For this month’s article, I’m revisiting directly one of my favorite topics, being the boons of aligning with futility. I know that saying futility is full of gifts does not sound right (to say the least), nonetheless the assertion here is that futility, understood and approached properly, is a profound friend. Read through the following piece and hopefully you will come out with a different view of what futility actually is, and what it offers.
Otherwise, I hope that the change in season (such as it may be in your neck of the woods) is bringing energy, reflection, rightly accepted grief, and deeply welcomed joys.
I hope that your Thanksgiving went well (all things about these times considered), and that in an incredibly difficult year, you have been able to keep, more or less, your footing. Which is a thought that is apropos to the topic for this newsletter, continuing on with the theme of basic issues regarding depression (following on from the previous ones on gratitude, experimentation, and futility), this article will focus on the nature of “self-regulation,” and its centrality to depression and depression’s healing. It’s a big topic, arguably the most important in understanding, but I’m hoping this gives you a sense of the terrain.
Here’s to wishing an entry into the new year characterized by poise and equanimity.
I’m continuing on here with the idea that there are certain core elements or phenomenon in depression that would really behoove every depressive to know about. And this month’s focus, futility, is dead center in what depression is about. Not that ever knowing these “depression axioms” will be the cure itself; depression requires work and training (link), but it also needs a good theoretical understanding.
May you be staying safe, but also using this difficult time to learn and grow.
Last month, I was interviewed on the Sidewalk Talk podcast by my friend and colleague, Traci Ruble. Sidewalk Talk is a project to bring empathic listening to the streets, literally: volunteers set up chairs on sidewalks all over the world, and fellow humans get to sit down for a bit, and just be heard without judgment or trying to be fixed. It’s a brilliant and heartful idea, and Traci has added this podcast to help support the hundreds of volunteers with different interviewees offering different perspectives on how to understand the project, and stay inspired.
So below are a few notes about the interview, and the link to the audio recording. Enjoy.
This month’s article concerns a pivotal issues dealing with depression: is the sense of futility that is part-and-parcel of depression an objective reality, or a subjective sense? Futility—that state where a goal cannot be realized, i.e., “made real”—is what depression arises from, essentially as a way of managing energy. When a goal is productive, then our systems allow us to spend energy on it; when a goal is unproductive, then our systems withhold energy from that goal. Knowing whether or not “futility” is an accurate assessment of a goal allows either energy to flow, or not, towards something we desire.
I hope, wherever you might be in the country, you’re starting to get some spring and finding, whatever your challenges, some way to enjoy it all.