People like to tell me I’m “brave” for sharing my darkest secrets, but I don’t consider over-sharing about my hurts and pains and desperations to be especially courageous. It might be for some people, but I’ve always been someone with a deep need, a near craving, which borders on desperation, to be known. Intimately, fully, in every gory detail.
And since I began sharing stories about depression, one of two things seems to happen with every post.
Either I hear from someone saying they’ve been inspired to seek help through my words, or I hear from someone saying they care about me and are praying.
So, maybe it takes a certain amount of courage to open up about hardship, but it’s not something I fear, so it’s not a courage I admire in myself.
What I’m about to say now, though, I’m scared to say. For me, this takes courage.
Today, I’m happy. I’m content. I’m OK.
I have a job that I love, that occasionally stresses me out but that I’m so fond of I willingly choose to spend my day off on the work premises, interacting with my coworkers and jumping at every phone call. It might not be the “dream job” I longed for as a child, but it’s a pretty darn good job, and I really, really like it.
I get to write a lot, and writing is something that soothes me, that gives me joy. There’s something so beautiful to me about playing with words, and the English language is my clay; it’s something malleable and moldable, something I can influence and play with and form to my own desires.
Plus, people. I adore them. I think humans are fascinating, wonderful, beautiful, and amazing. I think humans are full of potential, talent, and skill. They make me laugh, cry, and clutch my heart at how agonizingly gorgeous they are. I get to spend so much time with them through work and friendship.
So, there. I’m happy. Exquisitely so. Wildly so.
I have so often rooted my identity in my depression, that it almost feels like I’m lying when I say that I’m happy.
I’m scared to say that because I haven’t been taught or trained to celebrate the victories in life; I’ve been taught to bow my head in shame and whisper about them rather than shouting them from the mountain-top when things are going well. I have so often rooted my identity in my depression, that it almost feels like I’m lying when I say that I’m happy.
Honestly, I’ve spent so much time practicing radical vulnerability in the dark that I don’t know how to be open about the light. It might sound weird to you, but it’s true.
I’m trying. I don’t know how long this happiness will last; I’m not sure when I’ll have another depressive episode. It could be in a month, a week; it could be before this blog post is even published.
What I do know is that I want to practice celebrating often. Dancing for joy. Throwing my arms to the air and spinning about with a goofy grin, singing aloud to the songs, dancing without worrying about whether I look good or not. I want to be so grateful for the good times. I want to breathe them in and savor them like a perfectly grilled salmon that’s so tender it falls apart on my fork.
I think we should all practice celebration. Not just finding joy in darkness, but finding joy in light.
I think we should all practice celebration. Not just finding joy in darkness, but finding joy in light. It’s there, and it should be as much a thing to discuss as the hard times.
So there you have it: I’m doing OK. Today. And you know what? That’s good enough to get me through for now.
Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Her writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com. To stay informed about all her writing, sign up here.