Stardate: December 2nd 2012
I tweet on twitter, and post statuses on Facebook.com so as to give subscribers a glimpse into my mind. My hope is that doing so serves to help people who deal with the same issues. Today’s topic is depression. A lot of ppl who’ve known me for years, especially clients, don’t know that I’ve dealt with depression since my teens. They see me laughing and smiling, functional, running multiple businesses…and think I could never relate to their periods of demotivation and lethargy. So, many hide ’em…and suffer in silence.
img src: http://amyjanesmith.blogspot.com/
Caption: “Some refuse counseling/medication/intervention…”
Some refuse counseling/medication/intervention under the misplaced belief that it is a reason to be ashamed… and under the misplaced belief that bravado is the required response as an adult. Oftentimes these same people end up cutting themselves (physically) and act out destructively otherwise rather than admit they have an issue. I know, because I’ve seen your scars.
While I did study psychology, I won’t pretend to be a psychologist. All I can do is illustrate my solution. I call it “functional depression”. It first comes from a realization that depression is a chronic manifestation, and like any other chronic illness, it can be managed…whether by medication, or other avenues.
Personally, I refused medication because I realized that it limits creativity in many creatives. As creativity is both my outlet and the basis for my professions, limiting it via medications was an illogical option in my humble opinion.
Having spoken to peers, I noticed a trend: People with high IQs, creatives and their ilk, tend to be depressed. Many of them turn to substance abuse so as to provide and outlet for expression… as expression is the ultimate form of therapy for these individuals. Having spoken to them, as well as my father (who, people would never have guessed, has dealt with depression his whole life) I decided on functionality.
For it to work, one must have intellectual honesty, and personal honesty. Don’t pretend that you’re ok and functional on days where you are not. Lying to yourself promotes a state of cognitive dissonance. Conflict begets conflict… pushing the downward cycle deeper and deeper.
On the days that your mood dips into dysfunction, realign your work to suit. When you are in a productive mood, push more work. And, importantly, find a bridge that connects dysfunction to functionality. Whatever your ‘release’ is, embrace it… and let it act as an anchor and line to pull you back to functionality, and hold you there. For me that line is music/poetry, and areas of my work which encourage the mind to be creative. Take liberty and pride in yourself, and the fruits of your labours…and, in turn the product will inject pride into your state of being. i.e. You will preempt a cycle of positivity that feeds itself.
A reader asks: “were u ever suicidal? i mean truly so… there was no reason to exist further, n if so, what pulled u back?”
img src: http://www.tomcorsonknowles.com/
2007, and one period prior as a teen. As a teen, I can’t honestly say what pulled me back. Maybe it was transitional. I was quite arrogant back then, so maybe the though of irritated my sense of self. Actually, that sounds quite logical looking back at my teen years.
2007 however, my business saved me. I was quite broken that year. I had the shitstorm of my life hit me all at once…and it broke me. Apollo Fitness Barbados saved me… Because I, not meaning to be immodest, am brilliant at what I do. I immersed myself in it totally…and ran it on autopilot. I trained clients like a man with a foot in hell, and my mind shut down completely. I didn’t need to be ‘there’ emotionally to do my job. My knowledge base an innate passion for what I do allowed me a cocoon to escape into. And, that quite literally saved my life.
A reader writes: “if I had a body like yours, I’d just punch depression in the face and move on.”
lol… If I had $10 for every time a depressed client said that to me, I’d buy a plane ticket to every major city in the world.
re: Intellectual honesty, and Personal honesty
I was talking to my ex-fiancee the other day, and she said to me: “I’m proud of you babe. You don’t let stuff stop you in your tracks anymore. Before, when shit when really wrong, you’d just throw your hands up and stop right there and then.” – That isn’t totally true. There was a process back then to dealing with depression. i.e. To accept when shit went wrong (as opposed to sugar-coating it), mourn the clusterfuck…and then move on.
re: Intellectual Honesty
Modern Society revolves around lying to oneself. Friends lie. They say ‘everything will be ok’, and a bunch of other coddling bullshit which really does nothing but appease their need to be comforting… like a friend should be (or so society says). This does nothing for the dysfunctional depressed person, cept push them further into depression. On one hand their mind paints the world as it is (albeit through glasses with a magnified lense), and on the other hand the people around feed them tales of other people ‘having it worse than them’, and things being ok.
