional self-care includes healthy sleep,
Nutrition and fitness and time outside,
Practicing mindfulness and breathing deep,
Helping your mind in peace to abide.

Self-care requires also remembering
Who you are, whose you are, and why you are here.
When life gets too tough and when you are trembling,
Focus on prayer and God who is near. 

Self-care includes the things you love doing: 
Cooking and reading, applying a hair mask,
Writing and journaling, comedy viewing,
Or simply completing a homemaking task.

Going to church, talking with friends,
Getting your nails done, visiting spa,
Kayaking, hiking ... list never ends!
You deserve YOU-time to sharpen your saw.

You deserve quietness. You deserve peace.
You deserve space for mindful awareness.
Your overall health will surely increase
As your mental health has an impact tremendous.

Practicing self-care, you can recharge.
You can regroup and attend to your heart.
Of your mental health you are in charge.
Make a self-care plan and practicing start.


7/20/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Don’t Allow Yourself To Avoid Emotions and Eventually Collapse

Emotions and feelings take time to deal with and a lot of intentional effort. But depression takes the same resources, only more. So, I choose to deal with my emotions timely. Also, it’s important to be honest with yourself.

I tell myself exactly how I feel. I don’t allow myself to play around. I examine my emotions regularly and I expect complete vulnerability from myself. Many times, I interviewed myself about very difficult topics and traumatic circumstances. Every time, I felt like turning on Netflix. Nope.

That’s avoidance. Avoidance leads to eventual collapse and depression. Been there. Done that. Ok. Let’s talk about feelings! And off we go me, myself, and I vulnerably processing life, one feeling at a time.

Doing this has helped me secure my mental health and have a joyful life. I recommend you don’t avoid hard conversations with yourself. Don’t let pain accumulate and collapse you into a deep, dark, paralyzing, debilitating depression. Instead, cry and be sad for a little bit regularly to process life’s toughness one tear at a time, one feeling at a time. Your mental health is worth this intentional investment.

I regularly journal about my feelings, write poems and prayers about my feelings, and paint art – all about my feelings. Here’s one of my prayers.

"Prayer for Relief from the Past" #PoemsFromGod

Dear God,

I’m held by past pain hostage.
Release me from the bondage!

I’m suffering. I’m tortured 
But you my soul have nurtured.

So I believe you’re gracious.
My faith makes me vivacious.

With hope I face my trouble.
For you, I know, I struggle.

You’re pruning me and growing.
Your plan to me you’re showing

Of which my past is portion.
Prevent, God, its distortion!

My past is not my present.
Yes, surely it’s unpleasant

But magnifying heartache,
My past my present I make.

It’s time for moving forward!
My course of life is onward!

Your grace is liberating.
No longer I am waiting!

I’m free, relieved, unburdened!
To serve you I’m determined!

I thank you for my healing.
Redeemed and free I'm feeling.  


6/6/19 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Embrace That Sometimes Life Sucks

The good life is not a perfect life. The idea of a perfect like is a fairytale. It’s time to grow up and look at your life experience. Have you had a perfect life? No, that’s the answer, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this far. Well, I haven’t had a perfect life either. So, there is no perfect life.

Everyone’s life sometimes rocks and sometimes sucks. Embrace this truth to save yourself from a total collapse when life begins to suck again.

You see, life is made of seasons. Everything is temporary and unstable in this world, except God’s promises. They are the solid ground you should stand on when your life begins to suck. The same goes for me, as well.

Here’s my poem about it called Standing on God’s Promises.

"Standing on God’s Promises" #PoemsFromGod

Life is a series of seasons,
With moments of sorrow followed by happy moments.
To question God we have many reasons,
Especially, when facing some devastating disappointments.

Sometimes, we question God's very existence,
Or just His presence in our lives.
We may confront the idea of God's goodness with resistance,
Especially when grief our daily emotions drives.

Our emotions are not a very reliable source of information.
How we feel changes often too randomly.
That's why to confidently walk toward our destination,
We need to immerse ourselves in truth extendedly.

We need to understand and believe God's faithfulness.
We need to embrace His eternal promises.
We don't need to make them up or guess -
Reading His word is what confidence encompasses.

In the Bible, there are 3573 promises,
The word "promise" itself occurs 50 times.
End of suffering, protection, and forgiveness,
Peace and joy are guaranteed to us always and not just sometimes.

God's promises are the only solid ground to stand on.
Everything else is unstable and temporary.
His word is the truth for us to lean on, 
So that our lives can be for His glory and extraordinary.


9/12/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Persevere, Survive, and Thrive

I promised you some quotes about being depressed, and they are coming, but I also hope that my journey from being depressed to being joyful again encourages you if your life is currently tough.

In all honesty, my life is tough every day because I have several competing priorities. Plus, I have negative voices in my head, which I combat with my 52 Biblical Affirmations from my conversations with God. Download it now for free. See, the grind is a part of everyone’s life. But suffering and depression are optional.

We all must conquer ourselves daily to prevent depression from conquering us. Having a healthy lifestyle, being a human who feels freely, processing my emotions timely – that’s what enabled me to persevere, survive and thrive. And now, here are some quotes about being depressed.

Quotes About Being Depressed

I wanted to share with you, in addition to my 12 lessons from being depressed, the following two depression lessons by my favorite people: Dolly Parton and Tim Ferris. The reason why I’m sharing their quotes about being depressed is that I want you to see how common depression is, it can happen to anyone, and it isn’t the end, it’s a season where you can choose to grow and change, and become stronger, wiser, and a better version of you.

Sometimes God just has to smack you down. He was almost saying: “Sit your pretty little ass down because we have to deal with some stuff!” 

Dolly Parton’s quote about being depressed

In hindsight, it’s incredible how trivial some of it seems. At the time, though, it was the perfect storm. I include wording like “impossible situation,” which was reflective of my thinking at the time, not objective reality.

Tim Ferriss‘ quote about being depressed

Summary

In this article, I shared very openly with you the 12 lessons I learned from being depressed. I also provide you with quotes about being depressed so that you know that depression is common, you can and will survive it, and people do thrive after depression. My goal is to encourage and empower you. I help women see themselves the way God sees them. 

In the last few years, I’ve personally been on a quest to figuring out and conquering the negative voices in my head that distort my understanding of who I am. I call those voices the Shitty Committee, and each of us has that special committee in our headspace. 

I’ve specifically been focusing on my identity in Christ. 

From the Bible, I discovered 52 incredibly-positive things God says about us as His children. Those 52 precious discoveries turned into 52 Biblical affirmations I created to encourage and empower Christian women. 

To help share this life-changing information with you, I created an ebook called #52Devotionals. Download it now for free

My free ebook helps you understand who God says you are. Don’t be vulnerable to identity attacks from the mainstream media, relatives, coworkers, your boss, society, culture, and the voices in your head. 

Stand firm and know what God says about you.

Anna Szabo Ebook Devotionals for Women #52Devotionals

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