Reactive vs Endogenous

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This particular post is one that was requested when I was asked what my trigger was for my depression.  It was something that not many people have heard about, as they don’t realise there are a couple of different types of depression, so the person I was talking to requested that I write an article about it.  Let’s have a look!

Reactive vs Endogenous

When I went to see the therapist for my CBT therapy, he did his best to try and find a trigger for my depression.  A lot of the time, there is something that has set it all in motion, which has triggered those feelings of sadness and, thus, culminated in the diagnosis of “depression”.  As he probed, asking question after question, he was increasingly puzzled as there was nothing forthcoming that seemed to be a trigger of any kind.  We went through an extensive list of different things that have happened in my life. Significant break-up?  Death in the family?  I’m sure you can imagine the sorts of questions.  In short, there was nothing.

I had no trigger.

Admittedly, I still haven’t found a trigger, we don’t know what has caused this yet.  Still, it led him to diagnose me with endogenous depression.  That, naturally, then led to the question: what is endogenous depression?  Well, let me tell you.

Reactive Depression

To explain what endogenous depression is, I must first explain reactive depression to you.  This one is the more common of the two and the one that people are more aware of.  According to PatientsLikeMe.com, Reactive Depression is “An inappropriate state of depression that is precipitated by events in the person’s life arising as a consequence of severe life events.”  In other words, it is exactly what it says on the tin: reactive.

One of the most obvious examples to this would be a significant break-up. If your depression is caused because of that then it is known as reactive. Similarly, although it has to be distinguished from normal grief, depression as a result of a death in the family or someone close to you is also reactive.

In a nutshell, reactive depression is the most common type of depression that people identify.  There are almost always triggers for depression, some event that has precipitated the onset of depression.  This is true for most people, at least according to the therapist that I spoke to.

So what does that make endogenous depression?

Endogenous Depression

According to that same therapist, endogenous depression is the other side of the coin.  HealthLine says that it isn’t widely diagnosed, which is probably why not many people have heard of it.  I’d certainly never heard of it when my therapist mentioned it to me, which is probably where my own curiosity into it came from.

So, as far as what it says on the tin, endogenous depression is the opposite of reactive depression.  Endogenous, according to the dictionary, means: “not attributable to any external or environmental factor.”  With this in mind, it stands to reason that endogenous depression would, therefore, be a type of depression with no discernible cause.

My therapist says that’s what I have.

You see, out of all the normal questions that he has to ask, no answers were forthcoming.  For my depression, there seems to be no trigger at all, which suggests that it is endogenous.  Now – again, according to HealthLine – endogenous depression is usually put down to a combination of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors.  They say it occurs without any obvious trigger and the symptoms can often appear suddenly and for no apparent reason.

What Do You Think?

Do you think these two types of depression are basically the same thing? Do you think the professionals are making mountains out of molehills and over-complicating the situation?  It’s got potential.  Myself, I think I’m inclined to believe them…

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Shamelessly Me

Shamelessly Me

My life is good. I have a loving network of family and friends around me. I love my work. I manage financially. I am fit. I have hobbies. I write. I have a full life. I am healthy. But am I?

This is what my anxiety is about. Health. This is what happens to me. I have a symptom; racing heart, tingling on my tongue, lump on my toe, pain around my ribs. All symptoms that can be attributed to something innocent, but not for me, MY symptoms are serious, probably life threatening.  I then dwell on these symptoms, imagining the worse. As my anxiety increases, unsurprisingly, so do my symptoms. This then becomes the next 4,5,6,7 or 8 days worrying about what’s wrong with me, until the symptoms just disappear, or I give in and go to the GP for reassurance.

In some ways I am lucky with my anxiety (I’m writing this on a good day!!). I manage to function normally, being a Mum, being a partner, working, running the house (though maybe not cleaning, but I can’t blame the anxiety for that!). Anxiety doesn’t stop doing things; I generally don’t let it. I know for some anxiety sufferers that this is a place they’d love to be with their anxiety; I know how debilitating it can be. So for that I feel grateful.

