Julia made a comment on a blog recently about depression being normal. And it got me thinking... How often have I thought myself weak for having depression? Felt shame? Like I'm less than other people; like it's an affliction I have to bear. But what if it isn't? What if depression is a condition of the strong? When you look back over time depression has visited so many of the greatest minds, creative thinkers and emotionally astute people that have ever lived. Winston Churchill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Abraham Lincoln, Halle Berry, Dolly Parton (I know, right?!) Stephen Fry, Mozart, Newton. The list goes on.
Everyone I know that suffers depression is sensitive. Diligent. Thoughtful. Caring. Too caring maybe? I can't speak for anyone else and I hate to lump all depressives together (back to the collective noun question again!) but for me I can honestly say that I am thin-skinned. Empathy rich. I think differently. Feel more. Question more. Don't agree with the world and spend my time searching. Pushing. Challenging the norm. And because of the sensitivity the 'challenging the norm' part often feels tough. It's like I'm going against the grain and that's not a very comfortable place to be.
I believe a big part of my depression is from trying to squeeze my round, alternative-thinking, self into a square hole. I've folded and twisted and contorted myself and then looked out with a fake smile. Pretending to agree with the way the world is. But everyone around me can see bits of the 'real me' are sticking out, they know I'm not speaking my truth and that my laughter is forced. Right now I am slowly unraveling into something new. And every time I squash myself down again I deny who I am. Depression. Repression. Same thing?
Where would we be if Mozart had fitted in? If Churchill had stopped his voice from being heard? If Amy Winehouse hadn't unleashed her creative genius on the world?
Isn't it time we stood up and were proud? Unveiled our real selves? We might just be the future of this crazy, mixed up world. We might be the new normal...
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