No matter how many statistics I hear about the prevalence of Depression, and how many, many people suffer from it, sometimes I still feel alone with my illness. As if no one has ever had Depression this bad, or had to hide it this often, or as if everyone else with Depression this severe is on antidepressants, and otherwise they’d have shuffled off this mortal coil long ago. Which is all bunk, of course. But it’s also pretty typical of the isolating nature of Depression. Knowing this, it is nevertheless comforting to me every once in a while to read a blog from someone with Depression who is, well, not me (heh…) and who talks about the ups and downs, and how we cannot let the bad days overshadow the good ones. With that in mind, gentlereaders, I give you today’s guest blog, but one Mr. Wil Wheaton, who first crossed our radars in Star Trek and is now all-grown up (and, reputedly, and right groovy chap). Enjoy!
Sorry for the hiatus – I was away discovering Chicago …. and then I was back in Memphis discovering the stomach flu! Eeps…… thanks for your patience. And now, Depression Warrior brings you…
“Cultivating your Obsession”
Being obsessive has not always been a good thing. Especially when I was younger, and tended to obsess on my current crush. Thoughts of my unrequited, but clearly, True, love consumed me. For a time, usually about a year, this person was all I could think about. These crushes made me miserable, they turned me into every teenaged Disney heroine who’s parted from her love. For a while, the following year would bring about the next unrequited, but clearly, True love – and each time this was my ‘one and only.’
I scorn this younger me now, or, at the kindest, I cast a bemused but affectionate eye upon her, but I think there is something useful to be noted here. And that is focus. These obsessions consumed me. Utterly.
The next time you encounter one of those fortunate few who is able to spend the majority of their time doing what they love and actually making a living doing it, pay attention. Does this person seem excited and happy when talking about their passion? Do they seem more alive; do they have a certain twinkle in their eyes? Once you get her/him started talking about their passion, is it difficult for them to stop? Do they seem a bit… obsessed?
So much of dealing with Depression is experimental… employing coping mechanisms by trial and error, and not always with others to lead the way, as not every technique works for everyone. So, I propose an experiment. Let’s call it Cultivating an Obsession.
As much as Stress can be a trigger for Depression, so can boredom. So, the next time you find yourself staring at the walls, or, consumed with stress externally but in your internal headspace starting at the walls, why not pick an obsession? Remember that sewing project you started and did not finish? Or that 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle you bought years ago and never opened? Or that novel that had a great 10,000 word beginning and then got put aside? Or that kayak hanging over the car? Or…. well, you get the idea. Pick something. And live for it. Not to the extent where you shirk your daily duties or walk out on your job or somesuch, but just to the extent where it occupies your spare head space. Until you get it done. And then, if you will, let me know about it. I’d love to see DW be a bit more interactive. If you’ve deliberately obsessed over a project and it’s helped, I’d love to hear about it. Comment away!