I try to stay positive on this blog. My goal is to help people to look at the world in a slightly different way than they may have before. If I can help someone to change their mind about an important topic, or at least make a decision if they’re on the fence, then I feel like the writing is worth my time. A person needs to feel like their life means something, and sometimes the things we do help with this intrinsic urge we have to find value in ourselves.
That being said, the last eight years of my life have been a struggle. Not really a financial struggle, like so many people in the world deal with, and I would never compare my suffering to those in that much worse category. Still, since leaving military service I haven’t been able to find value in the things that I do, mostly because I can’t seem to find a career that makes me feel like I am a contributing member of society rather than just a slave to someone who wants a convenient servant. It has been a continuing stream of reasonable pay jobs with no prospects for future advancement, with no real opportunity on the horizon to change it.
This is the insidious nature of depression: it knows no class. We look at people who have it better than us and assume that they are happy. They have stable jobs and a nice place to live and enough extra money to have toys and go out to do things. They might take family vacations or go on a cruise. Whatever the details, we tend to see these people as having no reason to be unhappy because they have it so much better compared to our own circumstances.
The reality is that happiness is not linked with financial success. Jordan Peterson maintains the idea that once a person makes enough money to keep the bill collectors at bay, additional money doesn’t increase happiness. I certainly agree with this position due to my own personal experiences. I have always made more than the average income in America, but that extra money hasn’t brought me happiness. At least not any lasting happiness.
Part of the problem is that we focus on the things that money can provide us, not realizing that those things will never fill the hole that is inside us. We can’t find meaning in stuff. It is at best a temporary distraction from the biggest thing our lives are missing: finding that thing within ourselves that makes us believe that we matter. It is only when we can find that one thing that completes us that we can find happiness.
I have struggled for most of my life to find this thing, but I have yet to discover what it is. Writing is certainly something I’ve always had an interest in, but is it the thing that will spark that fire inside of me that burns away this depression that plagues me? Can it be the things that motivates me to put more effort in than I have with these other life draining jobs that have just been place holders? I can’t tell that just yet, but I hope the answer comes soon.
Living with depression is hard thing to do, regardless of your financial situation. There are people who make barely enough to survive who are happy because they have found something that makes them feel at peace. Likewise, there are so many people who are rich beyond anything we can imagine who are miserable because they have nothing to give them more than a temporary reprieve from the horror of their own opinion of themselves. Money doesn’t prevent depression.
Do you live with depression? How has it affected your life? Have you found that thing in your life that will push it away, or do you feel like you’re lost? Part of living with depression is just knowing that you aren’t the only one. It won’t make the feeling go away, but sometimes just sharing our pain is enough to get us moving. Feel free to share it here and we can all start the healing process.
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