Depression is good for you!
As this is a self improvement blog, i believe many of you may be in this state of mind, or went through it at some point of
your life. This post is specially for those who are in the pursuit for happiness, but everyone is welcome to share their
ideas. I’ll try to be brief, just follow my toughts and lets see if we get somewhere.
I’ve been through depression two times in my life. One of them was not so long ago. I was doing just fine when things
started going wrong. It was pure downhill for a few months, the “worst” experience i had in my life. I couldn’t focus on
anything, all i had in my mind was those motherfucking toughts that kept bugging me. Because of this i lost two semesters at
college. I would just go there, sit on a chair and stare at the wall during class time, barely talking to anyone or
listening to the professor, just so i could say that i was attending school, then go home.
I would feel sleepy and tired all day long(i felt like a zombie), but at the moment i laid my head on the pillow, i would be
there for two or three hours before finally getting asleep. I started smoking shitloads of weed everyday, i mean, i would
smoke 5g of weed daily, all alone(it’s quite affordable in Brazil, and thank god i didn’t went to hard drugs), at least it
would distract me for a while and help me fall asleep.
Several times i tought about suiciding, literally the only thing holding me back was don’t believing in any kind of
spiritual world, and “knowing” that once i were dead, there would be nothing else for the whole eternity.
When you are depressed, nothing else matters, you just don’t care for anything. Fuck your health, fuck your money, fuck your
family, fuck everyone, fuck you, fuck me. That’s exactly the toughts of most depressed people.
Getting to the point. Today, as someone who is quite happy with his life, i can say, being depressed was good for me. When i
was depressed, i could write literally about anything, if for just one moment i could let go of the bad toughts, creativity
would start flowing in no time, drawing was awesome, reading poetry and listening to music were amazing. I was aware of my
enviorement at all times, i could notice details in little things. When i saw something funny that made me laugh for a few
seconds, it was the best time of my day. And that taught me how to enjoy the smallest things in life. How to enjoy the
cleaning taste of water in my mouth. How to enjoy the colors in a painting. How to enjoy the chitchat with that other guy i
never even noticed in a line to get a cup of coffee. How to enjoy each drag of that cigarette. How to enjoy each chew of
that gum after enjoying each drag of that cigarette. How to enjoy the cold water hitting my head on a shower. How to enjoy the warming towel.
It taught me how to care less for the daily inconveniences. How to care less for that girl who doesn’t like me. How to care
less for falling on the floor and seeing everybody laughing. How to care less to my boss and his sadistic way of treating people(Yeah, fuck you boss). How to care less about little things that used to make me crazy.
And then one day, i woke up and i was just… Fine. After i stopped trying to get out of depression, after i stopped pursuing happiness, it was just a matter of time to get naturally fixed.
What i mean is, for those who are depressed, HANG ON. It’s alright to be sad, even if it’s for a long time. Specially if you have plenty of reasons for it. What i want you to do is stop looking for happiness, and take advantage of your state of mind. Make art. Write poetry. Compose songs. Do something new, a radical sport, watch a play, sleep on the street. Or even more radical, quit of everything that sucks the soul out you, be it a relationship, a job or anything else. Do what you want, when you want. Backpack around the world on a tight budget, learn how to wingsuit, or fall in love again, just one more time.
And then one day, just like me, you will wake up feeling good. Finally realising how important depression was.
As once said Harlan Ellison:
“I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned.”
Anybody have any interesting toughts about it?
(excuse my bad english)
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Look to the night sky, and if you see the stars, imagine how untainted they are by our naive majorities; look upon the magnificent order of the world around you, not out of your potential, but just out of your current reach. There is a beautiful order everywhere, and you are part of it; in fact, you are it’s first self-consciousness.
Listen to music with its rhythm and aesthetic motives. It is a beautiful order, and it could not be made so or heard without our Creativity, without Spirit.
Think on mathematics, simple equations: How are they so accurate? How are they always so True? It is a beautiful order, and it could not be understood or brought into practice by any other than Rationality, without Mind.