In my head, although on the outside I am functioning well, a lot of the time on the inside it’s a different story.  I obsess. I worry. I spend a lot of time being frightened. I fear the worse. I catastrophise. It’s tiring! I also struggle with the selfishness I perceive that I have; it’s all about me after all!

I do have my ways of coping and helping to alleviate my anxiety.  If I don’t exercise, I feel worse. I think this would be one of my biggest positive step tips to others suffering with stress, anxiety or depression. Get out there and exercise.  A walk, a jog, the gym, a team sport; anything physical that you enjoy. For me it is being outside, running or walking.  My state of mind is totally different after I’ve exercised. Truly, you must try this if you haven’t already.

My other coping strategies are yoga, meditation, practising mindfulness, practising gratitude, writing a bullet journal. I also started blogging about my anxiety in June 2016.  The thing I have realised is that these strategies should become day-to-day activities, just part of normal life.  I think that helps to alleviate the frequency of bouts of anxiety, and keep everything in check.

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to try and help others. When I woke in the middle of the night with an anxiety attack, and couldn’t calm myself down, I’d head for my Ipad and write in “helping anxiety”, “how to get rid of anxiety”, I found that not a lot came up that helped me. I needed something immediate to try, something to ease my panic NOW. So I started writing about the things I have found help me. None of them have “cured” me, but it helps, and I hope by writing my ideas and thoughts that I might help maybe one person to get some relief.

My last piece of advice;

Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can, and that is enough.

Amy BlytheAmy Blythe is the author of Shamelessly Me, blogging her journey with anxiety.  She uses it to help herself, in a cathartic way, to live with the anxiety that she faces but also to help others.  For more information, check out her website!

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

High-Functioning Depression – A Myth?

High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression is something that’s not talked about a lot.  Whenever I’m on social media, looking through some of the hashtags or talking to the different people on there, I find very few mentions of it.  It’s something I feel needs talking about.  So I’d like to tell you a bit about my depression and how I am a high-functioning depressed person.

When talking about depression, for those who haven’t experienced it personally, people often picture someone like Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh: someone who is gloomy, pessimistic and anhedonic.  If you think of the stereotype, it’s often someone who might look a bit like this:

Does that look familiar?  Your stereotypical, socially-perceived depressed person.  Well, what people don’t always realise is that there are two types of depression.

This one is known as low-functioning depression.  It’s what society commonly perceives to be “depression” and it’s where stigma creates one of the biggest problems for people who are depressed, because it’s “the way we should be”, even though that’s not the case.

The Reality of High-Functioning Depression

As you may have guessed, high-functioning depression is the complete opposite of low-functioning depression.  We don’t get stuck in the funk where we cannot do anything, we don’t spend hours upon hours trapped in our beds, we function more than that.  If anything, we appear to be normal members of society.  That does not, however, mean that we aren’t struggling.  Check out this article by amysboarderlineworld, which sums up what I’m trying to say quite nicely.

You see, we might appear to be normal, functioning members of society but that is an illusion, a myth we have created for others to see.  We struggle, perhaps just as much as someone with low-functioning depression.  We just continue along our lives as though nothing is wrong which, in turn, makes us seem like nothing is wrong.

That is the reality.  The struggle.  People see that we are “normal, functioning members of society” and assume that we are not depressed or anxious (as that’s the thing, it isn’t limited to depression).  Unfortunately, it’s the way it works, for people seem to think we are, for want of a better word, “normal”.

But we’re not.

I’m a High-Functioning Depressed Person

In reality, you won’t see me struggling.  I’m good at hiding it.  Very good at hiding it.  Look for it and you might miss it, because we get on with what we need to do.  I certainly do.  Even on the bad days, I’m frequently plodding along with whatever I need to do.  At work, back when I worked at the bank, I was often on a bad day yet no one knew.  Out of 100 employees who worked in the same office as me, only one person ever frequently picked up on my bad days.  In some cases, I’ve been on self-destructive bad days with blood leaking from self-harm wounds.  It’s not been pretty.

