Depression Hates Purpose, So Set a Big Goal
Humans need purpose, or else, what are we living for?
When I think back to the most depressive episodes of my life, they have all been at a time when I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose in any way, or striving for a big goal.
They were times that I was in a dead end job that didn’t utilise my skills and passions. Or when I was in a controlling relationship that kept me small, so I didn’t set any goals…
Other than the goal to escape, of course. That in itself is a huge goal, and was massively life-affirming when I got out.
The best way to free ourselves from a trap, whether one made from our own mind, or compounded by other people, is to make it a tangible goal.
What makes a goal tangible?
A tangible goal is something with an outcome you can touch, see or measure in the real world. It is not a feeling, like happiness. It is something 3-dimensional.
So many people can be heard saying things like, “I just want to be happy.” But they don’t assign an outcome measure to that feeling — so then how do they know when to start feeling happy?
We all need milestones or markers to tell us that we are moving in the right direction. As we hit each milestone, we achieve a little dopamine reward that helps us lift our mind out of its funk and do a little better for ourselves.
When I was trapped in abusive relationships (plural — I took a while to learn), I used to wish to be free. But it wasn’t until I made a real-world plan for freedom that I began to loosen the grip of my depression and helplessness.
I needed to take these physical steps for myself to feel okay enough in my mind to progress:
* Have a plan for somewhere safe to live
* Make plan for work/paying my way
* Find a safe way to leave
Only once I had these tangible goals — things I could check off a list and count on being there — did I have the mental clarity to start executing.