Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Depression: not for the weak minded...

Depression and the social stigmas that unfortunately come with it, have often led people to judge. This judgment, subsequently forces those who suffer from depression to live in silence; in fear of being judgement and called weak. This silence and solitude forces them fight a lonely battle. A battle that reenforces their mindset into believing they are falling without a helping hand. They often feel as if they are crying into an never ending ocean of sadness. I ask you from the start to remember that only the weak-minded judge; the strong help!

“You know it ain't easy 
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English
Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me
These feelings won't go away 
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away.”
Citizen Cope on Depression 

Most of us experience sadness at some points in our lives. Depression is more than sadness. It is more than just dusting yourself off and starting again.

It is impossible to judge the mindset of another. But people are quick to pass judgements. We forget that, that very judgement itself is a mere guess. 
It is impossible to know the strength of another person's mind; yet we think sufferers are weak minded. 
It is impossible to know just how far and for how long someone has fallen; yet we tell them to get up and dust themselves off. Little do we know that the bulk of their energy is being used with all their will power, just to try to slow down their decent. 
Suicide is that moment when you have no more energy to fight the mental gravity that is hurtling you through a never ending pit of despair.  Sadly, suicide becomes what they perceive as a release from this seemingly never ending struggle and plummet. 

One cannot really walk in another man's shoes. Or experience another man's fears, hopes, dreams and nightmares through their eyes. We can not judge the extent of some else's actions, mental strength and thoughts by merely comparing them to our own. We each fight individual and unique battles.

Each person climbs their own individual mountain and walk's their own unique path. Some of us weather storms better than others. Some of us think we face stronger storms than others. Whatever the case, it is unanimous that we all want to climb up; no one's goal is to fall down. No one enjoys falling into a state of depression. No one enjoys the fall into sadness, despair and suicidal thoughts.

We talk of mental toughness as though being depressed is a sign of weakness. Depression is a mental imbalance not a weakness. 

A person that falls over is not weak, they have merely lost their balance. Now imagine after falling you found no way to get up. You found yourself falling deeper and deeper into a hole that seemed never ending. Even with helping hands, cheers and support from people around you. Often we can find ourself in trance, our ability to have tunnel vision kicks in and all we see only see one fixed point. One moment of sadness; one moment that keeps us from realising the opportunities around or finding a way to free ourself from this spiral of depression. 

So, remember that..
A mother who has carried her baby for 9 months and gone through pain most men could not handle can not be weak.
A soldier who has fought for their country can not be weak.
A person that goes from interview to interview to be told "no" but struggles on as long as possible, can not be weak. 
A person who works hard, long and often thankless hours; finding themselves snowed under a mountain of never ending work. But continued as long as possible to carry on for the sake of their job and their responsibilities;  forcing them to go beyond the call of duty, can not be weak.
A person who seeks to pursue the fulfilment of a dream and the fame that comes with it, requires immense strength of mind. To be brave enough step out into the public eye for all the praise and criticism that that entails, means they can not be weak.
And a person that has suffered alone in silence for years is not weak.

As people who don't suffer, often we can't understand. But we can have and show compassion, patience and empathy. 

Depressed people aren't weak. 
Depressed people aren't selfish. 
They suffer years and often alone in silence. 

Often that simple "hi and bye" conversation can be the step to saving someone's life. I believe we should try to extend those niceties to really listen and see if someone is really "fine". That extra five minutes could be the difference between feeling alone and knowing you have support. 

If you see yourself as "strong" then use that strength not to hold people to account or drag them down. But to lift them up; to share your strength to allow them to reach their potential. Use that strength to help them find a way to stop falling and start climbing again.

Still feeling judgmental? Read Elizabeth Wurtzel's feelings of depression:
“I start to feel like I can’t maintain the facade any longer, that I may just start to show through. And I wish I knew what was wrong. Maybe something about how stupid my whole life is. I don’t know. Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep on keeping on?... I don’t know the answer, I know only that I can’t. I don't want any more vicissitudes, I don't want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.” 

Moreover, often people are depressed but don't realise it themselves. See this simple list to help you spot depression in yourself and others. Be the helping hand!

If you or someone you know suffers from any of these symptoms or you have any other concerns click here for links and numbers to call

So, What's your opinion? Have you suffered from depression? Has someone you know? What helped you or them? 
As usually feel free to comment below. All discussion is welcome!

Antoine Allen
"The three 3 c's  of life; choice, chance and change. You have to make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to change"


Friday, 8 August 2014

Most annoying question people who don't work in a office get asked! Why don't you have a "proper" job?

What is a job? You could simple say it's something that earns you an income i.e. money. However, some people give more weight to some jobs over others. Deeming some professions as not being "proper". Leading people to judge you. Leading people to underestimate your intelligence. Which can often lead you to doubt your path, your dream and yourself!

