It’s all just a sinusoidal function

While the most recent time the thought that the world was but a sinusoidal function happened when reading The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’ but really it applies to pretty much everything. While that article is about the economics and while I only have enough history knowledge to know about the parallels to the early 1900, I’m sure there are many more throughout history.

At first (around when I was 15) I thought it was actually just a circle. It was quite depressing. Humanity on a grand scale and us as humans just kept playing out our own little circles. Much like in Memento we helped ourselves along the way. Giving ourselves the justifications for our future actions. It was all quite depressing.

A few years later, and perhaps as a defense mechanism, I started seeing things as a sin function. Yes we were in a loop, but it was one that was globally trending upwards.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – A few different folks, usually attributed to Martin Luther King (#)

Is one way I try to see it. While in this case it’s about humanity and helps me “accept” what’s going on in the world. (Just to be clear, I use the Buddhist interpretation of acceptance here, not resignation).

This is another one of those posts that I wish I had an answer. I wish I could close this with a straightforward answer to rally people around. An upbeat message. But I don’t have one. All I have is acceptance of the current reality and the part it plays in the greater picture.

Talking about Mental Health

I did a talk on Mental Health for a government department recently and a few days before someone asked me “Why do you talk about mental health? It’s an important topic to talk about sure, but why you?”. The root of the question being what qualifies me to talk about mental health. It’s a good question, I don’t have a degree in psychology. I haven’t practiced counseling. I haven’t even lived any traumatic experiences, I’m just a regular person who had a relatively run of the mill experience with mental health over the course of his life.

And I replied saying that was exactly why I was talking about it. Because it’s so common and I’m not special or different. I remember before comparing my depression and anxiety to others who spoke about mental health. Roméo Dallaire, for example, talks about his depression and PTSD. And well when I read that, I was like, well, obviously he’s going to be depressed, that’s some really messed up stuff. I don’t have any of that, what right do I have to be depressed? I should be able to just appreciate life. What’s wrong with me?

Often when we talk about mental health, it’s in the abstract. Bell’s Mental Health campaign rolls around and we all post about how we support mental health and we should talk about it. I think it’s a great start, but we don’t often talk about the details and the real life implications of mental health. How ridiculous it can feel to be depressed. How much despair there can be. How painful it is. How mundane it can be and feel.

So that’s why I talk about mental health. Because I want to help normalize just plain old run of the mill mental health problems.

If you want to learn more in a humorous way, I encourage you to read:
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html
and
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
which is where the image at the top of this post comes from 🙂

On Accepting The Good Things in Your Life

I’m struggled with whether or not I should of titled this “On Accepting Privilege” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privilege_(social_inequality) ) But I want to make a distinction between the good things happening in your life which while they may of been influenced by the privilege the groups or classification you belong to are more individually centered. You can read more about the social privileges on the wikipedia link and I hope to have a blog post about it later on.

There have been a lot of good things happening in my life recently. For one I’m content / happy and have been for several weeks in a row now. This may seem like a small thing but for someone who struggles with depression and anxiety this is actually the most important things. Sometimes I catch myself just smiling and being at peace and I wonder if this is how people always feel like. Smiling, because life.

I’ve got a new job, which althought I’ve just started and have tinges of the Imposter syndrome ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imposter_syndrome ) at times ( From what I’ve able to deduce, the type of employee that is targetted, the humble-ish, hard working always striving to be better, never content with the status quo is prone to this type of thinking) I really love. I have been so lucky to meet some wonderful co-workers in San Fransisco this week as well. I’m really excited to start working on team VIP. I really feel like from what I hear the hi-pressure big clients hi-stakes work will be for me. Most people who know me know how much I thrive under the big pressure deadlines and how I love to be the calm in the middle of the storm. (Which often then boggles people when I tell then I have generalized anxiety, they don’t understand how I can do high pressure so well [but that’s for another post])

There are so many good things happening in my life, I have a great stable well paying job.  Something which has not always been the case (I’ve lived with income at or just below the poverty line for a few years). My anxiety and depression is in check. My migraines are more or less in check. And yet when I talked to my Doc, I talked about how I didn’t feel I deserved all this good things, I had trouble accepting them. I had trouble accepting that I shouldn’T have more hardship because if not then life overall wouldn’t be fair. There is so much inequality in the world. I have so many great things going on. Often when I get in a bad place I’ll start talking about how I have running water and that’s not fair. I’ve never really done anything incredibly special to deserve running water anymore than the ~1 billion who still don’t have clean water.

The problem with that type of thinking is that It’s not going to help others get access to clean water or it’s not going to help fix any of the current inequalities by just going around thinking about how much I don’t deserve things and keep obsessing about it. I’m incredibly lucky / blessed and with this should come a responsability not to feel guilty about it all the time but to use everything I’m lucky to have to help. Either those around me such as helping youth with mental health or helping those who try to bring clean water to the 1 billion who don’t have it.

Accepting reality always helps us make better decisions about what to do with it. Struggling against it just wastes time that could be used increasing the happiness in the world. Either in others or in ourselves.