Monday, October 11, 2010

The positive about depression

Hi everyone, especially those who today happen to be feeling depressed but need a bit of a lift. I understand how hard it is to recognize the positive in something when all you can feel is the ugly feeling of nothingness. But will you try?

In 2007, at a time when I had far more wherewithal to blog than I do today, I wrote the following. I'm hoping it will encourage you.

I've had Susan Bernard's post on depression open for days, intending to add some thoughts it stirred up in me. But I've been too lazy to use my head for a while and have - I'm sorry - had to put off blogging for a while. But today is the day I will try to address it.

Susan quotes from a book by Jonathan Zeuss, M.D.:

"Depression is a quest for vision; its essence is transformation. Depression wells up and encompasses us for a time in a state of painful, dream-saturated formlessness, but its true purpose is to provide the opportunity for healing insight, renewal, and reintegration..."

One of my favorite books on depression is New Light on Depression by Harold G. Koenig, M.D. and David B. Biebel, D. Min. Much of the book deals with depression from a Christian perspective. I think it's Biebel who said, "...depression's saving grace is not that it can be conquered but that it puts depressed persons of faith in touch with deeper truths about reality, spirituality, and themselves than might otherwise be known." (Yes, I think I understand more about life than those for whom life has been easier.)

He goes on to say - and this is a little bit of a different positive angle I can really relate to:

"Having one's capacity for serenity and joy restored is little compensation for the agony of despair, much less the 'despair beyond despair.' The only true compensation for depression has to do with the sense of purpose and fulfillment that comes from redemptive involvement with others in distress, sharing the comfort we've experienced. This is the true route to joy."

In my own way, I've found a purpose that I probably would not have had, were it not for my bouts with the effects of bipolar disorder - especially the depression. I've come to think of depression as fodder, something bad out of which good can come. Though I suffer as much as anyone while I'm going through it, I know it will help me to help others. And helping others IS "the true route to joy." It truly is.

And, today, the purpose I found for my struggles - the formation of Living Room - is alive and well and last month celebrated its' fourth anniversary (even though we didn't actually have a party, or even a cake. Maybe we'll do that next year, when we're five years old).

Another thing I need to draw note to. I wrote in 2007 how depression had been the major thing I had to deal with in my bipolar disorder. Today I can honestly say, the main thing I deal with is hypomania. Most of my struggles now involve not going higher, or more joyful, than I should be. But I have a lot of support and a psychiatrist who has a good understanding of me and the meds I need (though I think he's a bit befuddled right now).

This is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I hope you all have a great day, whether you celebrate alone or with family and friends. I hope you'll be able to count your blessings, even if you ARE depressed :))

No comments: