Here I am trying to think of what to write not knowing what to write but insisting that I write……What that means to me is that I have been able to be consistent in what I set out to do. I don’t feel like writing now but I do it because I made the decision to do it in the past. This is one of the secret Shaolin fighting monk techniques of mastering your own life….a.k.a. how I started to take responsibility for my own life!
Three years ago……(really cool scooby doo flashback music playing)
I was fresh into a divorce and enrolled in counseling for the worst depression I have ever experienced. I had taken a leave of absence from ministry (I am a Minister. Don’t get all weird on me!). I was maintaining but not sustaining anything. It was hard to get out of bed in the morning. I would wake up around 6am and just lay there until 8 or 9. No tv or music. Just lying there I’d cry, look up, try to fall back asleep, sometimes smoke a cigarette….anything to escape or deny my reality. My life wasn’t my life, it was an auto-piloted chamber of torment…on two legs!
My Choices: Escape, Evade, or Explode!
One lesson I learned about mental and emotional isolation….it’s lonely. When you’re alone you are always outnumbered (that’s a good quote for a fb status or tweet eh!? -bowing-). My breakthrough started when I realized a profound truth after visiting a very dear friend who was in the hospital on life support. He had battled with alcoholism for most of his adult life and had seen tremendous struggle throughout his life with other issues, but despite all this he was a very good man who I respected. His family was around his bed and I heard his daughter make a remark that I will never forget. She said: “It’s his own fault, he put his self there.” And just like that, they left the room and went on with their day.
What lesson did I learn? In the face of your own personal devastation and trials people either don’t care or don’t have enough capacity to carry you along with their own problems. The majority of people are too preoccupied with their own issues to weigh in on yours.
It’s a waste of time to look for people to feel sorry for you! And guess what else? It’s a waste of time to feel sorry for yourself.
I began to take responsibility for my recovery and get awesome! It’s been a road of making decisions and managing those decisions. In time I have learned that the battle with depression, much like most inner battles, never ceases but attacks in waves. It’s like those good ol kung fu movies where waves of assassins would come and attack a master. The greater the master the more the attacks! Well I must be a Grand Master because the attacks are many and…yet…I am still standing strong! I have continually kicked the crap out of my struggles with esteem, depression, anger, and impatience by secret techniques acquired by years of awesome life design techniques I’ve picked up and committed myself to.
#1 Soul Care “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body”- C.S. Lewis
My first step in training to become a Master began with seeing how weak and powerless I was. If your drowning in the middle of the ocean then you need to be ready to receive help…if you don’t want to die. I got counseling from Todd, a great counselor at CCEF. Life deals some devastating hits to us and the place of impact is your soul. It must be cared for and protected as you do your own eyes. If I pluck at your eyes you instinctively guard your face, well Daniel-son you must instinctively care for your own soul!!
Make a declaration of absolute war against every impulse of the soul to be violent towards other people! That means selfishness, pride, dishonestly, falsehood, deception, manipulation, etc.
#2 Embrace Change, expect failure, calm the heck down!
Change has always been hardest for me to handle. Positive change or negative change, I’ve never liked either. I like to remain in my comfort zone. That’s not safe. Change is always going to come and life has lots of turns and bends. Guess what? Change can be very good!! Not always, but most times breakdowns are optional! Your reaction to life events is a result of preparation and perspective.
Paralyzed by failure, or the fear thereof?
Those circumstances that paralyze you can lead to breakthroughs! John Maxwell wrote a book called Failing Forward. It’s a totally great read to change your perspective on failure! I highly recommend it.
make change a part of your regular routine.
You will fail and make mistakes, pressure will be a regular occurrence. The payout: a vaccination against future uncontrollable circumstances that would otherwise shock and intimidate you.
Honestly speaking, I have days where I am too excited to stay in bed. I have plans and goals that are so big, so overwhelmingly lofty, so full of potential to break people out of their own monotonous existence that I get poised in my purpose and get moving.
You need a vision plan! (I’ll be writing more in this soon in my post on world domination n 2011. Don’t forget to subscribe)
#4 Dethrone Every Freakin Person you meet
One of my biggest struggles was with making idols out of people. I picked up a copy of Ed Welch‘s book When People are Big and God is Small and I have never been the same. When we learn to see people as fallible, fallen, and fractured just like us we get empowered to love and not be leveled by our relationships. Here‘s a synopsis of the book by Justin Taylor.
#5 Theme Music
Yep! I said theme music. I have seen and experienced first hand the effect music can have on you. Music can lift your spirit, calm your soul, or heat up a steamy moment (you know what I’m talking about!). You need the right playlist to get you amped, focused, and motivated. Check out this article on music’s effects on the brain
Of course this is not the exhaustive guide to conquering depression. Not even close. This is my story of a battle, a struggle, a besieging of my soul that I have fought against (was that not the best Shakespearean comment you ever heard!?). My hope is that as you read and think about what’s been said here you will get girded up with your own techniques to be a conqueror in fighting for your life…and win!
For exciting dynamite kick-butt advice read 10 Resolutions for Mental Heath here
Note/Disclaimer: If you feel depressed or think you have a mental/emotional condition I encourage you to seek counsel immediately. Go to a doctor or find a counselor here if you are in or near Philadelphia. If you want to hurt yourself or someone else PLEASE stop and get emergency help. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU!