Hopes, Goals, Dreams, & Delusions: Navigating Life With Depression and Anxiety (Chapter 2)

Directions and Definitions

As I talked with people and gathered some input, it seemed most things could be boiled down to four basic categories: hopes, dreams, goals, and delusions. I’m going to attempt to delve into how they all inter-relate and how getting stuck or focused on one can unbalance your whole thought life, In my opinion there needs to be balance between these channels or areas in order to manage and overcome depression.

Call me crazy, but I have this nagging feeling deep inside that depression and it’s cousin anxiety can be overcome. I can’t explain it further than that, although I’m slowly working on a few theories. Mental illness may still exist in your life, but (hopefully) it becomes so well managed and controlled that it’s like having a fly in a bottle. It is free to fly around within its confines, but it no longer has the power to escape beyond those barriers. Yes, keeping it that well controlled may include medication, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), meditation, and other treatments (exercise and vitamin supplements are often beneficial) but I can’t shake the feeling that it is possible. Besides, if you call me crazy, I’ll probably tell you I’m on medication for it. (Stick to writing Andrew. Your sense of humour is worse than your sense of style!)

So let’s look at some terminology. In typical male fashion, I like to know what I’m dealing with, so finding some definitions seems to be a logical place to start. I pulled these definitions from Dictionary.com and then clarified how I’d be using the terms for this article in general.

Hope: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. This can be specific or nonspecific. (My dad commented that the definition was about feeling which was interesting – I had made the same observation.)
Goal: The result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end. For this article, the word goals will generally be used as the natural progression of hope, as in moving from a generalised feeling that things can be improved to taking a course of action or steps toward a more focused end.
Dream: An aspiration; goal; aim. This is a slightly different branch of hope, and while it tends to be focused on a fairly specific event or end, it tends to be somewhat “lofty”, long term, or somewhat out of reach. It does  tend to be very positive and can be an anchor to “the real world” despite the fact that the dream itself may not be overly realistic.
Delusion: A false belief or opinion, or the act of deluding (that is, to mislead the mind or judgement of; to deceive). This is what the illnesses we call Depression and Anxiety does to the mind. Internal thought processes and reactions to external events can also contribute to this, as well as people’s specific intent to deceive us or give false information. In reality – the “filter” that most people have against most of this level of negativity is damaged (at best) or completely destroyed (at worst) in people who struggle with mental illnesses.

(to be continued…)

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