I was speaking with a person close to me that has been diagnosed with manic depression. In the past they attempted suicide several times and would say that a lot of their life has been consumed with issues from their past that inhibited to varying degrees socializing, school, work and relationships. We have known each other for almost a decade and as a young person they have undergone a significant amount of change in that time. This recent conversation was insightful because it painted a picture for me of what they think day to day, how they view life and what they want out of it.
One question they brought up was why some people experience less suffering and it cripples them more? Shouldn’t they feel lucky that the extent of their trauma was less?
It’s common for people to judge others and themselves for being deserving or qualification based on how hard their life is. This can happen in a wide variety of situations, some people feel more deserving of a raise because they have been working longer, or an opinion is more deserving because they suffered more oppression in a particular area, or others having more than them, or a a sense of entitlement because of effort given to a bad relationship.
How much you suffer only matters to you. There are no points awarded for how hard your life is, only for the results you develop or the lessons you take away.
There are always two different directions you can take, one that is worse than where you are, i.e. negative thoughts of past experience/jealousy of others and the other is better, i.e. gratitude for what you have or leaned and optimism for what can come.
This person has a past experience that is causing trauma that they are unable to reflect on without being consumed with depression. Depression can be like being in a pit, the farther you go down there the harder to get out of it becomes.
I look to see aspects in myself in others. So when others say they are struggling with certain issues of blocks in their life that they can’t get past because they are unable to forgive themselves or accept the past and let go in order to move on I offer my opinion in a way that also applies to me in the subjects I think I also have the same difficulties.
My portion of the conversation was in dealing with the day to day elements of despair is to let go of the thoughts that take you down a road of further negative thoughts and to look for a thought that brings them just one step better in feeling.
I also suggested that they establish a routine to regularly hold better feeling thoughts so that there is force to break the past condition. They said they are afraid to touch or change their feeling for fear that they will fall into an abyss of depression and not be able to get out. What they hope for is a life of being just ok.
It’s very interesting to have a conversation with someone that tells you my problem is X Y and Z but I can’t think about those issues or my life will fall into ruin. Obviously if a long standing substantial issue with a fundamental part of who we are problem was easily digestible it wouldn’t take long to work through. Additionally our personal preferences make it easy to negatively judge other peoples choices because they are not what we would do. There is to them a lot of value in spending the time to experience, and process difficult growth lessons.
They are doing what I wanted them to do. Their life is significantly better than it was three and four years ago. While I would consider their current state rather neutral on the spectrum the progress they made over the past three years up to now is huge. It’s easy for me to want others to make rapid progress but time is theirs to go on their journey and spend it on the things they choose and i’m happy for them.