Choosing to Feel

Edit: I realize that the issue of depression is more complicated than a simple change of mindset. This post is to analyze the two quotes below. A change of mindset can help those that ‘self-diagnose’ but is not always possible for those that have had a doctor diagnose them with depression.

For those of you who pay attention to my blog I realize it’s been a while since I’ve made a post. A lack of time and ideas has been the reason behind that, unfortunately. Which is a problem considering how much I like to write. Now I finally have a topic, but it is not my typical one. It is about two quotes I recently read. I happened to read them around the same time and I was interested to realize that they seemed like opposites. The one I saw first I saw I really liked:

The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, ‘If you will take care of me I will take care of you.’ Now I say, ‘I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me.’ –Jim Rohn

Then, there was the second quote:

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with assholes.” –William Gibson

Take a moment to let the two quotes sink in. Feel free to form your own opinions on them before reading mine. There are a couple reasons why I like the first quote better than the second. The main reason is the mindset of the two quotes. One of them promotes self-development, the other not so much.

I’m going to start by dissecting the first quote. It shows that how someone views life is a choice. You can either choose to constantly lean on others or you can become self-sufficient. Not so much physically, but emotionally. It’s important for one to learn their strengths as well as their weaknesses. It’s important to accept them, but not use them as an excuse for bad behavior, or a bad mental state. It’s important to realize that the choice to live a happy life lies within, that it is your choice to allow outside forces influence your outlook on life.

That’s why I have a hard time appreciating the second quote. It almost seems to say that the emotions one feels is not a product of their choice, but every other person is there to bring them down. That if one surrounds themselves with good people, then magically they’ll be happy. While I fully believe in surrounding myself with good people, that isn’t how the world works folks.

But that’s only one part of the quote. I haven’t even written about the part about self-diagnosing mental illnesses. It’s one thing to mention having a problem, admit you are aware that is a problem, and list ways that you are working to alleviate the problem. It’s another thing to use the diagnosis as an excuse for negative behavior. In my (admittedly limited) experience, people that self-diagnose don’t do the former.

And from the perspective of a friend who just wants them to be healthy it makes the situation more frustrating. The fact that they haven’t gone to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis implies to me that they don’t want to make the effort to get better. Perhaps they didn’t get a lot of attention in their life and making negative behavior is the only way they know how to get it. There perceptive enough to realize that people aren’t going to be friends with them if there only negative so the self-diagnosis becomes the excuse. Because the only way they get attention is through negativity they continue the cycle of self-diagnosing.

That brings me to one of the main points of writing this: does the attitude cause depression or does the depression cause the attitude? Before I got too far into giving what I think is the answer to that questions I would like to point out that feeling depressed is not a bad thing. Depression only becomes a diagnosis if people respond to it in a negative manner. It goes back to having a choice. Sometimes it just takes people longer to realize that they can choose how they let emotions affect them than others.

That’s why I like the first quote the best. Not only can I chose to take, but I can also chose to give. I can choose to only give when it will help my friends become more self-reliant. My choice is for myself to be healthy and to surround myself with healthy people.

Does that make me one of the ‘assholes’ mentioned in the second quote? Personally, I don’t think so. If asked for help I’ll give it. To me that indicates that the person is aware that there is a problem and is seeking out ways to make it better. In other words they have moved past making excuses.

As my post comes to an end I would like to remind people to comment on the blog. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love respectful debate. I also realize that this is a drastically different topic from my normal blog posts, so if you’ve made it this far that’s great on your part. Feel free to take whatever you want from those two quotes. I guess the main thing I wanted people to get from this post is everything’s a choice. Whatever else you get from it is up to you.

Lastly, since this is a photo blog here’s a pretty picture for everyone to enjoy.

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