https://www.duolingo.com/Karmkilla

Duolingo has helped my depression lessen.

Long time lurker here, just wanted to share my positive experience with you lovely people.

3 years ago I received a traumatic brain injury playing rugby and as I healed from it I was diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression, and OCD-adjacent symptoms. I'm a college student and these illnesses have deeply impacted my success in school and relationships and kinda shaken my whole world. Thankfully I am currently on decent medication and have access to counseling if I struggle too much; but there have been some very very dark periods where I wasn't sure I wanted to live anymore.

But one solid thing that has really lifted me up through the entirety of my time using it is Duolingo. I took 3 years of Spanish in highschool, and actually struggled pretty hard with it- but I gained an appreciation for foreign languages. Coming from the midwest in the United States the vast majority of people here only speak English so it was refreshing to get a little taste of another culture, another world. When I discovered Duolingo, about.. I want to say 4 or 5 years ago? I was overjoyed at the access to ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE. A peek into other worlds I had only dreamed about. It touched something integral in me and sparked a passion for travel and language learning. I'm not completely fluent in any other language besides English, but my Spanish and French are coming along really well. In addition to Duolingo, I also listen to foreign musicians, watch shows with foreign language voice-overs, and make a point to try read newspapers from other countries. My bookshelf in my room is filled with foreign-language dictionaries and learning guides as well as travel books and maps to help me plan my world-wide adventures.

Sometimes for fun I look up a particularly weird phrase in my 10 most proficient languages and work on it till I memorize them all. I've found, that after a certain point my brain has seemingly accepted and really grasped the concept of studying many many languages simultaneously. I see the similarities between them, especially knowing a little bit about their linguistic roots, and am able to use my knowledge of say Norwegian, to help me decipher a similar word in Dutch.

In short, Duolingo has helped me nourish my mind and keep me focused on a productive and rewarding hobby. I can't wait to travel to more countries (I lived in Australia for 6 months), and try out my baby-language skills for real.

From a budding polyglot, Cheers

April 17, 2019

68 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/chocochipkookie

I went through a similar situation and I am so glad you are happier now. Languages open up new pathways in our lives that can change them forever. Sometimes we never realize how much we needed languages until we start learning them!

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnWexler

This reminds me of a joke that often goes over the head of many Midwesterners.

What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? Tri-linguo. What do you call a person who speaks 2 languages? Bi-linguo What do you call a person who speaks 1 language? An American.

Good luck to you. I share your rewarding hobby.

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthiusDiaz

I hope to be one of the Americans who can fluently speak than one language. :)

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gregorio709933

Ha ha! it is true.

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sirena.N

oooh it was so funnyyyy :)))

well native English speakers don't necessarily need to know another language

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GracePhoto

Awe, this is such a tough story! When you said you didn’t want to even live some days, yeah...I almost teared up. :) I am so glad that Duo was able to help yet another person in another way. Duo is truly changing lives is so many ways! Remember, you were created for a reason and your life has a purpose — LIVE it man!

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Linda7Italian

And to all those who quietly relate to this, you are not forgotten❤️

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JLuxe1

Thank you.

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sunny.Kay

Incredible post, awesome story!

People like you are true heroes, in my opinion. We all face obstacles, but it's what we do with them and how creatively we can turn them into opportunities to inspire and motivate others that counts in the final analysis.

Keep up the great work! Sending lingots.....

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/VinzJeff

It also helped me in depressive periods, especially as a way not to think about my problems and avoid to panic because of it. I could use it either as a way to "reboot" my thoughts as it needs enough concentration to switch topic, or to avoid boring situations in which I might get bad thoughts, like if I'm waiting for a train in a cold station for 15 minutes. And very important, there is no moral problem using it instead of "doing something more useful", as it's also learning, it helps later to recover (by creating occasions of meeting people). Many people try to forget and get concentrated on something else via alcohol or various bad habits including drug and eating junk food, or sometimes good ones. Duolingo, as well as sport practice, might not be the most powerful solution for the short term, but in the long term, it is definitely better.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PomLearnin

Yes. I have had tough times that sought to overwhelm me, but finding something to simply change focus was very effective. Learning a language is a gift that keeps giving on so many levels.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HeyMarlana

What a fantastic post! A true testament that learning a new language is beneficial to one's brain health - which I'm sure is linked to your mental well being also.

