August 12, 2014

On Depression

People are grieving the death of Robin Williams, comic genius and actor. His struggle with depression is being talked about, and many people are pleading on social media for more empathy for those who are depressed.

Depression can be overwhelming. I've been depressed but not in the crushing way that completely buries the spirit of some people. I'm fortunate in that I've been able to self-treat with sunshine, art and music, or a phone call to a family member. This picture is a poster I painted to cheer myself up many years ago, back when my first marriage was floundering. The words, of course, are from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

Sometimes I think depression represents a realistic view of the world. Perhaps instead of talking about depressive illness, we should wonder why everyone is not depressed! After all, there are plenty of things wrong with the world. Sea levels are rising, terrible diseases are spreading, and people are killing each other!

What if depression is normal and gladness is delusional? Are the brain chemicals that make us "happy" really salves that keep us out of touch with reality?

I suppose our minds need those chemicals or we would not have the courage to face and conquer the challenges of daily life, much less the audacity to reproduce!

Normal or not, depression can keep a person from finding happiness and can even kill. We all need to be kind to each other, and take time to find empathy for those who are suffering. And if you are feeling down, remember that "No less than the trees and the stars, YOU have a right to be here."

Linking to: Our World Tuesday


  1. You're absolutely right. Life is always a challenge with ups and downs. I sometimes tell myself you have to have down times in order to have up times.

  2. I do think depression is a part of life and that it's over diagnosed as a pathology. When I was 19 I had a major anxiety disorder/depression (that I now think was related to my thyroid). From that time I know what real depression is, when you find absolutely no pleasure in anything, can't sleep or concentrate, are self-conscious and anxious and basically can't function. They didn't even use the word depression back that! I just described it as being nervous. No medication then either. It lasted a year or two (but a thread of it remains today). Whatever Robin Williams level of depression was it was complicated by addiction, which I didn't have.

  3. I so agree. Kindness can go a long way. I guess we never know how another person is suffering.

  4. I know what it's like- I have to live with it for the rest of my life. Therapy has helped a lot, but at its worst, it was crushing and overwhelming.

  5. So true. We are not as empathetic society as we'd like to think we are. Sometimes it takes the loss of a much loved person like Robin Williams to open eyes and hearts. Nicely said, Linda.

  6. Your thoughts are quite profound, and true. I think we are all depressed to one degree or another. Joy is such a fleeting thing the more we face the realities of life. That's why God gave us this beautiful world to help cheer us, and loving family and friends if we are so fortunate to have them. We should all be loving and caring and kind to one another. It's so important. I have my faith to sustain me too, knowing all this is temporal, and my true home is a much much better place!

  7. If one takes The Long View, one can't help being depressed. Staying in the moment is the only salvation.

    ...I think.

  8. Thank you for those words. We all need to be more empathetic with each other.
    I think your postor and the words are perfect and uplifing.
    Yes we do belong here.
    I'm here from Hilary's POTW.

  9. I am here for Hilary's blog.

    I love this post. As a person who battles depression I can relate to every word.

    Thank you for the reminder that I (and we all) have a right to be here. Some days it feels otherwise.

  10. Love your poster! Yes, I think depression strikes us all at one time or another. Such a sad world we live in sometimes - and yet, such a joyous one too!

    Congrats on POTW!!


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