The sad part of depression is that you cannot choose happiness for the one that is depressed. It is a choice that only they themselves can make. My attempts at raising the spirits of those that seem downtrodden or just down often leaves me questioning my competence and my significance. But such questioning only lasts as long as it takes for me to realise that it’s not about me, nor are the choices mine to make. I sometimes think the greatest gift to a depressed soul is acting out their potential in plain view of them, without throwing it in their face, regardless of the motivation. But then again, maybe not, because it can so easily be mistaken for antagonism or condescension.
I’ve slipped into that trap of condescension many times, despite it never being deliberate. That trap where I go off on a tangent and lecture others about why they should have no reason to be depressed, while forgetting that depression is simply a secondary emotion. It is the cloak of what lies beneath. It’s the guard that keeps us safe from facing what we truly fear. At least it has been for me on many occasions. The underlying fear of rejection, or potential of being insignificant kept me recoiled in the safe space that I created for myself. Worse still, the fear of failure on a grand scale that would rob me of any shards of credibility that I was clinging to.
But it’s so easy to forget all that when I see myself reflected in the weary grimaces of others. Because I’ve seemingly risen above my last entanglement with the darkness, my ego drives me to believe that I’m in a position to tell others how to do it. I’m not. I never was. And I suddenly regret every indulgence that led me to spew unsolicited advice to those that seemed to be in a space darker than my own. I know it’s not what I needed. I know it’s not what turned the tables for me, because no matter how much someone says about the right things to do to escape that darkness, it was only when I detached myself from the experiences that weighed me down that I realised that the experience didn’t define me. The callous or crass behaviour of others was not a reflection of my worth. It was simply an insight into their weaknesses and fears. But they projected it on me, and I was a willing victim because I didn’t believe I was worth any more than they allowed me to be.
I was wrong. In more ways than one, I was wrong. Sometimes getting it wrong turned out beautifully, and sometimes it drove me further away from reality. But getting it wrong was never the end of the road. It was always the beginning of a new one.