When my son was born, my mother-in-law crocheted him a beautiful blue blanket. It was tyke-sized and warm and infused with grandma-love.

It was around that time that I noticed I sometimes felt covered with a blanket of blue – but of a different type.  I had post-partum depression and couldn’t smile for a very long time.

My son is now thirteen and for the last few years, he’s been dealing with depression too.  Even though I blame myself for his downbeat-DNA, I’ve also had to find a way to make him face his issues for himself.

So, the other day when I asked him what was wrong and he shrugged, I left the room.

As I told him last time he shrugged when he felt sad, “I don’t do shrugs anymore.”

He knows that if he can’t articulate what’s wrong and talk it over, I’m no longer on duty as a mind-reader and all-around Mother MacGyver.  That guy could fix anything with a Q-Tip and a paper clip.  I’m just not into playing that thankless, unpaid – and might I add, fictional – role anymore.

The fact is, even if you’re clinically depressed, you can work toward finding a way to feel better.  Circumstances may affect you, but to an extent, you choose how you react to them.  The minute you shrug and act as if you can’t even find the words, it’s like saying “Poor pitiful me.  I have it so hard.”  And you may well have it hard. Perhaps harder than anyone else in the world.  So then what?  You win a medal?  That medal is rusty and heavy and will weigh you down.  Do you really want the Too Bad, So Sad Medal?

As you know from Lori’s post, nobody promised you a rose garden every day of your life.  And as you know from SueBE’s post, you don’t have to be a voluntary victim.  Depression may cover you like a blanket of blue, but you don’t have to wear it like a shroud.

So if you have it that hard, shake off the shrugs.  Don’t define yourself by the bad moments in your life. Never is hyperbole and always hasn’t arrived yet, so don’t get caught in those two black holes.  Keep going.  Keep trying.  Keep talking to the people who love you.  Before you know it, you’ll find a way to climb up out of your funk and get back to life again.