When we think about what means depression, usually we compare, our longest, deepest sadness to what we can call normal state. When we were just fine.
When you look back and ?fine? state was a few weeks ago, months ago or years, then you have a problem. I caught myself for the first time that I could have depression when I look for that and compared to years when I was living with my parents. These years in childhood and early growing up, till the moment when I have moved to a different city to study n university. They passed almost with natural ease. There was some kind of magical calmness. I can say that I was lucky. I got parents who support me well, taking care of every need. But what I have really in mind was walking, hiking, going out. It was like a family tradition. Every weekend, sometimes even during a week we went to our summerhouse, just to spend some time away from a city.
And this part – ?away from city? will find troublesome consequences in future. It was the much deeper problem for which nobody pays attention to.
Without accusing anybody I have felt like my creativity, and what I really wanted have been somehow killed. I needed to fit a picture, and by doing that everything was lost. School and its framework were nagging what was there. Then I got these choices. What are you interested in? What would you like do study? What was your interest? Unfortunately, any of the subjects didn?t include exploring creativity or fulfilling passion for drilling holes. It was different standards. Different dimension.
To clarify I went to the school which supports passion in every student deeply caring about our drive. At every step, I heard you need to adapt. You need to find what motivates you.
All these questions after you took out the world from me.
I haven?t got the idea till everything was lost and the last episode of depression that last over 6 months that I have the choice, to choose effortlessly. To choose myself. Earlier in life, I choose to become somebody else.
And there was one more thing, feeling like a fraud. With every step in the corporate ladder, when I have decided to get a new job. For at some time it was fine, and then there were days when I could just feel like I have done something wrong. Always got the feeling that nobody will want me, that I always will be in this high-pressure companies,not these nice, with high standards, where people respect you. That I will be always at the lower standard, that I will be a slave.
Subconsciously I have chosen people who patronize me, especially at work. Choosing massive change at very short period of time put me in a position to start over again. There were bad moments when shit hit the fan, somebody could take a charge brutally, fire me (that happen) or just passive aggressively give a ?lesson? not to do it again. I was trying to find my space in jail.
I got assumptions that what I?m really motivated that it is not really useful. That you need to have a strong framework around what you are doing. That there are some rules of the game. And always there, you will be in the game.
And last spring 2016, I couldn?t take it anymore. Everything began to be so hard, almost impossible to take any more. I have resigned from my job, trying to be respectful to my friends at work, to a job I loved. It was a lot of fun, but it was just too many problems.
This thought, that I should end this, harm myself, were getting more consistent. The worst part was when I got few weeks of holidays and it actually got even worse. I was thinking at that time that the work was the problem. If I will just focus on what matters, spend some time with friends, meditate more, it will be better. It just got worse. And then I have begun to self-medicate.
For last few years I got a problem with my back, and some time ago has been taking some muscle – realize medicines. When you combine them with strong painkillers, well you just do not feel anything. Pain is gone and body is more like water, cannot too tight.
Then I have decided , I need to speak to somebody. I broke down, contact my doctor and consult him about this. That for the first time I?m afraid of harming myself. He prescribed some medicine and asked me to come back in few weeks. The meds (antidepressants) started to work very quickly. I have responded in beginning very well. It was well few months into the episode of depression and taking these medicines, was like stopping motion. It was hard to feel good, but as well bad. The World have stopped at some point.
For last few years I have experienced sometimes really difficult times. I didn?t believe in this word depression. It was somehow alienated from me. It was not possible to say that I’m depressed.
But it was fact. For months at a time I felt extremely honorable, couldn?t choose my goals and everything just seems too hard.
One of the mechanisms of coping with it, was surprise surprise, walking, listening to audiobooks and taking pictures. It is hard to explain, but I thing that main thing about depression at least in my case is internal conflict. That I have some ideal in my mind, and really no way to get there. It is much more than sadness, or being unhappy but rather being overlapped by the universe. When your actions just don’t matter. It usually gives you distraction, that you need to make a lot, just like standing in front of too-high-wall to climb. From outside it seems as complete nonsense. That it doesn’t matter if you are sad, or happy but for everybody who went through it is this deep feeling that allows flourishing for his passions.
There is an interesting story about Darwin, and how he got to discoveries. Long before the theory of natural selection and ah-ha moment, Darwin fully formed the theory in his notes. All it took was illumination, the moment in which he saw the whole structure. In short terms, he figures out everything in advance.
Just because, something is not clear, just like creativity, it doesn?t mean that it cannot be nourish. Darwin himself was faced with long time companion, of feeling down which he mentions in his journals. The problem is that we got to see what we are really doing. Rather we see only surface pain.
I feel like there is higher way of creativity and creating things. You jut need do say hello to your worst self, worst depression, worst periods, zip it up and get to work. Even if depression is not defining us, during their moments, that it is still our companion. And if you want to experience first-row-show you need to be ready for it. You need to say that you don?t have anything against it. You need to define it as your friend.
