The Mind is a Dangerous Place

The mind is a dangerous place and as a former hopeless nihilist I feel I have earned the right to say that. The worst part about thoughts is that they don’t stop. It can be torturous to spend a single protracted moment in your mind when every thought is weaponized in some way to be destructive. The psychological degradation brought on by a depressed mind is exhausting. Every thought drags you deeper into the pit until your mental breaks and you give up.

I was lucky enough to break this seemingly endless loop by repressing emotion and taking away meaning and depth from every emotional outlet. My past statement of being a former nihilist was a lie, however I am no longer a hopeless nihilist. I’m just a person who copes with stress and anxiety by believing nothing should make me stressed or anxious because it lacks meaning and worth. I understand this might not sound like a valid process of thoughts as people will question my morals around every corner, however, I assure you, I have decent morals. As well as many other decent qualities. Greatest of all though, the biceps. The biceps s h r e d, and that among other things boost my dopamine levels giving me dreams and ambitions to quickly acquire. Finding something, anything interesting would lead me to want to try, learn, and quit. However some dreams in my head take a long time to learn. These thoughts of my future give me ambition to live an active and fulfilling life. I found reason along the ashes of self destruction.

The Smiling Effect

How can someone stay happy all the time? Physiologically, it’s due to chemicals like dopamine. They get released and you feel great. A single smile can lift your mood, some might say. I too agree with the “smiling effect.”

However, I am moody in many scenarios. In those situations, I find it hard to smile—I can’t smile when people let me down. When someone has messed something up for you and you’re in a position with the power to either forgive that person or not because of the gravity of the situation, you won’t find yourself smiling. 

Okay, you might be wondering why I’m explaining where your negativity comes from. But sometimes, you’ll have to lower your expectations in people in order to be happy. Once I asked a friend of mine about why he felt depressed, he told me it was because the people around him were all letting him down. 

When he said that, he wasn’t smiling. His expectations in others were too high to achieve. If anything went wrong, he felt let down. Oftentimes he was in the shoes of either forgiving someone or not. That someone would apologize to him because of the stiffness of his face—that he wasn’t smiling. 

However heavy the gravity of the messy-situation, the position to choose either going against our own impulses to forgive or indulging them by attacking that someone can be even heavier. With all that weight on his shoulders, my friend couldn’t smile. So we need to lower our expectations in people to feel happy, it’s not the end of the world. Say if your friend has forgotten to return your text messages and you feel undeserving for it, you should lower your expectations, smile and think that he/she might just be in the middle of something—and in most cases, that is the reason why they’re not replying. No one is failing you because they want to, and they’re not really failing you, because in my opinion, standards that are too high can bring nothing but frustration. 

So, how can we feel happy and deserving? When lowering your expectations for happiness seems to be too much to ask, start by giving your friend a smile.

Photo credit: sites.psu.edu

Burnout

School is hard.

Don’t get me wrong – education is supposed to be challenging. But more frequently I’ve heard people say “Is he okay?” Following comes the response, “Yeah but he’s all burnt out.”

Burnout is real. It’s a state of chronic stress that can cause lethargy, depression, and general numbness and not a care in the world. (I suggest you read the link given below.)

Burnout happens when you’ve been experiencing chronic stress for so long that your body and your emotional system have begun to shut down and are operating in survival mode,” says Dr. Sara Denning, a clinical psychologist based in Manhattan who specializes in dealing with stress and anxiety. “You numb out because you can’t think. You can’t even make decisions anymore.”

Further delving into the article reveals that burnout symptoms were arriving in younger and younger people, as early as college freshman. Which is where I will be next year. And it’s also where I feel like I’m heading next year.

There’s something called Senioritis, and it’s, as described as me, “a high school senior lacking in motivation because WE’RE GRADUATING OMYGOSH.” The symptoms are similar to a burnout, lacking motivation, lethargy, etc. The difference is that Senioritis isn’t usually stress or depression caused. It’s just that knowing how I won’t be here next year to deal with consequences makes me want to… Slack off.

I’ve gotten off topic.

Burnout.

If a college freshman is already feeling the symptoms of burnout, then what does that say about the education system? Are we supposed to be holding these children over a fire with a stick? Maybe. But are we then supposed to let them slow roast until a perfect, golden brown –

Photo cred; Cook In / Dine Out
– or let them catch on fire and watch them try and quench themselves?

Photo cred; Dreier.com

Graphic image aside… There goes my two cents. And I don’t care enough to get them back either.