by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, LLM, ME, EMT
Founder & Executive Director, Break Diving, Inc.
Depression sucks. No matter what way you put it, it is horrible, and one of the worst feelings in the world. Anyone who has experienced it–you know what I mean. Those who haven’t–I never wish it upon you.
Yup, I suffer from depression. It’s not something I’m ashamed or embarrassed by. It’s just something I have learned to live with. And… something I have tossed to the side to accomplish all that I have.
I decided to write this blog post because of how many times I have wanted to quit something I was pursuing because of it, but then… not quitting, and being so glad that I didn’t! Yes, I wanted to quit because of the depression. Yes, I wanted to quit because of the doubt. And yes, because of the discouragement attacking my psyche. But I persevered–and always do–and to this day, I consistently come out on the other end better and stronger and more accomplished for it. That’s why I wrote this: I want the same for you. I want you to overcome the devil of depression, discouragement, and doubt.
You see, depression does not define me, and it shouldn’t define you either. It’s something I live with that I push to the side when I need to get something done. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But I am proof positive that you can live with depression and not let it affect your life. And for better or worse, I have learned to do all this without taking any medication, because I personally feel it would cloud my judgment.
Before I go on, I want to explain why I call depression ‘the devil’. You may not know, but Break Diving has its foundation as a Christian principled organization. It doesn’t mean we preach preach preach; it’s just that I know that God wants me (and you) to succeed. And similarly, I believe that the devil takes great pleasure when we do not.
Assume for a moment that what I am saying is true: There’s a god. And assume that God wants you to succeed and the devil doesn’t. Or at the very least, just follow along with me logically.
Why doesn’t the devil want you to succeed and be happy? Because then you will live a happy life and praise the Lord. So he developed some things called depression… And discouragement… And doubt.
These are truly terrible things. If you ever had a big dream and saw it crumbling before your eyes, then you know well the feelings of discouragement and doubt, and maybe even the oft following depression.
All together, these triple D’s often make me feel terrible.
How do I end up in this state so often? Well, I am always putting myself out there, starting companies, launching books, creating artistic projects, pursuing dreams, and the list goes on. I am always trying to better myself and to reach a higher level of success. For the sake of success? No, because the more people I can reach, the more people I can inspire. The more successful I can become, the greater the inspiration I can be to the world. The larger the platform I have, the more opportunities I will have to inspire someone else to keep going, to not give up, to push forward and try one more time.
But the devil doesn’t want me to succeed. So he slams me to the ground time after time after time.
You see, if I succeed in accomplishing the above, and if Break Diving succeeds in reaching across the globe, then guess what: the devil loses. Evil loses, and goodness wins. The devil hates laughter. The devil hates it when we feel good about ourselves. The devil hates it when we find joy in life, and see our dreams coming true, and become an inspiration for our children. Why? He literally wants us to kill ourselves. He wants us to give up. He wants us to live in despair. He wants us to abandon any and all hope of God and heaven. He wants us to succumb to his pathetic view of who we are, and will do anything to prevent us from becoming the greatness that he knows we are destined to be… if only we believed in ourselves.
How does he do this?
When we are depressed, we don’t believe in ourselves. We sit around doing nothing. We give up on our dreams. We start to accept the lot ‘we were given’. So of course the devil pushes depression upon us.
When we are discouraged, we think less of our talents. We lose sight of our destiny. We convince ourselves that it wasn’t meant to me. So of course the devil pushes discouragement upon us.
When we are doubtful, we second guess ourselves. We start to think that it’s all a waste of time. We abandon the faith to try one more time. So of course the devil pushes doubt upon us.
These D’s are all related. And they all (in my mind) come from only one place: the devil. That piece of shit (forgive the language, but it’s true) that will do anything possible to see us fail. But God, and Jesus Christ, wants to see us succeed.
