The Strength of Depression
I want to be happy and strong and joyful. In fact I think happiness is the reason we are here on this planet: to learn how to be happy with ourselves as well as with others. It seems such a lofty goal though. Everybody wants to be happy, and yet who is? As I sit here wondering if I was and am happy, the first response is “No.” But that is only half the truth. The longer I feel into this question instead of thinking about it the clearer it becomes that yes, indeed I am happy; at least a part of me is. Let me go into detail concerning that statement. When feeling about it instead of thinking about it, I sense my happiness is like a deep current that has always flowed through my life. Sometimes it might have been hidden completely, but it has always been there.
For quite a while now I have noticed that out of seemingly nowhere I have these bursts of happiness. I go about my day not thinking or feeling anything special and randomly I feel super happy. Not the kind that comes because anything lucky happened or so, but the kind that just is. I feel like that is this ever-existing current of happiness popping up into my awareness.
The last couple of years have not been easy going for me. I experienced depression, feeling utterly burned out. I didn’t anticipate that, but I soon felt that this was an opportunity to learn. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t sunny, there was loads of crying and sadness and lethargy etc., you get the picture. There were moments when I felt so weak and down as though I would never be able to get out of this rut.
Sadly, society often gives the impression that being depressed equals being weak. Let me tell you from personal experience that this could not be further from the truth. Depression is not for weaklings – neither living with it nor getting out of it. In fact my impression is weaklings don’t get depressed. For the people I have met who suffered from depression have had common traits of strength: taking on a lot, working hard, being ambitious, caring deeply, being empathic and feeling deeply, etc. Unfortunately it’s often in not using this strength wisely that allows depression to enter the stage. But from my point of view it is never weakness and frailty that are the causes of depression.
Yet I had many moments when I felt weak and unable to get out of this depressed state. That’s the challenge of depression and depressive thinking: it makes you feel like all these nasty thoughts and feelings are real. Luckily at the same time I was blessed with moments of clarity, knowing that I wasn’t my depression, it was merely a state I was in. I decided to learn and discover whatever it would take to come out of it. That path of true healing, however, was a process that took time. And I needed to allow it to take that time. I had to be patient and persevering. I had to ask for help when needed. I had to learn that the thoughts and feelings I had were not necessarily true, they were present all right, but they very often weren’t true, but rather a symptom of my system cleaning out the mental and emotional crud I had accumulated.
Now it seems this detox phase is exactly what has allowed this current of happiness to come out of hiding, no longer secretly present, but becoming an evident part of my life. This explains my statement at the beginning about being partially happy. It’s not a question of whether or not I feel happy, but whether or not I am tuned into this current of happiness that seems to have been there all along.