The Lie of Choosing

Making small choices is who we are. The act of making the snap-judgement between red and blue is ingrained in the process of creating. We all know the metaphors so I’ll skip them here and instead focus on outcomes.

A friend of mine is having trouble maintaining focus. Centering on what he’s doing, what he’s trying to make, his life. He’s been through on of those life changing events recently and he’s beyond consolation. I know what this is and I know how impossible it all seems.

You don’t feel defeated, from the start, the reality of depression is far more insidious. Instead of having your brain say “no” immediately you get responses like, “I don’t think so” or “Maybe not.” Your ability to imagine positive outcomes is impaired in a way that you don’t even know for sure if what you’re doing is going to work or not.

This is the state he’s in. Doubting even his own mechanisms for choosing. I’m at a loss for anything I could do to help him believe in himself and find his own way back to something resembling success.

When I was younger, before my brother died, I used to think that depression and depressed people were figments. The only thing resembling depression I’d ever faced was my own social anxiety. I got lucky that I was able to take all of my own emotional problems and box them into a single thing that I could focus on overcoming. Because it’s “social anxiety” I could take whatever other inputs my flawed brain is sending and shove them into a category that existed separate from myself and objectify it. That led me to believe that most folks who said they were depressed or in treatment for depression were “just making it up.”

When Rob got sick and everyone in my life that mattered started showing signs of severe depression I know for a fact I’d gotten it wrong.

If there were a sequence of choices I could show him, to demonstrate, a path out of the hole he’s in I wouldn’t hesitate. I know that it is his own hole and his own choices. I can’t do anything to change the outcome. Damn this compulsion.

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