So Life Goes On… Unfortunately   16 comments

At the time of my last post, I was finishing up my work for the school year at Lynchburg College library.  I get furloughed during the summer months, which punches holes in our finances.  Even when I am working, I don’t make quite enough to cover our basic expenses, so our savings are slowly dwindling.  I applied for numerous summer jobs, but no one was interested.  Three years ago I started a lawn service to try to cover the summer deficit, but I discovered that putting out flyers got me very few customers.  Though I really enjoy yard work, I hate–really hate–sales, and in order to get customers I have to sell myself (the most loathsome form of  marketing to me).

Being depressed gives me no energy for that kind of entrepreneur activity… or for most other things that are needed in this world to sustain life.  I enjoy my library work, and it gives me a distraction from depression.  Now I wake up every morning miserable, and though it doesn’t improve my feelings, I have fallen into the habit of doing house projects to distract myself.  Hey, if there’s nothing I can do to make myself feel better, I may as well get stuff done.

But for the last few days, it all seems so pointless.  Why should I pull the weeds or repair the rocker or wheelbarrow when neither the work nor the results give me pleasure?  My active depression actually pushed me to work on projects just to help me get through the day, but for the last three mornings, I have not woken unhappy.  So I still have very little energy, but now even less incentive… not that it matters.  Nothing really matters.  When life is reduced to simply finding the least painful way to survive each day, what is the point?


Posted June 4, 2013 by janathangrace in Personal

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16 responses to “So Life Goes On… Unfortunately

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  1. Hang in there, brother. As Richard Rohr says, everything belongs.

  2. Nothing really matters. Interesting thought indeed.
    I think you need to stay busy, but selling yourself is really the only job you ever really have. You need to embrace selling yourself. Waller around in it. Feel dirty by it. Then embrace it. You have skills. You are funny. You are smart. You are a hard worker. Why don’t you work hard telling someone about it. You promote yourself on this blog. You are selling yourself (and your misery) here…. And hard at it I may add. I really do not know what you have been through, but I know a pitty party when I see one. If you would sell yourself as much as you sell your misery you would be a very happy man… And richer to boot.
    Love you man,

    • Greg, I appreciate you recognizing and sharing about some attributes you see in me. I wonder if there are other readers who share your analysis of my problem and the solution you recommend. You apparently feel I need a “kick in the pants” to get me to take the path you believe is for my best and that I seem to be resisting to my own detriment, a “pity party” as you call it. This is a very common accusation towards those who struggle with depression and its enervating effects, so let’s take a look at it.
      Self-sympathy and self-caring are healthy psychological responses to pain. The extreme in one direction from this is self-hatred and self-abuse, and in the other direction narcissism. Milder forms of unhealth would be ignoring one’s pain (stoicism, denial), usually as a result of shame and/or pride or on the other hand self-indulgence (commonly called “self pity”). Those like myself who have spent their lives ignoring their own pain are very unlikely to fall into self-indulgence because everything in us screams against it. Our problem is not having an unhealthy excess of self-concern, but of having too little self-concern.

      • I am not meaning to be harsh or unsympathetic. I am thinking reading your blog that you are saddened by lack of finances (a) and hate asking others for work / self promotion (b), therefore you are depressed by this and other trauma in you have suffered through the years. In my mind you need to fix (a) by absolutely doing (b) what you despise the most. Wrapping your brain around the solution also brings on more depression and anxiety.
        You need to embrace the “no’s” in life. There is a book about that. A failing, depressed, unmotivated salesman down on his luck and broke started “going for the no’s” and stopped worrying about the yeses. His goal was to get 50 no’s a day. No matter what. Guess what happened? He got plenty of yeses along the way and became a sales god.
        Go for some no’s. if I find that book I will link it to you.
        Ask Dan about that passage in Matthew about the Lillies of the field and the birds having God take care of them. How much more will God take care of us. ( what is unspoken in this passage is the little birds must fly around and catch the bugs and dig for the worms, and the lillies have to
        grow their roots through the rocky soil) God will take care of you but you have to ask for the no’s.

      • Greg, I appreciate you taking the time and effort to try to be helpful. The psychological, spiritual, and relational issues involved are complex, far too involved to try to describe here. Suffice it to say that the source of my emotional struggles are not financial, so the solution is not financial. Financial stressors add to the negative experience of life, but your solution (simply force myself to do what is loathsome) is the approach I took my whole life and proved disastrous to me. I didn’t blog my experiences here in order to get advice or even to get encouragement, but rather to give, to offer an honest expression of life as it is right now for me. Many find such honesty to be encouraging. You may not understand that or find it beneficial for you personally, and that’s okay. To each his own.

      • My bad sir. I did not mean to offend. I tend to be a problem solver. I saw a problem and a solution. I will mind my own business now. Like Forrest Gump, “I did not mean to ruin your Black Panther party.”
        Take care of yourself,

      • No offense taken, Greg.

  3. I can relate! I loathe marketing myself, but the need calls. Unemployed and near the end of my dwindling savings, I’m overwhelmed. I’ve tried outside the box, inside the box, and around the box, yet my labors unfruitful. I cling to one thing…tomorrow. Always a new day, with new hope and new possibilities. Do what you can today…it could be the very thing that yields your tomorrow.

    • I’m so sorry for your struggles. Unemployment or under-employment has so many stressors and demoralizers attached to it. May you find sympathy and support from friends and family sufficient to keep you going till the daylight brings relief.

  4. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Psalm 31 … praying for grace to see as you walk through another valley. Love you, friend! Dan

  5. Janathan,

    Thank you for your honesty in this post. It’s hard to be honest about how we’re feeling in the moment: vulnerability takes courage. Keep your eyes and heart open…grace usually sneaks up on us when we least expect it.

    Thinking of you.

  6. Thanks for reading, Kim, and for listening. And for understanding, truly understanding… unfortunately for you, that comes at the price of having suffered deeply. May you also find sustenance for your soul today.

  7. Hi Janathan. I haven’t been writing as I’ve been suffering through a depression relapse…something I never expected so was not prepared for. (though I’m not sure how one really prepares for such a thing) I’m learning this struggle and journey in my life may look different than I’d like. Learning to accept that and not fight it is where I”m at now and I guess only grace can make that possible. Coming to your blog and reading your honest reflections has been a bit of a lifeline for me lately.

  8. Katybeth, I’m sorry to hear of your depression. I know that when my depression increases I lose any interest in posting. Unlike others who find relief in writing down their feelings, it just feels like a heavy and unwanted task for which I have no energy. I’m glad that what I share of my own struggles can be an encouragement to you. Thanks for sharing that as it is an encouragement to me–I would post more often if I got more encouragements like that… otherwise it just feels like I’m shouting into an empty space. I hope you can find others to share with who will understand and support you. A caring, accepting community is so very important for our emotional health. My thoughts are with you tonight. Janathan

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