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4 things that are special about people who suffer with depression

We usually think of it as a weakness or a curse. It is a brain disorder but what if we started recognizing those with depression as gifted? Would it help sufferers see themselves as worthwhile if we collectively saw it differently?

1. Extraordinary gifts

At the therapeutic boarding school where Charles attended for about a year, the talent there was unlike anything I had seen before, particularly in the areas of art, music, writing and humor.

Most of these kids struggled with various mental health issues including substance use disorder but when you saw all of them together, I couldn’t help but notice the high concentration of talent. It’s like inner pain comes with exceptional gifts which are often overlooked by the gifted one because they take it for granted and don’t realize others don’t have this talent. Feelings of low self esteem often add to that self perception.

Early on these kids often struggle in schools which have stripped away anything that isn’t a hardcore academic subject which I think kills their spirit. The secret is to add back arts and humanities to allow this population to shine. Innovative teaching would massage these talents, help them thrive, and create a platform for innovation.

2. Empathy

Someone who suffers depression has a lot of heart and can see through to your soul. When no one else will listen, when everyone else pushes you away because you are talking about things that are painful, these friends are there for you.

This population, in particular, suffers when they don’t feel a sense of connection or belonging. I think they’re the ones that will reel us all in from our current “silo-ed” existence because they crave it. And human beings need it. We need it now.

3. Innovation

They don’t thrive in an environment where they are expected to sit still for hours upon hours like miniature adults memorizing stuff. Most of this population thinks outside the box and is very entrepreneurial. Outside the box thinking is more the norm and I think we should be cultivating that instead of forcing them into homogenized learning environments.

In short, it would be a boring world without those with special gifts. I know I treasured so many of Charles’ that quite honestly I was in awe of.

4. Affectionate

Charles gave real, genuine hugs that made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.  As a baby and a child, he was cuddled in my lap, always asked about family and loved family gatherings. His love came from the soul. Everything did.

These are the things I loved about my own son, despite his challenges. It’s what made him special. It’s what I miss now that he’s not here. I hope we get to the point those with depression can get the help they need to realize their full potential.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

11 thoughts on “4 things that are special about people who suffer with depression”

  1. Around the time when my son was 15-16 he started emitting a smell akin to what some homeless people sometimes emit sort of musty. He would shower and wear clean clothes everyday. Initially I used to get the smell only when I hugged him then it got stronger where his clothes, his room & even the hallway would start smelling. When the smell was at its peak he had decided on the plan he had been harbouring for 3-4 years but was saved by God’s grace. After hospitalisation & medication he seemed to get better temporarily but not really now the smell’s returned only its changed to a sour smell & gets stronger around periods or days when he’s really struggling. He’s 20 now and is not motivated to do anything he was academically gifted & musically talented and a caring child – now I don’t recognise the young man he’s become. Psychiatrists don’t want to change meds as right now he’s not suicidal and they are worried that changing meds may risk it. My heart breaks when I look at him.

    1. I remember that. But I do think he is hanging on for survival right now. And maybe that’s good enough for now. I try really hard to see things from their perspective. It has helped me to listen more and not say much. So they feel heard. If they talk.

  2. This is so beautiful and heartfelt. It helps to see the light in any darkness.
    I especially like the point of empathy. How we crave real love and belonging..how wanting these things and lacking them helps us understand what to do to grow towards them. Or at least try.
    Pain can and does bring us together. Just as essentially as joy does.
    I think seeing the gift in it is a perspective i have rarely ever ever seen because people of course are afraid of “romanticizing”.
    But this touched my heart. I really appreciate it.
    Hug<3

  3. Not everyone who suffers mental illness is special in any way. Just like mainstream people some have these qualities and some dont.

    1. You are right. I’ve met some who do and some who don’t. However, I want people to know they have the potential. I believe they do. The key is to get out of our own heads. If a person is hell bent on going over everything bad that happened in their life over and over and can’t get out of that mode, this is impossible to accomplish. Thanks for commenting Robert.

        1. I meant to respond to robert, not to you. but i just realized how old their comment is, lol. Whoops.
          Sorry for the confusion.

  4. This post is so spot on Anne Moss! One of the things I have noticed on the TCF website is how very, very gifted & talented our precious children were.😪

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