One of the most important things any person with depression (or any person at all, for that matter) can do is pursue something they are passionate about. Finding something that makes your eyes light up or your heart beat a little faster helps shake off the film that depression casts over your brain. I also believe that many of our passions come from God. After all, all good things come from God, and if we are passionate about something--if it makes us feel truly good--then it is probably a gift. So start a blog, climb a mountain, learn a language, volunteer. Do whatever it is that helps you remember you are alive! It might be scary at first, but the focus and the energy you'll find inside you wil be worth all the effort you put in.
For me reading/writing is the passion that brings me back to life when I need it. My writing is in limbo at the moment so I started this blog and challenged myself to read one book each week for this year. I've now read 16 books this year. Here are the most recent (if reading is not your passion then I give you permission to scroll to the end of this post):
Book 11. The Shadow of the Sun by Ryzard Kapuscinski. This book chronicled a Polish journalist's career as his paper's Africa correspondent over the last 50 years. Kapuscinski somehow managed to be at the epicenter of every major revolution on the continent. Reading his accounts and observations was riveting. I found it incredibly sad (so many things go wrong in Africa! It just isn't fair!), but also motivating. The Church humanitarian programs provide so many opportunities to help people all over the world--especially in Africa. Just in case you need a nudge to make a difference, here's the link to the current humanitarian service needs.
Book 12. Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom. Every good thing that has been said about this book is true. Everyone should read it! Everyone should buy it! I recommended this for my monthly book club and we had such an awesome discussion. It was marvelous.
Book 13. The Undertaking: life studies from the dismal trade by Thomas Lynch. This book surprised me in every way--which I suppose shouldn't have been surprising given that it was written by a mortician/poet. I came across it through a Frontline episode on PBS. The author was unbelievable frank about everything from the weirdness of embalming his own father to the mess of suicide to the especially vivid flatulence one gets after eating bad curry. He also had a knack for bringing poetry to places that we assume would be bereft of rhyme and reason. A very good read, but I must warn you, brace yourself for thoughts you would never have thought of yourself!
Book 14. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. This is a classic and I'm pretty sure I'm the last person in the universe to read it. So good. And so deep. I guess I need to read it again before I could organize anything interesting to add to what's already been said.
Book 15. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. I guess I liked this one. I didn't not like it. Although, I did spend a lot of time while I was reading it trying to imagine how I would have felt about it if I were a ten year old girl. The conclusion: I would have liked it better.
Book 16. The Fattening of America: how the economy make us fat, if it matters, and what to do about it by Eric A Finkelstein and Laurie Zuckerman. This was pretty interesting. I really like the way economists look at the world; it just seems remarkably realistic. Anyway, this book put an economist's twist on the obesity debate in America. Not only was it funny, but it was quite informative. For the two days it took me to read it I was the sugar-police in my house and I put a little more effort into getting my kids to eat their veggies. If a book can do that it must be well-written!
Anyway, for all you readers out there (all, you know, five of you) what are your passions? What makes you feel alive enough to get out of bed in the morning? Post it here so we can all encourage each other!