Human beings have an innate need to be wanted and to be included. The problem is when instead of looking in the mirror for approval, we look to others for approval.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson was published in 2016. While this book falls into the “self-help” category, it is not your average self-help book. Mr. Manson is to the point, blunt and tells his readers to make a choice. They can care about everything, everyone and anything. Or, they can choose what/who is important to care about and discard the rest. He also speaks of how to deal with rejection and the unexpected challenges that life can bring.
I really liked this book. I liked it because Mr. Manson does not coddle his reader, but at the same time, supports them with real world experience and advise. I also appreciate his bluntness, because the truth is, life is hard sometimes. When that happens, the only thing we can do is pick ourselves up, and keep moving, in spite of how difficult it is.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. Mr. Manson uses the f word frequently in the book. This is your obscenity warning.
A year and a day after 17 innocent lives were taken during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, another 5 innocent lives were stolen.
Yesterday, a gunman killed 5 people in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois. The shooter (who will not be named in this blog post), was on the verge of being fired. The authorities have not released all of the details to the public yet.
Just before this shooting happened, you know who proclaimed that there was a national emergency on our Southern border. The only way to solve the problem was to bypass Congress and waste tax dollars on an unnecessary border wall.
The real national emergency is not on our Southern border, it is the epidemic of gun violence in this country. When it comes to the point of being afraid to go to work, school or live our lives because of the fear of gun violence, something has to be done. We cannot completely abolish the 2nd amendment, but at the same time, we need to make sure that those who have guns are doing so legally and are of sound mind. While authorities have not yet confirmed or denied that the gunman had mental health issues, it is one of the key components that have been the cause many of the mass shooting in recent memory.
I’ve spoken in the past of my memories of the day of the Columbine shooting. At that time, it was an anomaly that should have shocked the nation and our lawmakers into action. But it didn’t and twenty years later, we are paying the price in the blood of innocent Americans.
There are some illnesses that are obvious via physical symptoms. The various forms of mental illness are very often referred to as invisible illness because symptoms are not always obvious to the naked eye.
I have lived with depression for years. It often speaks for me when I cannot. The problem is that when it speaks for me, it does not speak the truth.
Courtesy of fanpop.
It speaks of my anxieties, my insecurities. It reveals that in spite of all I have worked for and achieved, I am still worth nothing. The people in my life are lying to me. I am worth nothing and the only place I should be is the grave.
If we have a conversation and my depression decides to speak for me, please pardon me. It is not me who is speaking, but one who has taken over my tongue and my thoughts. It is my depression.
One of the telltale signs of depression is low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.
Many, if not all of my readers know that depression is my unwanted constant companion.
Recently, I have been trying to put plans together for a potential mini-vacation later this year. The planning of this vacation has not been going as I hoped it would be.
When you live with depression, you live in fear of rejection, whether it is real or imagined. This real rejection that I have been dealing with lately has become another emotional weight on my shoulders.
Logically, I know that this rejection is not personal. But emotionally, this rejection feels personal. It is a reminder that I am worthless and unimportant.
I know that this too shall pass. At some point, the plans for this potential mini-vacation will come together. But until then, the sting of the rejection remains.
Yesterday, I spoke about an experience at work that triggered my depression.
Today, I am happy to report that it was a better day. My depression will never fully go away, but at least the issue that triggered my depression was dealt with.
When one’s mental illness is triggered, it akin to trying to climb out of a hole made of sand or dirt. You try to climb out with everything you have, but all you get is dirty fingernails, complete exhaustion and feeling like you will never be able to get out of this hole.
I was surrounded by love today, which helped immensely. I was also given a hug by a young boy whom I have never met before. It felt like G-d was saying that I would be OK.
Today was a better day.
When one lives with mental illness, the best one can hope for is an emotionally even keel day.
Today was not one of those days. I had a moment today that triggered my depression. While I will not get into the details, I will say that I was not a happy camper when I left the office.
