Josh Vs. Depression: Day 14


I think that could be it for the whole blog.

There’s a link between the times when my depression flares and the times when I fail at something. AKA, I’m failing every day.

If I succeed at something, I’m happy about it for about five minutes. If I fail at something, the fallout can last up to two years. I’ve read about the importance of failure. I understand, on an intellectual level, that failure is required in order for us to learn. On an emotional level, I want perfection NOW!

I believe I tie my identity to success. I’ve wrapped my entire life around trying to get approval from others, and on trying to be the best. But if I remove that from the equation, then who am I?

As a card-carrying adult child of an alcoholic, I have discovered that this intense desire for approval comes with the territory. “We seek approval and lose our identity in the process.” So I ask myself again – if I remove approval from the equation, who am I?”

According to the movie Total Recall (the Schwarzenegger version) – we are defined by what we do, not by “who we are.” That is to say, we are the sum of our actions. I can have all the different kind of emotional responses I want if somebody cuts me off in traffic, but the action I take (driving on vs taking out a bazooka and blowing the car into the next ice age) determines who I am as a person. I don’t currently own a bazooka, nor would I trust myself to be able to aim it properly.

All this is fine and dandy – but surely the emotions I feel mean something. Surely the sadness and the anger is — perhaps not tangible — but it exists. So that has to be a part of me as well, doesn’t it?

I’ve often asked myself if I could just turn depression off. Right there, in the moment, could I just snap my fingers and not be depressed – do I have that ability? There are a lot of people out there who would say “yes,” and they would smile and beam with positivity. How much is a bazooka?

But I haven’t answered my own question. Who am I? What is my identity? I’m a huge sci fi fan, but is it because science fiction represents an escape – an escape from depression? If I remove depression from my life, will I no longer be interested in science fiction? Will I suddenly have a desire to watch Mad Men? I find myself suddenly afraid of letting go of depression. Depression is what led me to the glory and beauty of the Enterprise E, the most advanced Starship in Starfleet, designed to fight the Borg.

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