Monday 1 February 2010



I contribute to an online forum on depression, and I thought this post might interest some:

Hello D,

As children we are rewarded for good behaviour and punished for bad behaviour, as part of the "civilizing" process.

As a result, most of us grow up with the notion that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. But outside of the context of childhood upbringing, this simply isn't true. Wonderful people die young of horrible illnesses, and nasty people become rich and live long, powerful lives.

The reason I mention that you ask: "Why is my life so awful?". I guess you probably think "... because I don't deserve it - I've been a good person". I see this in almost every client I work with.

But the cold hard reality is rather different. Your life is so awful for two reasons:

1. Pure simple "wicked" chance
2. The things you do

That may seem unkind D, but it isn't. It is simply The Truth, and with it comes the insight we all need to make our lives better; we have to MAKE them better. Easier said than done, of course, when you're so low, but this is the path you have to tread to have a better life:

* If you have no friends, then make some. This is complicated because you probably have self-esteem issues which make it difficult for you to approach strangers and make friends, and you may also exhibit behaviours which are puzzling to others who might approach you.

* I am sure your crisis was terrible. It will have happened due to (1) or (2) above. Analysing that may help you to move forward in your life. Many dreadful experiences teach us things we would not have otherwise been able to reach with our minds; perhaps there are some gains in there somewhere.

* There's nothing wrong with attention-seeking. We are all of us animals whose fundamental structure we cannot change; part of that structure is to crave attention. Accept that fact, go out and attract attention, and then enjoy it.

* But also recognise that attention will not fix the facts of your life. If you want to be loved, then you must DO THE STUFF which will make that happen; socialising, being nice, approachable, well-groomed, and so on. If you want to be cared for, be caring, and enlarge your social circle.

You ask "is that too much to ask for?"- and - if by that you mean "is it unreasonable for the world to deliver that to me while I wait for it?" then the answer is most definitely YES - THAT IS TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR. Don't shoot the messenger, D. I am not being unkind, and I'm not at all unsympathetic to your situation. I'm just telling you truths about the way the world is.
Because wish as much as you like - that IS the way the world is, and you can live in that world happily and successfully, or unhappily and resentfully.

Maybe the reason you hate yourself in the mirror, is because a part of you already knows this.

I would suggest the way forward for you might be this:

a. Hate me for a while because I've told you some difficult truths
b. Over time, recognise those truths as being real in the world you live in
c. Try - with all the support you can muster - to make tiny steps forward to DO STUFF which will move your life towards where you want it to be.
d. Use your intellect to watch your emotional thinking - reject those messages which are not literally true
e. Enjoy chocolate :o)

Good luck D.

My Warmest Wishes,


  1. Better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness.

  2. Even better to see that there are curtains, to open them, and to let the sun shine in.