Anya flowers quotes for depression.jpgI am what you might call a “depression snob.” I have a rather high opinion of people who suffer from depression and anxiety. I assume that if you carry bottles of Zoloft, Prozac, or Xanax in your purse, you are a deep feeler, brilliant thinker, compassionate healer, and funny joke-teller. My stereotypes haven’t failed me yet.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t seek out for depressives. They find me. Or we sort of migrate toward each other. They laugh at my jokes and see the bizarre connection I make between Thing One and Thing Two. They don’t fault me for viewing the world through the impractical lens of a poet, for judging “not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing,” as Walt Whitman wrote.
Depressives are complex, interesting people because they can’t stay still for long. The voices of self-doubt will catch up to them and shout lies in their ears if they do. They are spiritual because some days their faith in God is the only thing that keeps them alive. This sensitive bunch uses their suffering to evolve into better people: Emily Dickinson transcribed her pain into the 1,775 poems and fragments found at her death. Teresa of Avila emerged from her dark night to found the Discalced Carmelites and become the first woman Doctor of the Church. Dorothy Day transcended her tumultuous past to co-found with Peter Maurin the Catholic Worker Movement, a community of lay people working on behalf of the poor.
I agree with Kay Redfield Jamison, author of “An Unquiet Mind,” that “intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do . . . and that those who have particularly passionate temperaments and questioning minds leave the world a different place for their having been there.”
Illustration by Anya Getter.

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild wind can rage through your life leaving you much like the lyrics of a country song: without a wife, […]

When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate measures to control a mood disorder, that faithfulness and piety can disguise acute […]

One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from the drama queen at the water cooler). Why? Because we actually become […]

For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a third, stuff her full of refined sugar and processed foods, force her into social gatherings at […]