So high-functioning depression and anxiety is something we need more awareness of.  We need to get those discussions going!  In that vein, check out the post from The Mighty below, which will round off my point nicely.

We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression

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The Drugs Don’t Work

The Debate

Lately there’s been a lot of debate about whether antidepressants are a good or bad thing. Many argue that meds are what saved them, others say they cause more problems and feel that they are too easily dished out. To be honest, I am of the opinion that whatever works to help with your mental health condition is going to be unique to you. I’ve done the therapy only route before and it did help me.  However, I’ve had to go down the combined route with antidepressants this time. I’d tried all the techniques I’d learned from therapy previously, but for whatever reason I could not pull myself out of the spiral I’d gone down. I recognise that with the help of medication I am improving. But I am nagged with worry; what happens when the drugs don’t work?

Irrational Fear or Genuine Concern?

What’s plaguing me lately, is that despite being on a high dose of Sertraline and receiving counselling, I feel like I’m drowning. I know I am making progress. After all, I have returned to work. But I constantly feel like I’m fighting just to keep my head above water. Work is leaving me exhausted. Family stresses have been crazy lately. Any tiny glimmer of happiness seems to just get torn to shreds by others or by my own insecurities.

One argument would be that the drowning feeling is coming from trying to deal with too much at once. True. It very well could be. But what if it’s not? What if, for whatever reason, the drugs don’t work for me anymore? I’ll be honest, I find that thought terrifying.

Now before anybody starts panicking that I’m going to ditch my meds, please don’t worry. Thankfully, I know that without them at this point I would  set myself back even further. Coming off antidepressants suddenly can have disastrous side effects. But that’s why I want to document how I’m feeling. I know plenty of sufferers who are tempted to just give up on their medication without speaking to a medical professional first. Some even do it and it tends to not go well.

At some point in everyone’s journey with mental health issues, we can feel that nothing is working. Not therapy or mindfulness or medication. It can all feel futile. After all, why bother with antidepressants or therapy when you don’t feel any better?

Who Says the Drugs Don’t Work?

You see in some respects when these sort of feelings creep up, it would be all to easy to give up and just sink further into the darkness. It can feel inevitable that the illness will win.

If that’s how you are feeling right now, please just hold on. It’s what I’m doing too. I am persevering with my medication and therapy, no matter how pointless my dark passenger tells me it is. I will not let it win. It’s just harder right now, because there is more to deal with than before. Like I told my colleagues on Time to Talk day, I am not fully recovered but I am better than I was even if some days I can’t see it.

I refuse to be the person who says the drugs don’t work. My own experiences with them tell me, whether it’s for short or long-term treatment, they do. They help. I don’t necessarily want to be on them forever and if I can find a way to be able to push back my depressive thoughts and anxiety without them, I will. But if it’s the case that I need them for the rest of my life then that’s okay too.

So instead, I’m going to try something pretty radical for me. I am going to stop saying I’m fine, when I’m anything but. I am going to let myself rest if I need to and not feel guilty for it. Practising self-care even when I’m on good days, as well as the bad ones.

In short I’m not giving up. Maybe the drugs don’t work all the time, but I know that without them I’d be a whole lot worse right now.

Take care, guys.

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#MedsWorkedForMe

The #MedsWorkedForMe Debate

You all know by now that I am frequently on Twitter, interacting with people through the various hashtags, helping them with their mental health struggles.  It’s a part of what we do at Pushing Back the Shadows.  Anyway, while interacting, I’ve come across the debate that’s been going on about antidepressants and other mental health pills.  More specifically: the #MedsWorkedForMe or #MedsDidntWorkForMe debate.

So what’s it all about?