Depression is like a ball and chain that one is forever dragging around. The key to unlock it is nowhere to be found and there is no metal smith to break the chain. Depending on how the day has gone, the ball can vary in weight, but it never ceases to weigh me down.
As I write this post, it’s nearly 10:00 in the evening. The day and the trigger are over.
But the depression remains.
Two years ago today, we lost one of the brightest lights in our world: actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
A day later, her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds also departed this world.
Both women dealt with troubles that would have sent lesser women into a state of lifelong emotional turmoil. But both came out of their troubles stronger, wiser and funnier.
Carrie is best remembered for playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars films, though she had a long and varied career. She was also a writer and openly spoke of her issues with drugs and mental illness, encouraging others to do the same. For speaking openly about her battles with mental illness alone, she will always be one of my personal heroes.
Debbie Reynolds burst onto the screen and into our public consciousness in the 1952 film, Singin’ in the Rain.
There are some people in this world, who when they die, leave a cultural mark that will forever be with us. Both Debbie and Carrie left those marks that will be with us long after this generation has moved onto the next world.
RIP. In the words of our mutual ancestors, Z”l.
Not everyone is blessed with the ability to easily interact with others. For some of us, the scariest thing we can do is talk to people.
In the 2017 novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, the title character, Eleanor Oliphant is not exactly a social butterfly. Awkward with a capital A, Eleanor often blurts out what she is thinking, has no social life and keeps to her regimented weekly schedule as if she was in the military. The only conversations she has are the most basic greetings with her colleagues and her weekly phone conversations with her mother, which are not exactly the most uplifting.
Then she meets Raymond, the new hire in her company’s IT department. Raymond is as awkward as Eleanor is. When they save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on sidewalk, something changes for her. With the help of her friendship with Raymond, she may learn to move on from her past and open her heart.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. It is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. From nearly the moment that I started reading this book, I knew who Eleanor was because I understood her. It’s nice to read about a heroine who lives with social anxiety, mental illness and emotional hardships that come with carrying the weight of those obstacles on your shoulders. I also appreciated that Raymond is not a paragon of perfection, a prince charming type who “rescues” the heroine by seeing her inner beauty.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. The book is being made into a movie. Reese Witherspoon is one of the producers. This is one movie that I will be waiting in line on opening weekend to see.
We have a serious mental health problem in this country.
Earlier this year, we lost both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to mental illness. Over the weekend, we nearly lost another one to mental illness, Saturday Night Live star, Pete Davidson.
Thankfully, he was reached before he could do anything drastic or permanent.
When one commits or attempts to commit suicide, it is not an act that not done in a bubble. It the culmination of days, weeks, months or even years of emotional and mental anguish.
His struggles with mental illness and addiction have been well documented. As someone who also lives with mental illness, I completely understand the daily struggle that sometimes leads to suicide.
His cry for help is much more than one person’s struggles with mental illness. It is the cry for everyone who struggles with mental illness. I hope that he gets the help that he needs and I hope that every one of us who lives with mental illness gets the same help.
I want you to imagine the following scenario: You have everything you have ever wanted.
If you are single, you are enjoying the single life. If you are married or in a steady relationship, that relationship is going strong. Your children, if you have children, are happy and healthy. Your career is satisfying. Your social network outside of your immediate family is also thriving. But inside of you, there is a dark void. Nothing can fill that void and as much as you try to put on the mask of having a good life, that mask can easily crumble into your hands.
This is depression.
The new song Zero, by Imagine Dragons is part of the Ralph Breaks The Internet soundtrack.
The song hits the nail on the head. Depression is like an emotional wormhole that sucks out all of the good things in your life and leaves on the constant reminders of the bad things. It revels in your mistakes, your flaws and your anxieties. It reminds you how useless and stupid you are. Worst of all, it prompts you to take your own life.
The worst part of living with mental illness is not the mental illness, but the stigma attached. If this song helps one person to ask for help, then it is more than a song. It it a lifesaver.