I’ve had depression for most of my life, but I never knew the meaning of the word. I always thought it meant, well, feeling sad. But the other day, I looked it up, and I found out that it comes for the Latin meaning “to press downward.” When I read this, I immediately thought of an Eeyore cloud coming out of the sky and plunking itself down on my chest and enveloping me. Yup, I thought, that’s what it feels like– those Latin guys were smart. It DOES mean a pressing down.
Then I started thinking… What is the opposite of depression? Immediately, I’m thinking: HAPPINESS! But UGH! Happiness? That’s such a big word. So difficult to attain. And sustain.
So many of us are shooting for happiness. Pursuing it like good Americans. But if you’re anything like me, you can easily be distracted on your shoot for happiness. You have a good plan, good intentions. Today, you’re going to that pie in the sky—happiness. Yes indeed. Today is the day. You get your space suit on, you warm up the space ship, then you figure you’ll just throw a load of laundry in and maybe water those drooping plants and then you get a phone call and you have to clear up something with the credit card company, and by the time you get back to the space ship, it’s run out of gas and you figure, shucks, maybe you’ll just try it another day…
You know how it is. Happiness is hard to get to.
But maybe, I think, happiness ISN’T the opposite of depression. Maybe, I think, we’re shooting for the wrong thing?
I think about what has saved me from depression all these years.
So I look up the word EXPRESSION and it comes from the Latin too—it means “a pressing outward.” AHA! WOW! YES! The truth of this feels powerful. Because expression is so within our power. Get out the crayons and the glue gun! Make something! We can express a feeling, write a poem, sing a tune, dance a little jig right now. Today. This moment. You don’t need to be good at it. You don’t need a space suit or a space ship to do it. EXPRESSION is doable.
So I decided to write this blog. And express myself. Because each gesture of self- expression in the world resonates. It’s like touching a piano key, and deep inside the belly of the piano, a string vibrates, and the world vibrates a little too… And what is depressed in the world lifts a bit. So, let’s all express today and noodge the world a little and press whatever is pressing down on us outward…