Find people that can build you up, support you in your moments of weakness. – AUDIO NSFW
All right, guys. So I’m opening up my notes here. I got my notes on the screen up there and I want to talk about something that I have had to prepare myself for many weeks if not months as I’ve jotted notes down, scribbled notes down on this idea. This is probably one of these shows, one of these podcasts that I have literally spent the most amount of time preparing for. It’s not because I’m sitting here, you know, writing stuff down and meditating on this stuff. It’s because this subject is so tough and the subject is so raw and it’s so real.
I never wanted to just jump right into it because I think there’s a lot of things that need to be unpacked from this idea of depression. What I did is I just created this area in my in my journal here. I just wrote down “depression”. As things came to me, as ideas came to me over the weeks and months that I’ve been doing this project, I’ve just wrote notes down.
What you’re about to receive here in this show is probably about 2.5-3 months, not constant work, but just little notes here and there over a period of let’s just say three months. I’ve wanted to document about this idea of depression. I wanted to discuss it with you guys because depression is real. Depression is 100% real. It happens. It happens to the best of us. This doesn’t just happen to people who are sad sacks and who are just having a negative worldview in life, depression happens to the most successful men and women of industry out there.
I’m not included in that bracket. But depression has hit me. Don’t let it fuck you is what I’m trying to say. It’s real. I have had small bouts with depression over my life for about 3-6 month periods, 3-6 months stints. For some reason, whenever this idea of depression gets into me, it generally takes me about three months to really kind of shake it and in my worst experience of depression it took me about six plus months to really shake this depression.
I consider myself a jovial, a life-filled, a love-filled individual. I consider myself to be a positive thinker pretty much 99% of the time even though it’s impossible to be happy all the time. It’s impossible to be too positive all the time. I mean I live life on the bright side. The glass is half full. 100% fo sho for me.
Even I have struggled with depression. One of the first things that I want to talk about as we dive into this idea of depression is depression versus sadness. You see I think people might convolute the two ideas and certainly they have overlaps, but I want to kind of quell this idea of depression versus sadness because I was certainly there. I was certainly there.
If I can back up just a second here… Before I had issues with depression, before I had my first depressing episode, my first episode of depression, I used to think lightly of depression. I really did. God’s honest truth, hand up, scout’s honor, guys, I used to kind of pooh-pooh. I used to kind of pooh-pooh on depression. I used to think it was kind of like a come on, weak-minded, your letting things get to you, bro, buck up, be stronger. I apologize if there’s anyone in the wake of my history or pass in which I said that maybe as some sort of flitting comment or something like that. I don’t think I have.
Depression vs. Sadness
They’re completely different even though they have very similar traits and very similar things that happen to you. Everyone has experiences with being sad or being unhappy. The usual ways of unburdening yourself or getting rid of sadness or being unhappy usually work talking with the friend, working out, getting your mind back in the game, getting involved in the day’s activities, even having a friend that you could vent it out to if you’re if you’re sad or you’re unhappy or even just having a good old cry. I’m not above this, guys. I’m not above this. I don’t cry that often. That’s for sure.
But there have been a couple moments in life, there have been a couple of moments in life where I just needed to have a good, solid cry. I’ll tell you, it’s a little personal but, I won’t give you too many details. One of the times that immediately come to mind where I just had to have a real, solid cry is one of my best friends, his brother died. I was driving down to the funeral. It was a good couple hour drive down to this location and I was listening to all sorts of different music and I’m a big fan of Enya. Sometimes I need to throw on some Enya and during this drive down, there was this one song that just hit me. I won’t tell you which one because all the Enya’s songs are good in my opinion.
I was listening to this one song and I was driving the Infiniti G35S 2007, guys. I was driving that down, manual stick-shift. Awesome car. I love that car. But I tell you, I just needed a good cry. There was a lot of sadness in my heart for my best friend. There’s a lot of sadness in my heart for my best friend’s brother who I knew very well through college and through lots of different types of activities that we did back then. I just needed it. And my soul needed it.