In a nutshell, the debate centres around the effectiveness of medications used in treating mental illnesses.  Scientists are arguing that they have proved antidepressants work, despite many studies previously disproving their effectiveness.  Now, the people of social media have taken to platforms such as Twitter to state whether or not medication worked for them.  In truth, it’s been quite a divisive argument and it seems to be taking two rather extreme approaches:

  1. Medication is absolutely necessary.
  2. Medication doesn’t work at all, therapy is the only route.

Hmm…does anyone else see a problem with this?

Medication Matters

Personally, I find there is a stigma around taking medication for mental health issues that needs to be addressed.  That thought aside, how effective is medication?  Does it work?  Well, I’d say it does.  Granted, medication – particularly antidepressants – come with a large amount of baggage in the form of side-effects, but the long and short of it is that they do work.

But how?

Antidepressant PillsSimply put: they block the symptoms.  Whilst those are crude terms of explaining it, that’s effectively what they do.  While we are struggling with the symptoms of our mental health condition, we are sometimes unable to function or missing key chemicals in our brains. These pills will work on correcting that to bring us back into a better place.  Sometimes the side-effects outweigh the benefits and so some experimentation and tinkering is required, but they do prove to be quite effective.

There are people who will require medication for the rest of their lives – bipolar, for example, is usually treated for life with medication – but there are others who will only require a short burst of medication, a quick fix if you will.  If anything, that quick fix prepares them for therapy.

Therapy

Therapy in itself is the long-term fix.  Instead of simply blocking the symptoms and enabling us to function, it deals with the root cause of the problem and helps us fix that.  Many experts say that it’s through therapy that we heal, that we recover and that we put all the pieces back together.  So it would seem if we want to get better, we need that therapy.

A man receiving therapy.Many people find therapy incredibly beneficial.  Being able to open up about our problems, talk them through with someone impartial to the situation and get advice on how to deal with our situations can be such a benefit.

That said, it doesn’t work for everyone.  My first course of therapy was quite unhelpful.  After deciding to tackle my insomnia as the first port of call, my therapist went through multiple techniques to try and help me sleep.  One by one, I replied that I’d tried them.  Eventually he reached the conclusion that there was no reason why I shouldn’t be sleeping.  Yeah…not so good.

Despite my experience, therapy can certainly be beneficial in dealing with the root cause, putting those fixes into place and helping us move on.

#MedsWorkedForMe and My Thoughts

So which approach is the right one?  Both?  Neither?  It’s a difficult question to answer.

Personally, I believe it’s neither and both.  Really, it’s whatever works for you.

That’s right: I said whatever works for you!

See, one thing I continually say is that mental health is very unique, very individual and, as such, is subjective to each person.  What works for me will not necessarily work for anyone else, and so on.  Thus, the approach that we should take in treatment is whatever works for us.   As I mentioned previously, for some people those pills will be a necessity for them.  For others, it will only be temporary.  Some find medication works, some find therapy works, some require a combination of the two.  Yoga, meditation, prayer, video games…the list is endless!  But really, whatever your coping mechanism is, whatever helps you get through your mental health struggles, that is what we should be focusing on (within reason, as naturally things like recreational drugs and self-harm aren’t necessarily the best).

If you need meds to get through, that’s fine.  There’s no shame in that and there should be no stigma.  If you need therapy, that’s also fine.  If you require a combination of both or require neither, that’s also fine.  Realistically, whatever your treatment is, whatever works for you is what you need.

So keep fighting.  You’re worth more than you think you are!

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Episode 26 – Depression the Liar

Depression can be such a convincing liar, don’t you think?  It’s easy for people to tell us that it’s lying to us, but so much harder for us to convince ourselves otherwise.  In this first part of my depression journey, check out on of its many facets.

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Become a Patron- Depression the LiarDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

We are Accountable and Responsible

No, It’s Not the Start of a Bank Advert…

But it sounds like it, doesn’t it? The kind of phrase used to put across a serious face to the public, the kind that is reassuring and dependable. That, or it’s used in the kind of statement made when there’s an admission of guilt or wrong-doing, usually accompanied with the phrase ‘lessons will be learnt’. Yet everywhere you look there’s an increasing attitude of passing the buck. Everything is always someone else’s problem or fault. And if it is our problem then we prevaricate about correcting it until it’s too little, too late. Yet we need to wake up and realise that we are accountable and responsible, each and every one of us, for every thought, action or word we speak.

