It came as a pleasant surprise to Nate Bowen of Nashville, Tennessee, that what he had previously identified as deep depression was, in fact, profound happiness.
"My world's a little rocked," said Bowen. "But it's obviously a fortunate turn of events."
As he explained it, Bowen had always been taught to associate his philosophical nature and deep-rooted existential malaise with clinical depression - and to disbelieve the "lies" his depression told him about the inherently unsatisfactory nature of human existence. Family and friends had urged him to start taking medication to treat his mental disorder.
However, late one night, all alone in the cold, dark house he shares only with a black cat named Ollie, Bowen had the revelation that his angst gave him great joy, and that turning away from it would mean turning away from life. "I don't necessarily love life, but I love experiencing life in all its heartache and darkness. I don't want it sugarcoated. I can take it straight."
And, in fact, Bowen realized that he relished the challenge of facing life head-on, in all its brutality. "In literature, I enjoy an odyssey, an epic, a heroic tale of fighting to the very death for something real. Why would I want my own life to be any different?"
Now that Bowen has acknowledged his own unwitting happiness, he finds that his life journey has taken on a whole new cast. "There's nothing like fearlessly facing an evil opponent whose cunning and ardor makes you tremble but whom you also immensely respect. In my case, that opponent is life. And I'm going to kick its ass - or go down in a blaze of glory trying."