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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Michaelis Maus.

Are there any benefits to suffering from anxiety and depression?

I've had anxiety since I was seven and depression since I was eleven.  My kindergarten teacher told my mother that I had "a dry sense of humor," to which my mother responded, "he's four..."

Personally the benefits I've noticed are:

  • You're used to adversity. You know how some people don't experience abject suffering unless someone they love dies? I wake up feeling like that
  • You can empathize. I mean, I spend so much time feeling awful that when someone else feels bad, talking to me helps them, or at least they say so.
  • It's powerful. The negative things that other people have said/done to me are jokes compared to the melancholy with which I'm familiar. Have you ever had someone really try to hurt you with their words? Somebody just yesterday tried to verbally accost me right here on Quora, and he wound up blocking me after I laughed in his face about the judgments he was trying to proffer.
  • Personally, I think it's also the most reasonable way to view the universe. Sadness is infinite; the happiness people see is merely a reflection of the sadness that they don't see.

 

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