Depression Is NOT Equivalent to Being Broken

different

Don’t bother calling the Louvre.  I’m keeping this one.

I have read countless articles, blogs, and books written by people struggling with depression, anxiety, autism and OCD.  One of the themes I see over and over again is that people who have been labeled with those disorders often believe that they are chronically different and utterly broken.  I understand that feeling because I have been there before and will dance in and out of it again.

I considered tackling each of the specific disorders I mentioned above on an individual basis, but when I started to write the words, I couldn’t draw clear lines.  The reason for this is two-fold.

First – Personally, I don’t see these diagnoses as being wholly separate.  Imagine a sweater made of 100 threads (yes, it’s an itty bitty sweater).  Depression is one thread, anxiety is another, and so on with autism, OCD, etc.  They weave in and out of each other with such intricacy that you can’t really tell where one begins and the other ends.  They blend together to form one entire sweater (that might fit a skinny mouse).

Second – While I agree that there absolutely are people confronting severe mental illnesses, I don’t believe that the majority of those diagnosed as such have true disorders.  I feel that we are created differently and that it’s most certainly part of our divine spiritual design.  I don’t mean this in some kind of fluffy “we are all God’s children kind of way.”  Yes, I get that part, too, but I literally mean that we aren’t broken, we don’t have disorders, and we are made this way for a reason.  I frequently substitute the term “label” for “disorder” because that is how I see it for most people I know with these diagnoses.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for medications and treatments.  It’s just a different take on the whole mental health shebang in general.

In an earlier post I wrote, (https://momentumofjo.com/2017/07/15/depression-shifting-your-perception/), I talked about the special gifts I believe that many people with depression have.  To take that a step further, I would like to bring in the other labels.  Again I look at these collectively.

People who fall into these categories frequently have a sense of being out of control.  We may struggle with addictions to anesthetize the hurt and fear, or we may turn the other direction and go into a hyper-control mode.  At times, this can manifest in odd places.  Precise placement of objects.  Excessively clean environments.  Fixation on possible and frequently highly unlikely scenarios.  Worry worry and more worry.  It can be exhausting.

The interesting aspect is that many highly successful people deemed by standard society to be “normal” fall into these categories, too.  These individuals have learned how to shift how they use their excess of quirky energy.  They change the perception of fixation to one of focus.  It’s sounds like basic semantics, but in truth, it’s a different approach to life.

I would bet that you already know numerous reasons why your label is supposed to be a negative.  Now it’s time to look deeper and find the reasons why that same label can also be a positive.  I believe that the universe has an innate balance and those reasons can be found if we are willing to really open our eyes.

Here are some of my own examples.  I put my stuff out there because I have permission from the owner (me), I know exactly how I felt before and how I feel now, and I pray that others may see parallels and hopefully benefit.  And the winners are:

  •  Emotional ranges on all extremes – At times this has made for a wild ride for those in the fallout zone, but it has also allowed me to be exceptionally perceptive of the emotions of those around me.  It goes beyond noticing that someone seems a little sad or frustrated.  If you are sensitive, you probably know it, too.  Also for the sensitives – stop trying to take another person’s pain on yourself because that’s not your role.  (That last sentence is a big post for another day.)
  • Obsession with perfect placement and specific random job completion – Well this one is rife with quirkiness, but I am one heck of a decorator.  I have a great eye for visual continuity and flow.  People have a natural tendency to appreciate order and often find it soothing.  As for the job completion element, I can become focused on something really insignificant, but I can also zero in on something huge.  Either way, the task will be completed with precision and excellence.
  • Irrational worry – That falls lower on my “favorite things I do” list but even it has its place.  The key with this behavior is to point the fearful anxious energy to a more productive place.  When I do this, I can come up with clever problem resolution techniques.  I find ways to avoid potential pitfalls and can streamline process fails that I see.
  • Excessive list-making and concern with keeping schedules – This can become a bear, but it’s also an absolute gift when I use it in an effective way.  Rather than list all the things I will need to buy for a trip three months away, I can scratch my list-making itch by coming up with three goals I need to do, three goals I want to do, and three goals I have to do.  Being a compulsive list crosser-off-er (yes yes that’s a word effective right now) means that I will tackle those goals like a champ.  Something will get done one way or the other.
  • Extreme fixation on a specific subject or topic – This can be unnerving for people around someone who does this, but the benefit is that you can also become an expert on the subject with minimal effort.  You already love it, and if it’s a thing, someone else out there probably does, too.
  • The benefit of addiction is not the addiction itself.  It is the part when you realize that you are no longer willing to be chained to it.   The real you is so much better than any anesthetized disguise.  Taking you back is empowering beyond belief even if that happens in baby steps.  It’s not about the distance of the step but rather the fact that you are moving forward.  Find your momentum and own it.