re: Society Encouraging Self-deception
Sure, there are people in Haiti living in huts… but does that mitigate the reality of the job you just lost? Does it trivialize the significance of such? It doesn’t… but friends are socialized to point out the plight of others, to trivialize and numb your feelings, and to redirect your thought process. This may work in the average person, but it doesn’t in the depressed person. So, as a depressed person, one of your first steps to mediating your condition is to DEMAND that your right to embrace what you are feeling as real and important to you. Stop lying to yourself. Stop pretending. Stop hiding. Only then will you be able to visualize a bridge between dysfunction and functionality.
A reader writes: “my tattoos are a direct result of me needing to “hurt myself”.”
Same here. Actually, it ran deeper. There is a thin line between pain and pleasure… so, honestly, celebration and self-denigration/punishment overlapped. re: punishment. There are few things are liberating as a needle punch you 300 times per minute. It’s like acupuncture and spanking had a baby. That being said, I realized (when I started to run out of skin) that my reason for tattooing was wrong. I mean, I used to get a tatt every birthday to celebrate, but then I started also getting ’em when huge bad things happened in my life… thus tainting the celebratory purpose of tattooing. So, things had to change.
A reader writes: “I try hard to keep those around me encouraged and happy. It depresses me more that when I am in need, the same people either put me on ignore or brush me off.”
Keeping people around me encouraged and happy is one of the biggest mistakes I made over the years, for exactly the same reason you slipped in just now: When I’m depressed and in need, those same people ignore me. I came to multiple realizations some years ago that I’ll share right now: One realization came when a guy I considered a friend for years said to me one day: I don’t even like you, I just keep you around because you make people laugh/smile… you’re good for a laugh. Another came within a relationship where I realized I would constantly be building up said person’s self-esteem, keeping them encouraged etc… while watching my emotional energy being sapped away. When my depression finally kicked in, I didn’t have the person to lean on…and I didn’t even have the energy to stand on my own. Opening yourself to others is fine. Becoming the foundation they stand on, isn’t. May sound selfish, but it isn’t intended to be.
I kicked those people out. I still work with them and assist them via my businesses. I still greet them amicably when I see them… but, I’m honest with myself. I can honestly say every year I get more happy. My body issues (which people/clients/friends can’t believe that I have) bother me less each year. My disappointments (which grow larger each year because I take bigger business risks each year to encourage growth/expansion) hit less hard. I wake up every single morning of every single day looking forward to the day. I literally leap out of bed every morning (and have for almost 5 years now), while normal people get out of bed and groan ‘do i have to go to work today?’ And, all that started with being honest with myself.
A reader wrote: “I used alcohol as a release…but then I found Valium.”
Valium. That’s one drug I never touched. 2007, I remember, I was at my biggest and most muscular… but at the same time my most self-loathing. One night enough alcohol to give two people alcohol poisoning, a couple lines of coke, 2 tabs of ecstasy, and enough weed brownies to put the pope in orbit. I couldn’t get high or drunk…or numb. I think my metabolism was way too high at that point, so my body metabolized that crap like it was nothing. But, it was also in those moments of loathing that I realized that my dysfunction was me trying to kill myself… albeit slowly. People who’d known me for years thought that I was just partying hard… They actually said “I like this guy”, that guy pounding the alkie, smiling, laughing… dancing. It was then that realized that people, as a whole, are clueless and truly disinterested in what others are thinking or feeling. They rationalize and label things so events fit into whatever makes them least uncomfortable.
re: Waking Every Day Happy
Yes, that even includes the days that run to shit. However, functional depression revolves around accepting when days run to shit…and being willing to end a day/conversation/activity (or whatever) at the shit point. Normal people suggestion trudging through. Fuck that. I call it a day… mourn the clusterfuck, and start the next day anew. NB: it doesn’t automatically mean taking an entire day off… It make take only a few minutes. Regardless, it is important for depressed ppl to stop, take the time, breathe, and acknowledge the stimuli before one can move on. Without this, you will get stuck in the downward spiral.
Anyway the footnotes (for anyone now joining the thread): Yes I have dealt with depression for most of my adult life. No I’m not dysfunctional.
Yes, you can be functional too.
Have a great day all.
Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados