Shades of Gray Revisited

Originally posted on August 13, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Several people have emailed me, etc., about my most recent blog about depression. Their obvious concern, commiseration, and suggestions have made me realize two things: 1) I’m glad I blog about depression and 2) that post may have come off as heavier than I intended it to. Allow me to explain.


As with any personal problem, there is a stigma surrounding depression. People are embarrassed to admit they struggle with it, and other people feel uncomfortable when hearing about it. This is a normal part of our society, but also unnecessary and potentially harmful. If shame prevents a single person from seeking the help they need to be healthy, well, then shame on the shamers is what I say. And in a small way, on a small scale, I feel like I can begin to change this, or begin to help other people who feel like I feel. It is a very real disease with sometimes fatal consequences. If you need help, for love’s sake, get help.


That being said, my depression isn’t dangerous to anything but my moods about 90% of the time. I can remember a very small number of times that my depression affected my life to the point that I couldn’t push through it to do things I would normally have done. I am lucky enough to have never once been suicidal. Or even considered killing myself. It isn’t even a possibility for me, so your mind may rest easy there.

Now, does this make my depression less “severe” than other people’s? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. It feels severe enough to me. On the other hand, I have sought help, and was able to find a cognitive exercise that changed my life. I know how to self-treat when I want to. I don’t always want to. I embrace the darkness of life more than anyone else I know, and part of that is allowing myself to feel the pain. Feel the sadness. Emotions can’t break you; all they can do is change you. And the artist in me likes that, so sometimes I let it ride.

When I described how every negative feels like depression for me now, I wasn’t clear enough about one thing: it feels like depression (and maybe is), but it doesn’t last like depression. If I got truly, long-term depressed every time I felt sad I would always be depressed, and that certainly isn’t the case. I’m happy a lot these days. Depression isn’t even upsetting to me anymore. It’s like an old friend, and when I get tired of it, I ask nicely and it’ll usually leave without too much trouble.

So thank you, to those of you who messaged me about one aspect or another, for caring. And for those of you who struggle, I wish you the best in finding your medium. And to all, happy Friday the 13th.

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