You don’t have to be Inspirational to Make a Difference
I suffered a brain injury in 2000 (seeing in the noughties with a simple “Happy New Millennium!” and a drink was far too pedestrian for me). Then in 2010 I began to experience unsettling variations in my moods.
Medics still don’t know whether I have developed unipolar depression (being predominantly depressed) or a disorder on the bipolar spectrum (previously known as manic depression). Or perhaps I have just not re-discovered my purpose in life.
Regardless of whatever the final diagnosis will eventually be (if there ever will be one) I still have to get through my life. Not easy when you’re often not happy!
So I had mixed feelings when I read the inspirational articles Devi sent me as examples of the content and writing style for the Outsiders’ Network. They exemplified how we can overcome the adversities which some of us are “lucky” enough to face.
Yet, for me, the ability to feel “inspired” by such articles has been replaced by a tendency to feel somewhat intimidated or ashamed, since I’ve not yet been able to overcome a few of my own garden variety demons.
As wonderful as it is that there are so many people who can transcend, or feel inspired by those who transcend, the boundaries we all face, there are also many of us who don’t find this so easy. Whether it’s only for a transient period, or whether it is just how we’re wired, the strength and courage required for such transcendence may be just too much to draw upon, particularly when we are depressed.
For those of us who are like this, stories of people in the same (or an even more rapidly sinking) boat that has yet to reach shore can actually be more encouraging.
I don’t mean to promote something as insidious as complacency, or encourage mediocrity. The reason these stories work is something far simpler and more innocent.
We no longer feel so alone in our misery and self-condemnation because we know that there are others out there who are fighting their own battles with the same monsters that we are.
And whoever is winning the war at any given time, us or the monsters, the knowledge that we are not alone, means we are no longer ashamed.
Ivan Lewis-Coker suffered a brain injury in a road traffic accident in 2000. Prior to this he was a successful software developer, but could not return to this work following the accident. Ivan is still on the search for various parts of his new identity. He is also a valued volunteer at the Outsiders’ Network.