Trigger warning: A light hearted take on challenges with our mental health, because nothing is scary when you stand back and laugh at it.
You wake up in your pointlessly comfortable bed, creek open your heavy eyelids, and stare at the terrifying ugly ceiling, wondering why your body refuses seize (does it count as a Freudian slip that accidentally spelled this as 'cease'?) the day with lightness and curiosity of one of those annoyingly upbeat Frozen characters. Now imagine that Elsa, or whichever pixelated ejaculation of optimism reminds you of what a grumpy bastard you are, waltzes into your room and tells you how lucky you are to be alive. That conversation is going to be a one way trip to a snowy funeral.
One of the main weapons in the arsenal of depressive thoughts is to make us personalise our mental conflict, making us feel like not only are we at the centre of this miserable universe, but we're the only ones who really see it for what it is: an infinite space filled with nothing but sadness. Everyone else is either an optimistic ignoramus or high on drugs (perhaps both), and that we have to carry the burden of this meaninglessness and allow everybody else to enjoy their hateful lives.
" You don't think in depression that you've put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you're seeing truly.." - Andrew Solomon
But as that Andrew Solomon quote brilliantly demonstrates, there's a certain underlying arrogance that these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings bring with them: I've finally cracked the mystery of the meaning of life, and by-God it's shite.
The healing of the psychological wounds inflicted by these kinds of thoughts can often take longer than necessary due to our initial resistance to them. The seemingly rational beliefs that these thoughts are uncomfortable, we don't deserve these thoughts, and we must do everything we can to get rid of them, only serves to perpetuate our suffering and increase our feelings of isolation. A shift in perspective can really help to embrace these thoughts, take whatever wisdom we can get from them, and most importantly: be able to watch frozen wanting to gag.
Standing on the cliff of childhood peering over the edge at the choppy waters of life, existential crises and anxiety seem to only serve to make our otherwise comfortable life a struggle. But rarely do we listen to these thoughts objectively, and try to work out what they're telling us. If getting out of bed every day to go to lectures is an almighty struggle, then maybe you need to do something you enjoy more. Or if the thought of leaving university gives you vertigo, maybe you need to speak to somebody who has been through that uncertainty and come out the other side happier, wiser and more resilient.
"Feeling unsure is part of your path. Don't avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a breath. You'll be okay. Even if you don't feel it all the time" - Louis CK
If it wasn't for these struggles, I wouldn't wake up every day and ask myself how I'm going to utilise every second to make sure I'm doing what makes me happy. If it wasn't for these struggles, I wouldn't cherish every moment spent with my family as if it was my last. If it wasn't for these struggles, I wouldn't have the compassion and empathy to make a real difference to people who need my help.
Although on the other hand, if it wasn't for these struggles, I wouldn't be such an annoying preachy-bastard. But hey ho, you win some - and you definitely lose some.