This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Depression Prevention

Sometimes the origin is in an early time of life; how we can understand this (in oneself) and possibly prevent it in others.

 A man talked to me today about his inability to motivate himself, specifically, in pursuit of his own interests.  He is willing to do for others and will find the energy to pitch in when presented with a need.  He loves "...being Julie's husband..." is very happy "...being Christopher's dad" but, "...there's a piece missing."
Sean is a responsible man who meets his obligations and tries always to not bother others or infringe on anyone else's activities.  He is noticeably intelligent and has some talents.  He has some wonderful character qualities, such as loyalty and tolerance.
His problem is with himself; he not only doesn't know what he would like to do and what  he wants, but does not even know what he likes.  At one point, he  described an absence of conflict:  How to find time to devote to a favorite hobby, resolving a dilemma about taking money from the family budget for an after-market addition to his vehicle---these kinds of things, some examples of common choice points, simply do not come up for him.  He knows that people struggle with these things (conflict between wish and obligation or, even conflict between two wishes) because he has noticed others debating these issues within themselves.
Can you imagine this?  If you are always chomping at the bit  to get to your next project or feeling frustrated because you can't find enough time for the avocations that interest you, or the opportunity to research an intriguing question eludes you, Sean's difficulty may seem odd.  As a matter of fact, I have seen a number of people, over the years, bring up the complaint that they don't know what they want.
How does this happen?  What do you think?   How does a person find themselves in this condition?

I suspect that in most cases, the seeds for this problem are sown early.  This particular individual, who has been told that he was a sensitive child, was oppressed during childhood.  Neglected.  His basic needs were met, but there was not only little or no attention paid to him emotionally.  He was also discouraged from even asking for what he might want.  The adults in his family found a child asking them for things to be an interference with their conduct of their own lives. There was no adult in his young life who had the capacity to mentor him.  No one was able to pay enough attention to notice what he was drawn to nor to listen to what he expressed an interest in.

As an adult, now with the chance to do the things he likes, he doesn't know where to begin.

If you are a parent, or the relative of a young child, it seems to me that a wonderful gift you can offer is to attend to the child and their unique attributes.  If the child shows  an interest in something, anything, from rock collecting, to pirates, to ballet, try to help the child develop that interest.  You could be contributing something so very important to that person's future; as a result, you will never be forgotten (an adult will one day have fond memories of you), and---you could be saving someone from a future of feeling lost like Sean does.
Did some kind adult help you as a child?  Have you paid attention to a child in your life?  


  1. Wow! this is so true and unfortunately common as well i think. I'm quite in the same place as Sean now.... trying to find out my interests in life and hopefully then develop them. I believe so too, that they were suppressed as a child. Thanks Paula for sharing that, makes me feel 'normal'. Suri

    1. Dear Suri. Sean is a real person, not made up for an example and you are right, it's a common problem. It's because many people don't know what it entails to rear a child before they have one. When they do, they don't know how to parent.
      I am so glad you are giving yourself some attention to this aspect of your life. You can start very small, you know---just notice, as you go about your daily life, what you are drawn to. Keep me posted on how this is going. Paula