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Down Is the Way to Well-Being

sunset painting with girl

Searching by Gayle Kabaker

A life grounded in the reality of our own nature and our right relationship to the world allows us to stumble and fall, get back up.

When I was in my 40s, struggling to survive a bout with depression, my therapist said, “You seem to image what’s happening to you as the hand of an enemy trying to crush you. Would it be possible to image it instead as the hand of a friend pressing you down to ground on which it’s safe to stand?”* My first thought was I need a new therapist. When you’re depressed, it seems insulting, even insane, for someone to suggest that the soul-sucking Spawn of Satan that has sunk its teeth into you is your BFF. And yet, as time went by, the image of depression as a befriending force began to work on me, slowly reframing my misery and helping me reclaim my mental health. Something in me knew that my therapist spoke the truth: Down is the way to well-being. During my first 40 years, I’d been driven by the notion that “Up, up, and away” was the right direction to go. I had worked hard to achieve altitude because … Well, because higher is better than lower, right? Wrong. Living at altitude is dangerous. When we fall, as we regularly do, we have a long way to fall, and the fall may kill us. But a life on …

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