Here I am guys driving down 85 from Atlanta down south, you know bawling my eyes out to Enya. I get it. Sometimes you just need it. Sometimes you just need a good crying it out. But here’s the thing, when it comes to sadness or being unhappy, they usually pass. The sadness usually passes with time and we get back to normal function.
When it comes to depression, when it comes to this idea of depression, depression is when we can’t get back to normal function. We can’t get back to the normal routine, the normal behaviors of life. And per the Internets, thanks to the Internets, they say depression happens when it lasts or this feeling of sadness or unhappiness lasts more than two weeks or so. I can completely agree with that.
I will tell you in my experience and this isn’t a measuring yard or a measuring stick for any of you guys out there to use if you’re listening on podcast, on iTunes, or Android. But for me, sadness generally goes with in the day. Like if I am unhappy or I’m sad, usually within the day, I get over it, I have a good cry, I can vent it out to my wife or I have a good crying it out, which doesn’t happen that often. But within the day, within a 24-hour period, I’m back in the funk, guys. I’m back, I’m going, I’m ready to go.
For me, depression, in the couple of experiences that I’ve had, this has been something that has crept up. It’s like you have this sadness and then you rule it as sadness, this event that happened and there’s some unhappiness there. And you get over it, I get over it in a 24-hour period, but then there’s something that lingers. There’s some something that’s been untouched that needs to be considered, needs to be retrospected on, needs to be sit on, I needed my soul time to allow to really sit on it, soak it up, maybe even despise it at some level.
I need to deal with it. That’s how depression in my life has crept up. I would categorize it as sadness or being unhappy but there was a thing something in my gut, in my soul that needed restoration, that needed reconciliation, and that needed healing.
Per the Internets, depression symptoms include feelings of discouragement, sadness, hopelessness, lack of motivation, loss of interest in activities that one should find enjoyment in. I’m no doctor, guys. I am no doctor and I am no expert, but I have experienced some serious bouts with depression in my life.
Depression can hit anyone. No one is immune and this is when I used to pooh-pooh it. No one’s immune from depression. You ain’t no Superman. You ain’t no Bruce Wayne. You ain’t no Batman. Actually, Batman shit, that guy is one of the most depressed individuals of all time. If you look at the meta of his life, he is literally acting through his pain. He is literally communicating all the time through his sorrow, through his pain.
That man is a man who has leveraged depression—I’m not making light of this guys, maybe I’m completely wrong here. Maybe the authors and writers of Batman would disagree with me, but to my mind, Batman is a great example of a man who’s leveraged depression and pain or something. I wouldn’t say good, but I mean he’s hurting people when he’s fighting crime. He’s like the anti-hero.
I used to pooh-pooh depression until I received the blessing of depression during a couple dark moments of my life. You might be wondering why would I write down the words “blessing”. The blessing of depression? I’ll tell you why and mostly because I’ve lived through it and I’ve experienced it now.
The blessing of depression is simply this I have now been able to understand more deeply a spectrum of emotions, a spectrum of despair, a spectrum of my soul that I would have never have touched, would never have experienced, would never have been able to live through, would never have been able to have this conversation with you, to tell you about my experience with depression. I would never have been able to have these conversations unless I experienced it.
I have a note right here that says “blessed the hurt and the pain used the whole brain”. I’m blessing the pain. I’m blessing the hurt of the depressing episodes that I’ve had in the past because they opened my eyes to a new me, to a new reality, to a depth of hurt that I didn’t know that I could hit, to a depth of sorrow, to a depth of sadness and discouragement and hopelessness. Lord Jesus, I could tell you, I would never have expected that I would ever in my life have felt hopeless before. But I have and thanks to the blessing of depression.
3 FORMS OF DEPRESSION
- Battle fatigue or exhaustion.
- Unprocessed emotions.
- Bad life management overall.
Bad life management that ended up just cropping up over time and just crushing you. It might have to do a little bit with battle fatigue but battle fatigue really is more focused on projects, is more focused on an effort and where I get burnt out.