For the last month I’ve been documenting my progress in returning to work. Each day I have battled in, come home exhausted and drained. But I’m making progress, bit by bit I’m building my confidence. I’m putting to use all the tools I’ve learned to help me cope, like having my fidget spinner handy to tapping my palm to the count of ten when my speech has failed again. I am the one who is taking responsibility for my progress. Yes, there are days when I could have used more support or have needed a kick up the bum to motivate me out of the door, but the accountability for my actions lies with me.

Just Do Something

The reason I am writing this is that one of my greatest frustrations that I’ve experienced with going back to work is the lack of accountability or responsibility that I’ve seen demonstrated by some within the business.  Some tasks are solely the responsibility of the manager when you go back after a long absence. No member of staff should be chasing to get occupational health involved for a month, nor should they be telling their manager they still haven’t had a return to work meeting. but that’s what has been happening. I have been met with prevarication and a complete lack of accountability. It’s been a constant cycle of hearing that my manager had ‘not heard back’ from one department or another, issues had been passed on to someone else or even worse I heard nothing at all.

I’ve felt like screaming, tearing my hair out or busting into tears. All from frustration at the prevalent attitude that ‘it’s someone else’s problem’.

You Don’t Know the Damage You’re Doing

First of all, I am not a problem. I am a person who happens to have mental health issues. I have depression and anxiety and being left in limbo does not help these conditions. It exacerbates them.

Secondly, every time that this sort of behaviour is allowed to happen it is contributing to the general poor attitude towards mental health. It’s probably why I’m fighting so hard to get the things in place that I need. No-one else is going to do it for me, not even when it’s their responsibility to.

Thirdly, we all need to be accountable and responsible for better practises regarding mental health in the workplace. Employers need to be held accountable if they are only paying lip service to their promises of not discriminating and supporting employees with mental health issues.

If We are Accountable and Responsible for Ourselves, We Can Change Things

As regards to work, I am doing my part. I’m keeping them up to date with each step of my recovery.I’ve been open with my colleagues about the issues I’m experiencing. Most importantly I’m getting to grips with my role again. I am not using depression or anxiety as an excuse, they are conditions I am living with, but they don’t define who I am or what I can do. They can be limiting, but I am responsible enough to recognise those limitations and act accordingly.

One of the main reasons I have gone back to work was for my own recovery. I knew I needed to do this to give me structure and would help towards my feelings of self-worth. What I didn’t expect was that it would help others too. I have had so many messages and comments from followers on Twitter saying how amazing they think it is that I’m doing this.  That I’m battling depression and going back to work, some even saying that they couldn’t do it.  I think it’s possible. It’s why I’m doing it. That with the right support, the right environment, you can have mental health issues and still hold down a job.

To All of Us

So, if you’re an employer reading this, don’t assign someone to the scrap heap if they have a mental health problem. Be willing to support them and be accountable and responsible for that support.  By doing so, you’re going a long way towards breaking the stigmatised idea that every person who has a mental health condition is incapable of working. Likewise, as sufferers we need to keep fighting for what we need from our employers to help us stay in work. That way we can help reduce the number of days lost to mental illnesses.

It all boils down to this. If we want to make the change, we have to be the change.

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Episode 25 – Suicide Watch

When someone is struggling with depression or bipolar or other mental illnesses, the risk of suicidal thoughts or tendencies is a very real one.  But what do we do with that?  How do we, as friends and family members, support someone who is struggling with those suicidal notions?  How do we deal with it?  In Suicide Watch, we crack that topic wide open and give you some of the tools you’ll need to deal with it.

