Deconstructing Doldrums Detours Depression

Merchandising plug here & here

It took me almost 8 years before I resumed this blog. It was a slow spiral downwards during most of those years. What got me through was my aversion to the doldrums I imagined behind the image of a person depressed being a person in the dark, doing nothing. So conversely, I decided to actively and aggressively avoid the cliche.

I was disenfranchised from family. So I started socialising more than a confirmed wallflower like me would ever have. And I found that folks who have no idea of my background or my baggage would take to me quite easily, and have me in their fold almost instantly. That eventually led to me taking my guitars out of their cases and getting the strings ready with the right action to rock. And it was a matter of time before I’d spend weekdays learning stuff for weekend jams at the various clubs and events I get invited to. I even got to have my own band. Nicrophenia.

I would make promotional flyers as if they were live album covers.

And this was with a background of failing finances, fading funds and a barely progressing professional practice. But I had those moments on stage, no matter how fleeting, giving me enough of a rush to keep my nervous system balanced for other responsibilities along with their difficulties.

And things just kept getting worse. Soon I needed a new up to keep me going. This time it was going to be working on my physical self. So as the spiral winded further downwards, I started HIIT, jogging, understood ketosis, autophagy, even quit smoking after having started again a couple of years earlier.

I just love it when commitment brings about the desired results

And I feel to be in a better place than I’ve ever been. Have things got better around me? Not really. But my attitude towards them have. And with that, their nature transformed within my perspective. They’re no longer as intimidating. Nor are things as hopeless as they once appeared to be. Because I refuse to be helpless. And the first help I reached out for was from me.

I Live Behind My Eyes

I hear myself having to explain that ever so often. For instance, on vanity. I don’t know how vanity about personal looks could be a thing. I go about the days not knowing how I appear to others because I live behind my eyes. I do not know what I look like. And when I do get to look at an inverted image of myself in the mirror, I’d try to improve to look as good as I imagine the perfect passport photo would look like. The moment I leave the glance, I feel the forces around me shifting and crumpling things out of place. And I’d go on with only a past recent impression of what I look like, but can never be sure. Because I live behind my eyes. I do not see what others see about me.

When I realise that I am going against advice I dish out to others, it’s because I can only see others at fault. But not myself with the same fault. Because I live behind my eyes. I can see what I don’t like in the action of others. While being oblivious that I am prone to the same actions and expressions myself. When I come across self-improvement tips, a few names that could benefit from such knowledge easily come to mind. But I’m not on the list. Because I never see myself with similar shortcomings. Only others. Always others. Never me.

Read

Ever had an epiphany of something you’ve known all along suddenly creeping out of your subconscious to tap on the conscious to remind you of itself? Mine most recent was in the form of a re-realisation how reading has allowed us to think, imagine, and get past our immediate surroundings. Even if we have constant connections to the outer world through electronic devices, we’d still be dealing with a mindset that’s formed and shaped by our immediate vicinity. Unless we expand our minds to what is available beyond. And best to me is with books. It brings about internal dialogue within me and I absorb their contents better that way. Hence, I felt compelled to write this out.

I love it that we developed writing

And with it came the skill of reading

A habit that serves me well

To read from folks with things to tell

To take me out of my concerns

From trivialities in my presence

To see beyond such situations

To all the different permutations

Unlike audio to electronic screens

Reading speaks to me within

It cues and triggers mental images

I set the scenes I build the stages

Double back on certain pages

Dwell long and winding passages

From cover to cover it comes in stages

The whole message within the pages

MH370 and COVID-19

What do MH370 and COVID-19 have in common? No prayers answered.

[Okay. Pardon the click-baiting title. I just couldn’t resist. From now on, it won’t be much on the airliner. More on the frontliners.]

We prayed for the recovery of each of them respectively. Hoping from something more potent and benevolent beyond the limitations of us puny humans. But I’m not writing this to belittle the power of prayer. The video was made during early lockdowns in my despair towards those who believe in a caring god but refusing to take care themselves from getting or preventing infections. They insisted on congregating and going about their communal religious rituals as per normal somehow believing that with their show of faith they will overcome. Even a governmental minister refused to acknowledge the potency of the virus citing that his community has prayer!

My earlier thoughts on COVID-19 in video.

Now. Almost a year later. The Song Remains The Same.

In the year of perfect vision

Chiroptera bred a new contagion

Regal with a deadly crown

Reign with rising body count

Who amongst us have less infection

Recovering with rapid succession

None I see. None I hear.

None I read. None I fear

Surely we prayed in fearful fervour

Sought Protection. Grace. And Favour

Still

None I see. None I hear

None I read. None I fear

Prayers prove to be defective

No answers came. No relief

Anecdotes fraught deceptive

All our gods ineffective

  • – – – – – – PostScript- – – – – – – – –

But now I read there comes a vaccine

That doesn’t work like penicillin

It doesn’t need to use the virus

Like it doesn’t need your fervent prayers

I don’t believe prayers were answered

It’s been too long. Too many hurt

Lasting solutions that always work

Are consequences of human effort

Truth Seeker

Critical thinking. Can’t say when that began to happen in my life. If the endgame to critical thinking is truth then I guess it’s always been there. Even when I was devout in religiosity I was more eager in asking for truths rather than abundance, a good life, to be heaven bound, a hot wife, or a Jaguar XJ 220 (I just love the body. Even better looking than the body of a hot wife methinks).

As a kid I would get told off for questioning the truths that older folks transmit to me. It’s only by the threat of imminent brute force that I would concede and try my darnedest to show that I receive. All the while muttering under my breath in inner dialogue, “How is this right?”.

However. Before I go any further, I should clarify where I’m coming from with this. Almost everyone I’ve met would profess to critical thinking. But never seem to display much of it in conversation, be they casual or formal discourses. And of those whom I have gotten to share their notion of it, it’s simply about thinking things through and not taking things for granted. But why do so much untruths or weak truths still spew forth? I had to investigate.

In a good argument the premise supports the conclusion.

Geoff Pynn, Northern Illinois University

Best I start with examples. Let’s say I ask out loud why would we need to wear masks during this pandemic. These are replies I would get:

First reply,

  • I look to the government to look out for me.
  • They mandate masks.
  • Wearing masks works

A weak argument. The premises are based on emotions and sentiments. It’s the weakest kind of structure to hold up the conclusion. Not the strongest reason for wearing masks.

Next comes,

  • Medical personnel learn about infections and diseases.
  • They wear masks.
  • Wearing mask works.

A better argument. These premises could be true. But the medics offer general health care and would still rely on specifics from epidemiologists. Of which most of them are not. The argument is ampliative. Probable. But no guarantee.

And finally,

  • The virus spreads through respiratory droplets.
  • Masks shields them from spreading.
  • Wearing mask works

Solid! These premises guarantees the conclusion best. A deductive argument. I will wear masks.

So with a strong preference for deductive based truths, I take my thoughts to the masses. And get my arse whipped left, right and centre.

The thing is, folks like their truths coated with feelings. Never mind if it’s weak truths or even untruths. As long as it satiates their emotions, it’s all good. I believe this is where confirmation bias is borne.

I can dig that. I went through turbulent times before I could come to terms that certain truths I held dear all my life turn out to be complete bollocks. I did my due diligence; I read the literature, researched the resources, looked for discussions, debates and discourses, and took a stand on all sides. Studied fallacies to sniff and snuff them out so I won’t fall in for falsehoods. And constantly do a reality check with the empirical outcome of every argument. And with that I’m better for it. For having eliminated what I believe is called limiting beliefs