I think a new language also opens someone up to new people and new cultures, and those can be very happy, positive experiences too!

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lundhund

Last Thursday, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. For some strange reason, I picked up Duolingo again the same day; the language program I had given up on a year ago. It takes my mind off of things and makes me feel a little better about my counseling session that'll start next week. Your story is super inspiring. I hope Duolingo will help me as much as it has helped you. Thank you for sharing this :)

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SandraStea1

Thank you so much for sharing this! I learned in my medical and rehabilitation career training (and experience) that it really is important to "exercise" the brain. I am so glad you have found Duolingo to help you, too.

It really does open up new worlds, gives a sense of accomplishment, makes a nice target for focus and even helps build increased tolerance for stress.

Good luck with your continued studies and healing!

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucas24507

Thank you for sharing your story! I was just thinking yesterday about how studying French has helped me keep my mind occupied when my mind wanders and starts to go to dark places. It takes me out of my thoughts while keeping me tethered to whatever reality I need to face. Learning foreign languages also puts me in touch with how my mind chooses the words which form my thoughts, which makes me more aware of how my brain processes information. For example, I learned that I say "never" a lot. I also found out that I frequently speak in the negative tense, or that I start a lot of sentences with "I feel like..." I could go on and on. Learning languages is not only helping me understand myself better, but it's also changing the way I communicate, and strengthening my ability to empathize. I can literally feel myself becoming a better man and it feels so amazing that I wish I could share this experience with the whole world...

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Darius568602

Interesting! (And I mean really, not in the way British people mean it when they say 'interesting'). I never thought of that. Perhaps because I learned my second language (Frisian) when I was five, and my third, fourth and fifth languages when I was in high school. So my mind was not set to one particular language to begin with. But different languages do have different flavours and it forces you to think about how you say things. Perhaps that's the reason that in regions where more languages are spoken, speakers often shift between languages, depending on what they want to talk about, or how they want to express a certain idea or feeling.

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GracePower10

Stay Strong Keep doing Duo!

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Darius568602

Good for you! I also am so glad I found Duolingo. I suffered from severe depression and severe PTSD. In order to get my mind of the traumatic experiences I spent ages playing solitaire on the computer. It got boring but I kept doing it.

At some point I wanted to learn to read the mantra's we sing in my yogaschool and I started learning the Devanagari alphabet via internet. Somewhat more useful than playing solitaire and it helped me just as well.

During my search for Sanskrit learning stuff I found Duo. It has no Sanskrit but a ton of other interesting languages. I wish I had come across this site earlier. Anyway, I hope you your recovery goes well.

Doing something actively is a good thing, if you are suffering from any kind of psychological difficulties. I can attest to that. In the beginning my mind was completely gone. I was unable to string even two thoughts together. A very unsettling experience. I think therefore I am. How true is that. If you can no longer think, you no longer exist, it is impossible to get through the day, because you can no longer plan even the simplest things. But now I am working again. (Have to get to work in 20 minutes, but I always do my XP for the day before I go to work). No matter how dark times get, eventually things get better.

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gregorio709933

Good for you for finding work. I am still looking for work and hope I find some soon. I got a bachelor's degree back in 2015, but as I am now 58 nobody seems to want to hire me. I must admit i am not too aggressive in finding work though. I could retire but my current setup doesn't supply me with enough money for my wants and needs, which may be different things.

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Darius568602

Great work! I got my Master degree when I was 41 and my postmaster at 50. When I started this second career I was anxious that nobody would hire me because of my age. But finishing a university degree when you are older also speaks for your discipline and willingness to keep learning. There are no doubt employers who would see that too. Hope you find something satisfying soon.