Altogether, you have a Soul, if only that Beautiful Order is brought within you. There, in your Soul, you are the whole Universe in One. Why despair at such absolute potential? You are a Free Spirit and a Willful Mind!
Thanks everybody. It’s good to see that you guys enjoyed the post, and even better to get feedback. Also it’s great to see people here who’s going through depression and could take out something good from my very small knowledge.
@alex, yes, i’m actually Brazilian, and it’s great to see that my english is improving with time. Thank you.
@danfontaine, i wrote it on notepad, when i pasted it it just came out this way. I tought that it would go back to normal after i posted. Well, it didn’t. Let’s just not worry, still readable :D
@ARCANUS, you touched a very delicated point. While it’s true that some people with chemical imbalance may need meds, i agree with you that the pharmaceutical industry should stop handling pills like candy. I am also very anxious and went to the doctor to talk about it once. We talked for half and hour and he concluded that i had a serotonin deficiency and gave me Paxil, telling me it would also help with my depression. I mean, without even any exams. I never took even one of those meds, and guess what? I’m feeling great. It was just a matter of reorganizating my toughts and creating inner strenght to deal with all the bullshit around me.
We teach kids since they’re on kindergarten that a successful man is someone who studied like crazy, got into the corporative world, and have social and financial stability. Yet all those people are daily stressed and not satisfacted with their life, because someone else who were also stressed and unsatisfied told them that they should lead this way of life to be one day considered successful.
And instead of dealing with their problems, they just take the word of the doctor as official and start swallowing anti-depressants and sedatives. Our world is becoming a global madhouse.
I would like to conclude this stream of toughts with a comic that recites a quote by Henry Rollins.
(Also, zenpencils is a GREAT site, i guess everybody here should take a look at it. There are even some images from there here in HE.)
@iiturralde, it’s good to see that you enjoyed it!
@marthamena95, definitely, as @taylor222 and @kkalb0718 said, when you go through this, things get a lot more intense. You learn how to really apreciate happiness, you learn to really embrace it.
About the good writers killing themselves, that’s true. Most good writers, write to express their feelings, to let it out somehow, and that’s what make them so damn good, writing from the inside of their hearts. It’s too bad some of them can’t make it out.
@renzy, i kept switching. Sometimes i would smoke daily for months, then suddenly stop for no reason at all. Then back to smoking after a few weeks, and on, and on, and on. I do still smoke sometimes, about twice a month. But it isn’t nealy as much as i used to smoke. I don’t make a big deal out of it anymore.
@rtierney3, do not stop running! Do what you love. I know that it’s really hard to get up, go out and start running. You may feel too sad or too tired to do it. You may see it as pointless. But once you build the strenght to go out there and run, you feel better just for having accomplished something.
Up to the day, i love when something bad happens and that makes me sad. I see it just as another opportunity to look at the world from a different point of view.
Just to finish it. I’d like to quote Thoreau:
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
This is a really great post that I find a lot of truth in. I recently had a major depression spell and felt very much like a drone who was not in tune to the big picture, but instead to the little things like you mentioned. After being depressed, and it just suddenly stopped, my whole outlook has changed for the better… I am much more in tune with myself and what really makes me tick, what makes me happy. And it’s all because I spent a good deal of time being sad. On the whole, it’s about balance, and like Ellison said, you can’t appreciate one thing without its opposite. I am glad to know (but not at all surprised by the brilliance on this site) that there are other people out there who have reflected on depression the same way. ^.^
@lokodis, thanks for the great post! You really have a point here, I’ve never thought about it this way! I too have gone through ups and downs, still feel like I’m in between depression and being happy. This post actually helped cheer me up a little after a rough day. Thanks :)
P.S Your English is fine, just a few little errors. Is this your second language?
how relevant this post is to me right now is absolutely mind blowing. I think that I am probably in the “zombie” phase you were referring to. Wake up, sometimes go to school, come home and go back to sleep. I would never have even thought to see the positive side of something that sucks the life out of you, it just sounds so ridiculous; yet, at the same time it makes complete sense. I’m changing everything… not in pursuit of happiness, just for shits and gigs, not everything needs to have a purpose. Incredibly insightful, thanks!
