The funny thing about depression is that everyone has experienced it, but very few people want to admit it.

There’s so much more to Running on Empty than what you’re feeling right now.

Running on Empty was one of my favorite songs ever.

For me, the problem wasn't running on empty; we all crash and burn at some point. The real problem was running blind.

Without a true purpose and an ability to see the bigger picture, the temporary frustration, loneliness and failure can feel unbearable.

But it’s not only okay to quit some times, it can save lives. I read a great article (which I now can’t find) by a guy who tried to climb in the Himilayas, suffered altitude sickness and would have surely died had he not turned back.

In the second stanza, Browne talks about the struggle every artist must face between our inner passion and the need to make a living:

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it, with what you do to survive

They are two different things. The love of writing, like any form of personal expression, is an internal process completely within your control.

The desire for fame and money are results that involve external feedback from factors and people over which you have very little control.

I’m glad you were able to come to a place where you could recognize it’s okay to be empty, and that the advice from all those go-getters (who already have or will in the future crash and burn) is bullshit.

As I matured and worked through so many issues, I grew more and more attracted to the power of the bridge:

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone, but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

The reality is, the people we see as successful are just as lost and depressed as us:

Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes, I see them running too

And sometimes, depression is the only logical reaction to the stew of racism, fascism, commercialism, personal loss, growing old and facing our own mortality.

Let’s hope that every person can find a way to turn their depression back into the more pure emotions of grief and anger and harness that energy to save ourselves and our nation.

I know I’m late reading your article and you’re already coming out the other end, but my encouragement was written just as much for me as it was for you. And if these words help anyone else who happens to read them, so much the better.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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