I am home for the weekend and so happy that I get to see my family. AND, I get to see my best friends and go to a wedding for one of my favorite teachers/people of all time! This weekend is going to fly by…
It’s so weird sleeping in my bed or even being in my room at home. I instantly feel like I’m 15 or younger. Mixed feelings about that. But, it gives me the ability to just walk down the stairs and talk to my parents in the kitchen again. I got to do that this morning with my mom, briefly, as she was heading out the door to see my older brother for his birthday (22… it’s weird to say that!) and then my dad as we were the only ones left home.
We had such a great conversation about life, politics, classes, society… basically any conversation I have with my dad leads into me staring at him in awe of how smart he is. My favorite conversations with my parents, or anyone really, are the ones that lead into much bigger discussions about life and happiness. Shocker there, I know.
But something that I realized today and was able to articulate to my dad while we were talking a mile a minute about literally EVERYTHING is what depression can really do to a person.
It’s so hard to imagine if you’ve never experienced it or even if you’re not currently in a depressive state, for example, it almost feels like a dream to me now. I can say what it was like and remember what it was like but I’ve pretty much forgotten how it actually feels (Click HERE to read one of my most read pieces during this time).
What made me think of this was the fact that I can finally understand my dad’s beliefs on how to live a good life. Before I could hear them, but now I know them.
I’ve lived through not wanting to live. Now, I can’t imagine feeling that way.
Depression is like a virus. It gets in your brain and controls everything. It might start out by only affecting small things but soon it makes even the good things in your life seem… insignificant.
Today my dad said that “...this notion of raising your kids as if all you want for them is to be ‘happy’ is ridiculous.” That instantly struck me. In the larger sense, disregarding someone’s mental state, if you are constantly thinking that you are supposed to be happy, than even the best things will seem disappointing. “It’s about finding joy or simple pleasure in the small things,” my dad has always told me.
He gave an analogy to his work. He’s very intelligent and is the CEO of some mega international company that deals with other company’s money (that’s the best definition I can do for you considering his job goes WAY over my head). He described how most of his days are filled with monotonous tasks but also motivating people to get shit done. He recognizes that there is this larger picture, this bigger goal of success but day-to-day that isn’t what he’s focused on. He doesn’t spend every day trying to reach this bigger picture because everyday he’s busy with a bunch of smaller tasks that make the whole company operate. But, that is what he attributes to success.
If he can’t enjoy his job day-to-day and find pride in those small tasks, reaching a bigger goal is totally out of the realm of possibility.
I resonated with this so much because I kept thinking about me last year. I remember just not being able to shake this constant question banging my head against the wall: “What is the point?” I was lost in this idea of insignificance, that there was no purpose for anything.
That is what depression does to you. It blinds you until there really is no point for anything.
It wasn’t just cynicism. It was as if I was slipping further and further down a hole to which I could have very easily reached a point where I stopped trying to climb out.
But, going through life now… I don’t spiral into thinking everything is pointless. I see everything as an opportunity. I still don’t think I can change the world or “make a difference,” but I see opportunity in every interaction. I see it in every monotonous task. I see opportunity within myself.
I can now choose to see the other side of the spectrum: I can be content. I know I use that word a lot but it really embodies who I am now. I am confident in who I want to be each day. I have confidence in showing kindness to others, to continue writing because I love it. I have confidence in taking classes that have nothing to do with my major or minor solely to expand my perspectives. I have confidence in so many small decisions and moments that it’s hard to imagine when the smallest thing could send me spiraling, looking for a purpose or believing I had none.
That is what depression does and this is what holding on looks like. I wouldn’t say I’m on the “other side.” I don’t believe that accurately describes where I am in my life right now. I would say that I’ve patched up the pieces that were crumbling in my foundation. I can still see them but they don’t send me falling anymore.
I’ve worked my ass off not only to climb out of that hole but to learn how to climb in the first place.
I started this blog at one of my many breaking points. It was my own form of a life vest. Now I want it to become a place where others can see how I patched up my foundation so they can work on doing the same. Even if you aren’t or never have suffered from depression it doesn’t lessen life’s toughest moments.
I want others to learn to climb like I did.