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Become a Patron - Suicide WatchDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Pretending

Make Believe Pretending

Did you ever play make believe as a child?  Dressing up in costumes, pretending to be something that you weren’t?  Perhaps it was a job that you wanted to do, such as a fireman or policeman, a builder or a businessman.  Maybe it was a fictitious character, such as Frodo Baggins or Gandalf, Luke Skywalker or Han Solo.  (Yes, you can see where my interests lie!)

GandalfPretending to be someone or something else was always fun.  It was something done frequently in our house.  Legendary warriors on mythical quests, Jedi fighting battalions of battle droids, whatever we were doing it was always something we enjoyed.  I’m sure you enjoyed it too if you did that as a child.

But what’s my point?  Why am I telling you about make believe?  Quite simply, I want to ask you a question: are we still pretending?

Pretending Now

Are we still pretending today?  Not the sort of make believe pretending that we did as children but one of a much more serious nature.  Instead of pretending to be hobbits or wizards, monsters or Jedi, people pretend that things don’t exist.  Depression, anxiety, bipolar, even things like homosexuality.  People simply adopt the mindset that they don’t exist.

Given how often we see or hear about these things in the news, I can imagine you’re wondering whether I’ve lost the plot somewhere.  How can I say that people pretend that things like mental illness and homosexuality don’t exist?  Quite simply: how often do they deny it?  How often do we see people pretend not to see something or acknowledge something that they don’t want to see or acknowledge?

Take this interview, for example.  Christian theologian and pop star Vicky Beeching recently came out as gay – something that is quite shocking for a lot of Christians, as homosexuality isn’t Biblical.  Check out the conversation between Vicky and evangelical pastor Scott Lively.

As you can see, Scott Lively refuses to acknowledge that homosexuality is a real thing.  He clearly labels it as a lie at 3:24, refusing to agree that homosexuality might be something real.  Now, this site wasn’t set up for combating the issues surrounding homosexuality but I think the same concept applies.

People are pretending.

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Mental Health and Pretence

In the world today, I see far too many occurrences of people pretending that mental health doesn’t exist.  Phrases like “it’s all in your mind” are commonplace, and people don’t believe that mental health is an issue.  As mentioned in Stipulating Stigma, the world is rife with mental health stigmatisation and people treat mental health as inferior to physical health.

They are pretending that it isn’t a serious problem.

Moreover, they are pretending that it isn’t happening to them or to anyone they know.  They would rather bury their heads in the sand and deny it ever existed than to face the issues surrounding it.

Do you agree?  Is it something that you’ve noticed or would you say I’m blowing a minor issue out of proportion?  I’d be interested to hear your comments.

Stop Pretending

So ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to stop pretending.

That’s right: it’s time to stop pretending!

Mental health – depression, anxiety, bipolar, insomnia – are all real issues in our world today.  1 in 4 people in the UK are diagnosed with some form of mental illness.  If that isn’t a major problem, what is?

So let’s take action.

Let’s stop pretending!

Let’s end the stigma and bring acceptance to mental health sufferers around the world.

We can do this!

It’s time.

So let’s stop pretending, let’s take action and let’s bring an end to the stigmatisation of mental health once and for all.  It’s not happening to someone else, it’s not a problem for someone else to deal with, it’s something for us.  We have to do it.  It’s our responsibility.  Ours alone.

You and Me.

Let’s stop pretending and make the change.

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Existentialism vs Purpose – A Discussion

A Discussion of Existentialism

I have to be honest: I love it when people comment on my posts on Twitter.  After all, who doesn’t like having discussions or comments on their work?  For most, if not all of us, we enjoy receiving those positive and encouraging comments about what we’ve written or produced or drawn, etc.  But what about when we get into those not-so-nice comments?  Conversations where people do their best to put you and your work down?  Or, perhaps, conversations about existentialism versus purpose, as this post is about.

So let’s get started.

One thing that I firmly believe – something I’ve experienced for myself and heard stories from other people about – is that no matter what we’re going through, we can turn it into something good, a purpose, if you will.  I wrote about how I believe that everyone has a purpose and shared that belief with many other people.  It received a couple of interesting comments, on of which I responded to in my post A Comment On Purpose, explaining how I would go about finding that purpose.  More recently, however, that first post about purpose garnered this response on Twitter:

First off…what do you think of that?  Do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Why?

