The funny thing about depression is that everyone has experienced it, but very few people want to admit it.
This is one of my favorite Ted Talks. I can’t remember the exact quote, or whether it was in a different video, but the speaker relates a story where a husband and wife come up to him after his talk on depression. Each one tells him that they have felt depression, and each one asks him not to mention that fact to their spouse.
There’s so much more to Running on Empty than what you’re feeling right now.
During my years of struggle trying to make it as a professional tennis player, there were three companions I could count on: my personal demons; depression; and Jackson Browne.
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.
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.
Who wouldn’t be bummed out about the last four years we have watched a toxic agent infect the White House and every institution in the land?
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.