If you want to find the negative side of those personality traits and behavioral patterns, you absolutely can.  However, I have traveled that road and would advise a u-turn if possible.  You can drag yourself down if you want to, but some of your worst of things may actually be your best of things.

Change how you see yourself and what you bring to the table.  Find the divine instead of the disadvantage and the benediction instead of the burden.

The last major point I want to add is this – everyone feels broken sometimes.  Label or no label.  We are all trying to be someone better and find something real.  We seek counsel from each other and from the heavens because we want more from ourselves and from our lives.  It’s just how our souls work.  We are constantly changing.  We are always  learning.  We may be unable to see the magic within us, but we aren’t broken.

As Carl Sagan would say, we are made of star stuff.  Open your eyes to the light you have within you.

Love and light always – Joanna

 

71 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. caterpillars2butterfliesblog
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 01:51:24

    Wow! I cannot express just how much I needed this perspective! For as much as I have tried o encourage and motivate others, I felt somewhat stifled by my labels. I’m sure I will reread the piece several more times, to continue emerging myself into transitioning my views of myself!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:25:27

      I have to remind myself, too. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all rainbows and roses. But then again, nothing is. 🌹🌋🌹

      Reply

  2. roseelaineblog
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 04:07:51

    Great post, although illness does exist, Our way of thinking influences how we feel. We truly are what we think 🌹🙏🏿🌹

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:02:44

      Yes I definitely agree. 😊

      Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:22:13

      Btw I went back and modified one of the sentences to make it clearer that I do believe that severe mental illness is a genuine problem. I greatly appreciated your comment. My intention was to convey that originally but I guess I hadn’t made that as evident as I thought I had. Your comment was so helpful, and I appreciate the way you said it in such a loving way. You are a wonderful friend. xoxo Joanna

      Reply

  3. I tripped over a stone.
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 07:04:07

    Well cross that needed to learn information off my crosser-offer list! Dang lady, you got this! If you started a cult, I’d join! But then I’d encourage you to use your wisdom only for good! Excellent post! ~K.

    Reply

  4. James J. Cudney IV
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 07:32:30

    I agree on several points… it’s OK to be who we are even if that gives us supposed eccentricities. I do a lot of these things, but I think I’m just all kinds of special! And cool because of it. Not broken.

    To be a tad more serious, it’s good you bring the humor to it, helps lessen the force of the topic. People worry so much about everything… I still do but I try to always bring it back to “why” and “how bad is it really” when I do.

    I love the picture. Does your hair really curl like that when you all this happens?

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:40:43

      1. Yes. You are a bad ass.
      2. Sometimes I remove the humor because I feel like it may sound as though I’m belittling something I actually take very seriously. At other times, you just have to find laughter in most unlikely of places.
      3. I am cracking up that you asked about that because the second I drew it, I thought about how I don’t have curly hair. I probably should have gone with squiggly lines, but then it might have looked more Medusa-esque. That might make it even more accurate…

      Reply

      • James J. Cudney IV
        Aug 02, 2017 @ 07:41:29

        OMG, your name is now Medusa Thank you for making my morning.

      • MoJo
        Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:43:46

        Hahahaha! Don’t think that you would be the first to call me that! Please be sure to add Wench to the list as well!

      • James J. Cudney IV
        Aug 02, 2017 @ 07:46:52

        opening line in my next chapter…

        “That Medusa wench tased my man bits til I peed myself. And then she had the nerve so tell me I was a clever and inspiring spiritualist despite the many OCD’s we shared. I got her back by sending a baby-making mate for the Toy Monkey so they can have little monkeys all over her bed!”

      • MoJo
        Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:53:26

        “Oh, rarely had the words poured from my penny pencil…”. Not sure if you are a fan of the movie A Christmas Story but it’s my fav and has the best one liners. That line popped into my head the second I saw this magical paragraph of yours. Finish that book so I can buy it NOW! 😂😂😂

      • James J. Cudney IV
        Aug 02, 2017 @ 06:56:16

        Ha! I like the movie, but only saw it twice… remembered the line but forgot that’s where it came from. Appropriate. Yes, I’m off to write. Have a brilliant day / night.

  5. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 07:36:12

    Great post….as always. I’m hate to reiterate this, but you are young me. We are so alike it’s almost spooky…..except I don’t like to decorate….I’m good at it, but I’ve gotten into a function over form mode as my apartment is microscopic. But you hit on excellent points and I think labels are destructive. Each person is a 100 thread individual, with 100 traits that make them unique…..

