Depression – Shifting Your Perception

Depression.  If you have ever worn that label, you probably felt a heaviness in your soul just reading the word.  It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue with a magical lightness, does it?

I wore that label on my heart and spirit since I was in elementary school.  I felt the weight of the diagnosis long before it was made.  It consumed me.  I would take flight only to be snapped back to the ground like there was a chain around my soul.  I barely scraped out of my college years with my life.

I hold no judgement toward anyone who has committed suicide.  None at all in the slightest.  Truly.  I remember believing with every fiber of my being that it would be better in the long run for everyone I cared about if I just died.  I understood that they would hurt in the short term, but overall, I believed that it would be a gift of true kindness from me to them.  They wouldn’t be stuck working through all the problems I brought into their lives each day.

I didn’t have a clue about how completely and utterly untrue that was.  If you ever tell yourself that others around you will be better off if you are dead, you are more wrong than you could possibly imagine.

The people who care about you – even the ones who may be angry with you – NEVER stop hurting.  The hollow aches in their chests don’t go away.  They will always feel a heartbreak that will never be mended.  They will cry every time someone new asks about you.  They will have to suffer thoughtless comments from others who don’t understand, and they will then have to go on the defense with searing pain or swallow the unkindness like broken glass.  They will ask themselves every single day what they could have done differently, and even though the clear answer is “absolutely nothing at all,” they will always wonder.  The part of their life that will be better off will never happen.  They may be able to forgive the choice, but they will never be able to be thankful for it.

I did not know this then, but I see it now.  If you have been impacted by suicide by a family member or a friend, my heart goes out to you more than I can tell you.  There are no words to explain the level of confusion and misunderstanding people stumble through when they are at that point. People who suffer depression feel like they are broken on the inside. Like something is wrong with them.  Like they are crazy.

But what if the crazy part wasn’t actually crazy at all.  What if instead of seeing yourself as being broken, you saw yourself as being made differently than the person beside you?  If you were to look at that person and compare them to any other on the planet, I assure you that you would find unique attributes of each one of those individuals – attributes you wanted to have and attributes that you were glad weren’t on your personal shame list.

What if instead of believing that you needed to be fixed, you recognized that the way you happen to think, feel, love and hurt in extremes actually allows you to experience the world itself from a wider emotional range?  When I was younger, my days were consumed by the highest highs and lowest lows.  My eyes were opened again and again to spectacular wonders as well as dark looming tragedy.  The incessant whipsaw of emotions made me tough on certain fronts and softened my heart on others.

I always find it amusing when I hear people say that this person is on “The Spectrum.”  I’m not implying that autism is comical to me.  I am saying is that the term “spectrum” is an interesting word to choose because it encompasses all the colors we can see with our human eyes, but it also refers to colors that are there yet remain invisible.

What if people with depression are able to see the invisible parts of the spectrum?  Perhaps in lieu of perceiving invisible light, they perceive an emotional range that is out of reach of most humans.

I would never wish a diagnosis of depression on anyone.  Never.  But I wouldn’t go back and change that part of myself or my life either.  I have a broader emotional view and intutive sense than many others around me.  I see people who have a complete inability to recognize the depth in another’s tone.  They can’t hear the unspoken message in the other person’s words, but it is crystal clear to me.  I have been in that emotional place, so I feel it with all the tangibility of a wave crashing into the rocks.  My ability to sense more has helped me to guard those I love, but it has also allowed me to see others who need a hand to prevent them from drowning.

You may feel like you are a stone sinking below the waves because of that label.  Just know that the label may be the broken part, not you.  Your perceived darkness may actually be a beacon of light to another.  It may be the very thing that allows you to shine.

Lose the label.  It doesn’t define you.  If you can’t release it now, know that it doesn’t get to steal your brilliance, passion, or ability to see with more depth and feeling than most will ever comprehend.  Take off the blinders when you look in the mirror, and recognize who you truly are.  Release the curse so you can find the gift.

We would never need light if we didn’t have darkness.  They go hand in hand.

 I write these words for those who suffer depression personally and those who have watched someone they care about be torn apart by it.  If you are reading these words, they are written for you.  Know that you are precious beyond measure.  You are dear and important and perfect just as you are.  You absolutely matter.

In love and light always.  Joanna

(Day 19)

44 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Blog Andrew
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 03:01:40

    A beautiful Post I so enjoy your blog. You are correct when you write repercussions to close family are utterly devastating…….all I will add is if you have suspicions then you must find time to talk.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 16, 2017 @ 07:53:38

      One of the hardest parts of that is that many people with depression will hide it or minimize it. It leaves family and friends unaware. Then there are the others that show it openly, but the people around them don’t know what to do to help them. The problem with all of it is that person going through has to recognize their value. Every other person in the world can see it and try to help, but the person looking in their own mirror is the one who needs to see that there is a reason for it all. I’m so very sorry Andrew. I have seen how suicide has destroyed people I am close to and I can see how devastating it is.

