By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
One way that i have tried to fight my own depression (clinically diagnosed as “manic depressive” so long ago that they were still using that term) is by keeping track of quotes that mean a lot to me, or that I have coined myself.
From my friend from India, “the deer will spend her entire life seeking the wonderful smell in the forest, never thinking to look within herself.” I love this one. As it turns out, the scent of musk, popular in so many fragrances, is actually extracted from a gland within the deer, the musk gland”. Maybe you knew this already, but I had to have this explained to me.
From one of my former students, “your inner knight is listening.” This is an important one to me because I tend to be very self-denigrating, especially in the form of jokes turned towards myself. It’s a bad habit I use to hide my pain, but I’ve been doing better since I tuened those jokes from focusing on me to my ex-wife. (Okay, that is actually a joke.)
Here is one of my own; “nothing is truly idiot-proof unless your idiot is an underachiever.” My friend designs circuits for printers, and told me a story of how a field technician re-wired the circuit and blew up the entire printer. This phrase popped into my head when I realized that the entire time the technician was re-wiring the board, he was calling my friend an idiot.
From another former student; “the way others view you in no way diminishes your true value.”
Okay, let’s end with a short story rather than a quote. When I taught chemistry, I tried to open each lecture with a joke just to try to put people more at ease. Often these jokes would reference ex-girlfriends. During one of these jokes (“I used to think that my ex-girlfriend worshipped the ground that I walked on, but it turns out she was just trying to exorcize it”). This young woman sitting front row center looked up at me and said, “we know you’re lying. You don’t have any ex-girlfriends!”
Sometimes…the truth hurts!