There are many ways to live and lately I’ve realized that my way of living doesn’t always make sense at first glance from the outside. It’s okay that it doesn’t make sense, its natural and very common. I don’t think its even necessary to understand someone’s choices to be a good support to them but this realization lead me to thinking about the people and choices I don’t understand.
It began with realizing that many of my choices come from the fact that I deal with depression. I say “deal with depression” because it sounds more fluid than saying “I am depressed” and because I think that words create my reality in some way. The depression I feel changes and is actually what I would imagine to be a pretty low strength depression if that’s something I can say. I define this because of how I can live more than half my life happily and healthily as long as I pay attention to my choices and how they effect the stability of my happiness. I think this is normal, I may have stronger impacts because my depression can make seemingly minor events feel major but other than that I bet most peoples lives are influenced by external events.
Even though I feel lucky to have pretty manageable hardships in my life I do have to construct my life around my gifts and wounds, my desires and fears. That might actually be silly to say because its so normal, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t choose their life based on their own personality. It’s actually kind of ridiculous to have to say that I have to build my life around my personality, part of which is my trauma’s, loves and even my depression. talking about Mental illness, disorders and pretty much emotions in general have a few rules I’d rather not follow. I’m not the most open about my emotions, not in the present anyways, but in my head I know that what I feel is probably shared by countless other people.
The other day I was asked what I considered to be normal or ordinary. I was speaking about jobs and how I find it scary to work an ordinary job. When I was reflecting I found that this perspective comes from how I have to be sensitive to my happiness because a wrong step can take a long time to correct for me. I have worked many jobs I didn’t enjoy and while maybe this would mean to some people that the job is boring to me it doesn’t mean boring. Working a job that I don’t enjoy and that is stressful for me for an extended period of time saps my energy to the point where I have close to no ability to enjoy life or do anything outside of that job. In the past it has taken 2 or 3 months for me to lose motivation for a job. I used to think this is because of a lack of motivation but now I understand it to be more from an abundance of draining facets of my life. Things like the amount of energy mundane actions take from me when I am especially low on the mood scale. I have pushed myself months into these situations and I haven’t found a way to stabilize. This makes me prone to work shorter term jobs and choose in 3 to 6 month partitions. It could be easy to see this as a disability but it actually provides me with a very sensitive happiness compass. I know pretty quickly whether I am engaging with my life. Sometimes its not helpful because I will feel depressed when one aspect of my life is inadequate even though the other aspects support me. Or sometimes I will need to do things I don’t enjoy for a time in order to reach a grander goal. Because of this I have delayed my happiness for long periods of time.
There are so many ways to live and I bet most people are doing their best to make their life make sense. Sometimes that’s kind of crazy from the outside, but usually crazy looks just as crazy from both directions. If you call a person crazy for having a job for 30 years they might think you are crazy for switching jobs every 6 months, their is good sense from both sides of that. The cultural perceptions of what is normal and right change continually and those are some of the slower changes. It might be strange to imagine the difference between burning witches and deciding whether or not the death penalty should be legal in the US but this is how much perceptions of right and wrong can change over time.
I’m finding that I can’t test myself by any test that is a comparison to other people or other peoples choices. I make my choices from the best perspective I know and with my own goals in mind. When my plan doesn’t work I change it and when it does I remember it.
I write all this because I’ve often lived with a heavy heart thinking that my life will never be as great or happy as those people that live without depression or one of the other struggles I have lived with. I have wondered all my life about how the great figures in history became great and some part of me always wanted that. Because of this its important for me to take a closer look and learn that I will always have the ability to make the best out of my life, my life can be great and I can be the person that believes that. Maybe I won’t be able to work boring jobs because it makes me feel like my chest is hollow and maybe there are many other limits I will face throughout my life.
I can remember when I was younger I would have to choose in a video game what type of character to be and I always tried to choose all at once. I didn’t want to just be a good magician or a good warrior, I wanted to be good at everything all at once. Now I see that its more like I’m a fish and its actually not very fun to pretend I like climbing trees.