      Reply

  2. Jan
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 05:58:23

    Oops, I meant meds … not mess : ) Jan

    Reply

  3. Jan
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 05:59:51

    Oops … musical highs not Higgs. This auto correct on my phone is frustrating. Jan

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 16, 2017 @ 07:44:10

      Lol! You wouldn’t believe how many words I have to correct that the goofy phone either changes itself or replaces the wrong way. Like I could type Montana and it might correct it to mahfjtnea. Thanks phone! 😂😂😂

      Reply

  4. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 06:20:17

    You are really my hero! Thank you for sharing something that is helpful and relevant to so many people. Thank you for the ability to say it in such a beautiful way. And thank you for overcoming things in your life with grace and composure because you are truly an asset to the world in general.❤️

    Reply

  5. Jan
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 06:57:09

    I have been in that dark place; I have experienced those highs; I am diagnosed with bipolar rapid cycling. That means I can go from one extreme to another almost in the blink of an eye. I was not diagnosed until my 40’s. I didn’t get proper stabilizing mess until my 50’s. It’s been a long haul. I am now 61 and am finally in a good place; I am able to manage myself so much better.
    I have found the gift you talk about: the intuition, deep feelings other’s never experience, sights and sounds and musical Higgs others have no way of understanding. Thank God for who I am. I would have never known I would feel this way.
    You were right, these words were written for me and for many others.
    Thank you for sharing with such honesty and clarity. Jan

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 16, 2017 @ 07:42:26

      It’s funny how we see that with time, but even being able to see it can be moment to moment. I just pray that people who aren’t in a place of clarity can hold on and wait until they can see it. Thank you for telling me your story, too. I already knew that we were kindred spirits, but I didn’t know that you had walked this path that way. Blessings to you my sweet friend. 🤗. Joanna

      Reply

  6. James J. Cudney IV
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 07:20:59

    What a really well-written post full of clear emotion. I hope it reaches tons of people. So important. I’m going to share it.

    Reply

  7. carolrolke
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 18:51:54

    You amaze me. Such powerful words. Words of light and filled with hope. Thank you for sharing your gift. Yes, “lose the curse so you can find the gift.” Beautiful!

    Reply

  8. ifyouonlyknew2017
    Jul 17, 2017 @ 03:03:12

    Beautifully put. Thankyou

    Reply

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  10. misifusa
    Jul 17, 2017 @ 11:08:27

    A stunning, inspirational post. Truly. I admire you. I’m inspired by you. ♥ Big loving hugs xo

    Reply

  11. janieleeds
    Jul 17, 2017 @ 11:55:33

    Beautiful post with rare honesty, insight and graceful love that is your trademark. xo

    Reply

  12. shalini
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 00:16:17

    The word depression is a medical term, is not for laymen. It’s a classification not a reality of life. It was supposed to make a doctor’s life easy to treat, till the world took it and now everybody is labeled.
    When doctors don’t have a clear diagnosis, the word spectrum is used but again it went out into the world and became something bigger. This is the history of this word which not many know.
    All of us have thought of suicide at one point of time, I did too, I do too but anybody who knows me will know that my parents are my world and I will never do anything which will hurt them. Whether I am important to the world or not, it would destroy my parents. And I realise that I actually don’t have the courage to take the ultimate step.
    We all have a right to life and a right to death. I believe so. It’s a choice, but as you said Jo, it would leave the people behind devastated. So far, my love for my family and my intense need, not to hurt them ever, has never taken me to the last step. But self preservation is a very strong instinct, doesn’t allow.
    Jo, I too am feeling low since a week, I am struggling with with some things, I have been labelled over reactive and mad, by a close friend because I questioned his actions. But whatever he says, it broke me, but not so much that I would do anything. (BTW, I deleted him from my contact list).
    This is my observation, I look at my family, I can’t give them pain especially if they have been my best loyal friends.
    I think i rambled too much… But a great post Jo, I am sorry about the labels, but believe me, when psychiatry evolved as a branch, doctors just needed that classification for diagnosis till it started becoming a label of real life…

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 19, 2017 @ 01:17:17

      Darling friend. Please don’t let an unkindness from someone else take away your light. I know you are feeling incredibly down, but he simply isn’t worth it. You can’t fathom how important you are. You have too much to share and too much to sing. This Lady Gaga needs her Adele. I’ve had people say horrific things about me, too. Heart breaking terrible hurtful things. I’ve been lied about and misjudged. I’ve also messed up a ton and hurt other people as well. But we do what we can to be the best we can and we have to release the people who no longer need a place by our side. I listened to something a couple days ago that struck me. It was specific to people but I believe that it could have just as easily been about a situation or diagnosis. He said that some people seem like they are in your way, but really they are just on your way. Move past him. Leave him behind. Take you forward. I am here for you my dear friend.

      Reply

      • shalini
        Jul 19, 2017 @ 02:33:14

        Aww Jo, I do know that. You are my soul sister. Generally, people are mean because it’s their own guilt which makes them lash out. I hurt, I mourn, have a good cry then I forget it all. Such people cease to exist in my life. But when every bad thing happens together, morale goes down. But I believe that it’s the love and the good wishe ls that you send, helps me more in divine ways, some things cannot be explained. I am ok now, but those were my thoughts that even in moments of darkness, I couldn’t go to the other side, because I matter more and no man is worth it.