Let’s just jump into battle fatigue. This is how I have experienced depression. Through exhaustion, through abject exhaustion. Exhaustion increases our probability for failure. We’re not sharp at anything. This is a tendency that I have when I go a thousand percent into a new project. It’s fascinating that I know this and yet, I play with these cards. I know the deck. I know the meta of how I get into projects and how I get excited and how I get so overly involved. It becomes who I am, it becomes my identity, and I juggle with this idea of knowing that I could move myself into exhaustion, battle fatigue, and invariably depression on every single one of my projects.
How fascinating is it that now I literally know that whenever I get involved in something a 1000%, I’m going to be tipping myself closer and closer to depression. Because I get exhausted. We are unwise if we think we can do everything. Sometimes I think I am. In our exhaustion, excellence exits our work and life. Let me say that again. In our exhaustion, excellence exits our work and our life. Our character becomes fragile under the weight of exhaustion. Our patience runs thin and things that usually wouldn’t bother us end up doing because we’re so focused.
Go back to my podcast, my show on I’m not taking shit too seriously. I have a tendency to take shit way too seriously when I get involved in it. It’s because I care about it immensely. It’s what I want to do in life. It’s what I want to fight for right now. Lord Jesus do I want to do it! I want to do it better than anyone! I want to do it with excellence, but our character becomes fragile under the weight of our exhaustion. Our patience runs thin with everyone else because they’re not playing and they’re not running at 1,000 miles per hour that I’m running at. We are more likely to listen to foolish talk and make unwise decisions because of our fatigue. We’re more likely to get sucked into the routine of things and hate the process we so used to enjoy.
I have a tendency to do this. To end up despising that which I am doing because it is so hard and it’s such hard work and it takes such a long time and the results that I want aren’t moving as fast as I’d like even though I know because I’ve done this so many times that results are never overnight.
I can tell you many examples of this, but I’ll give you one. I had absolute exhaustion depression and this happened after building my consultancy here in Atlanta. What was so interesting is the hardest years—I built a consultancy here for just under 10 years and then it was acquired by a company out in Colorado called Agile For All. I was building an organizational design company/organizational consultancy with the focus on agile and scrum training. In the earliest years, the first 5-7 years, to be quite frank, of building this consultancy were the hardest moments of that project, the hardest moments of my life during this project is 12-year project. They were the hardest—building from scratch, growing a client-base, growing my network, scaling out the company to 19 employees.
It was only at the 7th year when we were making millions of dollars as a consultancy, when we were growing like fucking weeds. We were getting all over the place. We were just knocking out those wins, getting great referrals to do even more powerful and amazing work with large Fortune companies and changing the way people do software development, and changing people’s lives.
The best moments, but it is at that 7th-10th year was I had some serious bouts with depression. I had shown my shittiest attitudes at clients because I was burnt out. I was doing more administrative nonsense than actually helping clients because now I had 19 employees. I was doing more travelling that I didn’t enjoy then travelling I did enjoy. At the end of the day, I just wasn’t doing what I enjoyed doing, which is creating and building something from nothing and creating and building something from scratch.
I burned out. I could tell you distinctly, I hit a head. I hit the end of my rope in Canada , fucking Toronto, Canada. I had a client up in Canada. I remember sitting with this client, we were having this training and someone just gave me a little bit of lip. I don’t even remember what it was, but I went off. I went off. I dropped a couple f-bombs that were not in a light-hearted, positive way that sometimes I dropped the f-bombs. These were angry f-bombs. These were angry f-bombs. And I fucked up. I fucked up big time. I got calls at the end of it from people, from clients. I got individuals who are threatening to ensure that the rest of the contract would be cancelled and that I would never be able to work in that area. I earned it. I completely deserved it.
The reason is because I was burnt out and I moved into a depression. I moved into a depression in which I felt like nothing I was doing. Guys, we’re making millions of dollars here, okay? I have 19 employees. I’m making more money than I ever have, but guess what? What’s on the other side of that? I never saw my family. I was travelling two fucking cities a week. It doesn’t matter if you’re making over $2 million a year, guys if you travelling two cities a week and you never see your family.
