It saddens me when I read profiles on Twitter and biographies on other social media outlets, where people state, almost proudly, that they are depressives or have other mental health issues.
As I did for more than two decades, until a few years ago, many people seem to wear depression as a badge or flash it, on introduction, like a journalist would their ‘Press Card’, as if saying: “This is who I am.”
As much as I feel it’s important – vital, in fact – to communicate and discuss our feelings in regard to these disorders of the mind, I think it’s counter-productive to identify with depression as if it’s a central part of who we are. It’s not.
The more we attach ourselves to the idea (i.e. the dysfunctional thought) that we are in some way ‘faulty’, the more we galvanise that notion, within. It becomes a form of self-discrimination, perpetuating the ego’s perceived control over us, and the more we feed our ego, the tougher it is to break the cycle of critical over-thinking, which is the source of emotional anxiety and pain.
Acknowledgement and acceptance of any depressive episode is imperative in taking the first steps to overcome it, but no more than a person who has cancer would call themselves a cancer, those who experience depressive states do not have to identify themselves as depressives.
I doubt there is one person who has experienced or is experiencing depression that doesn’t have a whole host of other, positive qualities that far outshine that perceived negative.
I walked for too long in the shadow of my ego, much to the detriment of my early life, but I don’t – now – consider myself a depressive, a recovered depressive, a depression survivor or anything else along those lines.
I’m a human being. There are good days and not so good days, but the adoption of a positive frame of mind and the rejection of the egoic compulsion to think I’m imperfect means there are no more terrible days.
I hope some people find this post useful.
A great site to discuss depression, read inspiring stories and find real help, rather than sympathy and the perpetuation of misery, is Ruby Wax’s ‘Black Dog Tribe’: