Here are Melanie’s Share Your World Questions this week and my responses.

QUESTIONS

Would you rather be a super nice person and be depressed all your life, or be happy and a total *sshole?  (Credit goes to Cyranny for this question, aired on one of her “Cyranny’s Quickies” posts.)
I would like to rebel as some respondents have, and try to recombine these choices. But, having a loved one who suffers from depression and because I’m reading a book about the subject in order to understand it better (the cover of that book appears below), I do not see “depression” and “being nice” as a dichotomy. Yup, here I go, taking this questions perhaps WAY too seriously! But that’s what happens when I’m involved in something that is really a very complex question. So please forgive me for overthinking this seemingly binary choice!

I definitely would not want to be an a-hole in any condition and I doubt it would make me happy. Although I suppose there are plenty of happy people who are oblivious to the fact that they are cruel jerks – or they just don’t care. It wouldn’t be me, though. I have too strong a moral compass and always feel guilty when I treat someone badly.

That said, it is perfectly logical to be both nice and depressed. For one thing, very few people are depressed “all the time.” Depression comes and goes. When someone is in a deep depression, they often isolate themselves, cut themselves off from friends and family. People close to them see the warning signs and then may try to intervene.

When someone suffering from depression is NOT depressed, however, he or she seems like a completely different person! When they are not depressed, people who suffer from this mental illness are often quite nice people. Why, you may ask? It may seem like a contradiction, but actually it isn’t. Because there is such a contrast between the depressed and normal states, these people tend to appreciate life and other people more when they are feeling ‘normal’. They feel things acutely and tend to be very sensitive. They are often empathetic (that is, when they are not depressed). They know what it is like to suffer greatly, and know that during their normal state, they should enjoy life and accomplish as much as they can, because they also know that the darkness and isolation – the abyss – will return. The best time for them to seek help with their mental illness is when they are feeling good, because during depression, they can hardly get out of bed, much less do something constructive. When they are depressed and thus miss an event they looked forward to attending, they feel really bad about that, and know that most people at the event probably didn’t expect them to attend, but would have been pleasantly surprised if they had showed up. They live with a lot of guilt, but they usually take that out on themselves, not on other people. (It’s true that the suicide rates are much higher among depressives than non-depressives.) They do invariably hurt people, but usually unintentionally, so you can’t say they are fundamentally a-holes.

So if I had to choose, I would rather be nice and depressed. First of all, the depression doesn’t last forever, and nowadays there is plenty of help for depression, in the form of medications and therapy. New drugs are constantly being put on the market that improve on earlier ones, because medical understanding of depression constantly improves. If one medication doesn’t work, there are others, and different combinations, to try.

Believe me, I don’t desire to be depressed! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! But as you have posed an either/or choice, this is my reasoning for choosing depression and being nice.

Have you ever made someone cry?
Of course – even though I’m nice and not an a-hole, I am not perfect! I’m sure I’ve made my son cry, but I can’t remember the last time that was.

Are you a dreamer or a go-getter?
I’m a dreamer and unfortunately, not a go-getter. It would be better to act on my dreams, and to some extent I have, but I am not one of those assertive, in-your-face types.

If you were in a band, what instrument would you play?
Probably the piano, because it’s the only instrument I have ever learned to play. But instruments don’t have to be external – I consider my voice an instrument, and so I would be the singer. I sing much better than I play the piano anyway.


GRATITUDE SECTION

Do you feel gratitude is necessary? 
Yes, or rather I feel it SHOULD be necessary. Everyone should feel gratitude about the good things in life, or the people who have touched them. It is necessary for ME, anyway, to feel gratitude. I try to stop and count my blessings or appreciate my life in some way every day.

I greatly appreciate the following song and am grateful that John Lennon gave us his talents until his tragic death in 1980.

4 thoughts on “SYW: A Depressed Dreamer Makes Someone Cry

  1. Thank you Katy for Sharing Your World! That song share was beautiful, he was quite an artist and is greatly missed! I am a ‘chronic’ severe depressive, so I ‘get’ what you were saying about it. Depressed people aren’t NOT happy 24/7, it’s a complex disorder. I’ll definitely look for that book too! Good on you for being someone brave enough to sing! I love to sing, but I can’t read music, so how ‘good’ I am is questionable. I think I sound great though! 😉 Have a wonderful week!

    1. Being able to read music doesn’t mean you can’t sing. My husband is tone deaf but in high school orchestra he played the bass. He could read and play the notes, but someone else had to tune his instrument for him!! There was a woman in our church choir with the most beautiful voice and she loved to sing, but didn’t read music so she got to know the music by practicing and memorizing the notes. So if you like to sing, do it if it brings you JOY!!

      I have guessed from your posts that you are a depressive, and I know it’s no easy thing to live with. It can keep one from advancing in life if one lets it. That is certainly true for the loved one I referenced in my post, a kind person with so much potential but who has had a string of jobs, full and part-time, from which he was let go for various reasons. Many ups and downs in his life – 2 steps forward, 1 step back, if you know what I mean. The book has really helped me deepen my understanding of depression. It is a daunting, but very interesting, book, with stories of many people as well as the author’s own experience with depression. At 500+ pages, I found that tackling one chapter at a time, and skipping those that I thought I couldn’t handle or would be irrelevant helped me get through it. The main problem with it is that it is 20 years old (with an “update” chapter at the end written in 2015) but the insights continue to be timely and relevant.

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