“As soon as we realize that in this very moment we already have enough, and we already are enough, true happiness becomes possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
I read that this morning, after getting up, after getting dressed – no makeup but we do the best we can – putting on some jewellery, eating breakfast, and journaling. And, through it all, I felt like shit. I couldn’t maintain the moment. I was not enough.
There’s a weight on my chest, a heaviness that is real but not real. Functionality is becoming difficult and that’s problematic because I have things to do and places to go.
I have gardening and housework to do and writing to get to. The garage and the storage room are disasters and I’m starting to smell. I’m paralyzed by inaction because everything seems too big, too hard, and too pointless. I want to do better. I want to be more functional. I want to not feel this way. Depression doesn’t care, however.
It doesn’t care about much of anything, actually, including the words of the above-referenced quote. And that’s part of what makes it so difficult.
I struggle with the incongruity between things I know and things I feel.
I can say the words: I am enough. Having enough isn’t really an issue of mine. I’m not rich, at least in the context of the developed world, but I get by. But being enough? My brain – the feeling bits – doesn’t think so. At least, not right now.
That can change. I go through periods where it’s almost easy to believe the things I know, or that I’m trying to know. That I am enough. That I have a right to be here. That however I choose to live my life is okay. That we are all less than real, anyhow, and that reality is kind of a construct, and labels and names are simply conventions for reference and don’t mean much at all; a dog doesn’t know it’s a dog, after all. We are not our labels.
I probably got most of that last bit wrong but I’ve been reading Buddhist thought and I really like it. It’s both simple and complex; easy and incredibly deep. I can see, however, that it might bring me some ease.
I don’t think it will make me not depressed.
It will help with the living of it. It will help me surf the wave. To remember, at least for a moment, that I’m enough and to live only in those moments would be a fantastic thing.
Depression makes you feel apathetic and low and miserable but one of the worst things is the uncertain longevity. You never know how long it will last, how long you’ll have to fight for. That gets tiring. Cycles can be beautiful. The cold of winter giving way to the rush of life in the spring, the sleepy heat of summer, and the crisp air of fall is a fantastic example. I love the changing seasons. In day-to-day life, however, the cycles of depression get old.
I wish it would go away and stay there. The reality, however, is the cycles will likely continue. I have to learn to be enough regardless. To hold onto that part of me that isn’t my mental illnesses even when I’m cycling down. It’s tricky and tiring but I think I need it.
If you can be in the moment perpetually, and not lose all of yourself to depression; if you can be in the moment and not live in the future and not be full of dread because even if life is sailing along smoothly there will be cycles, things would be easier and better, I think.
It’s almost like being two people – enough you and depressed you – with a you that’s directing where the attention goes above that. Depression is a needy beast. It wants all the attention. It wants you to forget that there are other bits and pieces. It wants you to believe it is forever. To live with it and still move through life, you have to be able to access the other part. The part that is willing to live in the now, be in the moment and accept the contention that you’re enough.