Tag Archives: depression

Embrace Failure.

You took a chance.  You ignored everyone who told you not to.  You tightened your belt, clenched your fists, and believed with all your heart that you were going to make your dreams a reality.  Each day demanded your blood, sweat, and tears.

And then, finally, after having invested so much into your dream, you encounter your first major failure.  Your book is fundamentally flawed, the writing barely a step above novice.  Your business model is unsustainable.  You didn’t pass the exam.

The thought of your failure is overwhelming.  Your breathing is constricted, your chest throbs with dull pain, your knees wobble.  You remember all the people who you told of your inevitable success.  You’re going to collapse.  What will they think?  Your failure is a big, lighted sign announcing to the world that they were right all along not to believe in you.  You think about how you aren’t special.  You think about how you should’ve fallen in line with the rest of them, just as you were meant to.  

Your legs buckle and you hit the floor.  The pain distracts you for a moment, and for that you are thankful, but the emotions catch up quickly.  Your face rests in a puddle of fresh tears.  You tried, and you failed.  It’s over.  It’s all over.

I’m here to tell you it’s not over.  

Get up from the floor and stand up straight.  Wipe your face dry with your sleeve.  Breathe in as deep as you can.  Cold air rushes into your lungs like an avalanche.  

Embrace your failure.  Learn to respect failure.  Your failure is a badge of honor — wear it with pride.  You attempted something great.

You seem calmer now.  Good.  Think about your project.  What did you do wrong?  How can you improve?  What have you learned?  If the answers don’t come easy, keep thinking — they will come.  Study.  Research.  Question.  

Why?  

You still want this.

Spent too much time already, too much energy already.

Don’t let laziness rule your future.  Few succeed overnight.  Remember what motivated you in the first place.  Remember the life that awaits you if you stop now.  Don’t let yourself post-rationalize.  Visualize everything.  Don’t hold back.  You still want this dream, dammit.

Can’t handle another failure.

Every failure makes you better if you make an effort to learn from your mistakes.  Failures are not dead ends.  Failures are steps forward.  With each failure, you inch closer and closer to your goal.  If you have not succeeded, then you are moving closer.  Always remember that.

It’s not over until you decide that it is.  

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A beautiful quote from Miguel de Cervantes.

Busy evening, but I wanted to share this quote from the author of Don Quixote.

“I have lived nearly fifty years, and I have seen life as it is.

Pain, misery, hunger….cruelty beyond belief.
I have heard the singing from taverns
and the moan from bundles of filth on the streets.
I have been a soldier and have seen my comrades fall in battle…
Or die more slowly under the lash in Africa.
I have held them in my arms in the final moment.
These were the men, who saw life as it is,
Yet they died despairing.
No glory, no gallant last words… only their eyes filled with confusion,
Whimpering the question,  

‘Why?’

I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived.

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?
Perhaps to be too practical is madness.
To surrender dreams – this may be madness.
To seek treasure where there is only trash.
Too much sanity may be madness – and maddest of all:
To see life as it is, and not as it should be.”

To me, this sort of inspiration is particularly poignant because it is not blind to the realities of our existence. It runs in stark contrast to the popular quote, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Here, however, Miguel de Cervantes is inspired to think differently and to dream big after having been exposed to the morbid realities of war.

In other words, life can be depressing as hell. It is of no benefit to pretend that the universe will reward us, always. We should accept that life has the potential to be extraordinarily shitty, and we should use this dissatisfaction to shape a new, less risk-averse perspective. It is then that we will thrive.

Life hurts sometimes. It hurts a lot of the time. But you must keep dreaming.

Keep dreaming.

Depression and the Dreamer: My Story

Ever since my voice first cracked, depression became a major problem. At first, it was the acne, then my seemingly permanent braces, and finally, a vague, deepening feeling of insecurity. I was refugee skinny, my face was weak, and I would wake up every morning, stare at my mirror image, and think of all the structural changes that I wished my genetics had determined instead. A bit of bone here, a little less hair there, a smidgen more muscle everywhere. I was ugly. That was my view of myself, and it influenced everything about me.

But I made it through high school relatively unscathed, mostly because I pushed myself to be active in athletics, earned high marks in my classes, and developed a sense of humor that earned me friends enough that I was sure I was a person of value, even if I was physically unattractive. Importantly, I forced myself to discover and cultivate aspects of my personality that gave me a feeling of value as a human being.

Unfortunately, my depression was not left behind in high school. The unique pressures of college introduced new and even greater problems. In college, though my looks transformed – many even thought I was attractive (oh happy day!) – I found myself struggling with my social self-worth. I met great people and was part of a fun group, but I was no longer the center of attention, a role that I had grown used to in high school as the ‘clown’. My social anxiety and insecurity, however, was ultimately minor in comparison to new issues concerning my academics and career path, and what followed was the most severe, long-lasting depression of my life.

But let’s backtrack to the beginning of college. Continue reading