A few weeks ago, I told you that Michael Landsberg had stated that if someone hasn’t had serious depression, they have no idea what it is like. Well, to be sure, he has continued on that rant for the better part of a week.
And what he is upset about makes sense to me. It appears that in his Twitter feed many have suggested everyone has experienced depression. His concern being, statements like that minimize struggles that many have and that contributes to those dealing with serious depression not stepping out, seeking help and getting better. In essence they end up feeling diminished, feeling that they shouldn’t feel the way they do.
And that can happen. After an interview I did recently I received a phone call from a listener. She said what had really resonated with her is when we had talked about making sure we never minimized our own struggle because someone else was worse off than us, or we needed to just get over it, or being told that everyone experiences trauma or depression and anxiety, or being told that it could have been worse. Perhaps. But it sure could have been better as well.
We should never, ever minimize our own struggles. Sure, there may be times when we look inward and realize that we are catastrophizing our feelings and that things may not be as bad as they feel. When we understand that we can proactively deal with them.
Other times, however, we can identify that the struggles are real, are deeply rooted and valid even if you make an effort to be fun and make others laugh. Even if others don’t notice if you are not doing well. Even if you manage to have a good day. Even if life appears to be good and you don’t know why you are not feeling it. Even if you are not at your lowest. Even if you are good at pretending there is nothing wrong. Even if you haven’t sought professional help.
Trying to minimize our struggles can create further issues. It can lead to us shutting down our emotions just to survive. Emotions are an integral part of who we are. We need emotional health to live life to the fullest. But emotions can also be messy, complicated, and confusing. We literally don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I know that my preference is always to feel happy, calm and good. But I also know that the journey I am on does not always allow for that. In fact, at times it becomes down right discouraging to not feel those emotions more often. Instead, I often feel sadness, fear, and anger. These emotions can get in the way to finding contentment.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when crying can be downright therapeutic. It helps in relieving pain. It does soothe the soul. Dare I say, even anger can be therapeutic, to a degree. But for the most part we want to feel happy, we want a calmness and a contentment. And if we are struggling it is difficult to do those things that help in finding, at minimum, satisfaction in life. It is hard connecting with others, being part of the community, doing things we would normally enjoy, or simply taking part in life.
As we navigate this journey lets make sure we don’t minimize the struggles of others or ourselves. Let’s make sure that we are supportive and understanding of others and ourselves. Let’s make sure we never give up in finding emotional health. And ultimately let’s do our best to find a ray of light at every opportunity. Make it a good one.