Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Writing My Story

Taken from Catholic Insight
I would love to be able to write a book detailing how I helped myself to move out of the darkness of depression and have an (almost) normal life. I want to help people who are still struggling as I was.

But one of the things standing in the way of writing the story of how I stopped feeling depressed is that I want people to see that I didn't have to be miserable. There's this whole genre of "dark night of the soul" memoirs, where people go through some terrible time in their lives and somehow get through it to where they are now "cured" and better off.

I can't talk about how I was cured because my sickness was always within my power to cure, I just didn't know it. My story is more one of slap-to-the-forehead realization. Why did I go through all that? Well, because I didn't know.

I only seemed to be unhappy. I wasn't really unhappy. My brain was making me feel unhappy, just as the brains of my family members made them feel unhappy. I didn't have a bad childhood; it only seemed bad because I was seeing it that way through the lenses of my brain chemistry. My family and I had no reason to be unhappy. We had everything we needed--food, clothing, shelter--and the means to provide for ourselves. What we lacked--a light heart, an appreciation for life's blessings--kept us from knowing we were happy. 

What made my childhood unhappy was the same thing that made my adulthood unhappy--an anachronistic brain. The glass half full/half empty theory applies here, but it isn't just a matter of seeing things in a different light. You have to notice that the reason you're seeing things that way is that your brain is making you see it that way. In other words, you have to realize that the light is within your control, or that the light you were born with is something you have work around.

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