@lokodis beautifully written and very true. most people it seems do not see the “positivity” in depression, it gives a perspective that can really only be gained through that struggle to enjoy life, people and yourself. many lessons can be learned in our depressions throughout the years. congratulations for learning, growing and making it out, John
Well, in this context we could have also said that hate is good, destruction is good, or death is good… No, it is not in-itself a good thing, because it could not be made an absolute (infinitely recurring). Hate, destruction, and death only have positive use as negations of negations: hate is good for taking out haters, destruction is good for destroying destroyers, and death is good for killing killers. Depression, on the other hand, may i add, leaves this theme, and becomes a definite negative. Sure it can lead you to discover things and rethink your life, but then you are not really depressed. Someone who is depressed has no more hope, no more good in their life; they no longer have the WILL to discover or rethink their lives. It is not absolutely positive, so it cannot be “good”. Depression is a disease of the Human Soul: to be depressed is to suffer for all of your life without release until death, when your nothingness inside becomes nothingness itself. Buddhism, Taoism, stoicism, Schopenhauer and plenty of other nihilistic doctrines have sought to make this the way of men; for that, it is the greatest evil.
@lokodis, Thanks for a good read, I needed this at the moment. I find that I really only learn through pain. I also find that the people who laugh the hardest are the ones who have been through the most pain. It might just be in some cases, but either way I admire the ability to laugh wholeheartedly for a person who has been or is depressed. Furthermore, I find that the tendency in society to brand people with a diagnosis for being drained, sad and ‘out of it’ is unfortunate. People should be triggered into finding and building their inner strength and not be fed pills to numb them or to be victimized. People should be allowed to realize what great strengths lie within them, and should be encouraged to pick themselves up. That’s what I think. It’s not our darkness we truly fear, but our light. I think we all have it within us, and that we ourselves must keep it alive. Take that fear and wear it like a crown.
There are streams of light everywhere, and they shine the brightest after the darkest moments. I am stronger because of my anxieties and depression. It gives me purpose.
@lokodis, WOW. best post ever. specially because I have alwasy think of “negative feelings” (such as depression) the same way as how you, however, i was never able to put it into words.
First of all, I think all of us HEthens can relate to this post because we are here, in HE, to find answers to unsolved questions; questions that dont let us sleep. In your case it was something along the lines of “why do i care so little?”
I absolutly think evils is necessary for good to exist. I agree, we NEED to experience sadness in order to appreciate happiness.
ps. Now I understand why so many good writers ended up killing themselves.
This was a great article to read. I have been feeling depressed lately. Hopefully following your advice in this article will change that. It was really well done.Quick question though, When you started feeling not depressed did you smoke ganja still? or did you stop smoking?
Thank you for this. Your post really made me feel better about what I am going through. I was really depressed last summer before I started college. I stopped running which I love to do because I felt too sad to run, slept all the time, and ate a ton to try feel better. I am somewhat better now, but I still get glimpses of depression. When these hit, I feel like I cannot even walk, and sugar is my only friend. I believe this experience as bad as it is will make be a better person in the future as a learn to better handle my emotions and be aware of them.
This was probably one of the greatest posts I’ve ever came across on here. It’s awesome knowing someone else feels or has felt like this. At least I’m not completely crazy lol. But depression can be a good thing. You need the good with the bad and in my opinion people who are the most depressed just feel things so intensely which is what causes it. It almost makes you feel alive to feel such a strong emotion. Awesome post though, glad to hear you’re doing better:)
@lokodis wow, thank you for sharing! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and I definitely agree with what you are saying. I truly believe that to struggle is the plight of the intellectual and those who do suffer have the potential to appreciate life in a way others who have not experienced this cannot.