Living with Depression, Pt. 4: Embrace Your Individuality

Thanks to everyone for reading so far!

1. Reach Out. Seek Hope.

2. Stop Blaming Yourself

3. (a) Exercise Your Sense of Humor

Coping with Depression, Part 3 (b) Embrace Your Individuality

Did you ever make paper snowflakes in elementary school? It’s very easy. You fold a piece of paper into fourths and cut out patterns along the edges. Open it up and voila! It’s a snowflake. I loved this activity as a kid because it sparked my sense of wonder. (I still get a bit giddy when I consider the innumerable possibilities of the natural world.) Here’s a fun science tidbit for you. 

It is unlikely that any two snowflakes are alike due to the estimated 1019 (10 quintillion) water molecules which make up a typical snowflake, which grow at different rates and in different patterns depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground.  Wikipedia.Org

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I was fortunate enough to live in a household that empowered individuality as a triumph, (which is why I turned out a bit rebellious, I suppose) but I was also required to hide painful truths about my home life. I thought freedom would bring an end to the pain, but the memory and trauma of a lifetime of abuse became an emotional stumbling block in my early 20’s. During my sophomore year of college, I grew bitter and disenchanted with life.

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

We live in a world that mocks and scolds our generation for being too “entitled.” (*yawn* I’m so over this accusation.) There’s even an urban dictionary page dedicated to “special little snowflake syndrome.” But embracing who you are, discovering your true authentic self, is the first step to changing the world (for the better) in the ways only you can. So shake off those haters and follow your heart with SWAGGER.

haters

From our DNA to our fingerprints, we are each one-of-a-kind. Human identity is an ongoing experience. You are not definitive in this moment, in this now. You can choose what happens next. We are the creators of our mentality.  with our thoughts and with our actions–and, I think, even with our prayers–we determine which way the world turns.

In this moment, plants are growing, the world is turning; and we are breathing. It feels good, doesn’t it? To just sit and breath. It’s so rare. The opportunity to take a conscious breath, to relax the shoulders and focus on something you love, letting go of worries and letting your insecurities melt away.

We have the opportunity to use our time and resources to better ourselves. Each of us has the opportunity to develop skills, to pursue knowledge, to cultivate communities, to enjoy hobbies–to fall in love and start families. Expressions of individuality vary for each person.

As the great Neil Gaiman says,

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you.

Your voice, your mind, your story…your vision.

…So live as only you can.

The moment you feel that–just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of yourself of your heart and your mind, of what exists on the inside, of showing too much of yourself, that’s the moment you may be starting to getting it right.”

individuality

One of the major symptoms of depression is losing interest in hobbies, relationships and activities. Stress and feelings of worthlessness can impact energy levels and focus; and you may feel too distracted or sad to pursue the activities you love.

So this post isn’t just about embracing who you are, it’s about fighting your illness to continue doing the things you love. If you’re into the accordion, and it makes you feel like a rockstar, play your heart out. Whether you love video games, or music, or travel, or art, or mechanics, or astronomy, or books(!), or fashion — keep exploring what makes you unmistakably you.

Do what you can when you can.

Live only as you can.

Blair Casey

Blair Casey is an amateur hiker, perpetual note scribbler and news junkie. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with her husband and two cats.