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"I do therefore I am." Friday May 9, 2014

Having been a serial jouster with depression and anxiety for a good 30 years, I now accept that my impressionability as a student some 30 years ago allowed the germination of my own 30 Year War.

Some 30 years ago an overdose of French 20th Century literature was received by my melancholic mind. This translated into "we are just filling time with activities to reach death, so why bother doing", coupled with "I am responsible for my life and there is no God". Add on some gritty post-war German literature – very anti-materialistic and questioning – and this was all heavy duty on a studious Scottish middle class 20 Year Old's shoulders.

No giving myself a break there. Coinciding with the premature death of my mother, I was catapulted into a "seize the day" philosophy, hurling myself into work to avoid the pain and frantic packing it all in in case I would die young as well. I had repetitive strain injury of the brain with Billy Joel's "Only the good die young" incessantly accompanying the bass line of "You are morally responsible for life. There is nobody to help you in this sole journey. You make your destiny". Go out there into Thatcherite Britain and make your Dad proud, pay back for all the education.

Of course I burnt out at a young age and never fully recovered as those beliefs were like an undercurrent anthem – unknowingly draining my energy and tormenting me. During the collapse phases, thinking and thinking about the futility of living, taking leaps and falling again, abandoning 'doing' as it just leads to pain and exhaustion, yet thinking and thinking just leads to anxiety. Dreams don't become plans or actuality. Anxiety and ingrained nihilism make sure of that.

And then in one moment of surrender, I turned my belief system round from "I think therefore I am" to "I do therefore I am".

Corny as it sounds it was my New Year's Resolution and an achievable one as well! Why make myself battle? The scratching of procrastination is to be silenced. Take the hopes and ideas and do.

"Start small, Lesley. Sow seeds in garden and watch them grow...Ooh that worked!"
"Start a guided freedance session, go on, get the music together, the theme, use what you have learned in the past 15 years about body awareness. Share the joy with others! It doesn't have to be perfect."

I can smile today. Just got a feeling that there's been a surrender in the 30 Years War. Nihilism has lost. A fair peace treaty is being reached with one clause:- "I do therefore I am".

A Moodscope user.

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Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 7:35am

Brilliant, Lesley.i can identify with that wholeheartedly, as we must have been through the same hard decades! I have also reached a stage where i just do it, and must say, am all the happier for it, and don't beat myself up constantly. It is so liberating. If i have a bad day, which still happens, I use the " tomorrow's another fresh start" approach to myself, and very gradually, i am putting the whipping stick down! Oh, how i WISH I had done that earlier! Or, maybe, time is what was necessary, to work through everything. Needless to say, when I look back, I have a huge raft of experience upon which to draw, and maybe, just maybe, this experience can be put to use to help others..and that's what I take comfort from. Smiley face.

DawnC.Ritchie Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 7:59am

Victory! :D

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 8:10am

Totally get this, I also now just "do" it makes my life worth loving, that and an amazing husband. It can be frustrating looking at what we put ourselves through looking back over influences, but then I wouldn't be me without my crazy past.

Steve Roche Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 8:51am

Great. Really well written. Thanks.

Exidia Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 9:03am

Lesley thank you so much - it's like you wrote that to me this morning, as I struggle with not even wanting to become conscious. There's a pin on button above my desk that says "I knit therefore I am" - if that's all I do today that will be a victory!

Mary Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 11:09am

lovely post Lesley. Let's celebrate each small victory! Your writing and sharing is a victory. I don't read depressing books any more and wish I hadn't read any in the past. I'm really not sure that these heavyweight, nihilistic tomes help anybody really. And which is the more helpful and positive belief: "there is no God, you are on your own in the universe", or "there is a loving caring God and there is a plan somewhere"? (not attempting a religious debate here, folks; just thinking about helpful beliefs versus unhelpful) Planting seeds is an act of faith, and the resulting flowers its fruition.

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 11:20am

Thank you Lesley for this post, I can really identify with it. It has taken me years to learn to be kinder to myself and focus on the here and now rather than the rest of the world and their problems. I still cannot watch nature programmes because of the upset it causes me, the underlying message being that man is destrying the planet. One tip I found useful was not to listen to the news first thing, I'm a radio 4 junkie but realised that listening to doom and gloom first thing in the morning set the tone for the rest of the day. I now meditate first thing to put some positivity into my brain before I unleash myself on the rest of the world.

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 11:23am

"The scratching of procrastination is to be silenced." Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Great words and thank you, love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 3:30pm

Thank you all for your comments. Avoiding the news is a useful ploy, I agree. I don't feel alone but am still trying each day to do and get on with life. Have lost two marriages because of all this...and have fibromyalgia. Not sure whether the FM is due to the mental anguish but is certainly perpetuated by it. Anyway I work part-time and hope to become a Stroke Ambasdador but maintaining plenty of rest. Good luck to all of you and enjoy the best of life.lesley

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 6:52pm

Lesley thank you - today I really needed to hear that someone else has felt the way I have for the past 30 years! And then to hear it really is possible to change gives me a tiny glimmer of hope! "And then in one moment of surrender, I turned my belief system round from "I think therefore I am" to "I do therefore I am"." Reading this makes me both anxious and excited - what if I never allow myself to surrender - what if it's impossible for me? But I sense I deep down know I have started to walk this path - all be it very slowly with very small steps - taking a few backwards as well!

Richard Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 6:56pm

This is wonderful. I love your jousting image. I've noticed over the years how many relatives and friends say " Don't worry. Just get back on the horse..." I have felt like saying " I can't! It's bolted after it saw me felled."
But, all too often, I smile and let them feel happier for "helping".
Thankyou for sharing this. I hope my reply wasn't too flippant.
There are some fine armour repairers on Moodscope.
Warmest regards,

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 8:31pm

Brilliant!! You have a great gift for words. What terrific images you conjouring up; images rather like Matt Johnstone's illustrations in his book 'I had a black dog - his name was depression'. Keep using your gift for all our sakes! Thank you, thank you.

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 8:41pm

I agree with your thoughts about God. Lots of us do, I'm sure, and that is what gives me the energy to carry on living. I now find there is 'meaning' (despite what my psychiatrist says 'there is no meaning to life' idiot!)) in life and all its fullness! ps how do I find how to put my name on this reply someone?

Anonymous Fri, May 9th 2014 @ 9:24pm

Really liked this post, it's so... I don't know... Silly but affecting, a small train of thought a long time ago and look what it can lead to. Such a human post, thank you :-) I just wanted to share something I read recently which has helped me a lot and I apologise if it was here I read it and I'm inadvertantly plagiarising someone but here goes: if you're looking for the purpose in life, place your hand over your heart and try to feel it beating. There. That's your purpose.

Les Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 2:06am

Hi Lesley

A real heartfelt post......authentic...tender......touching....


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