Understanding the cross-national disparity in depression: A ...
Allow yourself to be happy, let the sun shine through.

As humans, we face two competing forces that drive us, namely, logic and emotion. Some people will argue that they are driven by only one, but I believe that is false. A life without emotion is like eating through a feeding tube. it is functional, but not satisfying. There would be no difference between a gourmet meal and a piece of cardboard. I had a friend who died from ALS. He was forced to eat through a feeding tube as the disease progressed. He justified it by saying “I never cared for food that much anyway.” Logic preserved his emotional well-being as his health faded.

On the other hand, a life guided only by emotion in my opinion would be overwhelming. One would experience amazing highs, but also devastating lows. Even during the “manic” periods, one would risk death because of the illogical belief of immortality. The potential consequence of the lows is suicide. To counter lives devoid of logic, the medical community has devised drugs to introduce more balance for people who suffer from mental illness,

For many of us, though, we may have balance normally, but sometimes our emotions can get the better of us. Throughout my life, I have faced times when I have felt worthless. Sometimes these feelings were the logical consequence of circumstances I created. I have been accused of “self-sabotage” at times. Oftentimes, these charges may have been justified even though I denied them at the time. During these periods of self-hatred, I have argued with myself that my life is a pain to myself and to everyone around me. I have even explored the internet to determine ways to commit suicide in a manner that looks like natural causes. I am not proud of these admissions, but I believe that it is important to be honest so that others that have felt this way do not feel alone or crazy.

ShfitPoetry is a methodology created by me and my partner, Barbara Ligeti, to help people to introduce logic into their emotional duldrums. When I am depressed, I just want to be down. I want to only see the bad and believe that logic dictates my worthlessness. These beliefs are based on falsehoods.

Even in our darkest moments, we continue to have value. Maybe our only contribution may be to open a door for a person who is weighed down with groceries or stopping to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. These acts are minor, but the beneficiary may be surprisingly grateful. Think about how you have felt when a strangers put your needs above theirs. You do make a difference. We all make a difference.

I have been guilty of being too wed to my plans. And when those plans fail, I have felt devastated. But I know, logically, that when you fall, you need to wipe off the dust and get back up. I have failed many times and am sure that I will continue to fail. But peppered between those failures are small and sometimes large victories.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us in death. It is the ultimate uncertainty. However, life offers limitless possibilities from pain and disease to unbelievable bliss. When you feel down, fight the demons and focus on the positive possibilities. Make it happen. It may not happen right away or at all, but by staying in life, anything is possible.

Life is our greatest gift. Don’t waste it because you have hit hard times. You are loved. And small acts by you can create huge smiles in others.

Shift your life. Live, love, laugh. Don’t let negative thoughts take away your bright future.