I Might Feel Worthless, But My Experience is Not

One of the most common symptoms of clinical depression and other depressive disorders is feeling worthless. I’d delve more into why this happens and how this affects people, but that’s not my main point today (though I have written before about recognizing the signs of depression).

The symptoms might be similar, but each person’s experience with depression is unique because of their personality and life experiences. You and I might both be feeling worthless right now, but the way it manifests itself in our daily lives could look extremely different. However, there’s one important aspect of this struggle that is overlooked, underrated and 100% true: your experience – whatever it is – is worth something.

‘But how much is it worth?’ you’re probably asking. I say that because it’s the same question I had when someone told me that I wasn’t worthless, that I was worth something. For years I thought that question had to have an answer. Breaking news: it doesn’t. Truthfully, you might not ever know how much your experience is worth. This isn’t because of how your experience affects you, but how it can affect those around you.

As weakening as my depression can be sometimes, it’s taught me so much over the years. And it is those lessons that are put into action over and over when dealing with other people and talking to them about what’s going on in their life.

We all struggle with different things. Some are internal, some external. Personal life, professional life, romantic life, whatever. We all run into problems, and sometimes we want someone’s opinion or perspective on what’s happening. I never thought it would be helpful to be a person with depression. But sometimes people have never experienced depression before and are scared. Or they’re anxious and don’t know why. And you know what? I’m more than happy to help. Because it reminds me that my experience has not been worthless or fruitless.

The reason I’m able to offer the help and support that I can is because of the experience I’ve been through. If I hadn’t been through that, I would be a different person and I would offer different things. There’s nothing right or wrong about any of that; it just is. But recognizing what you have to offer and put into the world, and then actually doing it, can help validate your experience.

We all have different experiences in life that shape us. Some are good, some…not so good. One way to make those experiences worthwhile is to take what we’ve learned from them and help others. At least, that’s what I’ve tried to do. Who knows how much it’s worth? Not me. But I will tell you this: it’s worth something. And that’s just fine by me.

Josh Billings


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