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.
The individuals interpreted the quote to trivialize depression and anxiety, that it personally was invalidating and dismissing their own life experiences. I disagree, and I will say 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 meaningless. I remember asking myself on many occasions “What’s the point in doing anything? Nothing matters.” I even remember a moment where my physical body felt so weak that I didn’t even have the willpower to move it. At many points, I accepted this life as my permanent reality.
But it wasn’t. It wasn’t until I received some “tough love” and spiritual awakenings that I realized and fully acknowledged that while I was depressed I also exacerbated my illnesses with my habits: what I was eating, what I was consistently focusing on, and what 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. However, 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 or anxiety. In fact, I find the idea of the quote very practical. For anyone that is suffering and did take offense to this: I understand you’re in pain. I’ve had depression, and I lost one of my friends to suicide because of depression. I also want to tell you there’s always hope, 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!