Failure. That tends to be at the root of every event that aggravates my depression. I fail at something, and then I go through the seven stages of grief (are there seven? For me, it’s more of an ongoing, rolling thing, so it’s hard to tell).
I recently read a book that talked about how we spend all of our time avoiding failure, when in reality, we need failure in order to learn and to succeed. Seinfeld describes failure as a sudden influx of information. If that’s the case, I should be way smarter than Seinfeld at this point. We’re approaching “Tetsuo” levels of intelligence here.
Tetsuo refers to one of the main characters in the movie Akira, which is a story with a main character who looks cool wearing all-red. I would never want to wear all-red. People might get the wrong impression and offer me spicy food. Tetsuo and his friend Kaneda are part of a biker gang in Tokyo. Kaneda is the cool gang leader, whereas Tetsuo is the kind of kid who would watch a movie like Akira. Tetsuo develops mental powers, becomes god-like, threatens to blow up the city with his mind abilities, and Kaneda has no choice but to try to destroy him by firing a bazooka laser at him from atop a motorcycle. So in the world of Anime, it’s a simple, kitchen-sink drama.
PS. Ten years later, Kaneda is standing in the garage with his wife, who is begging him to please sell the motorcycle. “You never ride it anymore, and we need to make room for the end-table.” Of course the end-table transforms into a robot Samurai, because this is anime.
But back to the crippling depression – when I fail at something, I get angry and depressed. When I succeed at something, I start to feel better, and then I say to myself “why bother, it’s only a matter of time before you are depressed again.” So, I literally “curb my enthusiasm.”
I really hate going through emotional highs and lows – I hate feeling great, then crashing and feeling awful. So I try not to feel anything – I spend my days trying not to feel good, and then trying not to feel bad, until I cry. Back and forth, back and forth, on and on the cycle goes. And I’m afraid that nobody will want to live with me.
So what, then, is the solution to this problem? Because I don’t want to end up in a situation where my best friend has to blow me up with a bazooka laser.
The one thought that occurred to me is that all of these emotional reactions are related to how I approach failure. So perhaps one thing I can do, immediately, is court failure – take more risks – fail as much as possible – turn my fear of failure into a passing familiarity.