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gregorio709933

part of my problem is I have a hard time focusing on What Exactly I want to do both in my personal life and work life. I enjoy learning and feel i would have to give it up when I would work unless that were part of my job. I could go back for a masters in technical writing or i could get a mfa in creative writing. I am really on the fence on whether I want to pursue creative writing or technical writing. I am so confused right now about my direction and need a job coach.

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Michele1125

Check out the Census Bureau. With the 2020 coming up, they are hiring a lot of new enumerators. And your duolingo Spanish will come in handy if your area is multilingual.

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/_ClaireAnna_

Wonderful! Only wish that was the case for my brother, too.

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/UnPatataPorFavor

I hope your brother gets better!

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GracePhoto

Awe, did he go through a similar thing?

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Linda7Italian

Lots of luck with your travels and testing your various beginner skills (I tend to avoid the "baby-language" phrase). You'll have a lot of fun!:-)

April 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Romulo.Np

Me too. I went through a difficult time in my life in 2014/2015 and I found in Duo a hobby that helped me a lot.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/sarkanytuz579

yes indeed it trains the mind and makes one more creative and so it lifts us up. I feel good to learn new stuff and make progress in wathever context. Keep moving

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JLuxe1

I understand this completely. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It has encouraged me to continue on with my language learning studies.

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/UnPatataPorFavor

This is awesome! I'm so happy for you! Even if your depression never fades away completely, I hope you realize there are people in this world that love you and knowledge waiting for you to be discovered! (also, have a Lingot)

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Firetrix

I think a lot of us can relate to this in one way or another. I’m very happy Duo is having a very positive impact on your life.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Devinja1

Thank you for sharing your story and experience here with us. It touched me very much.

Because it's also a support to me right now, in my gloomy days. It helps me to distract myself from my circles of thoughts and not to let myself slip deeper.

I wish you much joy on your travels to try out the learned languages.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sharon228703

Terrific story, thanks for sharing. Best of luck with your continued recovery and I hope you get an opportunity to travel and try out those new language skills.

Giving you some Lingots...

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PomLearnin

Well done. I think when one has such a significant incident in life which can really change your direction and understanding of who you are and where you fit in the world, to have easy access to a platform such as DuoLingo where you can be in contact with others, feel uplifted by their successes and good wishes for your efforts and finally feel you have learnt something to enrich your life is a wonderful life changing experience.

I'm sure that your focus in the past included lots of physical activity and I hope that you have healed sufficient to have a full and rewarding life.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/CA-93

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

I'm new here, and so glad to be able to gift to you my first lingot gift ever. :)

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LinguafreakDude

I admire you so much for opening up about such a sensitive issue. You've set your goals high and I'm convinced you will achieve, if not exceed them. Never forget to have funa while at it. Best wishes from Croatia!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/oakleydr

This is very nice to read. Darren Oakley says "I believe that we are happiest when we are creating something. It could be poetry, music, art, a garden, a meal, a new piece of technology, a child, a new friend, a connection to the divine." You are "creating" understanding of others through language and much more. I love Duolingo for this reason. Keep Studying!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PapiSaenz

Hey bro Oakley im here, that was an awesome comment. Take my lingots.

April 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/WillowsHS

Hi and thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I think it's wonderful that you have been able to learn some languages really well and to perservere with others after a trauma. Hopefully you'll get the opportunity to try out some of your linguistic skills on people of other nationalities. Stick with it - it's great.

I started to re-learn French when my 101 year-old mother was very ill - it was a distraction for me as well as boosting my ability in French (not good when I was at school!). When I finished the course I started on German and really enjoyed it - although I found it quite difficult. However, it all helped me when my mum died and I was feeling low; it's good to have something to look forward to as well as being a bit challenging and mind-expanding. I use some of my new-found skills in voluntary work with people of different nationalities.