Maybe, art, innovation or creative is an element in our word where we want to experience this and of vulnerable, when you show off with an empty heart, ready to be fulfilled.
If you want more of something are you ready to fight for it? It all comes to cycles. Are you ready to get yourself hurt, are you able to change your mind? Are you able to take more?
Because depression is like a poetry. It is nice to read it. it is beautiful to be moved by it, but it takes balls to get through these hard feelings, keep writing when the world loose its color. And when your ego is fixating on the outcome. When you want to let go of these negative thoughts because they are hard but at the same time, they are whispering you the tune, tune of your life. The fact that depression is quite difficult to get through is obvious. It is not the pleasant thing to do. But at some point, it doesn?t matter what you want to feel. There is a set amount of the tasks you really need to be doing to go through next level.
I have started to question myself, what is there that everybody, who went through depression, wouldn?t give it away. it is like opening your heart to the audience. It is like removing every assumption.
There is TED talk by Andrew Solomon, who talks about depression but do not use it this word even once.
And there is this notion of word depression, that means that we were sad, that we do not want to do anything. One thing which is coming over is that depression is much more about.
Some time ago when I have been doing the story how most modern ?problem coaches” works it is quite interesting. For me is completely unethical to do NLP that way but they often will push people throughout their comfort zone completely. And sometimes people just jump out of their problems confronted in the insane situation. And to the question why they are doing is quite a simple answer – I know, I can see where you will be when you drop these problems.
And depression can mean something more than just being sad. But rather as layers of years of problems, an outcome of unintegrated perfect self. Some part of our humanity which want to be included in society.
The same is with depression when you see the word from a systemic point of view when you see as the last step to success. It seems a lot of counter intuitive but if you look at history it makes a good theory.
Most people who were denied their humanity to express their emotions, to find their perspective, in the difficult position. Take Alan Turing, father of modern computer science. Born in 20 century England, was compute genius who was oppressed by being gay. Chemically castrated, couldn?t deal with his emotions, commit suicide. How you are defining his pain, his inability to express what is his, who could he become. Because of society at that time, we will never know. And at this point, you feel connection with his sadness that your will doesn?t matter.
And the salvation came from an unexpected place, the place where I lived – Hackney. I have lived in the neighborhood of Hackney (most hipster part of London), and enjoy, coming there for a walk.
After all one of five Whole Food Store in London is located here. Smallest, most casual, most hide. I hate to admit but the story begins exactly with Whole Food Market. I was 22 at that time, and at this point, I really; enjoy walking, especially in evening, almost every day.
When I grow up, and still everyday commute in afternoon from school, I would prefer to take a walk. It was almost one of the silent pleasures. Something that was mine. Our city in which I lived – Zamosc. It was 600 years old fort design as the perfect city. Views are magnificent and are one of the most beautiful best-preserved cities in Europe. Every day after last lessons I took my backpack on my shoulders and enjoy 45 min walk back to home.
Then I have moved to London. At first few months, I have been living in central London on East, exploring new attractions. But at February 2014, I stumbled upon pictures of the really nice house in north London. A few weeks later, I have moved to there. I remember that morning when I saw that apartment in which I live now, in hackney and that idea, that it must be near Whole Food Market. That I already knew around this place. That it is not anything new. Luckily about that time, I came back to London after taking a break, and before taking off at next assignment I enjoy one of my treasures – walking. It is hard to frame it, it is so simple, so underrated, so available to everybody, but so profound.
One day when making groceries at the whole food market, I remember one of the cashiers. When she ask me to come forward to her tilt, I look up to her face. Realizing squint in her eyes. Instantly, I tried to smile and mark my surprise. How she expect to be perceived. I remember her shaking hand, maybe it was just her first and only day. I haven?t seen her since then. I was really happy to help her, it was ok that she got something that can?t control. It was very brave of her. Let?s put this that way. Most of the people who are making groceries at Whole Food Market, have perspective on ethics and can see the bigger picture. Everybody want to help her. If she would work at a normal shop, most clients, would become angry or whatever. Her life would be harder as well.
But hackney wasn?t like that. It was one of the dark areas. Nobody wanted to live here. Because of low prices on property, many outsiders, hipsters came. They start to open modern coffee shops and pastry shops. Ethnically diverse society saw opposites and started to work on new ideas, Ethiopian vegan coffee shops, Cuban restaurants. It starts to grow as the old structure but the new idea. When we are in that phase, when there are too many people it is hard to see future, how it will be. But it will be there. Something will emerge. Something true to the whole. Then the Whole Food Market came and open the new store, in one to the most strange parts of London.
