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This is going to be my first post in a series that will describe how I have changed since I admitted I was in a state of depression.

Read part two and three.

God I still cringe whenever I say I was depressed because I’m still embarrassed about it. I feel like people are going to think less of me or jump to conclusions that something is terribly wrong. One of my business partners admitted he hates seeing me take naps in my car in the middle of the work day; that he remembers doing the same when he worked at a job he hated.

But I don’t hate my job. I don’t hate anything. I’m just changing. I’m in my thirties now and I’m sensing a changing of my goals and ambitions and I’m nervous about it. My taking naps in my car was instinct. Something was pulling me hard away from my computer. It felt like nothing else mattered in the world and retreating to my car for silence was the only thing that I could think of.

It was a respite from stress and piles of responsibilities and obligations to people and projects I cared about.  It was a coping mechanism to help me deal with my guilt for not feeling as ambitious to obtain fame and fortune that I used to. I wondered where my drive went? That’s what my partners liked about me, that I was kind of a fame-whore and loved getting recognition and it helped us put our company on the map. I mean, what greater drive than being regarded as a rockstar designer? Or being seen as a leader or founder of a company that does awesome shit? 

Ok let me digress for a minute.

Our intentions are never purely about fame or money. It’s not that black and white. Sure, getting big on the Internet, having a lot of Dribbble followers or being featured in a design blog is a motivator, but we all know that we secretly want something more authentic. That’s why we create things to benefit the greater good. At Go Media, we’ve always built things that were based on passion and providing real value. But at the same time we’re trying to make our products popular and profitable. It is always a mix between what we want and what our customers want. 

Back to my point, the naps in my car became meditation practices to deal with the constant noise and voices in my head. I just needed silence. I have since learned the power of silence, but I will get to that in a new post. 

What did depression feel like?

How did I know it wasn’t just the usual ups and downs of life? (I disagree that life requires constant ups and downs, but that’s a future post). How did I know I was depressed? Things that used to make me excited no longer were. I felt resistance to my responsibilities at work and felt a strong desire to leave and be alone. I was having a hard time recognizing the good in front of me.

Despite getting positive comments and reviews on the stuff I’ve made I couldn’t see it.  We’ve all been there. That one negative comment out of a hundred would wreck my day. Heck, I couldn’t resist dwelling on it for weeks! All I could think about was how stressful planning WMC Fest was (not to mention my roles as partner at Go Media). All I could think about was trying to finally be profitable at the end of the year without sacrificing my ideals. Some would call that fear of “selling out.”

I was very drawn to the concept of meditation, yet I couldn’t stick to the habit; the same for exercise. After doing it for a while, I just didn’t care anymore. Once I started feeling better, I would stop. Then sure enough, anxiety, fear, and worry would come flooding back and I’d would wonder what the heck is wrong with me. I will talk about habits in an upcoming post; and how to deal with those negative voices in your head.

Something Clicked

Something has clicked in the past month that has me feeling hopeful and inspired, yet scared and confused. I’ve been doing some soul searching and what I am finding is terrifying but also liberating. I strongly feel that I am onto something very positive in my life but I’m not sure how to handle it. I believe those answers will come to me over time.

Six months ago I started monitoring my moods and emotions on a daily basis. I didn’t know it at the time, but I now realize that it was this simple habit turned me onto the concept of awareness. Something we lose when all we think about is our to do list and our obligations. There is never enough time in the day, right?

In my next post I’ll dive deeper into what has happened the past six months. I will retrace my steps and link to just about every article, book, app, or resource that got me here. It felt like the time you listened to a band that blew your mind and opened you up to an entire new genre of music that you never knew existed. It’s exhilarating.

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Jeff Finley
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