"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you at all." Change is that unique spice that gets thrown into the mix of life, and we all get to experience it. And yet, change is not something we tend to get on with easily because most of us have grown up with the notion that change is potentially something "troublesome" or even dangerous when in fact it could be easily just another beginning of a new exciting and exhilarating adventure!
Depression is a filthy thing; we instinctively recoil from it. Yet it keeps coming until we can’t ignore it anymore, constantly stinging us, never satisfied. Its filthiest effect might be its ability to silence our expression of pain.
On March 9, 2016, I began a journey to get healthier by going to the gym. I have been every day, rain or shine, since. Yes, I know that I am not supposed to go to the gym every day as evidenced by the rolled eyeballs of any trainer with whom I've spoken. People are not supposed to go to the gym every day. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of guy so I committed to going every day. Whether I felt great or not I went for at least thirty minutes, at the very minimum walking slowly on the treadmill. Most of the time, however, it was far more intense than that for between thirty and sixty minutes.
Hands up if you’ve ever had a traumatic experience that you felt changed you. I’ll go first: in 2010 I had my colon removed due to cancer, and shortly after that I found out I had Lynch syndrome, which is a genetic condition that makes me more likely to get certain types of cancer in the future. I’ve written a lot about these experiences, particularly about how they have affected me emotionally. I’ve also thought a lot about how they have changed me as a person, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it hasn’t all been negative. In some ways, I’ve even changed for the better. Here are three things to think about that may help you feel better about your bad experiences too, whatever those may be.
Recognition of the effects of ‘frostbite.' It wasn’t the first time I’d seen this affliction in myself; the frostbite of the Digital Winter. I’d been suffering this disconnectedness for years sleepwalking, like those New Yorkers on the train, into the cold.
What happens when you head to the doctor and later receive a call about the rest of your life?
That was my chapter of a book I believed was coming to an end. Yet despite all of my faltering emotions over the past weeks, I came out stronger and learned the most important lesson when you receive life-changing news…
If I look back, I would not be where I am and happy as I am today if I wouldn’t have had the courage to be different, authentic, deal with social pressure and go after my dreams, despite all the silly rumours about my life, and so many people trying to persuade me out of what I wanted, thinking that they “know” what would be the right decision for me.
As a law student and lawyer, I tried to think my way to a better life. I tried to think my way out of my depression. I failed completely. By the time I realized I had to stop thinking, I was mired in student debt, working at a job I hated, and taking pills every day just to get by. I still take antidepressants, but the other things have changed. How? I had to let go of my ruminating, overthinking rational self, and let intuition guide me to the answer. When you listen, the small voice of intuition speaks wise words.