My depression moved into anger and lashing out at my employees, at my contractors, at my consultants, at my clients. Guys, I got too involved. I needed to pull back. I’ll tell you, the savior was a guy named Bob Hartman, one of my mentors. He bought my company. He acquired me so that I could survive. So that I could live. Seriously, no shit. He literally acquired my company so that I could survive, so that I could live.
He would tell you today that one of the greatest things that he has ever done for me and he knows this is he survived me. He allowed me to survive. He saved me. He saved my marriage. He saved my life. He saved my ability to be a father because I was dying and I didn’t know a way out. I needed someone to exit me. Exhaustion, guys, depression came to me and depression is always on the hairy edge for me because of exhaustion.
I’ll tell you the second place where depression has hit me. It’s unprocessed emotions. Depression can hit when we do not process our emotions especially processing hurt, grief, or disappointment. I don’t want this to be a negative podcast. Seriously, have you do you have unprocessed hurt, unprocessed grief, unprocessed disappointment in life? Expectations that weren’t met?
We’ve talked about this previously. If we never have the change or the opportunity to process these powerful emotions, it leads us towards a downward spiral. It eventually harms the heart. I know this. Unprocessed emotions—hurt, grief or disappointment—leads to angry reactions. We lash out. We’ve become terrible people to be around because we’re unhappy with ourselves and were unhappy with everyone around us.
I know that I am moving into world of depression, guys, when I find that I am unhappy with myself and everyone around me for an extended period of time. In my wisdom these days, it doesn’t take more than a couple days. It’s like whoa, Peter, you in a funk. What’s going on? Was it that issue? Was it that hurt? Did what he said really affect you? I mean let’s just be intellectually honest here, Peter. Let’s talk it out. Did what he said really offend you? Did it really hurt you that deeply? Did you really take it that way? If so, that’s okay because you’re human. You’re not Superman. It’s okay to be offended. It’s okay to be affected by people’s words now and again. That’s life.
Sometimes it’s just a moment in time, you’re spiritually weak. Your mind is weak. Your body is weak. In that moment, the innocuous statement that he said or she said, it just cuts you deep. Maybe you need to just process through it. Don’t let it go unprocessed. The hurt, the grief, the disappointment—they happen to all people. They’re not immune.
And unfortunately, we have to deal with people. We have to deal with unmet expectations, promises that have been broken, poor decisions in life, people letting you down, people not giving you the time that you need, the respect that you think you need, or maybe they just don’t seem to care or maybe they just don’t know how to care. It doesn’t matter. You have an unprocessed emotion that you have received from someone else.
My experience with depression here is when I was fired from my own start-up. I’ll just be frank and to the point. I never imagined that I would ever be in a position where I have put in literally, blood, sweat, and tears; many tears, much sweat and just a little bit of blood into start-up, my baby, I created, I germinated it, came out of my loins, my brain my, soul—I was forced out.
It took me over six months to get out of my funk. I’ll tell you. Those six months were the worst periods of my life. Losing weight, not sleeping. Depression lose of weight, depression not being hungry, depression angry, depression anxiety, cold sweats, hot sweats. Just completely broken in every sense of the word. I never imagined how painful it would be to literally be aborted from my own baby, my own start-up, my own creation.
I want to use that word “abortion” because that word “abortion” is so wrong. It’s so real. It’s so nasty. Abortion is horrific. That’s what it felt like to me when I was fired and I was forced out of my own company. It felt like I had been smashed by tongs into a vagina, crushing my soul, ripping me apart, and pulling me out, and saying you can have it no more. Peter, that’s really fucking graphic. Yeah because people need to understand what that’s all about. That’s the best imagery that I could give. That’s how violent and destructive this experience was to my soul.
When I was forced out of my own start-up, it destroyed me. I thought I was going to be destroyed. I thought I was dying like literally dying. My body was giving out. It was giving away. It was giving up. A small note on processing grief, by the way, this was a big grieving process for me as you can probably imagine.
A small note on processing grief. Take the time you need to connect with people—family, friends, those that care. Allow them to serve your physical and emotional needs so you can take care of your own spiritual needs. Your spiritual needs, well, that’s between you and your God. I’ll tell you on this small side note of process in grief guys. That is the answer to this depression. That was the answer to my depression after being forced out of my own company, ripped to shreds.
