Blessings and Curses

There is an awareness that's ever present. An awareness that adds further discomfort to my reality. One only has to glance at the Internet, read a newspaper, or a history book to be reminded of the immense human suffering that occurs daily. Suffering that I have never experienced and cannot comprehend. Suffering that's existed since biblical times.

I will often dwell on things such as the Holocaust or the Depression. Victims of terminal diseases or random acts of crime. Natural disasters that instantly erase whole villages, whole families, whole cities. The plight of the homeless or the latest African famine. Casualties of war be it a soldier whose lost a limb or a civilian that's lost his wife and only child. The list is endless. The proverbial glass that's half empty.

When I ponder these thoughts I often feel that I have absolutely no right to be this sad person I've become.

One look around me and I see a nice home, two healthy daughters, and a beautiful, patient wife of over 20 years. I have always had a meal on the table; clothes in my closet; heat in my furnace; comfort from the elements; a bed; a toothbrush; a hot shower; family; a few friends. I've always been gainfully employed and able-bodied. I am the most physically healthy person I know. I may get a cold once every three years. With the exception of some chronic back pain and a couple kidney stones I have been truly blessed with physical health. I can walk. I can run. I can jump. I can swim. I can still pick up my teenage girls and spin them around in circles...though they wish I wouldn't do that.

I can see.
I can hear.

Despite what appears to be an exemplary life, one filled with happy, healthy times and rich experiences...absent is the ability to feel them. To feel them deep in my soul. I can observe a stunning sunset. I can see its beauty—but I cannot feel it. The mechanism required to FEEL even the smallest, positive emotion simply does not exist within me. It seemed present when I was a small child but vanished during adolescence. It's relentless, puzzling and heartbreaking.

There is a lady I work with who lost her adult son to an auto accident and her longtime husband to cancer. Despite these unthinkable tragedies, she still manages to smile and laugh and least this is her outward appearance. I cannot fathom the pain and heartache that she has endured but I admire her tenacity and love for life that keeps her going. She has told me it's her faith that keeps her afloat. She is one of my heroes though I don't think she realizes it. I plan on telling her some day.

There are so many lives that experience unconscionable tragedies that make my depression pale in comparison. I realize that. I really have no right to complain about anything. Guilt often overcomes me at times when I hear of immense burdens that people face. Burdens that would crush me. I have discussed this with several therapists over the years. They unanimously try and explain that it's all relative. Everyone has their own private hell. I find little comfort in this. As bizarre as it sounds, I sometimes think I'd rather be a happy paraplegic bound to a wheelchair than this miserable healthy person.


  1. I believe most of us that suffer with depression feel this way at some point or another, but I hope that one day you can realize that your pain has it's own merit. Your inability to enjoy a sunset is as tragic as the child that can no longer see it. Feeling guilty and devaluing your suffering is the depression.

  2. As much as I try, I can never overcome that guilty twinge whenever I see others that are in so much more misery than I could ever imagine. I have been told many times that it's all relative but I can't shake the perception I have. It's just part of the mess. Thanks for your comments. They mean a lot.

  3. The words we use are VERY important. Sometimes, they deceive us into believing falsehoods.

    You wrote, "When I ponder these thoughts I often feel that I have absolutely no right to be this sad person I've become."

    This statement is only true if you have some choice in how you are feeling. Do you feel you have some choice in the matter? Have you chosen to be the sad person that you've become?