Sunday, October 24, 2010

If You Don’t Fight You Lose

The title of this post is taken from an old union slogan. It was written about people banding together to fight for their rights as workers. But it works just as well as a truism for dealing with life in general. Life is a struggle, and we all have to keep fighting. In this post, I’d like to talk about a couple of fighters I’ve been following.

For a while now I have been reading the blog of Chronic Impending Disaster, an American guy who writes about his life, the music and books that he loves, and his experiences as a trainee Spanish teacher. Unfortunately, he has been struggling a bit, and is thinking seriously about pulling out of teacher training, and doing something a bit less stressful, where he doesn’t need to be the center of attention all the time. He is trying to see through this final week so he can get a partial credit. And he is doing this while dealing with depression. I’ve been through similar difficulties with dealing with work and depression, and I know how tough it is.

More recently, I started following the blog of Takashi Nakayama, a Japanese guy who is currently on extended leave from his job, trying to deal with depression. He has been living on a reduced salary for some time, and in addition to having to deal with the hell that is depression, he is now having to worry about financial stresses as well, especially the Japanese city taxes.

While it has not been easy, he has managed to get advice about what to do, force himself out of his place to deal with the unhelpful local city office, and is in the process of getting his financial affairs in order. Most of us struggle with budgeting and government bureaucracies at the best of times, and doing these things while dealing with crippling depression, without much support, is very tough.

Both CID and Takashi are fighting hard. They are not giving up. They are fighting each day with everything at their disposal to keep going, keep facing down their depression, keep dealing with all the problems that come up.

Depression is a terrible and isolating thing. But the internet can provide a way for those of us who lack enough community in our regular lives to find people we have things in common with. It is not a perfect solution, but life is not about perfect solutions. It's about doing the best we can with what we have. CID and Takashi are both doing that, and I am really looking forward to seeing them get past the issues they are facing right now.


  1. Thanks for giving me a shout-out there. I don't feel like I'm putting up a very good fight here. I feel like I'm only delaying the inevitable declaration of a KO. I'm still here to write this, though, so I guess the depression hasn't won yet.

  2. I think one should not fight depression itself but rather the condition that caused it. I also think it's best to fight depression through setting and achieveing a worthy and ambitious goal.

  3. Wow, I'm surprised that you mentioned me here! Well, I do wish I could get some support from my immediate community, but I think I am still lucky because of the Internet. I wouldn't have met you if I hadn't started blogging. I really appreciate your practical advice. I still haven't given up hope all because of the help from people like you. Today, I turned in my application for the disability benefit with a medical certificate from my psychiatrist. I hope things will work out.

  4. Another union quote I like:

    "You can't do it unless you organize." Though this quote as well focuses on people banding together to fight for their rights, it emphasizes the 'banding together' more than the fighting.

    Seeking help from community to battle depression is certainly sound advice. You maintain this blog, have mentioned starting or joining support groups in the past, and using the internet as a way to seek community and battle your depression. Is it working for you?

    Related quote, "Fuck it, fight it, it's all the same." -Bradley Nowell. (1968-1996)

  5. Hello all, thanks for coming by and posting!

    CID - You toughed out the last week of your placement and got through it. This might sound cliched, but I really respect that you stuck with that last week and endured it like a man. I've been in comparable situations, and I know how bad it is. Props to you for getting through it, you're a tough guy, regardless of what you might think about yourself right now.

    Anton - Thanks for swinging by, and you are right on the money. The best way to fight depression is not to depression itself, but to find some worthwhile goals to work towards. I've been endeavoring to do that, and it helps.

    Takashi - You seem to be making a lot of progress recently, which is great to see. Money makes the world go round unfortunately, so if we don't take care of that part of life, nothing else really works. I'm glad you are gradually getting things sorted out.

    Sublime - That quote about organizing also rings true for an individual as well as a group. Unless we organize things within our own lives, things won't work. As for my approach to fighting depression, it seems to be working. I can't say I'm exactly skipping down the street, but I'm definitely feeling better than I was. Fightin' against the world's the only way to stay sane..