But the book that I keep coming back to is Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil, MD. I appreciate it for the fact that it has me looking at my depression in a whole new way...which is to accept it.
In my life, for some reason, I subconsciously picked up the idea that depression was a weakness. It was an emotion to be avoided, rejected, and hidden. If one was feeling depressed one should just:
- think happy thoughts
- pray to not be sad
- act as if (act happy and happy will follow).
Never was it okay to just be sad. Because the danger was that if you did acknowledge the feeling of sadness, that in doing so you might invite the sadness to stay...and the sadness would make itself at home in your body and before you knew it you would be a crying, rocking heap in the corner who ceased showering and speaking with words.
So the cure was happiness. Fake it till ya make it. Which makes people around you comfortable, but that manic state, which is really just the other side of the coin when it comes to depression, is exhausting for both the body and the mind. Life becomes a series of highs and lows, instead of a comfortable state of just being.
And this book gives you the reasons why you should give your self permission to just be, even if that "be" is the state of depression. When feeling sad, it goes in to why it's healthy to experience the depression. The book talks about our society's obsession with all things happy, and how we've kind of become addicted to that word. In speaking of happiness Dr. Weil says, "It derives from happ, an Old Norse root meaning "chance" or "luck" and is closely related to the words happenstance"(Spontaneous Happiness, Weil, p 8).
I have to go get ready for an 11 year old sleep-over-birthday-party-airsoft-battle and put on a happy face. But it makes me wonder why I feel low right now. Part of it could be that my new jeans are cutting off the circulation in my waist. Another reason could be the three foot pile of clothes at the foot of my bed that have been begging to be hung up for the past week. My three year old still in his pj's at 11:00 AM and the guilt that I feel over not having him being stimulated at the Children's Museum could also be a culprit. Or it could be anxiety about the party, and my son's (and therefore my own) high expectations about the event. But for now, I have to put it all out of my mind and get on with my day's checklist.
Here's to just being.