Sometime ago I read about a young British man who, after committing repeated crimes, had eventually been incarcerated. He described how the words of the Judge “send him down” hit him with shock.
During the sentencing the man recalled that he didn’t know if he would survive prison detention. He describes that two weeks into his sentence he became adjusted to the change of his new environment and then made a conscious decision to embrace it.
After this conscious decision, he was able to reflect, on his life thus far and how he knew that he no longer wanted to run the “adrenaline gauntlet”, and live a life of crime.
The young man then decided that if he could come up with a truthful message that described his life thus far, and, what it was that propelled him to turn his life around, then this could be a hugely motivational message.
Fast forward a few years and now this man is a successful motivational speaker.
GROWTH THROUGH CHALLENGE
Many folks talk of how situations of challenge and adversity can be opportunities for amazing growth and motivation. After much thought, I would agree with this statement. In my various professional pursuits as an Engineer, it’s only when faced with new challenges of economic efficiency or, say, physical performance of a structure that the parameters of materials and performance values are interrogated, and we look for different ways of doing things.
This is the same for me as a person, who will always have depression, as a strange kind of friend.
Through various challenges in my life, I have learned, developed, and understood to a greater depth about various aspects of life and of us as humans. I still consider myself a novice at very best, when it comes to this life, for I will always be learning, until I breathe my last breath.
But let us not be fooled here, for me it has taken 40 years or thereabouts to get to a point of considering a possibility of an actual personal alliance with my depression.
Or, put another way, accepting, realising, and then trying to do something about or with it, and if I go one step further, then the opportunity that the prospect of mental illness brings.
After putting myself, and worse, everyone I know, through the mill, and causing untold hurt, and worry and disappointment of the most horrid kind, I got to a point a while ago where I considered and wrote for another website what the effect would be of “Embracing the Darkness”.
Without the adversity of mental health challenges I wouldn’t have been driven to write 13 books in three years and record two musical studio CD’s.
Some people say that the quicker we can recognise and embrace change, the more versatile we become as people. I would agree with this. However, I would offer the proviso that changing ones car or house might be somewhat different to embracing and really accepting the prospect of a life with illness.
You see, hindsight is a wonderful thing. With 20/20 vision we’d all see more clearly wouldn’t we (?)
Looking back on the last 40 years of my life, only recently have I come to accept that this state of mental dis-ease is part of who I am.
In many ways it would have been easier, for me and those around me, who have suffered as a result of my actions, had I been dealt the incurable “cancer” card. You see, this is often finite.
Depression CAN BE, in a way, infinite.
Let me explain this.
We are all going to physically die at some point, irrespective of your views on spirituality. However statistically, depression has the potential to affect a person’s life for a very long time and for generations coming after. The hereditary inheritance statistics suggest that up to 40% of people who have parents that suffer with depression will likely have episodes themselves.
By comparison, the hereditary inheritance statistics of cancer are around 3%.
Although I am an excommunicated Father, I understand that both my teenage Daughters are having issues regarding mental health. This is terribly saddening, though not altogether surprising (?)
Recently, my extremely wise friend “Emillio”, explained to me that there seemed to be a growing “fashion” among younger folk, for claiming a “label”. In other words, if you are suffering with OCD, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, bipolar depression, or some other of the many recognised mental health issues, it makes you “special”.
It seems that among some young folk, this has become a fashionable habit.
I obviously looked sideways and confused when “Emillio” said this, and noting my confusion he added “If a young person has an illness it makes them different, and garners special treatment, and privileges”.
I found this shocking.
Maybe I am just small minded or blinkered or naive or all of these things, but this concept of young people (teenagers mostly) needing a label in order to feel special or worthy, is really disturbing to me.
Is this need for attention among our young people linked in some way to the rather “disconnected” world of digital communication (?), and virtual relationships?
SOCIETY – A CRAZY BREED?
For many many years, I have wondered what the potential negative effect of technology might be on human beings and particularly the young folk of our society.
Must a 17 year old teenager now claim to be depressed in order to speak to a human at her college (?) or have a serious discussion with their parents (?).
This is a genuine rhetorical question, and I don’t know the answer to this, but I wonder are we now seeing the tip of a new iceberg, or indeed has the human society “ground” already frozen beneath us and we don’t know it yet?
Coming back to my core subject of questions and opportunity, I realise we often grow through challenges, and perhaps this digital age of ours is in fact the next question, opportunity and challenge to our society (?) and, if this is the case, then is this the next universal adversity giving us opportunity for growth (?)
Playing Devil’s advocate to my own argument, if this is the case, then surely this is a good thing (?)
It often seems when I get to writing or considering the subject matter of an article that I come up with more questions and rarely any answers!
But PERHAPS these QUESTIONS are in fact the fertile breeding ground for growth (?)
What I do know for sure is this:
With love and respect