Marred by dust and sweat and blood

I have two dear friends (that I know of) currently battling depression.

Both are ashamed of feeling depressed because they recognize how wonderful their "outside" lives are. But that's the messed up thing about depression--it makes you unable to appreciate the goodness of life, no matter how much you want to. Hope gets replaced by hopelessness, and an average day is spent clawing your way through a pit of despair to the next.

I'm now convinced that depression is a burden assigned only to the strongest spirits among us.

I think it's easy for someone who naturally feels hopeful and optimistic to want someone who wrestles with depression to just snap out of it. It's easy for the non-depressed person to judge someone who can't feel happy, no matter the circumstance. Or to criticize them for sleeping all day, or for not wanting to take their medication, or for entertaining suicidal thoughts.

In fact, I'm often reminded of the following Theodore Roosevelt quote when I contemplate the amount of bravery that it must take to live through episodes of depression:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."

Light Watkins