Here are four photos that (I hope) can tell you something.
A few weeks ago, on one of my anti-depression walks, I encountered what I intuitively felt was a sad sight. It looked like an abandoned fisherman’s boat:
In my somewhat depressed mood, this upside-down hulk seemed to symbolize myself, or even symbolize depression: being useless, immobilized, out of one’s element, left to rot away.
But my first association proved wrong.
Here is the same boat a week later. It now was obvious that its unknown owner had dragged it ashore for an overhaul: to give the rusty old thing a new protective coat of black paint, or tar, or whatever it is that fishermen put on their boats.
A few more days, and I saw they had turned it over, and put back the fittings and the tarpaulin cover. It was waiting for relaunch:
And when today (after another few days) I passed the same spot, I saw it happily afloat again, ready for use:
Still, my initial association had not been entirely wrong. If I in my depression was like that upside-down boat, then right now I may be in the overhauling process: ready to find my back way into the water, to become more functional again.
If we want to cling to this boat story as a metaphor, then maybe we should view depression not just as an illness, not just as a problem (like an immobile hull affected by rust) but also as an opportunity – the opportunity to get ourselves some kind of overhaul (like a new coat of paint).
Am I too optimistic here now? Maybe. But sometimes an exhausting period of deep depression (nasty and pointless as it feels) can in the end actually leave us a little stronger too, a little newer, a little more experienced, and in exceptional cases maybe even a little wiser.
We don’t expect this to happen while we’re still in deep depression, but we may recognize it’s true once we’re recovering.
Well, I’m not yet quite afloat again myself, but I guess I’m on my way.
Meanwhile, should you prefer to read some longer and more informative reflections on how to recover from depression, I think that last year I wrote a few better posts about this subject: see Don’t Crash On The Way Up and Rebuilding Your Life.
Yes, of course. This had to be, just because of the title. Please listen to Japanese singer-songwriter Rie fu (actual name Funakoshi Rie) with her 2004 manga song Life Is Like a Boat:
Rie fu – Life Is Like a Boat
Like many of her songs, Rie fu’s own website is a mix of Japanese and English. She’s an intriguing, creative person with intriguing music: go take a look!