Tag Archives: Self-Help

Depression #4,873 Sucks: A Way Forward?

It’s been a rough week. I think I could fare better with depression if I know when it’ll hit me. It’s always a surprise: one minute I’m fine and then the universe and the people in it do something that starts the ball rolling. A trigger for it. I think I deeply care for people and if that isn’t returned I spiral downward. Maybe it’s safest to not care? That’s a certain way to death, but a walking death where your body is alive but your soul is dead. The only way to live, and to truly live, is to love. Even if that love hurts you, I don’t see any other way forward in life. What’s the other option? To wall yourself off and live without feeling for the rest of your life?

I think I’ve weathered the worst of it and I’m in that strange post-depressive state that I can mostly explain as “exhausted.” I’m like 5% happy, 25% depressed, and 70% exhausted. It’s the realization that you’ve made it through the worst of it but where you don’t want to let your guard down. The next wave could happen at any moment. The next trigger could bring you down. Constantly on edge and terrified of the future. Yet the minutes keep ticking pulling you toward whatever inevitable and terrible/wonderful fate awaits. I’m not ready though. Not yet. Let me relax and type this post in peace.

I totally broke down at work yesterday. I was able to drag myself throughout the entire shift but really wanted to talk to someone. Usually I try not to bother people (in a self-loathing state where you think no one cares about you it’s hard to be proactive and contact someone) but it was becoming so damn bad I just wanted to open up. I had to open up. I’d lose my fucking mind if I didn’t talk to someone. Luckily I was able to talk to a good and much-loved friend of mine. He’s a supervisor which makes it even more special because of the responsibilities he had to shirk to tend to me and my problems. The guy has a ton of things to do at work, meetings to attend, yet he found time to talk to me in a dire time of need. I’m forever grateful to him.

We sat in his car and talked for an hour and a half. I nearly cried a bunch of times. He said a ton of stuff, and vented to me about his own problems, while I rambled and blabbed not knowing what I should open up about or what I should “play cool” about; everything came out though. I didn’t care. Even topics I was very hesitant, shy, and ashamed to talk about came out. He knows me better than any other person in the world knows me.

I didn’t know if I felt better or worse afterwards. There was a ton that was said and a ton of stuff to think about. I did realize one thing though and that’s the entire point of this post: depression is a giant neon sign pointing you towards things you need to pay attention to. It’s literally your soul crying for help. And you need to listen to it.

Something about “listening to yourself” and “figuring out what you really need as a person,” you know the bullshit people always tell you. I always viewed this as a negative; I only seen things I needed to improve upon. Knowing yourself is above all knowing your flaws and weaknesses and improving upon them. The view of myself from the start is negative. My depression is my problem to deal with, and that it’s the primary thing that needs to be dealt with. It isn’t what is causing you problems that is the issue, the issue is depression itself. “Just feel better! It’ll be okay! Maybe you’re overreacting.” That’s what I tell myself. I see my feelings themselves as the problem and not something that is a part of me. It’s hard to explain.

I think what I’m getting at is I treat depression like the problem itself instead of a symptom of something else. This might be a trivial realization, but I’ve never had it stick in my head like it did yesterday. To me it seems so profound, one of those “ah-ha!” moments that is so damn obvious I wonder how I didn’t realize it in the first place.

If you really want to know yourself, you can search inside all you want, but it seems if you ignore yourself long enough something will eventually happen and cause you to spiral into depression. Depression is the souls way of screaming out in protest to something in your life, some immense problem that is tearing you apart. It’s well past dissatisfaction or anxiety or discomfort or unhappiness; it’s the final fucking straw where your soul has had enough with something so antithetical to itself that you feel disgusted as a person. It’s not the depression itself that needs fixing, it’s whatever problem is making you depressed in the first place.

Part of this seems to play back into the self-esteem dribble I was really into a few months ago. One of them was “owning yourself” and being perfectly honest with yourself. I’ve been ignoring the causes of my depression for the longest time, trying to play things cool, trying to “man up” and just be happy, all while ignoring what my soul has been trying to desperately scream to myself. Tell myself the depression is the problem, not the symptom of some soul sickness. Just deal with the depression and not fix it. Maybe that’s why I’m so depressed? I haven’t been acknowledging the stuff deep within my soul, only ignoring it, hiding it behind the facade as best as I can. Limp on day to day, week after week, and just be cool. Don’t be weird. Don’t feel too much. Don’t get attached despite having a heart that loves to get attached to people and craves attention. I’m just fooling myself and lessing my value. I am the way I am, and there isn’t anything to be gained by ignoring it. As my friend said, “You are the only ‘you’ in the world. The only Jeremy that is as perfect as you are.” While I still mostly hate the Jeremy that I am, I’m going to have to learn to love him and give him what he needs, because he is a total dick otherwise.

Note: In desperation I finally called and made a therapist appointment for myself. Yay me. It can’t hurt anything, right?

Peterson's 12 Rules of Life Kinda Sucks

Disclaimer before everyone jumps my shit: I actually enjoy the book so far. When you have a blog called Everything Sucks and every post has been titled “[Topic] Sucks” you need to keep with tradition. I’m sorry if it sounds kinda click baity, but it sounds a ton better than “12 Rules of Life is A Decent Book but Here are Some Complaints I Have About It.” Just for the giggles of it I made the corresponding banner so you can see what I’m talking about:

This looks and sounds stupid.

