When I was a kid, I used to think that sight was my most precious gift. How terrible it would be if the world became blurry, or if I couldn’t see it at all. Then some time later, it became clear that my grandmother was suffering Alzheimer’s. That put a new twist on things in my head, as I watched her realize that she was becoming more forgetful, but trying to rationalize it away. Yikes, there are things even more precious than sight.
Then, more recently, one of my friends revealed that he suffers depression. And I watched helplessly as he went through a bout with it, until he insisted I just go home. I was useless there anyway, there was nothing I could say or do that would snap him out of it. It was odd, because he knew that he wasn’t financially broke, he was healthy, and he had sincere friends. But he just began obsessing over his job and self image, and there was no bringing him back.
In contrast to him, I have another friend who recovered from the most devastating physical injury. He had an arm amputated and both legs broken in a bicycle vs. truck accident. Naturally, he went through some very hard times on his road to recovery. It’s a number of years later, but he’s remarkably in good spirits now. Actually, he’s just one example. I’m surrounded by friends who have the most amazing stories of overcoming devastating problems.
I think I have better perspective now, than when I was a kid. Then I thought that depression was just what you felt when something real knocked you off track, and you just get over it. Now I know it’s an entity all of its own, and quite terrible if left unchecked.
Hopefully, we can build natural defenses against depression. Every day, no matter how crummy my day at work was, I come home and do something to make Maddie laugh. (Luckily chasing her around the house usually works.)