Not so long ago, Allie Brosh returned from a nineteen-month hiatus to make this post about dealing with depression. It's the follow-up to a much older post explaining a five-month hiatus for essentially the same reason which makes a full two years of effectively not posting anything on her amazingly funny blog.
This is the same time period during which she's supposed to be writing her book, which is available for pre-order at that link and if you buy through it I'll get like a dollar or something. But I digress, and plug, and that's really not what I wanted to talk about here at all.
In fact, what I wanted to talk about was fear, and how nobody becomes a badass without being afraid of things like the basic fact that starting tomorrow I'm getting into the real deep magic of brain function and human psychology which is the core of how the Badass Manifesto works. And while I've been working on this for years, and I'm completely sure of my results, the world has made it absolutely clear at every step of the way that I am thoroughly unqualified to discuss these things and I should really just shut the fuck up.
But the reason I'm leading off with the mention of Allie's blog and her posts about depression is that I have my own struggle with depression, and this last week has been a major example of that.
See, whenever things outside of my control fuck up my life, I go into this death-spiral of realising just how little control I have over certain things, and it's just plain paralytic. This past Saturday, I lost my internet connection in the final moments before my girlfriend's lunch break at work, and it remained unavailable until Monday afternoon.
Most people would immediately jump back online to rant and rave about this and bitch about their shitty cable company, but I was too far gone. I've got all kinds of shit planned over the next couple months, and it sort of depends on my having an internet connection. Without the internet, I can't do any of this shit. I mean, I can write, sure. I can make videos. I can edit and arrange plans.
But I couldn't post. I couldn't publish. I couldn't promote. Every single thing I do is tied to the world by this thin little copper wire that leads into a box where I'm not allowed to mess with things. If anything inside - or on the other side - of that box goes all blorgytoes, I'm just plain fucked.
So instead of being ready to jump back in and rant about my cable company, I was halfway down the spiral freaking out over my loss (and subsequent lack) of control, and when that happens it just snowballs into "I am not going to talk to anyone or do anything."
My usual response to this is to get good and drunk, but I'm not drinking this month, so I couldn't do that. Instead, I did what I used to do when I was a kid, before I got access to sex and drugs and liquor: I completely withdrew from everything and everyone and just holed up in the dark playing video games, which probably worried the hell out of everybody.
But the fact is, sometimes you just have to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. People who don't sail the same seas you do - perhaps only taking the occasional cruise, where the most work they have to do is figuring out which entree to choose off the menu at dinnertime - will scratch their heads and just not entirely grasp even the idea of a storm.
"It's a boat," they might say. "Why does rain make a difference? It's designed to be wet."
And then you're stuck having to explain the concept that boats are designed to have the water underneath of them, and if the rain is underneath the boat this is called "capsized" and it is very very bad.
And where most people get wrapped up is in the idea that nobody grasps how much harder they have it than other people. You can point and say "well, sure, he's a badass - he doesn't have my problems."
We all have our problems, dipshit. Stephen Hawking is in a fucking wheelchair and can't even speak. Go on, try to tell me Stephen Hawking isn't a badass.
It's not that your problems don't matter or that they aren't real. They do, and they are. But you're just going to have to get used to that. Nobody gets a free pass because they have problems. Everyone has got problems.
You don't become a badass by not having them. You become a badass in spite of them.