"Is the glass half empty, or half full?"
Half full = optimistic, Half empty = pessimist But the answer isn't quite so simple, is it? Some people say the glass is all full- half with water, and other other half with air. What else can we call them but science nerds?
I remember when I was asked this question, my first reaction was "It's half full," but then my overactive imagination started asking questions: "Did someone drink from it?" "Are they going to keep drinking?" I thought this was a complicated riddle, and I actually eventually answered "It's empty."
Empty? From being half full? How do you analyze that kind of answer? This is up for so many ways of interpretation that it really doesn't actually mean anything. One psychologist might say, "Empty means this person is feeling empty." Another may say, "She said it's empty because someone drank from it, so she likes to give." On the contrary, a psychologist may even think, "She's thirsty for something more in her life!" Someone else might say, "She said half full first, must be optimistic."
Regardless of what you believe my less-than-conventional answer to this simple question means, the realm of human perspective is simply not that simple. Some of us struggle with a skewed perspective, and this perspective is something we have to fight against. I'm not talking about "alternate truths", or hallucinations, but depression. Sometimes, depression can feel like living in an alternate universe. It's not easy, and it's not something that is talked about enough. We're not taught how to communicate with someone who is struggling, and we are often times even unintentionally triggering it.
Depression is not just an emotion. Sure, we can "feel depressed" when our dog dies, but it's not the same. Depression is an ongoing feeling of extreme sadness that lasts for long periods at a time. Some people only fall to depression once in their life. Some never do. Some people struggle with this their entire lives. It is something that needs to be worked through, and many who struggle with it cannot do it alone. There are resources for depressed individuals, but finding the courage to reach out in itself is a battle. It's an illness that destroys someone from the inside out, crushing motivation, willpower, and strength. It sucks out happiness, leaving a void. It can be debilitating. Depression is serious, and should never be taken as a joke, because it can be fatal.
I've written about depression before, mainly because I struggle with it. September is Suicide Prevention/Awareness month, and I want to highlight it in my blog. Not only have I personally battled thoughts of suicide, but I have friends who lost the battle. The hardest part about fighting depression and thoughts of suicide is that there is no cookie-cutter way that it overtakes us, and it's not just a scale that comes in mild, medium, and severe. It makes it harder to open up and try to explain to someone why and how; for me personally, I sometimes don't even need a trigger at all for these feelings of self-hatred, emptiness, and sadness to bubble up and attack me.
Living in an Asian household where depression is deemed "insanity" (postpartum depression is excused), I felt so lost. There was no one to talk to. I was always constantly reminded that others had it worse, so I tried to minimize my feelings. After coming to Christ, I tried hard to lay down these thoughts and emotions and look to Him for hope and joy. I'm not going to say that believing in Christ was a heal-all for me, because it wasn't. I still struggle from time to time with the lies that Satan tells me: that I'm not enough, I will never get there, I'm useless, I am worthless, I should die. However, knowing what the truth is gives me hope and encouragement to power through and fight these lies. Jesus is Love, and:
"[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." - 1 Corinthians 13:6-7
Jesus is there, interceding for us, praying for us, knowing us. He sees our heart, and takes the pain and punishment of sin for us, so that we, too, can love on each other AND ourselves. If you ever need someone to talk to, I will respond to you ASAP. If you want someone a little more professionally trained:
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org **Chatting online through the website does take a longer wait time, but it is great if you don't feel comfortable speaking to someone over the phone.
As much as it can feel like death is the answer, it really doesn't solve anything. I know it's cliche, and I hate hearing it too, but it's the truth. You don't have to run from depression. You are so strong to have made it thus far. Fight it head-on, and let others fight with you. Keep your focus on reaching somewhere better; we'll get there together.