This experience in Whole Food Market opens up my curiosity to what was the history of the company. Where it came from. Who was the owner? What was history? Here are the quotes from book “Conscious Capitalism”
“Not knowing much about how to operate a business didn?t quite pay off for us in our first year, as we managed to lose more than 50 percent of the capital entrusted to us?$23,000. We discovered that creating a successful business isn?t easy. Despite the losses, we were still accused by anti-business people of exploiting our customers with high prices and our team members with low wages. Despite my good intentions, I had somehow become a selfish and greedy businessman. To my co-op friends, I was now one of the bad guys. Yet, I knew in my heart that I wasn?t greedy or selfish or evil. I was still very much an idealist who wanted to make the world a better place, and I thought I could best do so by operating a store that sold healthy food to people and provided good jobs.”
“One of the pivotal events in Whole Foods Market?s history occurred over thirty years ago on Memorial Day in 1981 when we had only one store. We had been in business for only about eight months as Whole Foods after we had relocated from Safer Way and changed our name. Our new store quickly became a big success. Customers loved shopping there, and our team members loved working there; they passionately believed in what we were doing, had a great deal of freedom to express their individuality, and enjoyed their fellow team members and serving our customers. But that day, Austin experienced its worst flood in seventy years. Thirteen people were killed, and the flooding caused over $35 million in damage to the city (equal to about $100 million today). Our store was eight feet underwater. All the equipment and inventory in the store were destroyed; our losses were approximate $400,000. The flood basically wiped us out. We had no savings, no insurance, and no warehoused inventory. There was no way for us to recover with our own resources; we were financially bankrupt. When the founders and team members came to the store the day after the flood and saw the devastation, many of us had tears in our eyes. For our team members, it felt like the end of the best job they had ever had. For the founders, it seemed like the end of a beautiful but short-lived dream. As we despondently started trying to salvage what we could, a wonderful, completely unexpected thing happened: dozens of our customers and neighbors started showing up at the store. Since it was Memorial Day, many had the day off and had come in their working clothes, bringing buckets and mops and whatever else they thought might be useful. They said to us, in effect, ?Come on, guys; let?s get to work. Let?s clean it up and get this place back on its feet. We?re not going to let this store die. Stop moping and start mopping!? You can imagine the galvanizing effect this had on us; suddenly, we found new energy and felt a flicker of hope that perhaps all was not yet lost. It didn?t stop there. Over the next few weeks, dozens and dozens of our customers kept coming in to help us clean and fix the store. We asked them, ?Why are you doing this?? In response, they said things like, ?Whole Foods is really important to me. I?m not sure I would even want to live in Austin if Whole Foods wasn?t here if it ceased to exist. It has made a huge difference in my life.? It?s hard to overestimate the impact this had on us; we felt so loved by our customers that we were”
“It wasn?t just our customers who helped us. There was an avalanche of support from our other stakeholders as well, all of whom pitched in to save us. We were bankrupt when that flood occurred and couldn?t make payroll, so many of our team members worked for free.”
“Of course, we paid them back when we reopened for business, but there was no assurance that we were really going to be able to reopen. Dozens of our suppliers offered to resupply us on credit because they cared about our business and trusted us to reopen and repay them.”
“Without a doubt, Whole Foods Market would have ceased to exist. A company that today has over $11 billion in sales annually would have died in its first year if our stakeholders hadn?t loved and cared about us?and they wouldn?t have loved and cared for us had we not been the kind of business we were.”
I have found this story in the middle of my struggle. It was like a window for a light. That there, maybe there is som way how to do to things much more ? manageable. I brought my curiousness to dig more, to find more stores like this. If you are interested follow the lead of conscious capitalism. There is a lot of resources but best starting point is book co-authored by founder of Whole Food Market
And this lead to looking for alternative ways how to deal with my issues. How to tackle them. And what I have found was, surprising. The more I have read about these issues, the easier they were to solve. There are some ways how to block yourself and how to stop healing. And at the same, these things, fell so unreachable, so unrealistic, that it is hard to frame them.
It seems like the only problem is when you decide not to touch these issues. As soon if you try to get better, after some time you will, you just need to keep trying.
These are the ways to tackle the issue of depression.
- Patterns of emotional needs – journaling will help a lot here – to extract what is the cause and effect where it is going bad. For me for example, when I work too much meaning over 14h a day for more than week, it can trigger something bad.
- work on a deeper level – there are a lot of technologies which will help you to relax and chill – HemiSync – synchronization of semi-spheres
- the structure of your beliefs – how you think about the world and how it is connected to you function in it – when you have somebody to talk to and he or she is not so much freak out about these things. When you overvalue your wrong beliefs basically.
- structure and mechanics of your body – how you are eating, at what proportions, when and how often you exercise, how much time you spend working. The issues here are biochemical fluids in our body and how you are reading to them and the how to maintain hormone-hygiene
- shit that happens to you – coaching and career choices which put you in events in first place . The issue I saw was that many people with depression just do not want to get better, get richer, pursuing any goal doesn?t have a meaning.
- just to chill out – go for holidays -and I?m not talking for 1 week – take 2-3 months and travel, go explore, find something outside.
- Tetris – as plain simply is sounds but play Tetris for 10 min every day, after few days you will see the improvement . I do it every day, it helps – backed by research – if you are interested to follow here or try SuperBetter method.