I connected with people. My soul cried out. My soul literally cried out to the world, to the divine matrix. People responded. People came. They talked with me and they sat with me. I found out more about not only myself, but I found out more about my friends during this depression period that I ever imagined. It is crazy to think that the best—I can say this plainly and clearly because it’s this powerful.
During this depression phase, I learned more about my friends than I ever imagined. I learned who my real friends were and weren’t. I learned that those who couldn’t take this type of information, knowing this type of stuff about me, knowing that that I failed this bad, or I’ve been hurt this much.
Actually, one of the best outcomes of this depression episode that I experienced was I culled my friends. I pruned my friends because my heart and soul is crying out for help and I reached out to individuals who I thought gave a fuck and they didn’t. They’re no longer part of my life.
I won in that, but I’ll tell you that during this depression episode, the answer to it was reaching out, connecting with people, having them listen and helping me process, vent my anger, my frustration. My dreams were destroyed or at least I thought they were. It requires help from the outside, guys when your soul is being destroyed, your soul has tangled up in the messes of life.
BAD LIFE MANAGEMENT
The third area that I’ve experienced depression is bad life management. This is one of those things that just kind of creeps up on you over time. It’s very close to time management in that your life is really your time. If you don’t value time, then you’re certainly not going to value your life. I value time immensely. I value time really, a lot, let’s put it that way.
If you do not manage your time well, you are not likely to manage your life well. Let me say this again. If you do not manage your time well, you are not likely to manage your life well. Often, we take on too much that isn’t focused on our core values. We need to learn to say no. This is what has fucked me in my younger years. It’s easy for me to say no because I know where my values are. I know what I need to be focused on. If it’s sideways energy, if it’s a time bandit, if it’s something that has no contextual relevancy to what I need to do, it’s easier for me to say no.
But I will tell you, I have dealt with depression in the past. The reason is because I did not learn how to say no. Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs. He said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on, but that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as things we have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” A quote by Steve Jobs.
For me, depression hit when I finally realized that I had spent over a solid year doing that which I had completely hated and fought it because I was living in a new country and trying out new things. Depression hit me at the end of my time in Korea. The reason is because I had realized that Korea wasn’t the place for me. I wanted to connect to my roots. That was a big fail. It didn’t work out. I was working for Samsung. I was working for the United Nations as consultant. Great work. Great living. Great money as an expat, guys.
I didn’t have to work Saturdays like everybody else. My sajangnim had everyone else working Saturdays, but not me. I was an expat. I got to ride my motorcycle, my brand new, imported motorcycle from Japan, a GSX-R600. That was the first one that I bought when I was out there. These things are usually about $8,000 but I paid $14,000. The reason is because I wanted an unlimited Japan spec racing GSX-R600 Suzuki motorcycle, guys.
I was living the fucking dream out there. Until I realized that I had said yes to everything. I wanted to try everything. I was all over the place. Depression hit me so fast in a moment in time. I don’t even know how. It was just like everything accumulated all this dirt, all this grime, all this baggage. That’s the best way of saying it. All this baggage just kept cropping up. It’s like a computer, guys, like shit just crops up over time and you need to defrag that thing. You need to defrag it. You need to get out all the chaff.
The problem is that I was living in Korea and living this life of money and speed and fun and city living. I just let all this baggage crop up and crop up. I never took spiritual shower when I was out there. The routines ended up sucking. The work ended up sucking. Life ended up sucking. I allowed myself to slink away from my core values of who I really was, what I valued, and what frankly I was good at.
I said yes to way to many opportunities out there. True story guys, I don’t even know if my wife knows this. I even auditioned for a role in a Korean sitcom where I had to speak some Korean and English. The reason is because at the time when I was out there, there was a guy named Daniel Henney, who didn’t know Korean but he’s fully English. Didn’t know any Korean and he had become some sort of like superstar in Korea at the time just because of his good looks.