      • MoJo
        Jul 19, 2017 @ 05:47:53

        I’m thankful for you my friend. The darkness will fade. I’m just so sorry that you are hurting now.

      • shalini
        Jul 19, 2017 @ 06:39:28

        Naa it’s OK life is always this way good times, bad times. It’s my choice, I am choosing to grieve properly and then let go so that, that person can never ever affect me.

  13. Trackback: Depression and Suicidal Thoughts | Authentically 50 ~ Embracing Life's Changes
  14. MoJo
    Jul 22, 2017 @ 12:35:13

    I’m sorry that I didn’t respond to this comment before JC4! WordPress loves to spam some of my favorite people at times. Apologies! And thank you sweet friend. I appreciate your kind words and gesture.

    Reply

  15. M
    Jul 22, 2017 @ 18:45:55

    I really enjoyed your outlook on depression. I actually feel like I can relate to someone. I can see clearly what others feel but so many people don’t and I can’t quite grasp how they can’t see it. It’s really interesting what you wrote about having abilities others can’t. I feel like that a lot as well and it’s so nice to see someone experiencing the same thing 😊❤️

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 22, 2017 @ 17:52:44

      Let me start by saying that anyone with a website called depresso espresso is immediately a bad ass in my book so high five there. ;). And beyond that, thank you for that comment. I really do believe that so many of the stuff we struggle through aren’t always the horrible sentences we think they are. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone either, but at least we can muddle through and hopefully find the light in it together. 🙂

      Reply

      • M
        Jul 22, 2017 @ 18:12:37

        Thankyou! And yes I completely agree. Finding the positives and finding others you can speak with about depression is really the key to overcoming it.

  16. Rani
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 05:02:07

    This was a great post. Truly. Keep sharing your light with the world, and maybe you will lead others to better understand their own darkness.
    Dark and light in balance… one does not exist without the other. It’s not just for Star Wars fans anymore…
    I think certain people and philosophies embrace this better than our current prevailing culture… Swim upstream and be strong is sort of my version.
    Anyway, a post very much worth reading! Thank you!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 23, 2017 @ 08:12:46

      Thank you for the comment. I absolutely agree. So many of us have been indoctrinated into this idea that we have to be all smiles forever. There has to be both for the other to even exist. I love your perspective and couldn’t agree more.

      Reply

  17. anne leueen
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 09:01:15

    Yes! There is a long history of depression in my fathers family. He committed suicide in 1065 when I was 15. I have studied this mental illness and I agree that the suicidal person actually believes they are doing the right thing for those around them by killing themselves and they believe that their loved ones will be better off without them. I am fascinated with your concept of the “spectrum”. I found that when my daughter was suffering with anorexia and in a treatment center I realized it was not about dieting or being thin or having a poor self image. It was about dealing with stress. It was a narrowing of focus down to just controlling what to eat and letting all the other pressures go. I have no idea how I grasped this but it was crystal clear to me( but not to some of her therapists!) and it helped me to be able to understand her and be supportive without enabling. Possibly through the long line of depressives in my family I have gained a perception of things on the farther end of the spectrum. Thank you for a wonderful post on depression. It is the best I have read on the topic.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 23, 2017 @ 09:33:12

      From the depths of my heart, I thank you for sharing your story with me. I can’t fathom what it is like to lose a parent in such a way. Reality gets twisted beyond recognition when someone is in that state of mind. It’s impossible to articulate. I wish I could help anyone who has played all of the “If only I had said this” or “If only I had done this” scenarios in their minds. There’s no one answer and there’s no one to blame. It just is.

      I love that you stand by your daughter completely, and even more than that, that you truly see her and understand what is really happening. There are many excellent therapists but so many only see and hear whatever they want, not necessarily what is truly going on. Of course that’s just part of being a human.

      Keep standing strong. You are amazing. I don’t have to know you in person to be able to discern that. It’s crystal clear. You have such grace and strength.

      Again I thank you so very much for your words. Big big hugs to you from me. Joanna

      Reply

  18. the undomestic writer
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 15:20:11

    Reply

  19. thenuttybookblogger
    Jul 29, 2017 @ 15:20:38

    You have inspired me so many ways with your post. I am on depression medication…but without it, I would be a mental wreck.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 29, 2017 @ 14:34:32

      I didn’t have luck with the meds, but it’s most definitely a huge blessing for so many people. It has saved countless lives. You are so wise. Thank you for sharing that with me sweet girl. I appreciate that you told me. 🙂

      Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 29, 2017 @ 14:34:45

      And 🤗🤗🤗🤗 too!

      Reply

  20. freedomfromaddictionweb
    Jul 30, 2017 @ 12:57:55

    Awesome post. One of the first things I learned in psychology class is that we can control our emotions by controlling our thoughts. A lot of people don’t know that.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Jul 30, 2017 @ 12:24:22

      Now all I need to do is learn how to do control my thoughts! 😉 But I agree. Our minds can absolutely send us to Dark Places if we get into that bad cycle of negative talk.

      Reply

  21. Trackback: Depression Is NOT Equivalent to Being Broken | Momentum of Jo

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