There was a quote I saw recently on social media. In the comment section, tension had started to build with some individuals taking offense to the quote. For reference, this quote was from Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher.
These individuals interpreted the quote to trivialize depression and anxiety, that it personally invalidated and dismissed their own life experiences and struggles. I disagree, and here is why:
I suffered with depression and anxiety for over 5 years, and I wouldn’t wish what I experienced upon anyone. It feeds on both the mind and the body. I remember feeling helpless. I remember feeling my life was void of meaning. I remember asking myself on many occasions: “What’s the point in anything? Nothing matters.” I even remember a moment in my life where my physical body felt so weak that I didn’t have the willpower to move it. At many points in this dark time, I accepted this life as my permanent reality.
But it wasn’t. I eventually received some “tough love” and spiritual awakenings from individuals that helped me realize and fully acknowledge that while I was depressed I also exacerbated my illnesses with my personal habits: what I was eating, what I was consistently focusing on, and who I was surrounding myself with. Of course, depression and anxiety varies in causes and solutions. I know there’s no simple answers or quick fixes. But from my personal experience I do notice similar patterns among individuals I’ve met who have or have had clinical depression like myself.
That being said, I did not interpret this quote as a form of trivialization regarding depression, anxiety, or mental illness. In fact, I find the idea of the quote very practical, emphasizing about being more present and not with your thoughts. For anyone that is suffering and took offense to this quote: I understand you’re in pain. Again, I was diagnosed with clinical depression myself, and I lost one of my friends to suicide because of depression. I want you to know there’s always hope, ways for you to get through these dark times, and a quote will never define you or what you are personally going through. You are stronger than you know, and you are not alone in fighting against this destructive illness. You’re enough, you matter, and you are loved!
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