Friday, September 8, 2006

It's okay to want things to be different

This evening on All Things Considered, there was a story about a woman who was widowed on 9/11. They talked about how she's trying to date now. She said that people tell her not to try so hard to meet people, that you meet people best when you aren't looking for it. She said that's like telling a hungry person that if they will just stop being hungry, a hamburger will appear.

This ties in with what I was trying to say earlier about depression.

Another example: when I was feeling that everything that had been good in my life was falling apart, someone told me to see the loss of the old things as good because it would make room for new and better things.

I am exasperated with people who think you should just change your attitude and be happy with your situation, whatever your situation is.

Sometimes you want things that you don't have and can't get. Sometimes you lose things that meant something to you. It's okay to be sad in these circumstances. No, I'm not going to wallow in grief forever and never do anything useful with my life. But I just want to be allowed to wish for the things I wish for. I don't want to feel like I'm supposed to twist myself into thinking I'm happy about my losses.

I was depressed before, and now I'm not. I did feel bad about my losses, but feeling bad about them did not consign me to eternal misery. I didn't have to convince myself to be happy about my losses in order to get out of depression and on with my life. What brought me out were improvement in my health and making a new friend.

If you can't accept me being depressed, if you're just going to tell me I should change my attitude and not be depressed, maybe you shouldn't bother being my friend. Depression and grief are a part of life, just as joy and hope are, and you need to let me experience it all.

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