What Would You Do To Be Normal?

As I continue to combat depression and win more and more battles against it I’m starting to make some frightening observations about myself. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting as I do often nowadays and I’ve come to some interesting conclusions.

So.

A little less than three years ago my depression was at its peak. As depression slowly took complete control of my life I went out less and less, everything became less enjoyable, and I pushed all of my friends away, leaving me very lonely. I was sad, tired, and lost. Then I embarked on the journey of recovery as I’ve often written about. After years of therapy and many nights of battling with my own mind, I succeeded in ripping myself free of depression’s grasp. Now for the last two years I’ve lived a normal life. I have had some hiccups; some returns of depression, but they have been brief and overcome. But am I really “normal” yet?

I’ve often longed to be normal; to be an average person without all of the pains of depression…someone who is just happy with life. Now I have reached the point where I am happy with my life and I do enjoy it. Then I realized; that wasn’t normal at all. I’ve discovered that I clearly need to reevaluate my description of the word normal.

Yet, maybe this word doesn’t really need to be defined at all. It’s a very deceptive word; there is really no such thing as normal, only the illusion of what is normal. We go about our daily lives looking at different people, what they’re wearing, how they act, what they say, and then we either mimic those actions or we don’t. But overall, with everyone doing this at the same time subconsciously, we find that society sets criteria and creates an image of what we consider to be “normal.” What society deems “acceptable.” Yet, no one meets these criteria. First of all, how could we? As humans we are all unique individuals and to completely fit society’s standard for being “normal” is virtually impossible. Second, why would anyone want to? It leaves us merely shadows of ourselves if we change completely to fit into someone else’s standards, shadows that disappear as they are cast by a robot that does not think or feel for themselves.

Still, so many people pretend to meet the criteria. Desire to meet the criteria. Need to meet the criteria…but in reality they don’t, and they can’t. Normal is just not a good word. I don’t want to be normal anymore. I want to be me; and while I want to forget about my depression, it is a part of who I am and have become. At the same time it does not define me and though the battle will never be over; it is a battle that I know I can win.

  
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We Are Naught But Eggs!

The title sounds like an insult.

“Hey you! You’re an egg!”

If someone said that to me as I walked into a Starbucks on a cold Tuesday morning I would probably be more concerned about their mental health than I would be insulted.

I got this idea from breakfast this morning – I bet you can’t guess what I ate. I looked long and hard at the sunny-side-up eggs in front of me. I’m not a very neggative person, but for whatever reason, today I really didn’t want to eat my eggs. And then I thought, the yellowish orange part is the best part, why don’t I just eat that? Then the gears in my head really got turning. Why’s that part so good? I mean, it’s the yolk; the center. A part of the egg that is shielded by a hard and strong exterior. I then saw this interesting quote that I don’t completely agree with, but it sparked my creative muscle.

“There are 7billion people on this planet, but 14billion faces.”

Bam. A connection was made. I was eggstatic. What if all of us people, us humans on the little blue planet called Earth, what if we were all just like eggs? Modern society has allowed us (and in some cases forced us) to develop a hardened exterior to protect and often hide our inner personalities. The interesting thing about being a human egg, however, is that it works both ways. It also prevents us from reaching out. Whether it be to “fit in” with a social group or society in general, many of us don’t express our true feelings all of the time.

For example, I know that I am guilty of not holding a door for someone or cutting someone off on occasion. Every time I do this it is negative, not just for the other person, but for me as well. See, I make their day worse or unchanged when I could have instead made it better with a simple, almost effortless action. By taking an action that is detrimental to those around me, or simply ignore opportunities to make someone’s day better, I am hurting myself because when I do this once, I justify it.

Oh, I’m having a bad day – oh, he/she deserved it – oh, blah blah blah

Regardless of the excuse, I am hurting myself because the second time it’s just a little bit easier to justify. The third time even easier until eventually I literally don’t care at all that I’m irritating another person. What does it matter, it’s not like I know them or will ever interact with them again right?

That, my friends, is an eggshell. On the inside, at our core – our yokes, we know what we’re doing isn’t right, but we build a wall to keep from accessing that inner compassion.

This also happens in other instances, such as when we talk to someone that we are trying to impress. We act differently, put on a face that isn’t quite ours. A shell. When we are hurt by other people, what do we do? We build a shell around us to protect us from more pain. If I want to become a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle what do I need to have? A freakin’ shell (and few screws loose, but I’ll let you decide if I’m there or not).

Eggs are wonderful, nutritious things. We all could use a little more egg-love in our lives. But maybe we don’t all have to live inside our shells all of the time. Maybe we could peek out every once in a while…let that beautiful ball of fire in the sky heat up our inner yolk. Who knows; maybe one day we could even be sunny side up!

  
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A Letter To My Younger Self – The Climb to Escape Depression

Dear Younger Me,

This letter will not be any easier for me to write than it will be for you to read. I know things aren’t easy. Actually, let’s be honest, things just outright suck right now. It’s not your fault that things suck, conditions are terrible after all.

But it is your fault that things aren’t getting better.

I’m not the type to flutter words around like a butterfly for the sake of padding my message. So, let’s be honest; you’re doing nothing, nothing at all to get out of the hole you are stuck in. You see this hole. You look up and the sky can be faintly seen at the end of what looks like a nearly endless climb. It looks impossible, but I promise, it’s not.

Right now you are in this hole. It’s a wet, soggy pit of darkness. The sadness and the anger are overwhelming and top it all off you’re alone. The thing is; you built this hole. You dug it for yourself; to protect yourself. Things were bad for years and seemingly the only escape was to hide. To isolate. To dig. And so you did; you dug, and dug, and dug, and dug. But now there is no easy way out.

In fact, you don’t even want to leave the hole. It’s been over a year now and you are getting used to the hole. It’s comfortable. You stop remembering life before the hole because that is what put you here in the first place. The good memories fade as well; you don’t need them in this hole. All you can focus on is how bad the situation is and how much you want to get out. But you are afraid to admit that you want to get out. Almost ashamed. The fear of leaving the hole; of the difficulties escaping will be, and the alien nature of the world beyond is stopping you from doing anything.

I tell you with point-blank honesty that if you stay in this hole you will not survive long.

I’ve taken a lot of questionable paths in my life. I’ve done a lot of questionable things; things that many people would take back. If I could take back my actions, would I? No, because ultimately these actions, however drastic and questionable, led me back from the darkness. I do not think that without taking the actions I did, I could be as alive and happy as I am today.

I dare you to prove me wrong.

If you do not start climbing you will never get out of this hole. Ironically, you bear a greater burden by staying in the hole than you would on the climb out, yet you stay in the hole for fear of the climb. Fear of recovery.

Listen, the world is unknown, it is unpredictable, and it is scary…but it is also wonderful. I will not waste words on the happy crap that I know you don’t want to hear and will not listen to. But I will say that you cannot truly judge something unless you look at it from the other point of view.

The other thing I have to say is that you don’t always have to climb. You can take breaks – dig horizontally. I can promise you that there are many people in holes all around you. They would love to not make this climb alone, and it will be far easier for you to climb if someone has your back.

As my parting words of wisdom I will say; don’t be idle. The world will continue moving no matter how long you shut it out for, and in the end it will be way too far ahead. Keep moving, stay strong, and don’t give up. We both know you’re a tough fellow; now is the time to prove it.

  
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