I am a firm believer in mind over __________. Matter, genetics, heart, spirit, …. mind over anything and everything, really. I’ve
even used my several decades of studies into esoteric topics like magick, meditation, yoga to strengthen my mind so that, by the
less-than-tender age of 39, I can pretty much use my mind to change any given situation. A lot of it’s working with perspective, as in changing mine, and some of it’s about broadening my scope so that I can see the sheer awesome all around me more often than I can see the piles of shit that humanity has created upon the Earth. So, yay me with my mad mental skillz!
But let’s not bust out the port and celebrate my mind quite yet. I also have a tendency to be over-analytical. And this tendency to be very in my head, and to have to pick everything apart until I know exactly how it works and until I understand all ten sides of any given story can wreak havoc with me if I am facing an episode of Depression. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:
1) Being overly analytical whilst under the influence of Depression causes me to perceive dark, negative, self-defeating thoughts as the ‘facts’ I am so stridently trying to find in order to fight my Depression in an informed and educated fashion.
2) One of the best ‘medicines’ for me when I’m facing a particularly bad episode of Depression is when someone else takes me outside of myself for a moment – someone tells me a funny joke, takes me to a play or film or concert, discusses something philosophical that does not relate to my current mindset, goes with me to a beautiful outdoor place, plays a game with me, etc. And, though it pains my independent little spirit to admit it, being an analytical thinker renders me incapable of getting out of my own head if I’m mentally unwell.
3) Analytical folk with depression can get a little bit lonely. I love being alone. Ofttimes me and a beach, park, forest, or lake, or a snuggly kitty cat and a book is the ideal amount of company for me. As an analytical thinker, I sometimes get simultaneously overwhelmed by the need to keep up with groups of people in casual chit-chat, wherein I feel like a faker because I’m not really excited about celebrity gossip or football or the latest hairstyle, and underwhelmed by groups of people who don’t seem to want to discuss the history of psychoanalytical theory or the manifestations of Promethea in history and pop culture, and who seem a bit…shallow. Actually, one of my personal warning signs that Depression may be barking at my door is social withdrawal. For me, it’s a balancing act between getting the alone time I need and enjoy whilst continuing to go out and have fun with friends, some of whom gleefully jump on board with the aforementioned conversations.
4) Fun is valid. Gleeful, joyous, silly fun is an important part of life. Life doesn’t have to be deep and thought-provoking all the time to have meaning. This is such a difficult issue for my overly-analytical self that I feel as if I should write it a hundred times: Fun is valid. Fun is valid. Fun is valid…
In summary, we analytical thinkers live in our heads. This can be a positive and useful state of being. I think the key for analytical thinkers with Depression is remembering that, though it may not be the most natural-feeling course of action, sometimes it’s okay to reach outside of our own heads for help, for companionship, and for the perspective of someone who’s not having a bad spell of Depression. We’re all alternately crawling about in and flying joyfully above this crazy muck called Life, and no one is alone.
Coda / post script:
I love this chart from the excellent article
“10 curses of the analytical thinker” by Alan Norton
I highly recommend the entire article, especially if you’re an over-analytical type yourself, or, like my husband, you’re living with one.