Coming Down The Mountain

So here I am, back in my favorite living room chair, the kids playing with Legos in front of me. I missed these guys and I missed Erin. It’s good to be home. Too bad I’m feeling down.

Mood music:

It’s not my family’s fault. I get this way after traveling sometimes. The ShmooCon conference was terrific and it was good to see a lot of security friends. But I also pushed myself to the edge by writing nine posts in my security blog (six alone on the ShmooBus ride from Boston to D.C.) and three articles on top of that. I write a lot because I enjoy it and the content at these events inspires me. But I pay a price.

So I have this coming down the mountain feeling. A blue feeling.

But it’s not a sad depression. It’s more of the tired variety. Which gets me thinking:

The other day I wrote a post about making peace with the frequent bouts of depression. I was trying to address a question a friend at the conference asked me because of her own struggles, but I wasn’t sure that I adequately got the right words out of my head.

Then I got a comment from Katherine Allen, a reader of this blog who is also a a family therapist. She put what I was trying to say into words that absolutely nail it. I’m glad she keeps up with this blog, because I always learn from what she has to say. Her latest comment is one I need to share beyond the comments section, because it addresses my friend’s question and puts the brand of blues I have now into the proper perspective:

I hear struggles like this a lot. I sit with clients and wonder about what their definition of happiness is, true lasting happiness not the giddy “sunshine and lollipops” moments that are sometimes confused with happiness. Definitely, changing expectations is a mandatory, but I like to add to that changing the definition of emotions and their validity. All emotions are valid and they all exist for a reason, we are all exposed to every one of them, from the highest joys to the deepest pains (unless of course someone is self medicating) and instead of wondering “why me/poor me” I challenge people to move to the next place of “this hurts, but what do I want to do about it?”

Small bouts of depression are normal for all of us. It is the brain’s way of demanding time, to slow down, reconsider, regroup. Yes, chronic depression is something entirely different but I don’t think that’s what the majority of people are suffering from when they express frustration like your intro does.

I’d like to also offer up the idea of redefining pain, too. I believe we should embrace pain, again not as a why me but rather as an opportunity to learn and to grow into the next higher level of development. Did you ever see Mother Theresa say “well, that’s enough for me, I think I’m good”. No. Or the Dalai Lama, or Ghandi. There is no end to the potential of growth and we are only limiting ourselves by fearing the pain associated with that growth.

As I said in my latest blog posting, therapy is hard. But it’s good too.

Very well put. Thanks, Katherine.

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