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Value

April 1, 2012

I’m struggling with self-worth today, which has been an ongoing theme for a while. I have roles to play which are important to people – my role as a father, a husband, a cog in the machine at work – but the value of these roles isn’t a value of me, but the function I fulfill.

There are people – good people – who care, who understand, but they have their lives. I’m not valuable to them, beyond my role as a fellow human and to some, a friend. I worry about overstepping and scaring them away. I don’t want to be a burden, or more trouble than my role as a friend is worth. I don’t want to be toxic. So I’m careful what I say. I hold much back, because their value to me is enormous. They are my tethers to the world I know. They keep me from the other world I’ve only glimpsed, the world which scares me.

There’s this rolling pit of snakes where my stomach should be. I’m alone in a battle nobody can see. I’m back where I was at sixteen, when I wanted nothing more than to be valued by someone. To have a connection.

Everything I do is empty and pointless. It’s just surviving. Paying the bills. Marking time. I have no impact on anyone. Nobody is better off because of me. No victories are celebrated, not even by me. There isn’t time. And I can’t get excited anymore anyway.

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14 Comments
  1. This is depression speaking, not reality. You probably don’t even realise what incredible value you add to people’s lives. How many lives you have touched, or influenced positively, only to go on your merry way without even knowing?

    You have touched my life with your friendship. You add value to my life. You are someone who (although our friendship is based on only a passing ‘real life’ acquaintance) always has time for me. How many people have a friend like that – let alone someone they’ve only met fleetingly in real life?

    Go rent a copy of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and think, really think about its message.

    You ‘add value’ to the world just by being you.

    Think about this. There’s a lady on the internet who calls herself the ‘Fat Heffalump’. She’s a large lady, far too accustomed to the taunts and insults of complete strangers. A friend of hers made her a tutu for her birthday and she posted some photos of herself on the internet. I found those photos and was inspired to get something I’ve wanted since I was four years old – a tutu! Yes, I’m 53, yes I’m fat, yes, people are going to say I look ‘silly’ but, you know what? That person I’ve never met, who did nothing more than post a photo on the internet just added incredible value to my life. She made me brave. She made me think, “Fuck it, I can do that.” And yesterday, after I made my tutu and tried it on, she made me feel beautiful and feminine and downright sexy – something I haven’t felt in a long, long time.

    Imagine if that woman had a bad day today, just like you’re having, and topped herself because she thought she didn’t ‘add value’ to anyone’s life? Look what she did just for me? I can’t imagine how many other people might have read her blog, or seen her photos, or just met her in real life and been inspired – but never got around to telling her. Or maybe they did tell her, and maybe she didn’t believe them.

    So, my friend, to me you are like the large lady in the tutu. You are a force for good in the universe. You are a joy and an inspiration – not only to me, I know, but to many of our mutual friends.

    Be sad, try to do better by all means, but seek help and don’t wallow. Self-awareness should inspire us to do better, not to give up and admit defeat. But really, sweetheart, you are perfect to us just the way you are.

    Hugs.

  2. SymoneinOz permalink

    Such an amazing reply from Chrys that I encapsulates so much of what i wanted to say, yet so (so) much more eloquently than I would ever be able to. I too heard the depression talking – the lack of awareness (despite being a very self aware individual) and of how much real impact you make on those around you is a sure fire sign it’s the black dog it having a bark.

    Your post provided the valuable insight that sometimes no matter how much support you want or try to give to a person suffering depression, that it may not provide the intended impact or result – not that it would ever stop one from trying, but people need to understand that it is the mind that is the enemy here not lack of support from family and friends.

    I hope you are in a better place soon and find a muzzle for that black dog.

    Take care
    Symone

    • Symone, as always your compassion comes out of left field to amaze me. Is the black dog analogy a common one for depression? It seems very fitting.

      Intellectually I know this is my messed up head. Knowing it and feeling it aren’t the same. This emptiness aches. But believe me when I say – you are absolutely valued by me. Thank you.

      • SymoneinOz permalink

        Hi Lucas, thank you for such a lovely reply :). I may have little voice in the enormous sea that is Twitter but it IS one of genuine concern and empathy and I am glad it has been received as such. And thank you for making your inner dialogue transparent to us, despite how clearly painful it is. So many people don’t have the self awareness (or guts) to do this. You are in turn, helping those of us “on the outside” by giving us a peek behind the curtain, especially regarding the sometimes irrational thought processes that go hand in hand with depression. Oh and yes “black dog” is a common term for depression and is also the name of one of the largest depression and bi-polar support resources in Australia – their website is: http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

        Take care and hope this is a better week for you.

        🙂
        Symone

  3. Kate permalink

    Oh Lucas my friend It’s a very hard road you are traveling. As with the others above. You are worth more than you, at this moment, can allow yourself to believe,

    Making an impact on someone’s life does not need to come in a grand form. You can impact people on a daily basis.

