While reading a bit about anxiety and depression the other day, one thing in particular stuck with me. This reading stressed the importance of acceptance. When we are able to accept our struggles, we are able to work with them rather than against them. This particular reading used a fantastic metaphor to describe the acceptance of anxiety.
Anxiety was portrayed as a chimpanzee who scratches at the door of a woman’s house. The woman panics and locks all of the doors and windows in the home for fear that the chimpanzee may hurt her. With each lock that the woman fastens, the chimpanzee grows in strength and size until he is as big as King Kong. The woman realizes that the only way to calm the beast is to open the door. When the door opens, the chimpanzee shrinks to the size of a baby and crawls into the woman’s arms softly. After the chimpanzee realizes that the woman has nothing to give to him and will not fight him, he exits the door and wanders down the street to the next home.
Acceptance of our struggles is difficult, but powerful.
Perhaps we should think of our struggles as the chimpanzee described above. Think about how when the woman faced her fear and accepted the chimpanzee, he became manageable, and cooperative. Anxiety and depression are much the same. We should all try to recognize that anxiety or depression are not undefeatable monsters, but rather something you can partner with to become a stronger individual.
Those of us who experience deep pain are, in my opinion, blessed. We have the opportunity to grow and learn from the pain that we feel. We can use our own experiences to become a better person and to help others who may be struggling. I believe that we see the world differently than most.
It is important to remember that no matter what our struggles are, we are not defined by them.
Rather than saying “I am depressed” try saying “I feel depressed”. Rather than saying “I am stupid” try saying “I struggle with this sometimes and may need some help”. I say this because we are more than a diagnosis, a medication, or a label. We are made up of so much more than that. We are mothers, artists, athletes, students, or even a friendly face at the market. We should appreciate and accept all the parts that make us a whole because, without them, we would not be the unique creations that each of us are.