The World is depressing? What you can do…. Part 1

What you can do when the world is just too depressing... (text on b/w photo of depressed person) Existential Depression and Giftedness ©2023 Johanna Ringe www.johannaringe.com

If you are one of those people who are in a more or less permanent depressive phase because the world is just so depressing right now, then be hugged. You are not alone. Many of us feel the same way, even if perhaps rather subconsciously. And it is not mandatory to continue living your life like this. Here are a few things that can help you live in the world as it is. (Take your pick…after all, I put on my pants one leg at a time, too. Part 2 will follow the week after next).

Your truth? There is no Truth with a capital t, there are as many truths as there are individual human beings.

That is difficult for some to grasp. Add to that the fact that personal truth is ever-changing… it does not get any easier. But once digested, this thought helps a lot to live in this world. Just as you grow into your own „normal“ as a child, you also have your own truth that is malleable and unique, and will always be different from mine or your twin’s… Despite all communication. And no, this is not depressing, but very liberating and helpful, especially for successful communication. No more assumptions, but rather questions.

No one can control their life.
OnE can only experience it. Let go.

You may be able to control the mess on your desk, or your diet, or your clothes, maybe even your company. But your life is connected to so much that is beyond your control. It is all the more important to become aware of this if you are trying to compensate for existential insecurity with a compulsion to control. Letting go is vital. The art is to distinguish between what you can influence and what you cannot. Learn to let go for your own sake.

Parking some problems temporarily can help.

Repression is not a permanent solution, but it can be helpful to temporarily put a problem aside in order to have strength for everything else. The important thing is coming back to it eventually. When the world is too depressing and worries make us unable to act, we must tame them to be able to solve their causes.

Despite everything, we can write our own life story.

A friend of mine is very serious when she says: „Life is a great adventure!“ The intensity with which she encounters life is impressive, and so is her legacy. Even if this seems a tad too exciting to you, it is a good example of how we are in control of our own story. I do not mean that we should have sweet illusions, no, but that it is up to you to decide which perspective you take when looking at your life: aren’t you the heroine or the hero of your story?! Where do you come from and what should your future look like? What can you do here and now to get closer to this future?

In general: writing helps.

Keeping a diary is the best way to get to know yourself, to rid yourself of things, and at the same time to spot the areas in your life where you want to and can change something. Writing down your inner self-talk helps you to recognise where you are keeping old, outdated thought-patterns alive through pure repetition that do you more harm than good. It is not so much about writing down every day how depressing everything is. Yes, there will be room for that. But make more room for your wishes and dreams! Instead of complaining, you can practice resilience and optimism by reflecting on your values, your actions, and the consequences. How do you want to feel tomorrow? What can you do today to achieve this?

Distraction and amusement are not permanent solutions, but necessary breathers.

We like to escape into other worlds, read or watch stories and dramas that distract us from reality. That is a good idea to give yourself a breather. Or to blow away the cobwebs. But it is not something that helps us cope in the real world eventually. It is a matter of getting back into action again and again, with new energy. But not for the sake of doing, not blindly:

Honestly, the hustle and bustle of your life only distracts you from happiness.

In hectic activity we use up a lot of energy and distract ourselves from the things that are important to us. Sometimes there is a lot to be done, of course, but this is about doing things for the sake of doing things. When everything seems depressing, one might tend to hustle and bustle in order to „at least do something“. But sitting down quietly and thinking is also a good idea here, as is action – it comes down to balance, once again.

You can save energy by not chasing things or trophies and recognition.

Yes, we all know that neither silverware nor the Mercedes Benz can save us from death, and that prizes and trophies cannot give our lives meaning. And yet we spend time and energy searching for the perfect dining table or the perfect smartphone or recognition by whomever … yet another distraction from the essential, and one that is better confined to brief interludes. (Not being able to find the perfect whatever can be very depressing – and that’s exactly what we don’t want, remember?)
Material things are only important insofar as they enable us to do more important things.

What is the Essential for which you use your energy?

We all have something that is important to us. An injustice that makes us angry. A circumstance that we want to change. It can be the situation of disadvantaged children, fair trade, forced prostitution or illiteracy – in any case you can find a way to make a difference, and that is almost a kind of perpetuum mobile, because the energy you use for that releases more energy in yourself.

Part 2 of this series will come the week after next – until then you might have time to think about what makes you stand up and speak out? Or to read a book.

Whichever you need more right now. You know best!

Heartfelt, wherever you are,

Unterschrift Johanna (c) Johanna Ringe 2014 ff. www.dein-buntes-leben.de

P.S. In case of depression, please get professional support! Contact your family doctor or therapist – you do not have to go through this alone! However, it is worthwhile to point out the issues of giftedness and existential depression to any professional you work with.

P.P.S. I was inspired to author this article by the book „Searching for Meaning“ by James T. Webb. Highly recommended!  And don’t forget: these are mere suggestions, pick out what makes you feel good…