Is depression a state of mind? A chemical imbalance? A nutritional deficiency? A sign of alcoholism? I am not qualified to say, nor am I game to offer an opinion. Without question, at times people are overwhelmed, feel isolated, disconnected, and are lost in despair. Do they fit some pharmaceutical company definition of "depressed"? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Either way, clearly, their experience of joy is fleeting or not existent. A tragedy of itself. Would medication help? Maybe. Going for a run? Most likely. A hug? Possibly.
I have a friend who is struggling at the moment. (Really - not a fictional friend, but a really truly person with a phone, a job, a car and various family issues). I'm not sure how to support him. We could talk for hours but words are just words, at the end of the day. After speaking with him for quite a long time last night I hung up the phone and felt flat, nearly angry.
I acknowledge that I am lacking the necessary skills to help him - and quite possibly he needs professional assistance. I couldn't help but feel though, after that call, that each time an opportunity presented itself for my friend to choose good feelings, or tell himself a better story, he was consciously, deliberately choosing to see the worst, berate himself, blame others. He's a very smart guy. I know he knows what he is doing. I just don't understand why... when it was all making him feel so bad.
That is why some people need professional help; counsellors and doctors who can stay neutral. I am not neutral. I want him to be happy, feel good, turn his life around... baby step by baby step. Choosing a funny movie instead of a drama, eating a decent meal instead of opting for a liquid dinner, trying on "thank you", instead of "thanks for nothing".
In short, I just fervently wish he would start to say yes to joy. The bad stuff may still be present in his life - siblings and bad bosses don't tend to go away overnight - but focussing on the good things, kindness, sunshine and opportunities - or just starting each day with a corny joke - might help? Perhaps, right now, it is just beyond him.
It's not beyond me though. So I thought I'd share a little something with you. It's something that's giving me joy at the moment. Our family has a new kitten... here he is! (How funny that he matches the bedspread!). We haven't given him a name yet so if you have suggestions please feel free to share them. (Note: toy mouse in background).
What about you? Are there things in your life that create a spark of joy? Things that make you feel good even on a flat day? Are there ways you could be saying yes to joy that perhaps you have overlooked?
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