Screw Dancing in the Rain: Why I’m Grateful for My Depression
March 6, 2017
I hate the quote “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I feel like because my life has been filled with dance, people expect me to adore that piece of advice. But I hate it. I think it’s stupid. Who actually dances in the rain? Think about it. Every single time it rains are you out there dancing in it? Is anyone actually out there dancing? Hell no. Sure it’s fun to jump in puddles and there are certain times were you might be more inclined to run and bask in a gentle rain. But 97.3% of the time, your ass is inside, not wanting to get wet even in the slightest. I think why I actually hate this quote though, is because it tells us that it’s not okay to feel our negativity. That waiting out a storm isn’t the proper thing to do. That acknowledging a storm isn’t healthy. That we have to make the most of it and prance around in the worst of times. That we need to give every single situation some kind of silver lining. That you should feel ashamed and less of a human if you don’t feel full of positive energy 24/7. Because if you’re not always trying to be positive, you’re a freak.
Last week was a really murpy week for me. I wrote that post about my past with bulimia. I built and launched my personal design portfolio website. I started applying for new design jobs. I was the most vulnerable in my personal and professional lives that I’ve been for a while. Like I told you before, being vulnerable really scares me. I don’t like being rejected. I don’t like being ignored. I get really uncomfortable putting myself out there (which a lot of people don’t get because I love the thrill of dancing on a stage in front of hundreds of people – I don’t get it either. I’m weird). Because I did three big vulnerable things last week, my anxiety was through the roof. I needed to take my secondary anxiety medication so I could shut off my brain to sleep. I was irritable with everyone. I got mad for the dumbest reasons. My hands were constantly shaking. I could feel my heart palpitations. I generally didn’t want to do anything but isolate myself. I had the constant swirl of “What if I can’t do this” and “What if no one wants me” feelings. They sucked. They brought down my morale. They made me want to cry. Heck they DID make me cry. They knocked my progress down a few notches. They made me want to stay pigeonholed in my job in the finance world. They made me believe I may not actually be able to change my life.
In my very first post I talked about depression and how it’s isolating and does all of this nasty stuff to your brain. How it distorts your reality and convinces you that you actually are all the terrible things you think about yourself. It tells you no one else believes in you and life is shit and it’s not going to get any better. It tells you dancing in the rain is the last thing you should ever do, because you’re shitty and no one wants to see your stupid ass shaking in a rainstorm. Depression shows you the darkest parts of your soul and the darkest parts of humanity. Depression is all thunderstorms. All negativity. All of the time. But. Here’s the thing. I’m really, really grateful my brain gets stupid like that sometimes. Now hear me out for a second. I know that sounds really stupid. But now that I’m recovering, I’m so glad I know how to feel negative emotion. I can sit with it. I can feel it. I don’t push it away. I’m not trying to dance in a rainstorm and get struck by lightning. And I think that’s a really, really important quality to have as a human. Not everything is going to be rainbows all the time. Some days, some weeks even, are going to be shit. And the sooner you can admit that to yourself, the more comfortable you can be with that concept, the better off you’re going to be.
I believe that the most fulfilling lives are the ones filled with the most contrast. Laughter and tears. Excitement and dread. Pure joy and sadness. Highs and lows. Being scared out of your mind and being comfortable. Acting like an adult and having the carefree feeling of a child. But we can’t just feel these things. We have to acknowledge them. We have to embrace them. We have to accept them for all they are. We have to greet them at the door and let them inside. We can’t shut the door on them like they’re some kind of religious group asking about our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can’t keep going on about our lives pretending everything is fine. Because guess what? Life isn’t always going to be fine. AND THAT’S OKAY. It wasn’t until I opened up and said, “No, I’m not fine. I haven’t been fine. I need someone to listen, I need someone to help me” that my life became much more meaningful. And that’s not because it wasn’t meaningful before. It’s because I was finally accepting every single thing that was happening and from there began to really appreciate the good AND bad in my life.
Screw dancing in the rain. Screw silver linings. I don’t know who decided that we should never feel negative emotion. But I don’t like him or her for projecting that concept into the world. Yes, obviously it’s beneficial to think positively and want to see the good in everyone and everything. I get it. I try to do that most of the time. But no way should we be doing that ALL the time. Negative emotions aren’t something we should EVER feel ashamed of. It’s okay to wallow and feel like mental shit. It’s okay to not want to find the good in every single sucky situation. Sometimes life is just shitty. It just is. We focus too much on trying to avoid negative feelings that we never learn how to deal with them. And that in itself is a shame. We have to learn to admit that we are suffering sometimes. That our lives aren’t really the Instagram feed we share with the world.
So the next time you have a rough day, admit that it’s rough. If people ask how you are, truthfully tell them its shit and hopefully tomorrow get’s back on track. Tell that rainstorm it can go f*** itself and you'll go outside when it stops. Sit in your sweats and eat ice cream or chips or whatever you indulgent snack is. Crawl into bed, hating the world, and watch some Netflix or read your favorite book. Yell into your pillow. Go for a run. Do some meditating. Write down your pros AND cons of the day. Know that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s only when we can sit with our negatives can we see how truly amazing the positives are in our lives.
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.