Life in the Spectrum – Depression is Not Black and White

Originally posted on lifeinthespectrum.com.

chickadee - soft (greys)

The use of black and white filters can be striking in the world of photography, but in the world of depression, black and white is nowhere to be found. Everything is shaded with countless shades of grey. I have spent decades attempting to figure out the right way to handle this or respond to that. Hoping to learn how to be more likable and more normal. Searching for a better approach to maintaining fulfilling relationships. Trying desperately to just be okay.

However it isn’t that cut and dry. Life is unpredictable and has a fierce habit of jerking the emotional rug out from under us when we least expect it. And when that happens, we hit the ground. Hard.

For someone with depression, an emotional takedown can be utterly debilitating. Maybe your energy drains to nonexistence and you find yourself unable to move or leave your bed. Perhaps you become enraged and begin to actively push away anyone who cares enough to try to offer support. Some people physically hurt themselves or try to anesthetize the pain away with alcohol or drugs. Others lose hope, give in to the pain and the lies their minds tell them, and give up altogether.

I genuinely understand the indescribable heaviness you feel when you are facing that dark night of the soul. I promise that I truly do. But I also know that no matter how dark it is in that moment – even if that moment feels like it has gone on and on – it does not stay like that. It always get better. Ironically it will go back to crappy again, too, but the good news is that the pendulum keeps swinging back and forth. As always, just remember to wait it out whenever that happens.

The truth is that this is how life goes for everyone. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of the mental health diagnosis club to feel like an outsider, to believe that you are lost, or to be in a place of tremendous sadness or hurt.

We may focus on our weaknesses, but the heaviest of times often reveal our greatest strengths, too. If you can’t get out of bed today, that’s okay. The weight of that kind of emotional exhaustion can be suffocating, but the world will keep spinning for now. But get out of bed tomorrow.

If you are being offered genuine help from someone who loves and wants to be there for you, open the door instead of slamming it closed.

Avoid trying to mask to pain with alcohol or drugs. I get that it feels good in the moment, but those will tear you down on so many levels. The numbness won’t last, and you are left with a deeper emotional hole with every further attempt to hide from your life.

Open up to others in your life who will help you find your footing again, and seek professional help.

Above all, don’t ever give in to the pain, and don’t ever lose hope.

I don’t believe on any level that suicide is an indication of cowardice. Rather I see it as an act of absolute desperation and total confusion. People who take their lives become tremendously lost regarding what seems real versus what actually is real. They can recognize the absolute truth that every new day holds a promise of something better. Now I’ll admit that that doesn’t mean that the better whatever will come along today. But then again, it definitely could. If not, that greatly improves the odds for an even better tomorrow, so it makes practical sense to keep sticking around.

Although it might simplify our days, a world of black and white would be tedious and dull. We may perceive endless shades of grey in our lives, but we are also blessed with an endless array of other colors to brighten our days. Don’t forget to notice them in their innumerable forms, and don’t ever hide your own colors, your brilliance, or your beauty in an effort to blend in or be normal. You are so much better than normal, and you are so much more than mere black and white.

Much love to you always.  Jo

chickadee - soft (color)
Life is more beautiful with a splash of color.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Writer Lori
    Jun 28, 2018 @ 09:25:00

    I saw a hummingbird in our garden yesterday and thought of you, Jo. You are treasured by many, myself included. Hang in there…. xxoxo

    Reply

  2. magickmermaid
    Jun 28, 2018 @ 17:04:06

    Wise words!

    Reply

  3. E
    Jun 28, 2018 @ 20:49:26

    Nailed it. “Maybe your energy drains to nonexistence and you find yourself unable to move or leave your bed.” I’m coming out of some heavy healing work and starting to see the parallels between depression and enlightenment, it seems like the biggest difference is harnessing worth, purpose and means. They all feel bigger and impossible when we’re depressed but maybe on the other side we discover they’re all in our hands.

    Reply

  4. Shania
    Jun 30, 2018 @ 01:33:23

    Such a powerful piece and it really hits home. You’re most definitely right when you say it’s like a pendulum. We just have to roll with the punches and as a very adorable fish once said: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” Beautifully written! 🙂

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 30, 2018 @ 08:20:49

      I chant that all the time, too! I think that I mainly sing that so I can get to the part where she starts being a complete goof in that song but the wisdom in her words really do run deep. ❤️ Thank you for reading it lovebug!

      Reply

  5. anne leueen
    Jul 01, 2018 @ 19:33:14

    “the dark night of the soul” That is a place I’ve inhabited. Over the years I have found that it too will pass in time but the trick is be able to see the light when I’m in the dark. Thanks for this post it expresses it so well.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jul 01, 2018 @ 22:02:22

      Thank you love. Yes that dark night is one I have visited many times myself. I always struggle immensely when I’m in the place because it feels so thick and so real. But like you said, we have to know that there is light even in the dark and that the rough patches will pass in time. ❤️

      Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jul 01, 2018 @ 22:04:45

      Also don’t you dare even think about disappearing. Your horse photos and tales bring me more joy than you could ever fathom. I am in love with your blog! Truly. I grew up riding and miss it deeply. Horses were always in my blood, but it appears to have skipped my two oldest kids. Riding boots crossed that the littlest one recognizes the magic!!

      Reply

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