Being diagnosed with depression is both a blessing and a curse – we know that there is an illness in our heads and we can put a name to it, but it often leaves us with a sense of dread (who do you think you are, Deborah). In what world can we feel happy again? We can cast our minds back to find days when we were effortlessly happy, for some, that happened in our childhoods, but for others it may be a few days past. Since my diagnosis in November 2018, I have explored new ways to be mindful. I’ve tried meditation (didn’t work), breathing exercises (meh) and journalling (I’m more interested in the stationary to be honest), however, the mindset that I have found peace in is minimalism. Those who have been following this blog for a while (you’re all stars), may remember my post ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’, if you’re new here (good morrow), I would recommend having a cheeky read to understand how I’ve embraced minimalism.
An integral aspect of minimalism is finding meaning, and this can come from identifying your values (check out ‘Setting Your Standards’), as well as your passions. We can identify passion through looking at what you do to make a living. If you refer to this as your job, it’s likely that you’re doing this to make money, you don’t really have any love for it. Career is a dangerous word (like how saying “Let’s go for one pint” is dangerous), if we latch onto it too much we can become trapped in it. Saying “This is my career” can make it difficult later on if you decide to change paths; people can stick to their career and hate it. Now, if you have found something you’re passionate about, perhaps its a cause based upon your fundamental beliefs, then this is how you should make your living. Basically, if you don’t believe that bringing justice to victims of crime is one of your values, then maybe you shouldn’t train to be a police officer (obvs).
For some, depression can manifest itself into a barricade for passion. We, who suffer, want to envision a world where we feel better; we want to believe that there is light at the end of this darkest of tunnels. People who are passionate, can get out of bed in the morning, knowing that whatever life throws at them that day, they’ll see the goodness in it (check you out). When you struggle to muster the motivation to get out of bed, because your depression is weighing you down, it can be only too easy to envy those who bathe in the light of happiness (I fart in your general direction).
We cannot judge others for their happiness (you sure?), just as we would not wished to be judged for our sadness (ugh I guess). Sometimes we cannot control these things, and that’s okay. Wherever you’re reading this, depression or no, take a moment to pause; breathe deeply and focus your mind on one thing that you’re passionate about (and know that right now, I have just controlled your mind). If you’re like me, you may have your values and beliefs mapped out in your head, for example, one of my beliefs is being honest in everything you do. To me this means several things, it means listening to my mind and body, it means being open about taboo subjects like sexuality, mental health, abortion etc. I value honesty in others, I like to know how a person is thinking, and so, I replicate that by being honest and inviting others to show respect in the same way. Can I make a living out of being honest? Of course I can! I can be honest to my supervisor if she wants my opinion on something, or if I can see that something isn’t right. I can be honest on this blog, and show you all that mental illness isn’t something we should be ashamed of (if you’re unhappy and you know it, clap your hands!).
Passion can be used for us espresso depresso’s, as a means to finding the joy we so desperately seek. Take this blog: writing to an amazing audience about something I care deeply about is one of my passions. Every week, I get to let my creative juices flow and produce something that I hope you all enjoy (ha GAAAYYY).
So, if there is a take home message for you all from today, I hope it’s this: Passion will lead us to joy, if we let our passion out of its cage.
Featured Image Credit 📷: Kate Darmody