Now, I don’t have the good looks, guys. I can’t sell you watches and I can’t sell you facial cream, okay, in Korea. I just don’t have that look. I mean I said yes to everything. I even auditioned for a sitcom, which I completely bombed, by the way. That’s another story I could tell. I completely bombed it because they asked me to introduce myself in Korean and I did and they started to ask me questions about who I am in Korean. I started bumbling over that because vocabulary… In English, I have a pretty broad vocabulary, but in Korean, not so much. So I pretty much sounded like probably a fucking elementary school kid.
Here’s the thing. Everything ended up sucking. Everything ended up second because I said yes to too many opportunities. I didn’t consider the cost and I got pigeonholed into commitments. Don’t miss this guys. I got pigeon-holed into commitments that I didn’t want to fulfill anymore. Life just sucked. It just sucked! Everything just sucked in a hit of depression.
I remember hitting this depression on the way home. I was so like upset with which is how when life had gone and what had happened then. I just said, fuck it, I’m not even riding and driving my motors. By the way, by that time, I had three motorcycles. I had three motorcycles, guys. I was living in this condo just north of Apgujeong in Korea living the fucking life, bro.
You know what I did? I remember I abandoned a date that I was on. I was just like fuck it. I’m done. I was on a date. I was like fuck it. I’m done. I’m done. Left my motorcycle, one of my expensive ass motorcycles out in the middle of the street. Thank you Jesus for the respectful culture that is Korean Seoul lights because these guys, they just don’t touch it. They just didn’t touch it. I left this expensive ass motorcycle out in the middle—I just left it. I said I’m done. I’ve had enough with your bullshit. I’ve had enough with my bullshit. I’ve had enough with life’s bullshit. I’ve had enough with work. I just left my motorcycle there and started walking.
I ended up going down the subway. I went down in the subway, caught the subway, went over to my place and I remember just walking. I’m just walking. It should have been raining. It should have been Korean drama-worthy. It should have been raining. That would have made it even more epic.
I was just walking with my head down. I remember I was so fed up with all the bullshit. I was fed up with the life that I was chasing, the riches that I was squandering, and the time that I was wasting. I was just fed up with it, man.
By the way, you know what’s the answer to that depression that bad life management was? Coming back to Jesus moment, coming back to Jesus moment. I just said you know what? I must change. Literally, the next day I changed. I changed everything. Sold motorcycles, sold my condo within a week, which was amazing by the way at the time. I was amazed that I could literally flip the condo and have a verbal commitment like a couple days and in like six days, I had the money. Yeah, you want to talk about the Lord opening up the ways? I just left. Came back to America is what I did. Sometimes, you have to make those drastic decisions. Maybe, just maybe, to snap you out of the bad routine that depression has got you in.
With all this talk about depression, is there a solution? Again, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. I don’t have any answers for any of you. The only real definitive thing is I can tell you and that was the purpose of this show, the purpose of this podcast is that depression is real. It’s horrible and it’s immobilizing and it is ruthless.
Here’s what I do know. Find people that can build you up. Find people that can build you up, support you in your moments of weakness. That was how I came through all of my depression. By surrounding myself with people who cared really, cared and if they didn’t fuck them. Find the real people. Find people willing to support you at all times. Having great friends helps.
Don’t ever feel like you never need to go it alone. There’s some moments in which I’m going it alone maybe for too long that I lose perspective and realize that I truly can’t, that’ll become exhausted, I’ll burn myself out, or I’ll continue to make bad life decisions that pigeonhole me into commitments that I don’t want to fulfill.
You’re never alone. Don’t ever fear reaching out for help if you need it. Don’t ever fear. Please don’t ever fear reaching out for help. Even the greatest warriors of history have dealt with depression and in some ways, I would say, these great warriors of history owned. I think that their experiences with depression the reasons why some of the reason why they can say that they have lived a life that’s fully lived. Depression happens. Reach out when it does. Reach out when it does because you cannot go depression alone.
Thanks guys for allowing me to share my heart in this episode. This is one of those episodes that I was nervous talking about, but I think it’s important to talk about mostly for my own edification. I hope it was useful and helpful. Subscribe, like, and share with other people if you know of people that need to hear a message like this. See you in the behind-the-scenes on YEN.io.