Who decides this jobs hierarchy?...
A Politician could say well i run the country. 
A Lawyer could say well i keep you in check.
A Doctor could say well i keep you both healthy.
A architect could say well i designed the building we are having this debate in. 
A Builder could say well i brought those designs to life.
A Policeman could say well i protect all of you and this building.
A Journalist could say well i told the people about this meeting and all of you.
An Actor could say well i entertained you when you finished work. 
A teacher could then say well i taught every single one of you.
In the end our jobs have a synergy, where each enables the other. Where each fulfils a need or a want in human society. We all have a role to play.

To us the life of creative and non-officer/9 to 5 workers is one of ups and downs. Its sitting next to the phone, email and Laptop waiting for that casting, audition, play, booking, shoot, film role, press launch, etc etc.

Society judges us by titles and superficial things. Often people see pictures and assume/Stereotypes about you. 
Most of us are more than just our job. 
Most of us are more than just our level of education. 
But people assume because you don't wear a suit everyday or work in an office that you don't lead a "proper" job or you lack intelligence. Yet a lot of the most intelligent, opinionated and eloquent people I have known never set foot in a university or don't own a suit/ nice dress. 
Some careers follow unconventional pathways of chasing an aspiration whilst trying to survive. This leads you to do the odd job that often is not your dream but enables you to keep pursuing your dreams. 

Whereas, some people lead lives where they are simply happy; they don't have expensive cars or money to waste spraying alcohol on each other but they do go home each day satisfied. 
Whereas others work in jobs they dislike but it provides them with the income to do the things that make them happy or buy the things that do. 
Finally, some people's dreams are achieved before others; they work in a job they love. Plus, the pay enables them to also buy/do the things they love. They are a minority in the work place! 

They say "do what you love and you will never work a day in your life"; however, most people don't get a chance to do what they love. Yet, it doesn't stop people from pursing those dreams and hope to do what they love one day! 
This is the nature of man; "horses for courses". We each do what best suits us. What best fits our worldview, hopes, dreams, commitments and confidence. 

To the the dream chasers...

It's a non linear employment; self-employment, Self drive, Self improvement and Self belief.

It doesn't follow the 9-5 monotony of regular employment.
It doesn't follow the i hate Mondays routine.
The waiting for the weekend routine.
Or the " i hate my job because in my heart i know i gave up my dreams to play it safe" routine.

It is the the last reason that is the provocation for the judgment. People who have achieved their dreams straight away or have given up on them often lack the empathy for those still living or chasing their dreams. They don't understand that to land that big job of consistent employment, you have to survive whilst waiting. So yeah, sometimes they may see you on the street handing out leaflets, samples or dancing in an unknown artists music video. They forget these bills aren't going to pay themselves. They forget that we much like them still have responsibilities and obligation. We are just the same as them; trying to survive and be happy. Except our survival is to enable us to keep chasing that dream. Keep applying ourselves every minute of everyday to "making it". So we can write that Facebook status or tweet "Finally landed, booked or got signed for the.... ".

I say what happens to those people if they lose their job? If they tie their self worth so tightly to their profession? Do they cease to be a "proper" and "worthy" person if they unemployed? Or is it as i believe, that we are more than the way we make money. We are more than the title on our CV. Or in my opinion all jobs would be unworthy when compared to those who teach our children(education professionals) or help us when we are sick(medical professionals).

So let us start valuing the dream, the ambition and the courage of people. 

Dreams and ambition come in many forms; some are complex and lofty. Some are simply having a home, family that loves you and enough money in your pocket to survive and then some. Courage can be pursuing that dream to reach the mountain top. Courage can also be excepting that you have to put your family over personal ambition or glory; not settling but accepting your role as the hero of your own household. We all make courageous decision in what we do in life. Let us respect each other's journey.

For the dreams and the believers; keep chasing those dreams. Sometimes you reach your destiny in record time. Most of the time you hit speed bumps along the way. You trip, you fall but it is up to you to get up and continue. Don't let temporary defeat knock your confidence in everlasting glory. Don't let a lack of support make you forget that your own spine, your own legs and your own mind are strong enough to carry you to your goals. You have the power to turn dreams into reality; be patient, be dedicated and keep believing!

That's all i have to say about that. 

I found this poem that Erykah Badu reads at the end of window seat:

"They play it safe are quick to assassinate  what they do not understand

They move in packs  ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another

They feel most comfortable in groups less guilt to swallow 

They are us 

This is what we have become 

afraid to respect the individual"

A single person within a circumstance can move one to change 

to love herself

to evolve"

So, What's your opinion? is your job worthy? are other people's jobs less worthy? What is your dream? 

As usually feel free to comment below. All discussion is welcome!

Antoine Allen
"The three 3 c's  of life; choice, chance and change. You have to make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to change"