Golf celebrity David Feherty once compared Depression to having an immune deficiency for your brain. And if you’re anything like me – or the 1 in 6 Americans, or the 1 in 50 world-wide – that deals with Depression, you can probably appreciate that description.
Depression isn’t an affliction, it isn’t a mood: it’s a condition. It’s one with no clear marker, one with no clear symptom, but a very vivid and unrelenting effect.
Many people who don’t understand Depression – including many of its sufferers – is that one aspect that can drive the spiral of affliction is guilt. Guilt for being depressed. Guilt for not enjoying such a wonderful life and wonderful world. It’s a more common observance than you might think. Dante famously said in The Inferno “There is no greater torment than to recall, in times of misery, times of great happiness“. That’s the essence of this guilt; to see beauty before you and to be able to do nothing with it.
I had that experience yesterday. Living in the southeastern United States (in the dubiously great state of North Carolina) and after an unpleasant and snow-lacking winter, I was treated to warm weather and bright sunny skies. Sadly, I was also treated to a very serious bout of debilitating Depression brought on by (among other personal triggers of mine) sleep-deprivation due to – you guessed it! – Daylight Savings Time. And the guilt for looking at a beautiful day and realizing that you can’t enjoy it is just devastating.
But to my millions of brothers and sisters out there with Depression – true, blue, real and clinical Depression – I want to remind you that life isn’t just beautiful; life also sucks!!! 🙂
We shouldn’t feel guilty about missing out on a sunny day, because there are so many other problems in the world that we can fixate on to feel bad about. We shouldn’t feel guilty because we’ve got good health (if we’re fortunate enough too) because healthcare costs are so astronomical, it wouldn’t matter if we did because we couldn’t afford to do anything about them. Life sucks! 🙂
Why the smiley face? Because life sucking is critical in reminding ourselves that life isn’t some great and grand party that we’re summarily missing out on because we’re ‘broken’. Life is a myriad of experiences – some good, some bad, and some bland – and if we remember that, then we can break the cycle of guilt. We can get away from being depressed about being depressed and just be depressed. Because if we’re depressed about being depressed, we’re fighting against our depression and ourselves. But if we can get rid of the guilt, then all we have to deal with is the Depression itself and we become an ally, an aid, in that struggle, not a hindrance.
Depression is an ugly, nefarious affliction, one that doesn’t play by the rules most other illnesses operate with. And so we, the afflicted and those who look after/over/out for the afflicted, must remember to not get tangled up in our own measures to deal with and address it.
So remember, life sucks, every bit as it is beautiful. Don’t feel bad because you’re missing out on the beauty because just as there’s always something awful about life, there will always be something beautiful about it too. And in time, you realize that there’s actually more beauty than suck. But you aren’t missing out on the beauty because that would suggest there’s a finite amount of it. There isn’t. There’s so much beauty in the world, it can never and will never run out. So don’t feel guilty because you can’t enjoy it right now. Take care of yourself and get back on your emotional feet. Enjoy it when you can, not when you feel like you should but can’t.
Enjoying beauty when you can and when you want to adds to the beauty of the world.
So be good to yourself. 🙂