delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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On strength, bravery, adversity and humanity
delirium happy
rho
People sometimes tell me that I am "brave" or "strong" or something similar to that for managing to survive the depression and other mental problems that I've had and come out relatively unscathed on the other side. When people say things like this, my first thought is always along the lines of "rubbish!" There are, I think, two main reasons for this.

Firstly, I look at the problems that I've had in my life, and I compare them with other people's problems, and I have to say that I think I've had a remarkably good life overall. Sure, I've had my problems, but then who hasn't? And I look around at my friends and I see people who are blind, people who are deaf, those with weird-ass physical disabilities that nobody has ever heard of and I certainly can't remember the names of, those who have been raped, those who have been systematically abused, those who have quite literally no money, those who have lived in or near war zones, those who recently suffered bereavement... and so on and so forth. and I'm eternally thankful that I've never had to live with any of their problems.

I know that none of the people in question would thank me if I tried to imply that they were the brave ones and not me, so I won't do that. I'm sure that all of them could point to other people in the world who are worse off than they are. There's only one person in the world who can honestly say that there's nobody worse off than them, so trying to compare suffering like that never really gets anyone anywhere. But the simple fact of the matter is that I look at stuff that other people have gone through, and it serves as a kick up the backside to actually get out there and live, which is a wonderful remedy for depression. I rather imagine that if asked, most of them would also respond with my second reason.

What other choice do I have? What other choice is there but to survive? But to deal with whatever it is that life throws at you as best you can, always clawing your way slowly forward until you managed to dig your way out of the great big pile of shit that the universe unceremoniously dumped on you?

For me, there was not and is not any other option. Survival isn't a choice; it's an instinct. If all that I'm doing is following my instincts then how does that make me brave or strong?

I've been reconsidering my stance on this matter though, because I can't really take that accolade away from myself without either taking it from others as well, or resorting to doublethink; both of these are undesirable. There's no compelling reason why something which is instinctive can't also be considered brave.

At the end of the day, my humanistic beliefs seem to have managed to win out. And what Hamlet may say with irony, and Picard with conviction, I say with a sense of hyperbole:

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason; how infinite in faculty. In form and moving how express and admirable. In action, how like an angel; in apprehension, how like a god.

But really, people are quite phenomenal things, when you look at it. Indeed, we are that way in many, many different respects, but in this case in terms of endurance and perseverance. People have a quite fantastic ability to go through all sorts of crap and come out on the other side, still smiling.

If we try to say that surviving isn't an incredible feat then we are taking away from some of the glory of humanity, and I've decided that I don't want to do that any more. I don't want to let the extraordinary become commonplace.

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I am an ass-kicking brave, strong powerful person. So are you. So are many of our mutual acquaintances. We rock. Go us :)

Yes, we would. :) Sometimes when people start going on about how much stronger I am than they are or whatever or how if they had my problems they just wouldn't cope it makes me feel kinda bleh. The depression latches onto it and goes "my mountain is insurmountable and I'll never get better." and I don't like it. :)

But then, I read this quote once which I really liked and it went something like this "some people say that the mentally ill are weak, but they're actually stronger than the normals, they have to go through all this extra shit just to break even with the normals." And it's true. Having depression, being abused, whatever it is that's on your plate, you have to deal with all that shit before you can even function the way the normal people do. And that's an impressive feat that you should give yourself credit for. But if it turns into self pity (or pitying someone else) you have a problem.

Just surviving is a miracle, you're right. This one time I saw a thin thread from a spider that stretched from a street light all the way across the street and onto the top of my bush outside my front door. If that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.

One thing I learned is that one person's minor set back is another's life-crushing disaster. Some people can lose their house or their girlfriend or get ill and shrug it off where others wouldn't be able to cope. It's worth realising every time you do something that someone, somewhere, isn't able to do it.

When people say that you're brave for dealing with something, they mean that they don't think they would cope in the same situation, whereas it's pretty obvious that you are coping because you're there to be called brave. People's reactions to events are so subjective that it's fairly meaningless to call someone "brave", but it's intended as a complement and should be taken as such ;)

Yes, you're strong. So are a lot of us. It's easy to underestimate the strength of ordinary people like ourselves.

Bravery, I can't say: that's very much a subjective thing. One person needs a lot of courage to climb a ladder that the next shrugs at, because the first is afraid of heights or knows their own lack of balance or had a friend who fell off a ladder and was badly injured.

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Good for you :) A beautiful sentiment.

And blindness really isn't that bad, unless you really like boiling milk.

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