Let's be clear about one thing: none of us chose this.
None of us stuck our hand up and said "Oh yes, I choose to be abandoned, abused, betrayed, bereaved, crushed and to have cruelty inflicted upon me."
And that's just the words up to C. I could go on. Hey – we could all go on, couldn't we?
We did not choose to suffer, yet we do suffer.
None of us chose depression to be a constant visitor in our lives. Yet here we are, reading this (oh – I'm writing this, so yeah, me too - even more so).
But there are still choices available to us.
We can choose not to go on to D.
Oh, yes, we get the depression. We don't have a choice about that. But, we can refuse to help ourselves to its traditional accompaniments of desolation, despondency and despair. We can choose not to give up.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Victorian poet and Jesuit priest was no stranger to depression. He was no stranger to suffering. His religious choices estranged him from the family he loved. That same religious vocation forced him into a career for which he was unsuited. His health broke down. That same vocation denied him the comfort of marriage and children. His faith, if it did not actually desert him, often seemed ephemeral. There were many times when it was tempting just to give up. It was tough hanging on. He wrote about it in his desolation sonnets.
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
(Carrion Comfort 1885)
Yes, depression weighs heavy on us, so at times we feel first cousin to Atlas. Depression is the thief that takes away our light, takes away our joy; it takes away our love.
Depression can take away everything.
Except our choice not to let it take away ourselves. We can decide not to despair. We can choose to hang on for just one more minute, one more hour, one more day.
We can choose to hold onto our faith that, one day, the depression will lift. Light, joy and love will be restored.
Oh, they won't look the same as they did before. Life moves on. We can't turn back the clock, bring back those who have left us, reverse the damage done.
But we can choose to move forward, to face that light. We can refuse to drown in past miseries. We can choose to be open to new joys and new loves.
Now is our night of darkest sorrows. But, if we allow it, joy and light and hope will come in the morning.
A Moodscope member.