Happy, Sad, Enlightened

Ramey - Walnut Creek, California
Entered on November 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Happy, Sad, Enlightened

I spent a year of my life wishing I was dead. It was my freshman year in high school, and nothing was going my way. My grandmother passed away, I had no friends, and I was failing all of my classes. I became severely depressed and spent all of my time at school or lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. I rarely ate, barely slept, and hardly spoke to anyone. I never laughed or smiled. My dejected thoughts were consuming me from the inside out. I never thought I would be happy again.

After shunning my parents away for the entire year, I finally opened up to them during the spring. I explained how I was feeling and how I could not stand it any longer. Simply explaining my predicament began my lengthy healing process. With the help of my family, counselors, and the modest inner strength I had left inside of myself, I moved past the death of my grandmother and began to break out of my shell. I used the summer to heal my emotional wounds and prepare myself for a happy and successful sophomore year.

My birthday landed towards the end of my recovery during the summer. That was the day I realized I had escaped the depression that I had previously viewed as eternal. When I walked out of my house that day, the sun shone brighter on my face then it ever had before. I finally wanted to go out in the world and make friends instead of shutting people out of my life. Coming out of such a dark period in my life has truly instilled gratefulness in me for all of the blessings in my life.

George Eliot, a famous English novelist, once said that “to escape deep unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.” Just as the quote states, the end of my suffering led me to become an enlightened soul. Encountering and defeating my personal demons has shaped me into a stronger and more fulfilled human being. I could have breezed through my freshman year, but then I would still not recognize the true significance of happiness. Before my depression I took my cheerfulness, blessings and my mere existence for granted. Never again will I view contentment in life as anything but a sacred and precious commodity. Never again will I take my family or friends for granted. I wake up every day thankful not only to be alive, but thankful for wanting to be alive.

My happiness means more to me now than it did before my depression just like getting an “A” on a math test means more to a student if they had failed the previous test. I have a fresh perspective on life, just like a woman who finally has a child after a miscarriage, will see her newborn in a different way. I value my life more than people who have not suffered; just like liberated slaves valued their freedom more than their owners who never knew what is was like to be oppressed. I am not encouraging people to seek out suffering in their lives just so they can grow from it. It is absolutely feasible to never suffer and lead a joyful and meaningful life. However, I believe that those who have suffered through dreadful times in their lives can better appreciate the beauty and happiness that exists in this world.