Christmas, Holiday Cheer, Office Party Season and DEPRESSION
In today’s world, we are more transient, mobile and dare I say it, unsettled more than ever. For many of us, this is a non-issue, as we are in tune with all the technological advances and the various different social changes that we have undergone as we move towards a more global community (for better or for worse, depending on how you perceive it). However, lost in all the holiday merriment, the giving in good cheer and the eating, drinking and what not that generally takes place during this time of year, there is a large swath of people who undergo serious bouts of depression around this time of year.
HOW CAN YOU BE DEPRESSED WITH ALL THIS FOOD, FINE WINES AND LIQUOR, AND THAT STIFF-NECKED BROAD AT WORK WHO YOU SEE GETTING LOOSE AT THE OFFICE PARTY?
I do not make light of depression. I’ve been through bouts of it — and not anymore profoundly than when I actually had the MOST material things. People around me at the time (2000-2005) were envious of me, because I drove a fresh sports car, was always in fly gear, had every designer cologne, always with a pocket full of money, could travel at almost any time and was dabbling in real estate, amongst other things. But by the middle of 2004, I was depressed as I had ever been. A few years earlier, I couldn’t understand how Deion Sanders wanted to off himself when he drove his car off the side of a road intentionally when he was in his mid-20s.
But after that depressing year, I could fully relate.
Having material things is an empty feeling if you get the axiom twisted. God gives us life to enjoy things, not things to enjoy life. Life should be appreciated and gratifying; despite the peaks and valleys — which, if handled with wisdom, offer the spice that life needs to make it worthwhile and memory-inducing for later in life. However, when life becomes a pursuit for the acquisition of material things, many end at the same point: drug-addled, alcohol dependent, sexually deviant, and ultimately depressed (among other things) once they realize they’ve chased a mirage for years, only to find it is a hollow feeling.
I’ve done it, I know.
At any given point, I had $1,000 in cash in my wallet, almost $100,000 in available credit on hand and all the freedom in the world. Yes, selling off my Aetna stock really helped pad my financial ledger, but I will honestly say that I was never at my most fulfilled outside of my childhood years (ages 4-14), my early college years back in the day in Brooklyn, when I was broke as LeBron James’ jump shot, and, for the MOST PART, during the wilderness experience that I came out of after spending five solid years struggling at an unprecedented level in my life from May 2006 until September 2011. I had no personal reference with which to guide me through, outside of my faith in the LORD and the prayers of others. I still wonder how I got through. I hadn’t had a full-time job since I left Aetna in August of 2005. Somehow, I made it without being homeless (short of a few days in 2010) and starving at any time. Rarely was I depressed, although the summertime was always a waste, and I could never travel nor date anyone, because I could barely support myself. Only a steady influx of paltry student refunds from my past eight straight years in college, unemployment benefits, tax refunds and side hustling (every non-rich New Yorker must have one in order to even tread water, much less prosper) kept me from being completely homeless.
I say all that to say this:
DEPRESSION STEMS FROM TOO MUCH FOCUS ON ONE’S SELF AND NOT LOVING UPON OTHERS.
Some people will read that and think it is some religious banter. I am not of that cloth nor the ilk who cites empty “church speak”, but trust me when I say that this is true. People who are depressed rarely have their thoughts and motives on outward things — that is, the matters and affairs of others, not just their own selfish pursuits. Even ‘good people’ suffer with depression at times, even while doing countless good acts for others. Self-focus is not the ONLY cause for depression, but it IS the thing that prevents people from breaking free from depression.
During the holidays, many people are displaced. Some live outside of the reach of any close relatives. Some just suffered a recent breakup. Some are under social pressure to be “booed up”, especially during what I’ve called “Cuffin’ Season” for about a decade now. Some are under that same social pressure 24/7/365 to be with someone, even if it is for the sake of just being with someone and not being alone; no matter how misaligned they may be with that person. Nothing is gender-specific when it comes to issues relating to relationships, life and, in this case, depression.
Men and women both undergo bouts of depression during November and December. Black, White, Latino, Asian, Arab, rich, poor, northerner, southerner, fat, skinny, thick, everything in between, ugly, pretty, educated, imbecilic, you name it. Everyone is a target.
Let’s not get lost in our own enjoyment and forget those who are suffering. Yes, we are all responsible for our individual happiness, but even if you have to drag someone by the hand and force them to come to a party or a social gathering, do so. People do many reckless things this time of year out of desperation, (perceived) need for attention and the depression that most often (during this time of year) stems from a desire to be with someone, but the inability to actually see that come to fruition.
Personally, I made a pledge not to date this entire year, and I haven’t. I want the next relationship I enter into (God-willing) to be the one that propels us to marriage. I do not have the time nor desire to deal with anymore BS, especially after being made to pay for the actions of another man by a woman who I was the closest that I’ve ever been to being in love with in 2010. I refuse to get with someone just for the sake of it. I know this may be slightly easier (personally, it is as easy as breathing, because I already value my “Me” time as reflectionary, time to accomplish many things and come up with the things that people marvel that I even know about — things I couldn’t do while dealing with a drama queen, solely because I didn’t want to be alone). For many, not all, women, this is a lot easier said than done. Especially when they are around family who pressures them about marrying and having children. Or when all their friends are married, have/are about to have children, engaged or in a relationship erstwhile. No one likes being the Third Wheel every time they go out. However, dignity comes before dishonor and ultimately, before depression. Some people sacrifice their dignity just to avoid the lonely feelings. Personally, I never find enough hours in any day to get the plethora of things accomplished that are wizzing through my head 100 MPH from the moment I wake up until I pop pills just to shut my brain off for five hours, if I’m ever to get any sleep at all.
I know I am a rare breed, though, so I am sympathetic and even empathetic to an extent, for those who are dealing.
That said, we are two weeks preceding the end of a swift 2011 calendar year. Some people dread this time of year, I see it as an opportunity to maximize a lot of company-offered free time to make a ton of moves and propel myself toward 2012. If God wills, then I will meet the right woman for me, but in the meantime, I’m building. So should any of you who are dreading being alone and sometimes the loneliness that comes when you are not close to family, friends and (seemingly) all your friends are off traveling, having fun, are married, on their way to being married or are enamored with their significant other during this time of year. Easier said than done, but take it from someone who understands and is empathetic, you have a great opportunity to give yourself a leg up on a ton of people by positioning yourself for a great year in 2012, rather than sulk and be sour and depressed because your life doesn’t match the lyrics to one of those off-base “Christmas songs.”
BESIDES, trying to make a depressed person happy is like pouring 150-year old Louis XIII into a broken cistern, an UTTER WASTE.