More on the Art of Not Giving a Fuck: Overcoming Depression and Anxiety, Redeeming Evangelicalism

Here’s to letting go of perfectionism, of meticulous, unfinished plans, and most of all, to giving much of a fuck.

It’s one of those mornings where no amount of coffee will wake (or cheer) me up. That’s all right. I’m learning to embrace my irritability. I give myself permission to be a prick. To be a lazy, sardonic bastard.

Feels good, man.

I guess I’ll just spill my guts, since no one reads this shit, anyway. I’ve been dealing with depression for over ten years now; anxiety for about seven. Here’s the thing: I think I’m finally starting to get a grip. I feel like I’m returning to myself. It’s like coming home to a stale, dusty house after a long business trip. (Not that I’ve ever been on a business trip, but the analogy holds better than a vacation, so whatever.) There’s some cleaning up to do, yeah, but at least everything is still in place, more or less how I left it.

It’s hard to say what’s behind the shift. It’s been a year or so in the making. I know that meditation and exercise have been essential — same for social connection. Gradually, I’ve been feeling more at ease in my mind, my body, and around other people. I’ve stopped attributing all of my various discomforts to something that’s wrong with me and have accepted those things as more or less par for the course.

Just as importantly, I’ve stopped obsessing over the plans and habits that will make me better. Because there is no better. Self-improvement is bullshit. You can improve your ability to do certain things, but improving your self has no meaning at all. As long as you think you need to improve on some fundamental level, all you’re doing is reinforcing the idea that, at bottom, you’re fucked up.

This will sound pretty corny: I’ve been reclaiming some of the healthier emotional postures of evangelical Christianity. I know, I know. But seriously, something about a baby and bathwater comes to mind. Just because I don’t literally believe that stuff anymore doesn’t mean there’s no value in it whatsoever.

For example, evangelicals will trip over themselves to tell you that it’s our faith in Christ that redeems us, not anything that we do. One of the more respectable evangelicals I know put it this way: it’s not about becoming some ideal Christian, or about everyone acting essentially the same and conforming to the same standard — it’s about having the freedom to let go and simply be yourself, knowing that everything is already taken care of and that you’re accepted just as you are.

What this opens up is feeling fundamentally okay while still leaving room for humility and the awareness that you’re not always right, not exactly perfect.

Call me brainwashed, but that sounds all right to me. I’m totally down with that. And for someone like me, who tries on ideas like clothes to see how they fit, this one too feels good, man.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got. Stay tuned for more oversharing.

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