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A story from Courage Does Not Always Roar.

"The key to change is to let go of fear."

-Rosanne Cash

As a 12-year old, I was hospitalized for depression. My desire to be perfect was crippling. Thirteen years later, when I was 25, I found the world too mean and unjust and I felt that I had control over nothing. I was, again, hospitalized for depression. This time, however, I was not on the Pediatric Unit. The walls were not bright with painted clouds. We did not make collages of animals nor did we create macaroni pictures. This was real. This was frightening. And this was a place that I vowed I would never return.

At a time when I found the world too painful to live in, I was awestruck by some cancer patients' insatiable hunger for life. The irony did not go unnoticed: I was physically healthy, but found myself overwhelmed by the world. I wanted no part in it. On the other hand, many cancer patients possessed such strength and determination to fight their illnesses, while facing the possible reality that their lives may be taken away from them. I wanted to harness their internal passion and find my own hunger for life. I yearned to want to live ... to find the world a place that I desired to stay in. But I had yet to find the key.

My battle with depression is my own personal rain. This rain came despite my best efforts to prevent it. As heartbreaking as that time was, I am thankful for it because it has given me a richer appreciation and understanding of life. Had I never felt such deep despair, I may have never searched so diligently for ways to overcome negative thinking. And while my faith and relationship with God kept me afloat through the toughest of times, I believe that ultimately He used my depression to help me seek out the key to my happiness: It's not about what happens. It's about perspective. I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.

I may not be the most organized, or the most outgoing, the most confident, or the most courageous. But though my journey, I have come to know certain things: I will never be perfect. Our world will never be perfect. The rain will come, despite my best efforts to prevent it. Life is what you choose to make of it. And state of mind is everything. If you cannot change what happens, then for your happiness, you must change your mindset. In difficult times, remember that this storm will pass. To keep from sinking, find your lifeboat. Just put one foot in front of the other. Keep breathing. And know that tomorrow the sun will rise.

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