Posted by: JulieAloha | December 31, 2016

Wayfinding

I was listening to a podcast episode of the TED Radio Hour entitled “The Meaning of Work.” One particular section struck me as relevant to my current bout of depression in regard to my recent break up and heart ache. The following is an excerpt from the program:

“… a student came to visit me … and he told me the following story. He said that for more than two weeks he was working on a PowerPoint presentation. He was working in a big bank and this was in preparation for a big merger and acquisition. He was working very hard on this presentation – graphs, tables, information – he stayed late at night every day and the day before it was due he sent his PowerPoint presentation to his boss and his boss wrote him back and said, “Nice presentation, but the merger is cancelled.” And the guy was deeply depressed … knowing that no one would ever watch [it].”

The speaker goes on to explain that doing all that work and then having it be all for naught was incredibly demotivating. I’ve spent the past five years building a complex and rewarding relationship with one person who became one of the most important people in my life, then suddenly I was cut loose with nothing to show for all my time and effort, all my investment of love and support turned to dust. I felt as if I’d spent years climbing a mountain, been brought nearly to the very summit and then been pushed off the edge and allowed to plummet into the darkness with no one knowing what had happened to me. People around me could see the result of my fall but had no idea what had taken place because my whole love affair had been secret. I felt the need to explain what had taken place, to find a way to tell my story because I didn’t feel I could move on without acknowledging the events which led to my fall – if I couldn’t tell my story it made my entire relationship, five years of joy and friendship, love and the sorrow of its loss completely meaningless. I’m still struggling daily with that great loss and even more with the fact that I’ve been restricted from expressing myself openly about it. In another part of the radio program someone says they “decided to make theirs a life that was worth saving,” but being so deeply depressed and feeling so worthless as I did in the aftermath of my heartbreak, I wasn’t sure my life was worth saving, particularly when the person I had loved so much suddenly thought so little of me as to turn their back on me and throw me away. I instinctively knew I wanted to be able to tell my story, I needed to, even though I didn’t fully understand why at the time – now I see more clearly why it was important to be able to share my experience. It’s in the telling of the story which gives it meaning, the witness of my life and experiences, both beautiful and difficult, which inform my identity, my very being, and without which I have little motivation or wish to go on.

However, I’m not a quitter. Despite the pain, anguish and depression I face each day I continue to struggle and fail and persevere. It isn’t easy and I’m not always or even mostly successful, but I’m still making an effort to find my way, to keep telling my story and find meaning in my life. Tomorrow I begin a new project here on my blog inspired by Project 365, I will be starting a daily journal of words and photos documenting the things in my life for which I am grateful, focusing on that which makes my life worth saving. Come and share my journey with me.


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