Archives for Depression


Smile Through The Tears – Or Not

People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be. ― Abraham Lincoln

There are two ways to read this quote.

Lincoln might be telling us to “accentuate the positive.” That managing our emotions and deciding to be happy will make us feel happy. In which case,  this quote is kind of ironic, given that poor Abe struggled with depression. Seems like there's a little self-loathing mixed into the words.
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Grief And Fear And Grief

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. - C.S. Lewis

When I was a little girl, I sometimes tried to imagine what it would feel like to lose somebody I loved.

I could imagine only the sketchiest approximation, though. I knew I would be very sad, but had no weight or measure of that sadness and couldn’t imagine its nuances. All I knew is that it was likely to be a grief so enormous, I might not survive it.

A lot of years have passed since then, and I’ve lost a brother, several close friends, and my parents. And in a way, I’ve been granted one of the secrets of the universe: the knowledge that as terrifying as grief is, we almost always survive it.  

We fear grief as much as we feel it, which only makes our burden heavier. But grief cannot kill us (without our cooperation) so we don't have to add to our pain with fear.

What we might fear when we feel grief:

That we will never emerge from it.
That the pain will always be as intense as fresh grief.
That the feelings are irrevocably changing us.
 That we will never feel safe again.
 That we will be haunted by regrets.
 That the new void in our life will never be filled.
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You’re An Earworm Away From Happiness

Don't get trouble in your mind.

“Don’t get trouble in your mind” is the cheery refrain of a bluegrass chestnut, performed in the video below by the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

I’d never heard the song until a friend posted this video on Facebook the other day, and it just hit me in a sweet spot. Since then, it’s been an earworm.

But unlike most earworms, this one could prove useful.
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Words As A Lifeline In Hard Times

It's easy to be philosophical when everything's going fine.

I love when friends invent pithy quotes.

Yesterday, my friend Karen asked if I knew of any quotes along the lines of the above, which has been running through her head recently.

"To me it means when times are good and you're in your rhythm and conquering the world (or just fairly happy) it's easy to be philosophical about how to get thru the bad times," she wrote.

"Telling yourself...
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The Extraordinary Power of Despair

Despair gives courage to a coward—Thomas Fuller

Similarly, a therapist once said to me, “Misery is a great motivator.”

And JK Rowling said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Yep. There’s little more effective for lifting you out of misery than misery itself.

When things are so friggin’ awful that you can’t imagine them getting any more awful, doing things that were unimaginable suddenly seem imaginable.

Change is so difficult, you gotta really, really, really want it. Or have it forced on you. And when life sucks so bad that getting out of bed requires monumental effort, change is being forced on you. That kind of despair is powerful stuff—powerful enough to make you drag yourself up and stumble forward.*

Besides, sometimes thinking about things staying the same is scarier than thinking about them changing.
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The Times They Are (Inevitably) Changing

Everything changes whether you want it to or not.

I invented this one for myself, although I’m sure Buddhists would try to take credit.

This might not be a happy quote all the time.  What if you don’t want things to change, what if everything is perfect just as it is right now at this moment?

Too bad. Then again, there is no perfect so that’s just a happy illusion anyway.

But then there are those times when life is dreary or dull or uncomfortable or unhappy or even downright, outright awful. That’s when I trot out this quote and repeat it over and over, like a mantra.
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