Patient Blogs | Depression
What I've Learned Living With a Major Depressive Disorder
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It may be odd to think one who suffers from a major depressive disorder (MDD), long before he knew it and was diagnosed, could have gained or learned anything from a literal, lethal, invisible mental illness. But I can say with absolute certainty I have and still do regularly.

For one, I learned how real the darkness and heaviness of it can become, especially if you let it go untreated or exclusively try to self-medicate in almost any way, shape, or form and in all such scenarios. 

There are so many forms of depression in today's hardly-ever-easy-for-anyone world of ours. People can, want to, and will help, myself included, as I consider myself a strong advocate for mental health, especially depression and addiction, which I write about here on WebMD and various other platforms or outlets, for myself but others as well.

Living with and battling through a major depressive disorder daily has no doubt made me stronger, especially on the days and even in just the single moments I'm able to not let it get the best of me. The days where, despite how I feel inside, I can still give the world the best of me, and my best effort toward bettering my own life, through actions. Where I can still show up and write some of my best work, despite the pain. That has given me and taught me true strength and grit. The kind I couldn't have learned had I not gone through exactly what I have up to this point, both physically and mentally.

Living with the invisible, deadly, and seemingly incurable illness as I do has also granted me a deep sense of empathy, but not sympathy, for others, as well as myself. Someone much wiser than me once taught me: "Everyone is doing the best they can, no matter what it looks like."

Applying this train of thought allows me to be easier on myself and others. To remember, they have absolutely no idea what I'm going through, and vice versa. Empathy and compassion are always a strength, and never a weakness. Vulnerability allows us to connect with others whom we had no idea about and feel many of the same things we do.

Last, but certainly not least, living with a major depressive disorder, and dealing with medicine after medicine and treatment after treatment not helping, I now better understand why multiple loved ones, friends, and relatives ended up taking their own lives. I now get that no matter how happy someone can fake being in public, we have no idea of the darkness they live and deal with alone. 

You don't have to be battling depression, or any illness at all, to learn, gain, or acquire some of these invaluable lessons. Apparently, I did though, and I accept that today.  


Connect with other people who are living with depression by joining our Depression Facebook Support Group.



Photo Credit: Satyam Kumar / EyeEm via Getty Images

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Brian Brewington

Brian Brewington

Diagnosed since 2019

Brian Brewington has been on the journey of addiction recovery since 2014 and was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder in 2019. A 34-year-old writer and freelancer from Philadelphia, his work has been featured in KEF Audio Magazine, and he runs the Journal of Journeys publication on, where his writing first became popular. Brewington still sees a therapist and attends 12-step program meetings regularly. You can read more from him here.

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