Good luck to all who use language-learning therapeutically!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/muppetpaul

Hi Karmkilla, just to let you know, that there is an Irish Guy cheering you on :)

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Noah273667

Same with me. Learning Danish really brightened my life and has really changed it, because now I can speak to my family in Denmark. Language is just a beautiful thing that can bring stress, but a lot of happiness. I'm so glad that this site has brightened your life. Held og lykke!!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Really interesting to read, good righting skills IMO. :)

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Little_Tatws

I resonate with this! Best of luck to your growing language abilities. Cheers~

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/BaseballerGirl

I like to hear that you were able to get better, I am fluent in spanish and english, trying to learn chines too, and then I'll continue with other languages, I have another friend who is fluent in all three languages! I hope you enjoy learning new languages as much as you say you do. ;) Also, remember there are always people out there for you, It's a good reason to live, you just need to remeber that when your sad/depressed, just like me!

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DeanBandes

"my 10 most proficient languages" -- how many people can use that phrase at all!? (a fair number of Duo users, maybe -- but of the next 100 people you see?)

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Richard432098

What a fantastic story of triumph over adversity! Keep up the good work and well done!

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Katie645344

So happy to hear this. Yes, a little bit of learning a language everyday gives me a sense of achievement better than any antidepressants!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/YarkoRab

Best of luck, a very positive message, thanks!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gregorio709933

Thanks for the post. Duo has helped me as well. I have a passion for languages too and jigsaw puzzles which I also love.....

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/lilybean_

I'm so glad that you are feeling better now. :) félicitations!

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ehob

What an up lifting story! Thank you for sharing it . Have a linglot!

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthiusDiaz

I had depression (and I still do) when I started Duolingo. Doing Duolingo helped me realize that I loved learning languages. It hasn't removed my depression completely but it helps me relax and find something to enjoy doing. Learning Spanish has also connected me with my greatest friend and love as well!

I wish you the best of luck with your learning and travels! :)

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sanaagswbala

I'm happy for you. I'm glad you found a healthy way to cope with anxiety and depression. Although I'm not diagnosed, I do find days where I just don't feel alive anymore, and I find that Duolingo really helps with this, because it's something I can learn at my own pace and understand, as well as communicate with other people who have learned languages as well. I'm pretty new, but I plan to continue. Thank you for sharing your story!

April 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/compsognathus

Wonderful story!! Keep up the amazing work and what makes you happy.

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Coco_learner

Thank you for sharing this! This definitely encouraged me as well!

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EstebanEsp414072

hola

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jodiepaloney

hopefully it can help mine lolol

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/nita6142

thank you for sharing, karmkilla. my life mostly ended in 2011. duo is a good friend for me. one word, one phrase, one sentence at a time. the only stimulation my brain allows is duo. i feel very grateful, duo staff!

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DeathStrok302313

greatgreat

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EsperantoEthan

I was dumping my lingots here before I remembered I had to have 420 lingots for 4/20. I stopped myself after I gave 22 lingots.

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DouglasKin9

Sorry to hear about the rugby injury. Good to hear about the use of language to help. Keep going.

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sirena.N

ganbare <3

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Free_Shavacadoo

Wow. That's all I can say right now. WOW! You are an inspiration! If you can do 33 languages and still have a 44-day streak than I can do one language and get to 10!~KD

"To the world, you may be one person. But to one person, you may be the world." -Dr. Seuss

April 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/famousegg

This story is amazing, it really inspires me a lot. But I just have to ask, do you listen to kpop!?

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Karmkilla

I've had some friends show me some Kpop music, but it's not my normal listening genre. Do you have any reccomendations?

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronald-B-Weasley

Cool! That is very amazing! Excuse me for asking, but, What is your profile pic?

April 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Karmkilla

It's a sketch by the graphic artist Stjepan Sejic of Wonder Woman and Laura Croft kissing.

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronald-B-Weasley

Thanks!

April 20, 2019
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.