I think I might get shit on for writing this post. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has been so well-loved and well-received by nearly everyone that I myself just can’t get into. The only other book that comes close, I think, was the terrible Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiosiakawakaia, and I really don’t understand how I haven’t written a post about that awful fucking book yet. This puts me in a strange mindset: maybe the people that like this book — everyone that is — are wrong? Or maybe they all see the obvious wonder and greatness of this book and I’m the only idiot that doesn’t “get it.” I’m leaning towards the latter because why wouldn’t I? Seriously though, my supervisor has read the book and loved it. Her brother is currently reading the book and loves it. A few bloggers I follow have written about the book and they appeared to have also loved the book. Goodreads gives the book a 4 out of 5 which for Goodreads standards is amazing. Reviews on Amazon have also given the book a 4.6 out of 5, which, yeah, is really good. The consensus is that the book is good. And I don’t feel that way somehow.

I also want to say that I’m ignorant of any “controversy” that Peterson is apparently known for. I went into the book being a clean slate of opinions on Peterson himself, so this slightly grumpy post has nothing to do with me thinking he’s a bad person or being mad about whatever the hell it was that pissed people off. I don’t know about any of it.

Currently, I’m about a quarter of the way halfway through the book. (This is considering that reading three six out of the twelve rules should be a quarter halfway at least. I don’t know how much Peterson decides to rant after the twelfth rule either. It could be a lot.) and while it is a bit early to start critiquing things I’ve noticed a pattern that has been driving me bonkers while reading. I think it’s his writing style. Or his tone. I don’t really know how to sum it up but the book makes me angry when I read it, and sometimes irrationally so.

The problem is not that I disagree with the rules, it’s that I don’t like how he goes about explaining the rules. The first six rules are rather straightforward and (you’d think) should require little in the way of explanation. Rule one is to stand up straight (basically). To have good posture. Rule two is to treat yourself like another person in terms of your self care. That one seemed like it needed a bit of explaining so okay, fine. Rule three is to only have friends that want the best for you. Sounds good to me. Four is about comparing yourself only to who you used to be and not to others. Great one! Rule five: don’t let your kids be jackasses. Yes, agreed. And rule six is don’t shoot up schools/workplaces to only criticize others when your own affairs are in order. And with number six I could see some explaining being required.

The first thing I noted was that Peterson’s chapters are long. Not actually long but consistently longer than I think they need to be. He seems to explain his steps in such a vague and roundabout way that I’m continually wanting him to just wrap things up and move onto the next step. I’ll find myself thinking, “Okay, I get it! Wrap this shit up!” and upon realizing there are ten remaining pages to a chapter wondering why the hell he needs ten pages to make his point. This is made worse by the straightforwardness of most of the steps. I feel that four out of the six are relatively easy to grasp the logic behind so a quick summary should suffice. Nope. Peterson needs to take up thirty pages to make his point on nearly every rule.

Rule two was especially painful to slough through. Summing up his actual reasoning goes something like this: we care for others more than we care for ourselves. He starts off by saying that people frequently don’t take prescribed medicine but are more than happy to give medicine to their dogs or another person they care about. In short, take the care and love you have for others and apply it to yourself! Care about yourself as if you’re in charge of being a third person in charge of yourself! It makes sense and it’s a wonderful way of looking at life.

How does Peterson actually go about explaining this though? He basically uses the thought process from above, but the topic rambles on and on about order and chaos, somehow equating masculinity to order and femininity to chaos. He also gives like a play-by-play of the biblical “fall of man” story from Genesis and while it’s interesting to read even I’m not sure how it plays into caring for yourself despite having recently read the chapter. I can’t recall much of the rambling. I think Peterson was talking about our inherent hatred for ourselves or something. Who knows. It was struggling through this randomness that I found myself wanting him to just get to his point. Wishing for a clear, “This is my rule, and this is how I came upon my rule.”

You have to give Peterson credit for getting people, and myself, riled up though. Check out what I wrote at the end of chapter two; I let loose on the book and this is the first and only time I recall being so angry that I started writing a small essay in the book itself.

IT’S TIME TO RANT BOIS

I get the impression that Peterson likes to hear himself talk or is very cocky about himself. Self-esteem is nice to have but it comes across in a negative way if you overdo it and this is the vibe I get from the book. It seems like he had an offer to write a book about his rules of life (which the introduction conceitedly titled “Overture” describes) and just started packing it full of unnecessary worldview and philosophical things, sort of showing off how smart, wise, and talented he is or something. At best parts of the book like this seem unnecessary, at worst they come off as gratingly self-aggrandizing.

Once again to stress my conflictedness here: I like the twelve rules so far. Each rule that I’ve read through seems legit enough to adopt into my life. I haven’t came across a single rule where I’ve shaken my head and thought, “Nope. Peterson is full of shit. I’m not following that rule.” Everything makes sense. It’s just the writing and style of the book that pisses me off.

But I have to admit it’s nice to not enjoy a book as much as you’d think you’d enjoy it. Whenever I read self-help books I usually find myself agreeing with the author too much; after all, a published writer with a wildly successful book can’t be wrong, right? I’ve always been wary of this like it’s a sign that I’m too gullible with my reading or something. So it’s refreshing to actually disagree with someone for once and to be reminded that books are written by flawed and opinionated humans just like myself who could be wrong, or at the very least are someone I don’t have to automatically agree with. In this aspect 12 Rules is stupidly refreshing to read. It gets me thinking. It gets me saying to myself, “Huh? That’s fucking stupid.” It gets my blood boiling. It makes me write paragraph-long rants at the end of each chapter bitching about what Peterson has written. But somehow at the same time I mostly agree with the book. His twelve rules are something that I really think about adopting into my own life. The book is good, I just wish Peterson would keep his ranting a bit more on topic, or not come across as so confident that he appears overwhelmingly cocky and stuck on himself. But those are just like, my opinions, man.