But as much as I can, I have embraced it as a part of who I am, and slowly I am learning to see its benefits as well. For one thing, depression has taught me to be kind, compassionate and sensitive to others’ feelings.
In all of that time, though, I don't think I've ever compared clinical depression with its "real life" definition. A depression is "an area that is sunk below its surroundings; a hollow." Ummmm, yeah. That about sums it up nicely. When you are depressed you feel like you have sunk below everyone around you, and what used to be the part of you that loved and laughed and got excited about things has suddenly been replaced by a void - a lacking so huge it takes over your life.
Depression is soul-crushingly boring and monotonous. The highs and the lows cancel each other out and you are left with an absurd feeling of absolute nothingness. You can see it in someone's eyes when they are depressed - it's like their pilot light has gone out and there's nothing there to light them up.
The opposite of a depressed life isn't a happy life. It is a full, rich, meaningful one.
After many years of trial and error, I am personally learning how to fill in the hollows of depression. I have hit on a really good combo of medication and therapy, for one thing. Having a therapist who really "gets" you is all important, and I finally have one who does. And the more I experience, the more I learn about how I can stay away from the hole and not fall in yet again.
I questioned whether or not I should talk about my depression here on the blog... for about 30 seconds. And then I decided to just do it. Because I can't talk about myself without talking about depression. And I'm not ashamed of any of it. Everyone who lives with depression needs to speak up, speak out and smash those damaging stigmas. The more we share, the more people learn, and the easier it is for us all to understand one another.
I dream that some day I might be able to metaphorically fill in my own personal depression and never have to dig it up again. But until then, every time I feel myself sinking, I will simply try to keep my head above ground. And should I fall again, I will remember that I can always, always find a way to crawl out of the hollow and face another day.