Needless to say, I disagree with the comment.  I’m sure you’ve got a fairly good idea of why I would disagree, but I would like to take a moment and just develop that point a little.

The Discussion

Ok ok, discussion might be putting it a little bit mildly.  Having looked at some of his tweets and replies, it seems that Space Needle Exchange really likes to argue.  Call it what you will, but some of his tweets do come across in that manner – which one or two of my own followers have commented on.  Even so, he makes his point that life has no inherent purpose.  According to him, not every life is worth living.

Now whether or not you agree with him, I find it quite an interesting point because, in some respects, it sounds very much as though we’re born to die and our lives don’t matter.  To support this theory, he cites the case of Genie, a feral child in LA.  He states that her life was meaningless, there was no purpose to it whatsoever.  After all, she was feral, she was a victim of one of the worst cases of child abuse ever recorded in the US and to this day no one seems to know what happened to her.  How could she possibly have a purpose?

In response to this, I argued that in actuality, would her purpose not have been that she was a driving force in getting governments and social services to respond to the horrible reality of child abuse?  As uncomfortable as it might be to think about, could one not argue that her suffering was made purposeful by the attention it garnered?  I’m not saying she was put on this earth to suffer, by any means.  But maybe there was a purpose in the end.

You see, in my post about finding purpose and also in Episode 14 of the podcast, I stated that purpose is not necessarily found in the situation itself but can come from after we’ve made it through.  Sometimes we might not ever make it through.  If you want to get religious, you could argue that Jesus came with the sole purpose of dying.  Likewise, there are people who would martyr themselves for a purpose.  Is it such a stretch of the imagination to believe that this poor girl, this feral child, might have had a purpose in her life after coming to the attention of the media?  Maybe, maybe not.

Existentialism

One point that I picked up on in that aforementioned tweet was how Space Needle Exchange argued that existentialism clearly wasn’t important to me.  Now, I’m not a philosopher, nor am I someone who goes around questioning the meaning of life (which is 42, by the way!) but I did some reading up about existentialism and believe I’ve found a fundamental flaw in his argument.  As far as I understand it (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), where existence precedes essence, it is argued that the actual life of the individuals makes up their “true essence” which seems to mean that human beings, through their own consciousness, determine a meaning to their life by creating their own values.

Does that not mean that we, as humans, create our own purpose?

Likewise, does that not also mean that our purpose can be what we make it?

By extension, as it does talk about consciousness, for people who are unable to create their own values, in the case of Genie, would that not suggest that we are able to influence the purpose of others as well?

I’d say so.  What do you think?

A Final Note

I should point out that the second post I mentioned – A Comment On Purpose – Space Needle Exchanged admitted he had not read it, nor was he going to.  He simply argued his point.

Me, I still believe everyone has a purpose.  We may not see it now.  Potentially, we may not see it at all.  But I still firmly believe that purpose is what we make it.  It’s subject to each individual case, but it is what we make of it.  If we’re going through the darkness, what do we do with that darkness?  We can give it a purpose by taking it and using it for good.

What do you think?  Let me know.  I am interested in your thoughts for this one.  Take heart from what I’m saying, though.  Take your darkness and turn it into purpose.  Don’t let people discourage you from finding that purpose because there is certainly something out there for you.

I took my struggle and I turned it into a purpose.  I turn it into a purpose every single day.  More than that, I believe everyone has it in them to do the same thing.  If they are somehow unable to, I believe others can do it for them.

Life is not inherently good, nor is it something that we should take for granted, but you can make it into something better.  You can do it.  So please, take heart from that.  Don’t let your struggle become your identity, remember instead that you can turn it into something good.

After all, we, through our own consciousness, define our own morals and values and, thus, determine the meaning to our lives.

So go determine that meaning.

Take care, guys!

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.