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Depression and disappointment are two different conditions that are often confused.
When your depressed, you are emotionally incapable of being happy even if you win the lottery and have women with huge breasts all over you. Depression is a very serious condition that usually requires medical treatment. Also, too much stress can cause your body to stop producing hormones in adequate amounts which can lead to depression.
Disappointment on the other hand is usually only temporary. You just have change the problems in your life that are bothering you(job, girlfriend, country etc...)
I will begin with an aside that will give the reader an understanding of my bona fides in writing on this subject.
I have suffered from severe depression since I was 12, and have seriously contemplated suicide many times. I made an attempt at 30, one which was unsuccessful due to the intervention of a friend. I am now 41, and have not tried since, although such thoughts are an ongoing problem, especially in times like these when I am up against the wall financially and otherwise.
Currently, I am in my third month of volunteering at a shelter for single men, and there will not be many months beyond the third. My decision to join the volunteer community came at the end of a six-year stint in which I was "semi-retired" and so lived mostly on savings. Part of the reason for this was due to my decision to avoid corporate work at all cost, as I have found that operating in any corporate environment constitutes for me a living death - and by the way, as a former professor in the hard sciences, I can assure you that higher academia IS a part of the corporate world. Simply put, the less I work, the happier I am; I have no doubt that this is a continuing revolt on my part against the workaholic mindset which I once wholeheartedly embraced. Also, I view the typical job as a means of controlling the jobholder, namely by having him conform to a mind-numbing routine, to say nothing of putting up with an incredible amount of B.S., in order to receive just enough to survive as well as buy gadgets that he can use to distract himself from his psychological pain.
The other half of the equation is the fact that businesses in which I'm qualified to work have proven increasingly unwilling to hire someone like me, a man who is demonstrably peripatetic. I love to travel light and move often, characteristics that more often than not can prove damaging to one's financial status.
The shelter at which I work is based on the Christian anarchist tradition. I am an agnostic, but that fact, which I made known in advance to the other volunteers, did not disqualify me from joining. An anarchist (i.e. "boss-free") community appealed to me, as I have reached the point where I will not tolerate abuse from designated superiors. And, to my mind, being able to help men in need is a rewarding activity, based on a positive reading of the golden rule.
Unfortunately, the experiment has not worked out. I have observed an unequal power dynamic from Day One - some animals are more equal than others - which, I write cynically, is unsurprising. Heightening this inequality, and with it in an increasing frustration on my part to speak freely, is a strain of "goddess feminism" which I did not perceive until I joined the community. Certain members of the wider community embrace the "divine feminine principle", and there is an ongoing, if unspoken, pressure to either speak favorably of women at the expense of men, or to at least speak more favorably of females than males. After two months of feeling stifled by community expectations, as well as an inability to exercise frequently in order to both maintain good health and combat depression (I am in Minnesota, which is currently going through an even colder than usual winter), I lost my temper ten nights ago, and this provided other community members with the opening they were looking for. Bottom line, I'm looking to get out of here and move south within the next few months. I want to leave now, but frankly I don't have the money to do so. I would need to have a job offer in hand and income provided in advance in order to safely make the move.
I have the CELTA, and have taught in Ecuador and Malaysia. Both countries are decidedly hierarchical in structure, particularly Malaysia, and the demands for deference on my part only accentuated my melancholy. Long-term, I need to be in a place with a lower Power Distance Index, as well as a place where one can get a decent-paying job; I left Ecuador because I was having a hard time getting by on $450 per month. Ideally, I would work for myself. However, current financial difficulties aside, there is also the hurdle of having the will - the energy and the ambition - to put in the hours necessary to succeed in an entrepreneurial venture. Back in the day, I used to not have any problem either generating or maintaining passion... it's a far different story now.
Anyone who wishes to communicate with me further on this matter - comments, recommendations, questions - is welcome to PM me, as I do not wish to derail this thread.
To those who have read the above, thanks for your forbearance. Now to the advice, based on hard-won experience.
(1) DO find a man who is willing to listen to you when you're down. Only a man can help another man through tough times, both in respect to understanding what he's going through, and by being able to offer sound counsel! Women have this luxury in spades; however, society tends to denigrate men who need such emotional assistance, telling them that either they're trying to shirk responsibility for their actions, or that they need to "toughen up", "man up", what have you.
(2) DO make certain that this same man will not coddle you. Rather, he should challenge you in the spirit of genuine concern to transcend your pain by both encouraging you to take care of yourself, as well as help you find ways to either find new passions or reinvigorate old ones that will help you claim, and hold on to, a zest for life.
Warning: It may take a long time to find a man who's willing to do both of the above, and even then, your relationship may very well end up on the outs due to physical distance, conflict, or a simple "growing apart". But it's worth the effort to conduct such a search!
