10 February 2011

What exactly is "blessed" about depression?

by Nia

Don't get me wrong. I think depression is evil. Well, maybe not evil. More like a tornado or sepsis: a natural occurrence, but just try constructing a normal life around it. It wasted a lot of potential, made me treat people like crap and ate up a lot of my family's resources. I don't even like thinking about big swaths of my life -- including some very expensive schooling paid for by my parents -- because they were such a blight.

But for all that, having had it might have some benefits.

1. I can recognize the behavior it can cause in others and better size up a personality. Snippiness, laughing too much (watch "Crumb" for extreme examples of this), unfounded accusations -- knowing why people are doing such things has saved me from being sucked into a few office dramas. It's also kept me from strangling a few relatives.

2. Because I can recognize such behavior, I can avoid people I know will be too much work. (Knock on wood.)

3. . . . and I can recognize people who have my ideal scar tissue-to-healthy tissue ratio. AKA the Morphine:Celine Dion ratio. They can see the dark edge and play a lot of bass and make morbid, unsettling jokes but also be cheerful and encouraging and prance around in white spandex catsuits that do not suit their body types.

Never mind that if I had never been depressed in the first place, I never would've needed the company of well-balanced former depressives for support.

Never mind that the number of people I can empathize with as a result of blessed depth is far, far less than the number of relationships that were closed off to me by my depression.

Never mind that the richness of the life I could have had without the blessed depth would have provided me with plenty of experiences to learn about navigating through life and human frailties. It's not like depression saved me from a serial killer.

Nooooo . . . we shall ignore all those smart-ass retorts, because we are limited by an annoying feature of quantum mechanics wherein time only goes one way and what's done is done and I for one can no longer afford the energy to entertain such circuitous thinking.

So maybe that's another benefit:

4. Having recovered from a vicious, endless depression enabled me to eventually recognize that my path is my path.

(Never mind that, according to a recent Economist article, every human, depthfully blessed or not, comes to that same conclusion at about the same age -- 46.)

Oh, and . . .

5. I appreciated grunge rock better than I would have otherwise.