Was I really hiding under my desk again? I was here just two weeks ago.
I had been depressed two weeks ago. Of course, it was that time again, wasn’t it?
It seemed depression visited me more often than the garbage truck visited my trash. In my early teens, it had been a rare occurrence, but lately, with the stress of being a junior in high school, I counted myself lucky to survive two weeks with no signs of depression.
When I was a victim of depression, I never knew when depression would come. I lived in fear that depression, the lord of my life, might suddenly show up uninvited. Once depressed, nothing in life gave me joy: not my favorite dessert, not hanging out with friends, not even a trip to Europe.
I wish I could say that I am the sole patient of that rare disease known as “depression”.
I wish I could say no one else has ever felt like they had to crawl under their desk or into a corner in order to escape from life.
I wish I could say that depression doesn’t exist.
Of course, like many other awful things- ants, genocide, Hawaiian pizza- depression, unfortunately exists and won’t go away anytime soon.
What I discovered, once I was brave enough to wipe away my tears and crawl out from under my desk, was that, while depression may be here to stay, it doesn’t need to stay in CONTROL of you.
It is like having a slice of Hawaiian Pizza in front of you; it is there, but you don’t have to eat it. Instead you can eat the other atrocity known as meat-lover’s pizza (insert sarcasm here).
In all seriousness, I would like to share an idea with the people who, like me, have struggled to start their day with a smile. It is an idea defined by a short French phrase.
I don’t promise this idea will cure your depression; however, it did help me in my struggle.
“Le Don de Soi” is a phrase which translates into English as “The Gift of Self”. These four words paved the path which brought me from the dark land of anxiety, sadness, and tears to the beautiful world in which we live.
The idea behind the Gift of Self is by giving ourselves in every moment to being the best we can be, we keep none of ourselves to be used for selfishness and vanity.
Was it not Christ who told us to love God with all of ourselves? And how do we love God? By loving our neighbor. (Matt 25: 40). Thus, if we give ourselves in every moment to those around us, we are giving ourselves to God.
How can we give ourselves in a practical way? It sounds nice on paper but then, so does a sugar detox. And, well, we know no one survives those.
The “Gift of Self” made me want to go hide again. But I wasn’t called to be a mole under my desk; I wasn’t created to be a fountain of running tears. God made me to be a hero.
We all think we know what heroism is.
It is heroic of Spiderman to swing from one New York skyscraper to another. It is heroic of Wonder Woman to rush onto the battlefield in full view of enemy fire. But what’s more heroic? Living a life…one boring day at a time, for God.
Maybe your next task will be a to make dinner, change a diaper, or study for your finals. Sound like heroism?
Probably not. That doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself in every mediocre, brain-numbing action.
But how does pretending I am a superhero help, as I change my baby’s diaper relate to depression?
We all have two ways of thinking when we perform. We can think inward or outward.
As an introvert, I can tell you thinking inwardly while changing diapers, your thoughts may run like this:
“This is so disgusting! Move your leg out of the way…ooh, I got some on my hands! Can I leave the baby long enough to run to the sink? I am never changing another diaper…I am never having kids….”
This kind of thought process would translate to being angry later in the day because “everything is going wrong.” I would become depressed.
On the other hand, thinking outwardly and giving of ourselves outwardly is the way to realize how happy and fulfilled we are. Yes, there is nastiness on my hands, but look at how much goodness there is in my heart that God is allowing me to give in this moment.
Le Don de Soi. Gift of Self. What do you think about it? How do you deal with depression?
Teresa Fisher is the founder of Tosettheworldonfire.com, a blog for conservative young adults fighting to protect their beliefs and values at home, on campus, and beyond. When she decides to get serious, she can be found at college, studying and seeking the truth in her college classes.