An inspirational blog
"There are only two mistakes one can make on the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting" - Buddha
For Aaron and anybody else dealing with similar issues. My 1UP friend Aaron(aboboisdaman) recently wrote a blog detailing his experiences with major depression. I began writing him a comment but it became long enough to necessitate a blog. This one's for Aaron and anybody else having similar troubles in their life.
I was diagnosed with a mild form of manic depression a few years ago. I was only hospitalized once for a couple days but it wasn't a pleasant experience. I will never say I know how you feel, but I do know what it's like to suffer similar symptoms. I experience huge fluctuation in energy levels, and confidence. There are times when I'm manic, have endless creativity, I'm a natural leader, and ready to conquer the world against all odds. But there are also times I sink into being depressed, having occasional suicidal thoughts, and I'm temporarily not able to manifest that intense confidence and energy I'm certainly capable of.
These symptoms are likely the result of an imbalance or dysfunction of neurotransmitters in my brain like norepinephrine, serotonin, and others. It's very intrusive to my life, and it causes me to suffer greatly at times, but it's never the end of the world. It's not magic, or mythology, it's not a demon trapped in my skull, or a troll under the bed. It's biology. I can study it, find many ways to help me cope with it, and live an amazing life with it. There's an ebb and flow to the human condition. It's impossible to live a life void of either happiness or sadness, you must have both. You will have both, and whether you like it or not, that is the framework you have to operate with. It's up to you to learn how to build on that framework, find balance, and put your own solutions into the equations so that you may live your life happily and productively.
Most of the friends I've had in my life are troubled like me, so I've had plenty of experience being patient, giving advice, raising morale, holding friends on my metaphorical shoulders at times, and trying to inspire people to generate their own hope from within, so that one day they can walk on their own and maybe even share it with others. I believe in no God, no afterlife, no supernatural magic, or mythological creatures, but I do believe in life itself and protecting it. I believe in honor, sacrifice, hope, survival, empathy, compassion, diplomacy, scientific inquiry, and a search for knowledge among many things. I never pretend to be a spiritual guide, I'm just a 23 year old kid who wants to design levels and loves analysis. But I will go to any lengths to inspire people to challenge themselves, challenge others, sacrifice for others, find peace, and share it with others.
There's always hope, Aaron. Hope should be the core of any personality, and the foundation of anybody that wishes to enjoy the good times while weathering the bad times. All the other elements of your personality and character should be built on a solid foundation of hope. There's no love if you have no hope of finding it, giving it, and receiving it. There's no peace if you abandon hope that a war can end. There's no tomorrow if you loose hope that it can be better than today. Many equations require hope to be solved, and you can apply it to any situation no matter how mundane or grand.
The picture I left at the beginning of this blog is there for a purpose. Never forget how beautiful the world is, why it's worth fighting for, why it's worth living in, and all the things that give you joy. Forgetting how beautiful the world can be is equally as ignorant as forgetting how ugly the world can be. Many people either think the world is more perfect than it is, or think it's more chaotic than it is. The universe is in-between both of those extremes. You must enjoy the beauty, and survive the chaos in order to find your place. All knowledge and wisdom is unknowable until we learn to be honest and curious. We use to think the Earth was flat. Curiosity led us to discovering it was round, and honesty led us to replacing the accepted truth of the time with the actual truth. Pertaining to this blog, which is about living with depression, you will never be able to cope with it until you become curious and honest. Curious as to why you suffer, and honest in how you deal with it.
I grew up in a family where emotions were not okay to talk about. Problems were out of sight, and out of mind. My mom thought you could pray away pain, or do a rosary to solve the world's problems. I had to save face, and pretend I didn't suffer. Over time I taught myself to become more open like I am today. I was raised in a culture of apathy, complacency, fear, and ignorance. I'm young, but in the short experience I've had I know that when you're trying to solve problems it doesn't work if you tell people what to think, or encourage them to be silent. I think it's important for me to reach out to friends and family and give them the options for dialogue, inquiry, and problem solving that I was deprived of as a child.
Your goal in life should never be to acquire an unrealistic ideal of perfection, so don't be ashamed of your diagnosis Aaron. Don't apologize for your suffering. Your honesty shows courage. Your courage shows that you want to survive, but have trouble doing it. All of us have trouble surviving at times, and in our own ways. Be who you are, be imperfect like the rest of us. Work with the tools you were given, acquire new tools if you need them, and never be too afraid to ask for help.