(3) DO take care of yourself physically, by eating right (lay off the junk food!), exercising daily, and getting a good night's sleep every night. Currently, I've been doing fine on the nutritional end, but I lack sufficient opportunities to exercise, and I also suffer from insomnia. That's a bad combination no matter who you are.
And now, for a negative:
(4) DON'T either medicate yourself, or take prescription pills, if you can help it. By the former, I refer to drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, or taking hard drugs. You should be careful even in regards to sex. Having sex is great, but if the reason you're doing it is to deal with your pain, it's not only unhelpful, but can also lead to a situation where you're engaging in destructive practices in order to enjoy a new and better high. As far as the latter, if you are going to seek professional help, find a psychiatrist who's devoted to listening rather than pushing pills - and frankly, good luck in finding one, because such a person is increasingly hard to find. After all, there's a lot more money to be made by adopting an assembly-line approach, wherein a typical visit is characterized by a cursory check of the patient followed by reaching for the prescription pad. As an example of the danger in such behavior, the psychiatrist I had eleven years ago put me on Remeron. During the six months I was on the drug, I suffered from hypersomnia, often sleeping twelve hours at a time; and, due to the drug's side effects of appetite inducement and lethargy, I gained fifty pounds! I complained repeatedly to my psychiatrist, but he wouldn't listen to me until the damage had been done.
ntm1972, this is zacb's thread but I want to specifically address your post. Based on your story, it seems that you are looking for a sane non-hierarchical community. Most men don't fit this pattern which I call co-alpha male. The idea of co-alpha is shared dominance meaning that authority is shared. I actually tried to find men to organize a group based on this idea which is the CoAlpha Brotherhood. Also see What is a co-alpha male?. This is a failed project because co-alpha is quite rare. Humans are primates who naturally organize into groups much like chimpanzee groups with a clear hierarchy usually dominated by an alpha male. The actual solution to this is religion where God can act as the virtual alpha male and those who need hierarchy can bow down to God. This is why democracy only arose in those societies that worshipped a strong patriarchal god. Personally I would much rather bow down to a supernatural god that doesn't exist than to a man who does exist. This concept is strongly built into Judaism. These thoughts are behind my current idea, Biblic Judaism. Unlike with CoAlpha, I am not starting from scratch here since Karaite Judaism already reflects many of my ideas and I can join their synagogue. So I am curious to know what you think of my approach.
There are great points Taco and something I have been researching A LOT lately. Stress in the USA causes severe health problems if you are not able to deal with day to day life, traumatic experiences, etc.. I have been doing blood work and saliva tests recently. I have found that I am both Hypothyroid as well as have bad Adrenal Fatigue. This has cause Metabolic Syndrome (High Blood Pressure, high Cholesterol, Insulin Resistance, etc). These all cause depression directly AND indirectly. I am one of those types that can't deal with stress very well. I look like I handle things fine, but I'm destroyed inside...I hold everything there. After many years of doing this, it has taken it's toll. For anyone that feels unhealthy, can't loose weight no matter what they do, and depressed, check out this article by Dr. Lam:
I have been a depressed person my entire life. I am one of those people that NEED to feel progression or else I'll get depressed. I have felt suicidal A LOT during my life. However, HOPE is what keeps me alive. The more I'm working on, the better I feel. A few years ago, things were going well in MANY areas of my life. I felt healthier than ever in my early 30's. Over the past couple of years, I have experienced some huge hits to my life. If I had no hope, I might have done myself in. Women don't mean SHIT when it comes to deep pain like this. They can't help you IMO. Due to these hits, I am depressed and feel very unhealthy. I found some relief by hiking in nature, but then injured my knee...now I can't even do that. I am now seeking to fix my Adrenal Fatigue and Thyroid. I need to get to feeling healthy again, be able to get out and hike again, etc...that would make a big difference to me.
I do not know how old you are, but you seem like you are much like I am. If you are still young, you might be fine as far as what will show on test panels. However, if you are anything like me...your internal feelings will lead to health problems that will make things worse. Best to be aware and monitor things right now....while you are planning your next moves in life
Learning how to be creative in your life can help with depression.
Learning how to create music, create art or even learning how to write stories can help.
As a society, we've lost the art of learning how to be creative which is at the core of being a human being.
"Allow me to show you the Power Cosmic!" - Silver Surfer
I appreciate your response, fschmidt. I am indeed seeking such a community of like-minded men. My computer time is limited, due to lack of internet access at the house in which I live. However, I've printed a copy of your post "What is a co-alpha male?", and will read and ruminate on it within the next several days, after which I will PM you.