Joy and Sadness

via Pixar Wiki

I finally feel to the point where I can write again. I don't know if it will come again any time soon, but thank you in the meantime for reading here. This blog has been a great blessing to all of us.

I think I, and many of us, often mistakenly think that as soon as we do this or that, or that thing finally happens, we will be totally happy...and then what? Over the last several months, I've learned we have to take happiness when it comes, because waiting often doesn't yield any joy.

We watched Inside Out as a family recently. It was a great opportunity to talk to Bug and Bear about emotions and what to do with them. Surprisingly, it was a great lesson for me. I learned (and hopefully this doesn't spoil much if you haven't seen it!) so much about the important relationship between sadness and joy (both of which are personified in the movie). I have had the wrong definition of happiness and joy in my head for too long: I thought it was the absence of sadness. But without the sadness, we wouldn't know happiness. We wouldn't see the true beauty of life if we didn't have the contrast of its low points for comparison.

This is an eternal principle that I have known, intellectually, for a long time. But the way it was illustrated in the movie hit me personally and helped me see my depression in a healthier way. Sometimes the happiest moments of our lives are borne out of sadness. Sadness doesn't push joy completely out of the picture, and vice versa. It's normal for everyone to have highs and lows, and just because my lows may be lower and my highs harder-fought (and often shorter-lived) doesn't mean that I am weaker than those to whom happiness seems to come so easily. Happiness isn't a contest or a race, and our worth isn't measured by the amount of days we spend full of joy.

I realized I was waiting for my depression to be gone, forever. But I don't think that's in the cards for me, at least not yet. That's hard to accept, but it's getting a little easier. I've got a better handle on how my depression works and what I need at certain points in the cycle. I'm trying more consistently to enjoy the happiness when it comes and not worry about the next low.

Most importantly, I'm trying to see all the good things depression has brought me. I'm learning to have more empathy and patience with others. I recognize what is truly important and valuable in my life. I'm making stronger and more meaningful relationships. Just like autism, depression has brought its share of difficulties and heartache, but it's something that can also teach and improve me and my family in a way nothing else can.

As we continue learning, I hope to share some ways I'm managing parenting, specifically with a special needs child, and my depression. There's not as much written about that out there as I'd like. If you have some experience with that or something similar, let's do this together! The last several months have shown me I'm not as alone as I thought, and we can all be a huge support to one another.

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