    I always think of the following example. I always say hello to anyone I pass when I am walking..it’s just a habit of mine..which most people find a bit disconcerting. On my way to the shops one day I passed a guy who I looked in the eyes and said “morning”. He stopped a few meters on and turned around and said “thank you – good morning to you too..I’m having such a shit day and you just brightened it”. He grinned, turned around and kept on walking.

    It was such a little thing but I remember it so clearly as I presume he did too. So he didn’t change my life or grately impact it but I will always remember it with a smile.

    You make me smile when I see you at work.. I know you will always have a smile for me and a great one liner ready. So you impact me greatly.

    Don’t ever underestimate your worth to those around you

    Xoxox

  4. Aunty Fuzz permalink

    “Everything I do is empty and pointless. It’s just surviving. Paying the bills. Marking time. I have no impact on anyone. Nobody is better off because of me. No victories are celebrated, not even by me. There isn’t time. And I can’t get excited anymore anyway.”

    I think “just surviving” is a highly under-rated past time. Every morning that you get out of bed to face another day is a cause for celebration. You are alive. Against all odds, here you are.

    Each weekday you endure the drudgery of working so you can do this surviving thing and pay the bills. You have an extremely high impact on the quality of life of your family, and I’m tempted to kick you up the arse instead of offering sympathy for you saying nobody is better off because of you! Each day you come home to your family is a cause for celebration. You have a family. You have a home. You expend an incredible amount of effort to give these things to those you love the most. That is cause for celebration, dear sir – every god damn day you have the good fortune to do so.

    I am reminded of so many stories from successful athletes who discovered that the gold medal ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. We can build up a fantasy of basing our self-worth on grand achievements but it is hollow and it is false. For every achievement gained, you will once again reset the dial, and the cycle starts anew. In the case of some athletes who pin *everything* on that gold medal, once achieved they have nowhere left to go. Some crash badly after this. It is a treacherous road to link self-worth with things outside of us – too many variables out of our control, too many external factors that can get in the way.

    Now it’s time for a group hug 🙂

    We luvs ya, dude!

  5. Mate what you do matters to your family. They value you the most, never forget that!

  6. portrobin permalink

    Hello Lucas I’m so sorry you are experiencing this. I’ve always thought that someone like you, outgoing, hail fellow well met, incredibly bright and so caring of others -didn’t suffer depression! I thought it was meant for the loners -the self-centred hideaways -the people who need to learn something -usually, to be more like you! Perhaps the reverse is happeneing Lucas? Perhaps it’s time for you to go inside for a while -think about what it is you really want from life! You’ve been thrown a few bricks now the boulders are coming. Read some different books, move, breathe deeply, always be aware that you are valued greatly by many people -not just for your kind deeds but very much for the inspiration you give -your enthusiasm and joy. It really isn’t so much about ‘doing’ for everyone and attaining goals. My own depressions have taught me that it’s the journey we love and learn from. That once a goal is attained, let go and climb another mountain -there’s nothing at the top -just a view of the next mountain. Feel all the support around you -breathe it in.

  7. portrobin permalink

    Not a good summary of my thoughts Lucas. What I mean to say is this. Your actions reflect the person you are. You are creative and loving therefore the functions you perform will reflect this.

    Your work, children, partner, friends are your life. From your brilliance, love and need for self expression, you created them. And they are not ordinary, they are all wonderous reflections of Lucas.
    I think you need to get out of the backyard dunny and stand on the roof of your house. This is spectacular. You created this -you made it possible for all the people under your roof.
    You have impacted many lives Lucas but from a small dark place you can’t see. You impacted Naomi’s life. You have impacted my life too and I intend seeing through all the ideas you created. Many people will benefit from this -thanks to you!

    • Robin, I thank you for your words. I’ve learnt that there are aspects of my personality which are both strengths and weaknesses: My perfectionism and desire to do my best for everyone are things which in the right circumstances make me a perfect employee and friend, but in the wrong environment can lead to terrible self-esteem and anxiety.

      Looking back, I’ve probably dodged bullets my entire life and not realised I have this problem, because I’ve always had enough support and love around me that the other disappointments and stress haven’t taken their toll. Of late the balance has shifted a little, and I’ve perhaps been too hung up on my responsibilities and the expectations hold me to.

      As with any other experience in life, it is teaching me some valuable lessons. It is strengthening some relationships, and making me realise I have to let others go. It will take time, and some days (like when I wrote this post), are much worse than others.

      Thank you again. I hear your message, and I agree with you. I know I have so much to be thankful for, and I need to focus on those things and accept I can’t be all things to all people.

      xo

  8. There’s not much I can add to this conversation except just keep talking. Just keep being honest. And just keep on doing and trying to be the very best version of yourself you can be. Some days are harder than others but there is more of an opportunity to learn about yourself and others from the hard days, than there ever is from the good ones.

    And remember, if someone tries to bring you down or tells you to “Just get out there” or any number of rubbish comments, that those words say more about the person saying them, than they do about you.

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