When I was 21 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. What got me to that diagnosis was a phone call to a counseling hotline. I was suicidal at that time and was considering eating a shotgun shell. I figured that if I was going to kill myself, I would do the job right the first time. I didn’t want to somehow screw things up and end up a vegetable or some other state of being.
I had to make a promise to the woman that I talked to on the phone that I wouldn’t kill myself over the weekend since I couldn’t see a shrink until the following Monday.
I still find that one bizarre. “I promise I won’t kill myself until at least after the weekend and only after I have had a chance to talk to somebody face to face.” Bizarre, but it worked, because, hey! Here I am!
Anyways, I go to the shrink on the following Monday, she asks me a bunch of questions and has me fill out some forms and what not, and by the end of it all, she diagnosed me with clinical depression. I fit something like 7 out of the 8 or 9 criteria.
She talks to me about my suicidal thoughts. I was pretty serious. I had a plan. I had the motive and the means. The only thing I hadn’t done was decided on the day and the time that I was going to kill myself. I knew it was soon, maybe a week or two at the most.
She then tells me that she doesn’t think that she can help me. She believed that what I needed was a psychiatrist, and she was only a psychologist. The difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist for those that don’t know is that both of them can make a diagnosis and can talk about different treatments and ideas, but only a psychiatrist can prescribe medication. Psychologists cannot.
This psychologist felt that in my current state that I needed to get on medication.
I begged to differ.
Even back then, I knew that medication, at least for me, wasn’t the answer, and I told her this. I told her all the medication would do is mask the symptoms but wouldn’t get down to the problems that I was having.
Basically I had negative thoughts about myself and I had “forgotten where the volume knob was,” I couldn’t “turn the radio off.”
That’s how I described what was going on inside my head. All of the negative shit that I had created for myself, I forgot where the “off switch” was, and it was running as a loop in the background constantly. Even in my sleep.
That’s part of why I wanted to kill myself. To just shut that noise up and have some peace and quiet.
I made a deal with her that day. I wanted to try things my way first. That meant talking about what was going on, trying some different things out, different ways of thinking, maybe writing some things down, digging down deep. If we both didn’t start seeing some results in after a couple of months or so, I would then take her advice and go see a psychiatrist and get on medication if necessary.
She agreed and we got to work.
I learned a lot about myself during my sessions. I learned that I was a people pleaser and that I wanted everyone that I met to like me. (Who doesn’t?) I had taken it to unhealthy levels though. I was trying to control people through my behaviors to get them to like me, but in reality I was ending up becoming what I thought those people needed and wanted me to be, and it wasn’t who I was. I was my own puppet on a string.
She said something to me one day that I’ll never forget:
“Rob, do you want everybody to like you?”
“Well, yes, of course.”
“Rob, do you like everyone you have met?”
I was floored and speechless. Because I knew the answer to that question. Of course I didn’t like everyone I had met. In fact there were some people at that time in my life that I downright hated.
She then threw this little gem at me:
“Rob, one third of the world is going to love you, no matter what. You’ll never change that about them. One third of the world is going to be totally indifferent to you, no matter what. You’ll never change that about them. And one third of the world is going to dislike you no matter what. You’ll never change that about them either. Focus on the ones that will love you.”
That was the day that I found the “off switch.” Almost all of the negative talk stopped. I found the volume knob that day too and turned everything else way down.
Okay, so we’ve strolled down memory lane, big deal.
Here’s the big deal guys:
Depression is a Choice.
How you describe it is how it is.
When you take something that is a feeling, and you give it a description and call it something, you give it a name, you take it outside of yourself. You crystallize it and make it real. It becomes static and it becomes its own entity. And then there is not much or anything you can do about it.
“I have depression.”
“I have anxiety.”
Think about those statements for a minute.
I have depression. So now you have this thing that is outside of you. It has its own name and basically has its own life. It’s a real thing. It’s not a momentary sensation or a fleeting feeling anymore. It’s there. It has always been there. It will always be there.
All of the people that I know in my personal life that are on anti-depressants are train wrecks. The medications aren’t helping them really. Those medications aren’t fixing anything. That’s because those medications are designed to deal with “chemical imbalances” in the brain. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance. That’s a story that Big Pharma created to sell you a solution you don’t need to a problem you don’t actually have.
As I’ve grown and gotten older I’ve realized that what I eat has far more impact on my moods and feelings. My weight and health is more of an impact than anything else on my life.
How I choose to label and deal with my feelings and mental states has a huge impact on them.
Do I still get down and feel sad, angry, hopeless, and anxious? Yes I do. The difference for me is that I know that these feelings are temporary and fleeting. They will pass. I can usually trace it back to something shitty that I ate or drank.
I stopped labeling my momentary feelings as conditions. I don’t have depression. I don’t have anxiety. I may feel some negative things as we all do from time to time, but they aren’t current states for me. Not anymore.
I get into arguments with some of my friends who are on medications for depression and anxiety. Man, do they argue for their conditions. They define their lives, their very existences from them.
Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours.
Give me examples and show me reasons why you have depression and anxiety, and sure enough those things are yours. And you’ll never get away from them.
My question to you then is:
Do you really want to get away from them? Do you really want to overcome them? Or do you want to continue using them as a reason and as an excuse so that you don’t have to do anything? Do you want to overcome or do you want to continue being a victim?
Watch what you say about the feelings and emotions that you go through. Be careful how you label them.
Are those things outside of you and are they static and permanent? Do you have a condition?
Or are they temporary and fleeting? Something that comes and goes?
While you are at it, stop trying to be happy.
I didn’t say go and be miserable.
Stop trying to be happy.
Stop trying to make happiness a static goal or end state.
You’ll end up miserable if you do.
Happiness isn’t an end state and it isn’t static.
Just like feeling sad, angry, jealous, down, whatever, happiness flows and goes too.
Happiness is a byproduct of the things you do.
Go out and get absorbed in something. A book. A movie. Going to the gym. Going for a walk. Building something. Working on a vehicle. Whatever.
You get so absorbed in what you are doing, you forget to “be happy.” You can forget to “be depressed.”
You’ll feel good from doing something that “holy shit! I’m pretty damn happy right now,” shows up. That’s how this works.
Watch how you label your thoughts and feelings, become more aware of how and what you eat, get your hormone levels checked out and do something about them if they are off. Get your weight under control. You’ll find that your “anxiety” and “depression” start to go away if not go away completely.
I can empathize with people that “have depression and anxiety.” I had it. I was diagnosed with it. I’ve been there. I’ve looked down the barrel of a gun a couple times in my life.
I won’t pity them though. I won’t enable them. I won’t perpetuate their victim status. That’s on them. That’s on you if this is where you are.
Depression is a Choice.
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3 thoughts on “Argue For Your Limitations And They’re Yours”
Depression is a Choice. You choose how you feel. Damn straight. Scream this 1000 times for full effect.
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