This is day two of Melinda’s Three Quote challenge (Purple Slob In Recovery). For the challenge I’m supposed to blog one quote a day for three days (three quotes over three days). Yesterday was day one, and today is the second day (hence the title).
Today’s quote is this one:
Basically, what Dumbledore is saying is that even in our saddest of saddest moments, or in the darkest pits of despair, we can find it within ourselves to “turn on the light” and chase away our own sadness. A memory perhaps, or a good run in the park. I dunno. And it is a nice saying. There are tons of pictures of it everywhere. But for someone like me, it can be a dangerous sentiment.
See, I have bipolar disorder. I get depressed sometimes — no so much now that I’ve found the proper medications, but I used to get depressed a lot. And when one is depressed, it is the darkest of times. People who surround a person with depression will often say things like: “Just think happy thoughts and you’ll feel better.” Or “Take a walk in the sun and you’ll feel better.” or the ever so helpful: “Your life isn’t so awful, why are you so depressed in the first place?” Because they don’t understand how depression works. It’s not sadness, it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain. A person who is clinically depressed has no control over their depression (and/or in my case their manic episodes). They cannot “turn on the light” to fend off the darkness, and telling them to do so does more harm than good because it makes the depressed person not only feel more depressed but adds a layer of guilt on top of that because shouldn’t it be as easy as finding that happy memory and flipping a switch? Everyone says so. And then — in my case anyway — there comes a feeling of being just utterly useless in the world, and that, dear reader, is where the depressed person walks on dangerously thin ice. I’m here to say that I’ve walked there before and I’ve skirted the idea of taking my own life because I just felt so utterly useless in this world. Of course, I didn’t because here I am typing this blog, but it’s not a pleasant place to be, and it’s not made any better by the people around me telling me how easy it is to “cheer up” by, you know “turning on the light” inside me. To clarify, I don’t blame anyone for my feelings and actions — they are my own. However, I will say that navigating the world that is depression would be a hell of a lot easier, if the people who surrounded me stopped adding to the burden.
Now, I’m not saying that the above quote by Dumbledore isn’t a good one. I like that quote, and if it’s inspired other people, great. Let them put it on their walls, coffee cups, and t-shirts. The intentions are pure in the setting of the story and Dumbledore said it to the person who needed to hear it. And yes, sometimes it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness (sorry that’s two quotes in one day). What I think is dangerous about this quote is taking it and and applying it to every situation, which is what some people like to do. I mean, it’s so easy for some people to just think happy thoughts whenever they’re sad, why can’t everyone do it? Well, that’s like saying, it’s so easy for me to whip out a crocheted shawl in a week, why can’t everyone else do it? Micheal Phelps can swim 200m in less than two minutes, why can’t everyone do it? Okay, he trained a lot to be able to do that. And I’ve been crocheting for a long time, so that’s kind of like training… but my point is that just because something is easy for one person doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. Nothing applies to every situation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There are seven billion people in this world and all of us are different. Yes, we’re all human, but each of us are unique and special snowflakes, just like everyone else.