Kiran Jonnalagadda (jace) wrote,
Kiran Jonnalagadda

Measuring swings

What is depression? What causes it? Why am I so worked up? Why can’t I see an obvious way out of this?

In trying to articulate it today, I had an epiphany. If we are social beings, then our sense of identity: of who we are, is shaped by our social interactions: of how others react to us.

You will agree that you expect to have this sense of social standing, of balance, in all your interactions with fellow humans. You will be polite to the senior and at ease with the peer. You will size up every person who appears in your field of vision to decide how to react. You will do this unconsciously. When someone fails the unconscious classification, or if recent events have led you to believe there is more than meets the eye, you will become attentive and careful.

These interactions over an extended period define your social standing. They become you. You may have trouble articulating this definition, perhaps no better than the crude wording in the Objective paragraph of your resumé, but it doesn’t matter because this all works without thinking. You instinctively know who you are, and all is good.

And what greater source of identity could there be than your daily routine? The place where you work everyday, the things you do there, the people you hang out with after? What more common disruption could you have than to change all these at short notice? Common, yet devastating?

I no longer write here. Twitter doesn’t let me say it like it is. The people I work with have changed. The work has changed. The people I hung out with have moved on. There are new people, nice people, but as yet unfamiliar people.

For long months I wondered what worried me so. Now I know.
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November 11 2008, 04:43:26 UTC 10 years ago Edited:  November 11 2008, 04:44:47 UTC

Perhaps, though, all this can be a bit liberating.

If you define yourself by how you react in a familiar situation, then perhaps something unfamiliar can allow you the rare opportunity to be step out of your ordinary boundaries, and perhaps redefine yourself in a manner ideal for your current situation.

When I'm stuck in a rut, I like to take the time to go out and behave like a tourist, even near home. Sight-seeing. Meeting people I wouldn't ordinarily know. Checking out new things that are usually outside of my typical realm that I might otherwise ignore. Relish the unfamiliar as an opportunity, not a challenge.

The last time I met you around the bend of my office, you said you were in the neighbourhood. Are you back from your trip?
I'm still in the neighbourhood. In Bangalore now.
Rather a similar frame of mind to that which latelyontime told me on a chat; being articulate about it might certainly help you to move on.
I hung out with him this evening and he seemed in a great mood. Was very pleased with how things are turning out for him now.
That people you hang out with would grow away from you or vice versa. They're right in front of you, you're with them and they're with you, but its not the same and you have no idea when it became different or what did.

At least , for you, there are new people, nice people. And not old ones who somehow ceased to be, because you grew up , or they did.
I am in such similar boat once a while, but I try to do smthing different then routine to keep me motivated. You gotta do the same. Try it out. It works. :)


November 11 2008, 23:42:15 UTC 10 years ago

Yes! And this is exactly why people fail to break out of dysfunctional situations/relations and continue to mourn them even when they do.

Do you have non-work constants that keep you grounded? In the past, I have found it helpful to revisit childhood situations - helping around my parents' house or getting back in touch with high-school friends or just visiting relatives helpful.

Thanks for writing this post.

I'm setting myself up to go on minimum expenses wage-maximum free time for a few months, to work out this situation. I guess it'll help.
Well articulated. Same boat, may be just further along. I couldn't agree with you more; There are new people, nice people, but as yet unfamiliar people. There is a strange sense of disconnect. Yeah, well, hope things turn toward the sunny side soon.

Powerful though our intellects may be, they can take a thorough beating during bouts of clinical depression. Chemical imbalances in the brain can put one in a funk which the brain cannot reason itself out of. It is vital in these cases to consult a good mental health doctor and correct the chemical imbalance that is leading to a vicious depression cycle.

All that said, I don't think you are talking about that kind of depression.
Preface and chapter 1 of the book, "Games people play".

I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be very good.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)