“What hallucinations have to tell us might be that the inner workings of our senses are a riotous carnival, driven by an engine of unimaginable processing power whose most spectacular illusion is reality itself.”

-Mike Jay, London Review of Books, 7 March 2013, review of Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks     

“If you tell me a story, I can refuse to listen, but if I become a listener, I can also always remind you that words, in the last resort, can only mean what my mind allows them to mean.” –Marie Maclean

This is exactly why I love and collect quotes…

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours”― Alan Bennett, The History Boys: The Film

For The People I’ll Never Meet

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had made different decisions?  What if you’d gone out instead of staying home that night?  Said yes to an opportunity instead of no?

I constantly think about who I would be if I hadn’t moved to China.  Who my friends would be, what my interests would be, and most importantly, would I end up in the same college, with the same future as now?  I see photos of classmates I never got to know on Facebook, and it is both terrifying and fascinating that one of these strangers could have been my best friend, or the most important person in my life.  If only our paths had crossed.  And I wonder, we missed our opportunity now, but will we meet sometime later down the road?

I wonder if the smallest decisions, like deciding to order a chocolate croissant instead of an apple tart, would have an impact on where my life leads me.  And I guess it does matter in a way, because later, there will be someone who wanted a croissant, but because I chose to order one, the cafeteria ran out exactly when that particular person decided to buy one.  Maybe they waited an extra 20 minutes for a new batch to come out of the oven, maybe they were late to class, I’ll never know.

And most of all, I wonder if I would be happier.  Would I be doing more interesting things, with more interesting people?  Would I be off having adventures and learning now things that are no match for the life I’m living here?  Would I be having the same problems with different people?  Would I have still sustained a physical injury?

I can only hope, with all my heart, that who I am and who I could have been and who I will be are all connected in some way.  That who I am is always what’s best for me, and that the greatest moments of my life would have found a way to occur anyways.  I may mourn the loss of a life I could have lived, but I also celebrate the unique life I’m living now.  I can only hope that even though life is full of paths that branch away from a “what if”, we find a way back to ourselves, who we could have been, in the end.

“Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation.

Depression is humiliating.
If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.
It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too.
Depression is humiliating.
No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.” ~ Pearl

I know I just talked about positive thinking and all, but I found this writing and wanted to share it because it’s so true.  Food for thought.