This way of thinking is in many ways the only way I get through my depressive spells filled with doubt and discouragement. Rumination (the psychological term for the repetitive and exponentially more brutal internal onslaught of negativity that we constantly slap upon ourselves when we get depressed, i.e. I didn’t get the job –> I’m a failure –> I’m a loser –> I’ll never get a job –> I wish I were dead) must stop or the devil wins. Where does rumination come from? Yes, I can explain it in psychological terms (I have a PhD in psychology), but it’s a whole lot easier to simply state: it’s the devil. And I believe it.
Whenever I start ruminating, I force myself to stop. Why? Because the power of good is greater than the power of evil. I refuse to let the devil win. Me? I laugh at the devil. When I recognize that I’m getting sad, or depressed, or doubtful, or think about quitting, or start thinking that it’s not worth continuing the pursuit of a dream, or whatever, I say, “Ha ha! Screw you devil! Get out of my head! What you think of me doesn’t matter! YOU suck!” Sounds loopy, but it works. Why does it work? I truly believe because it’s the truth. As James 4:7 states, “Resist the devil, and he will flee.” It’s not just a flowery saying of literature. Them be fighting words, baby! Put up your sword and fight!
But there’s another more secular reason why this works: by talking out loud to the devil, accusing him of saying these terrible things about you, it helps you to recognize that the ruminating comments about yourself… are not true! It’s not you speaking. It’s the damn devil. And his henchmen of naysayers.
For those of you who are spiritually religious, this will be easy to internalize. For those of you who are not, I ask you to put your atheism to the side and recognize that what I’m saying will work. If talking to the devil doesn’t work for you, then yell at your brain. I personally don’t like that as much, because it’s still a part of you, but it’s external enough that it will still have the intended effect of externalizing your ruminating criticism and doubt.
Me? I get through my depression not by myself, but by the grace of God. Is there a God? I can never say for certain until my death, just as an atheist cannot say for certain that there isn’t until he’s dead either, but I truly believe that God exists, and therefore, I believe, so does the devil. And until I find out for certain, I can say for certain that my philosophy of declaring depression to be the devil helps me tremendously.
No longer do I pleadingly ask God (or a psychologist), “Why oh why do I get so depressed all the time? Why do I suffer from doubt and discouragement so often?” I don’t need to ask anymore, because, frankly, I now know the answer: the devil. It’s not me. There’s nothing wrong with me and my brain. What’s wrong is this world and the fact that the devil has a stranglehold on it, and doesn’t want to see me succeed even one iota.
Because if I succeed, the devil knows that Monroe Mann will become a leading general in the army fighting against these three D’s.
If I succeed, it means many more people are going to read this blog post.
And the more people who read this blog post, the fewer people who are going to suffer through depression alone.
And the more people who read this blog post, the fewer people who are going to give up on their dreams.
And the more people who read this blog post, the more people who are going to believe in themselves for just ten minutes longer (and the truth is… that is often all that is needed).
And the more people who read this blog post, the more people will similarly learn to push the devil of depression, discouragement, and doubt away! Forever!
If you are reading this, and are depressed, take heart: I know how you feel. And on your behalf, I am rallying for you now: “Flee you piece of shit devil! Leave my friend alone! Stop criticizing her! Stop making him feel worthless! Stop encouraging so much discouragement! Stop pushing so much doubt upon her! Enough with the depression already! Stop forcing him to hide his talents and gifts and convincing her to hide her magic and light away in a trunk! Flee, I see, Flee!”
And to God, I pray, “Please, help my friend recognize that the depression, doubt, and discouragement are from the devil! Give my friend the strength to go on, to try one more time, to reinvigorate his hope, to re-instill her confidence! You and I both know my friend is destined for greatness! To shine across the world! To inspire others to hope, faith, and joy! So let’s send in the angels of encouragement to battle the devils of depression, discouragement, and doubt! We know the power of good shall vanquish all evil, starting RIGHT NOW!”
Amen, baby! Amen!
I hope this helps you. Please share it with anyone you think may benefit. Every share of this post alters the scoreboard: Angels: +1. Go Team!
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