"Why are you always so happy and positive?"
"I am happy because I am happy. It's just the way it is."
"What do you do in order to be happy?"
"There is no such "something". I am already living the life I have always wanted. I feel blessed."
"I have never heard anyone that said so in my life."
This is literally the conversation I had with my friend at dinner a few days ago, after the sad news of another very talented artist, who had a long known history of depression.
"I have had depression before."
Yes, depression. I experienced depression two years ago, in case you don’t know yet. FYI, I wasn't properly diagnosed but I know how sadness out of "depression" is not the same usual kind of sadness. While you may think depression is a teenage-turn-adult thing, or a bunch of people who do nothing but complaining, that’s not true. Depression exists in many different levels in society. Yet, due to the social stigma, or the linkage with "mental illness", the term "depression" comes along with, the problem never gets talked through or faced.
It could be peer pressure, life or money problems, relationships, things that ultimately push you off the edge and never come back again. You may think those people don’t treasure their lives enough. Or, even worse, compare them to people with long term physical illnesses and criticise them for "not loving their own lives while they could". But hey, mental illnesses do not feel better than physical illnesses. Plus no one ever teaches them how to love their lives. You may see fit and pretty girls demonstrating "health, beauty and wellness" all over social media but that is not living a good life. Living a good life is accepting one's flaws and becoming stronger in one's own way – a way that makes him/her happy. Everyone deserves to live his/her way.
"Depression is not about being sad. It's about not being able to understand why I am sad. I don’t know why I am sad and I would hate or blame myself for being sad. I feel the worst when people tell me 'I should not be sad'."
Everyone is allowed a bad day and it's okay. Everyone's allowed to have flaws and it's okay. But while you are thinking of your flaws, never forget you have your strengths too. Strengths doesn’t have to be super rich, super pretty, or super smart. It can be as simple as "good at smiling", because by that, you are probably better than someone else already.
That's probably how I got out of depression two years ago. I started to accept and appreciate. I accept that I am not perfect. I accept that there is no such thing like "smartest", "richest". I appreciate that I know how to write, I love fashion, I love to share – so I started the blog. I am good at something and I am making something out of the something.
The conversation went on.
"Because you are better than most?"|
"I work more than 12 hours a day. I don't sleep enough. My dad is ill, seriously ill. I just don't tell everyone. What is better?"
"Then how can you still stay so positive?"
"If you can't change the situation, change your attitude. He may be ill, but if you are just sad and moaning every day, he will feel worse. Plus he is still living. So while you confine yourself to sadness, you are wasting the time you can spend with him."
If you think someone is living a better life, it's probably because you can't see the flip side of his/her life. No one's better off. Everyone has their own concerns and worries, they just won't let you know. You may be thinking that your parents don’t understand you but meanwhile do you see them worrying that they don’t make enough money to provide you with the best life?
"Better" or "worse" are words of comparison. There will be no better no worse if you don’t compare. Who you should really compare with is the you yesterday, today and tomorrow. Are you trying harder today? Are you smiling more today? If the answer is yes, then well done.
"I can never earn every penny in the world. But I mean, do I need every penny if I know I already have everything I want?"
"No one has more tears than another; while no one is lonelier than the other. Just that someone likes to pour it out like water that never comes back; while someone may down it like liquor that gets you drunk."
"No matter if you pour it or down it today, why not use it to flower plants tomorrow?"
I came across this video some time ago and it touched my heart. Spend some time to watch it and tell me what you think.
One last thing, every since I have started this Heart-to-Heart chatty series, I have received emails from "friends" (even I don’t know you in person) who kindly share their stories with me. There is one, in particular, whom I stopped hearing from recently and I really really want to find you again. Email me if you see this message. Remember you are not alone and you guys will always have that space on my heart reserved.