Defining ‘The Art of Living With Depression’

ErinThe Big Picture7 Comments

weatherSince writing my Good Things Jar post with my video tutorial, I’ve been thinking about art and its connection to this blog.

Before I started Daisies and Bruises, I knew I wanted to write about art and depression, because they are two things I’m passionate about. Art has been a key instrument in my battle with depression, and I wanted to make art more accessible to the world of mental health.

Little did I know how much punch that little tagline would bring to my writing and my life.

Almost two hundred posts later, I think it’s time we re-examine what The Art of Living With Depression really means. Each word in that line was chosen carefully. Ignoring “the” and “of,” what do the rest of the words mean?

To me, ART is much more than a subject in school, classical paintings, and kindergarten finger paints. Yes, I love art and I love crafts, but the word itself can mean so much more.

Dictionary.com defines ART as: “The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” That sentence makes me swoon!

But beyond aesthetic principles and what is beautiful, ART to me means “practice”. The art of _____. You could put anything in that blank space, so really, art is all kinds of things. It is the form and function of life.

It also means “balance.” It’s something we do from our first breath to our last. We practice the art of living.

Which brings us to the next word: LIVING. We all know what the word means but I chose it for a special reason:

So much of my mental illness is negative, but I want to live despite my depression. I want to live with my depression. So this blog isn’t “The Art of Surviving Depression” or “The Art of Existing with Depression” or “The Art of Dying with Depression.”

It’s LIVING. Up, on your feet, indoors and out, in the sun and the rain, today and tomorrow and the day after that. It’s breathing and smiling. It’s crying, it’s FEELING. It is the whole spectrum of what we call LIFE.

DEPRESSION is the last word of our tagline. I don’t need to define it; you know what depression is by now. Yes, it’s the basis of this blog, but I also feel like it doesn’t have to be part of the tagline, because this blog is about more than depression.

You don’t need to be depressed to feel the wide spectrum of human emotion. We all feel all emotions. People with depression spend more time feeling sad, apathetic, hopeless, alone, and all those other dark feelings, but even if you don’t have depression, you still know what feeling hopeless is like. We’re all human, depressed or not.

I want this blog to not only be about the Art of Living With Depression, but also simply the Art of Living. Depression is a part of life, for some of us, but it isn’t bigger than life itself, though it sometimes can feel that way. It’s just rain clouds in the vast expanse of our skies. Rain is a part of life, it nourishes the ground, it feeds the flowers. Rain is water, and we need water to live.

I feel the rain clouds stirring, a storm building up, emotion ready to pour down, cleansing this earth. Maybe after the storm, life will sprout. Hundreds of thousands of flowers can grow, trees can root their way into a solid foundation. After the rain comes sunshine. The clouds can block the sun but just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean the sun isn’t there.

I hope you will join me in thriving from the storm. Let’s live the Art of Depression together, and define what it really means to be human in this world. The potential is limitless. We are limitless.

ErinDefining ‘The Art of Living With Depression’

7 Comments on “Defining ‘The Art of Living With Depression’”

  1. Kinnery

    This is a beautiful post, Erin. I’ve thought a lot about your tagline, and what really strikes me is “with”. It’s not living in spite of depression or living when depression is over. Sometimes depression is with us, and we need to keep living anyway. Our depression won’t magically go away, but we can manage it and learn to live with it.

  2. Scott

    Hey Erin,
    I guess it got to the point today that I only wanted to talk with other people that were in the same space as myself with depression. I think we all feel so alone. It was nice to find your blog. First of all I have suffered since I can remember and I have survived to be 58. I would love to be able to tell you my whole story but we would be here a while. So why don’t I start where I am today. Its helped me to hear other peoples stories. I am in the height of depression currently and spend a lot of time thinking about suicide. I hope to press forward in a positive way. I spend my day by dragging myself out of bed usually 10 to 12 hours of sleep to the couch and watch endless hours of movies. Ive Suffered a lot of loss in the last4 years My sister and my best friend died of MS after a 20 year battle 4 years ago. My girlfriend left a couple of years ago. My best friend and “brother” died recently after a 2 year battle with a rare form of cancer. He lived in Charleston, SC with me and we had a life history together since grammar school. So I have had a lot of loss needless to go on about. The realization to me is that people don’t have to this type of harsh loss to suffer from depression. I was really happy to find you and your story. I been reading most of the day. Various Stories. I was so happy to find you because I don’t want to hear anything from a therapist and I also want to be able to talk to someone or everyone about how hard this is. I feel like this is the hardest thing I do everyday. Survive. And how do I get back to days of more than survival? I know that there are so many people out there that just want to be heard and hear back from us the depressed. There is nothing better than to talk to someone else that understands and is also struggling. I know that there is no quick fix. Finding the energy to get back at trying is the key for me. Exercise helps. Rewarding youself helps But finding the energy to be positive is tough. I think blogging helps be positive and creative. I also think finding other people to hang and blog with is cool. How do I find local groups? I need to try and connect with someone that wants to understand and help. That’s it for now. Just finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. Great survival story in a number of ways. Thanks for your support Scott

    1. Erin

      Hi Scott!

      I’m so happy to hear that sharing my story has helped you and in turn prompted you to share your own. It’s great that you could also share the things that are helping you. All the best in your recovery. Thanks so much. :)

      Erin

  3. Sue

    I suffer from an ongoing depression – it varies in intensity.
    My mother suffers too. At present she is slightly better, but has been clinically depressed for years. We understand eachother but I feel we both need to hear from others who ‘get it’.

  4. Maureen D.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share and create a place we can feel safe. Through depression I’ve learned no one understands unless they’ve endured the darkness. The Art of Living with Depression makes so much sense. I will live with it. I will live.

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