    Reply

  6. misifusa
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 08:39:07

    Wowsza! What an incredible post full of insight, knowledge and power! LOVE it and LOVE YOU! xo

    Reply

  7. Tracy
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 11:25:31

    Wonderful post. Mental illness is a very real and debilitating illness. I know because I’m there and have been for five years. However, I also know that it will break me only if I allow it to and self talk like. ‘I’m broken’ or ‘I will never get better’ or ‘This is me forever’ etc will only serve to keep me in this state. I’m also autistic but I have no issues with that label. It explains who I am and why I experience things differently. But I certainly agree with you that often these things as weaving together. My anxiety and autism are definitely linked. I am anxious because the world is an incredibly sensory place and I’m sensitive. I was born with anxiety. I don’t actually now what it feels like NOT to have anxiety. But anxiety disorder is different. That’s when it morphs into an illness and it’s hard to get out of. Once upon a time, I did see myself as broken but that was when I was suffering with depression. Now I know I’m not broken. I have lots of cracks and chips but I prefer to see them as filled with gold, as in the Japanese art of kintsugi. I’m not broken. I am being fixed. 🙂

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 19:27:08

      If YOU are broken, we need a lot more broken. xoxox

      Reply

      • Tracy
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 00:41:54

        It’s kind of hard to illustrate now I came to ‘feel’ that I was broken without being able to talk about my past but I can’t. All I will say is that having NO feelings at all pretty much felt like I was broken beyond repair. I understand that the word annoys people but in some cases, I think the word fits because that’s how it feels when you are in crisis mode. Your body doesn’t work as it should. Your mind doesn’t work as it should. To all intents and purposes, you feel broken. Like you will never know ‘normality’ again. Having read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, I know we are ALL fixable if we choose the right attitude. He not only survived the concentration camps in WW2, but found strength and meaning from his experience. By rights, he SHOULD have been broken by what he saw and what he endured but he wasn’t and if he can find the positive in what happened to him – we all can. I DO get where you are coming from. I feel the same way about the words, ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’. Yet they have the same negative air as ‘broken’. Each inferring weakness and if I have learned anything about myself, it’s that I’m not weak. We are all stronger than we think. 🙂

      • MoJo
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 05:52:58

        I absolutely agree with everything except the part about being broken regardless of the past. I have no idea as to the horrors you have been through or the horrors you have inflicted. I do know that I have survived and inflicted unbelievable damage. I wouldn’t want to repeat any of those instances, but they also make us who we are today and tomorrow. You are amazing Tracy. Seriously. AMAZING. No question and no debate on that point. Having autism and anxiety mean that you approach everything differently. But not having those doesn’t make the rest of the approaches any more right and correct than the others. I genuinely believe that you are meant to be exactly as you are. You see you as stepping out of the shadows but I see you never leaving the light. 🙂

      • Tracy
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 09:36:03

        Maybe you’re right about light as my life did turn around due to intervention of an unseen kind, if you get my drift? Or am I reading that too literally? My point is that we are never as alone as we think we are. I’ve known this since I was a little girl but I forget sometimes. There has certainly been a ‘blockage’ when it comes to my, er, sensitivity since my anxiety went nuts. I don’t pick up as much stuff. I think I need my chakras degunked lol. 😉

      • MoJo
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 09:56:34

        We all need energy plumbers! 😉

      • Tracy
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 10:03:06

        I don’t know who you call over there when you get a blockage but here we call Dyno-Rod. (blokes with big rods and bright orange vans) I’ll give em a call lol 😉

      • MoJo
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 19:22:09

        haha no we have roto rooter but i don’t think they have added chakra clearing just yet. 😉

      • Tracy
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 00:46:56

        Just so I know I’m not going loopy…have you changed this comment in any way? Only the one that’s in my side bar, isn’t this one? Have I actually lost the plot? X

      • MoJo
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 05:03:02

        Well I broke my site so it may have hosed up the one I responded to about how you felt so often like you were broken. The only broken thing here is my ability to use my WordPress plugins.

      • Tracy
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 09:25:32

        You broke your blog? :0 I’m stunned I haven’t broken mine yet. Watch this space lol

      • MoJo
        Aug 03, 2017 @ 09:55:16

        Ha! Don’t tempt fate like that girl!

