The Life-Saving Power of Purpose

P1030193Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

A year ago this week I tested that theory.

I’ve always been depressed. I must have emerged from my mother’s womb with an overactive amygdala and a deficient prefrontal cortex–creative brain wiring that generates panic and sadness. I was almost hospitalized in the fourth grade because I simply could not stop crying. However, since December of 2008, when the market crashed, I hadn’t been able to surface into the land of the living and do things like pick up the kids from school and be at places like swim practice without hearing constant death thoughts (“I wish I were dead”).

They were persistent, loud, and maddening.

For five years I tried countless medication combinations, saw my psychiatrist every few weeks, worked with a therapist, and swam two and a half miles every day.

Still, I was doing death math—the type of arithmetic where you add up the ages of all your ancestors who have died and divide that number by the number of forebears to get the median age of death—the number that determines how long you have to hang on for.

So I tried the holistic route.

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3 thoughts on “The Life-Saving Power of Purpose

  1. I’m curious as to why the date of stock market crash in 2008 it got worse for you? Maybe it seems like a dumb question but It seems from your blog that it wouldn’t have any bearing on your struggle. (I’m working on my own depression because of constant lack of finances….. But I’ve always been broke whether the economy is good or bad- almost like I’m trying to be broke at this point.) FYI – your blog has been extremely helpful to me. I feel guilty that I’m benefitting from your pain though.

    1. Janet, I write so that you CAN benefit from my pain! Please don’t feel guilty! I think, with regard to the crash, the stress in our house intensified. My husband who is an architect was without work for awhile. I worked as a government contractor and tried to write in my free time. Looking back, I think whenever I’m under more stress I get depressed, so I just couldn’t get well under the chronic stress, which is still there today … but at least he has more work so I don’t feel the full load. I’m sorry for your financial stress. I do know how hard it can be to get well under those circumstances.

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