How Gratitude Helped Oprah Overcome Depression: “It’s Hard To Remain Sad If You’re Focused On What You Have”


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With a thriving television network (literally her OWN television network), it’s hard to imagine a time when an Oprah endeavor may not have gone as planned. The media mogul revealed recently that she’s hit some real lows and explained the difference between being sad and suffering from depression.

“I shall never forget Saturday morning, October 17,” she told Vogue, referencing the day after her Beloved film (1998) released nationwide. “I got a call from someone at the studio, and they said, ‘It’s over. You got beat by ‘Chucky’.’ And I said, ‘Who’s Chucky? What do you mean it’s over? It’s just Saturday morning!’ I knew nothing about box-office projections or weekend openings. It was ten o’clock in the morning, and I said to [personal chef] Art [Smith], ‘I would like macaroni and cheese for breakfast.’”

“And soooo began my long plunge into food and depression and suppressing all my feelings,” Winfrey continued.

According to Winfrey, her bout of depression lasted just under two months. “I actually started to think, Maybe I really am depressed. Because it’s more than ‘I feel bad about this.’ I felt like I was behind a veil,” she explained in the magazine’s iconic September issue. “I felt like what many people had described over the years on my show, and I could never imagine it. What’s depression? Why don’t you just pick yourself up?”

So, how did she come through? By practicing a little gratitude. “That’s when the gratitude practice became really strong for me,” she told Vogue, while admitting she’d buy up blocks of tickets to Beloved to boost box office sales. “Because, it’s hard to remain sad if you’re focused on what you have instead of what you don’t have.”

She added, “It taught me to never again — never again, ever — put all of your hopes, expectations, eggs in the basket of box office. Do the work as an offering, and then whatever happens, happens.”