  8. carolrolke
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 11:42:34

    YEESSSS! I gravely dislike the term “broken.” It makes me want to control the utterances of the mouths of others by ripping their tongue out (or breaking their digits, if in written form). We are all, in my words, imperfectly perfect. Thanks for sharing your light and encouragement!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 11:19:20

      Based on your words, my understanding is that you are a fan of the word “broken,” yes? Got it. 😉 I think I’m going to ask the next person who says that they are broken to me to give me five specific names of actual people who are not broken based on their definition. Should be interesting.

      Reply

  9. welcometothenursery
    Aug 02, 2017 @ 21:12:07

    I love your attitude of taking those characteristics which one thought made them broken and finding the positives in it. Yes yes yes!! I think that most of the time anything that’s wrong just needs an attitude adjustment.
    Great post! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  10. ultimatetravel8
    Aug 04, 2017 @ 01:20:07

    Good information here! Thank you.

    Reply

  11. Jan
    Aug 05, 2017 @ 05:05:34

    WOW … I’m in awe of this post !!! Simply profound and right on !!!! jan

    Reply

  12. lynnefisher
    Aug 08, 2017 @ 08:50:14

    So pleased to find you. I get where you are coming from, been through it myself. Thank you for the follow and I’m more than happy to follow back.

    Reply

  13. annabellefranklinauthor
    Aug 09, 2017 @ 11:58:00

    Beautifully put. There are far too many labels around these days. Soon there’ll be a separate label for every individual on the planet!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Aug 09, 2017 @ 12:10:38

      No kidding. Frankly, I think that there already are. It would be funny if people could recognize that those labels (for most people) are just words, not life sentences.

      Reply

  14. Spooniemoo
    Aug 22, 2017 @ 16:19:55

    Thank you for this ❤️

    Reply

  15. Dancing Petal
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 12:46:26

    Reblogged this on The Seventh Seal.

    Reply

  16. IBitThePiranha
    Sep 16, 2017 @ 09:25:16

    I often use the phrase, “I’m so broken” because I don’t know how to express how I’m feeling. It’s so crippling and I find it hard to breathe and it just feels as though the system (me) is just…broken. I find it difficult to move away from the negative perspective, which is why I need posts like this to nudge me over to a more positive mindset. So thank you.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Sep 24, 2017 @ 21:30:37

      I catch myself saying and thinking the same thing. It’s only when the haze clears that I remember that it isn’t true. You’re so much more incredible and important than you would ever give yourself credit for, and despite what that crappy inner voice says sometimes, you definitely aren’t broken sweet friend. I’m here if you ever need someone. Really. Just keep holding on a little longer when you want to give up. Please. ❤️

      Reply

    • MoJo
      Sep 24, 2017 @ 21:31:21

      (Also who couldn’t possibly love someone with a name like I Bit the Piranha??? It’s freakin awesome!!!) 🐟🐟🐟

      Reply

  17. The 84 Project
    Sep 20, 2017 @ 14:11:05

    It’s a great way of looking at things and totally agree. I have struggled all my life, and it’s not hard to focus on the negatives. But there are so much positive as well. And even mental disorders are something needed to be taken very seriously because it’s the number one reason of death of young men. I believe that can change with a new outlook on things. More understanding and openness. And focus on the positive sides as well. Bring more positivity is a good thing! Great post!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Sep 20, 2017 @ 18:42:03

      I wish people would talk about it more. I think people would feel better and more hopeful if they knew that they weren’t alone. Thank you for your wonderful comment. It reminds me once more that we need to keep talking to each other about this stuff so we can get through the rough patches.

      Reply

      • The 84 Project
        Sep 20, 2017 @ 18:48:56

        Yes absolutely 🙂 I struggled with bipolar and depression has been a big part of my life. Loneliness was rough for some years and didn’t think I would survive. But I did and found the love of my life. A passion for photography and a new and better outlook for life again. And I really want to help others too. And help break the stigma that even has come a long way, still have a long way ahead. Keep up your work! 🙂 best regards from Norway

      • MoJo
        Sep 20, 2017 @ 18:53:00

        It’s funny how we find light from our dark times. We all need it sometimes. I love that you have found a solid place to find joy, too. It truly makes me smile, and it reinforces that recovery is a reality. It can be rough finding your way, but it is possible.

  18. allieknofczynski
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 08:15:24

    Depression is a battle that results in resilience and strength. We are not broken! Thank you for your empowering words. I also discuss mental health on my blog and would appreciate if you took a peek. 🙂

    Reply

  19. laavvender
    Oct 18, 2017 @ 23:10:00

    Beautifully written!! ✨✨ please check out my blog! https://healingthethoughts.wordpress.com

    Reply

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