Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

From Nothing

with 4 comments

When I spend my days away from the ranch, not taking pictures, not collecting experiences, the relative somethings get a little thin. Four days a week my hours are tied up with commuting and day-jobbing. By Friday, I have to work a little harder to fill this space with words and pictures. I will often be heard muttering, “I’ve got nothing.”

Thursday nights are what Cyndie and I refer to as my “Friday.”

Last night we celebrated with my bringing home Cyndie’s favorite half-baked deep-dish pizza for dinner. I walked in the door, placed it in the refrigerator and collapsed on our bed, falling into a deep sleep with Pequenita curled up on my legs.

It’s a manifestation of accumulated exhaustion. What a luxury.

One of the things that leaves me feeling like I’ve got nothing to write about, is how incomparable my healthy first-world exhaustion is to the suffering I witness others around me going through. How dare I frame my suffering as particularly arduous, when other’s lives are hovering on the brink, when disasters abound, when life challenges won’t be temporary.

I feel lost within my familiar surroundings, an unsettling perception. It’s an instance when I resort to waiting. That feeling doesn’t last. If I don’t fight against what isn’t really there, balance returns soon enough.

One of the reasons I strive to compose something every day is as a push on my ‘swing’ of daily maintaining my mental health. It’s an interesting conundrum for me when the healthy act of writing meets up with the well-known challenges of writer’s block.

One of my “go to” solutions is to simply post a picture. Sometimes, by the end of the week, I don’t even have that.

Before the point in my life when I identified that I was dealing with depression, a moment like this, with no idea what to write about and feeling lost, would have simply stoked a dangerous fire.

I’m thrilled to be able to report that my perspective and awareness are so completely different after treatment that times like this tend to end up being more of an inspiration than an ominous threat.

It’s so simple, it gets misconstrued as not even possible. It does involve some bigger picture observation, but after that, in each moment, it is simply a matter of thinking differently. The secret is in recognizing what is going on in the moment, and then directing my thoughts in an appropriately healthy way.

Through talk therapy, I learned how to recognize my dysfunctional thinking and perceptions. With practice, I have honed skills in changing my thoughts, which alters my chemistry. Happily, no pun intended, it generates a positive feedback loop that strengthens with each cycle.

One last part of my simple secret to overcoming my depression: trusting it can work.

My healthcare providers were convinced they could help me, and I trusted them.

It worked.

Look at that. When I started writing this post, I thought I had nothing for today.




4 Responses

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  1. You just can’t know how much I needed to read this today… or maybe you can. Either way, thanks.


    October 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    • This means a lot to me. I’m grateful to see the timing aligned and my spontaneous inspiration was pertinent for you. Thank YOU for letting me know.


      October 14, 2017 at 6:49 am

  2. Couple of ideas for writing subjects: Observations made during your significant commute back and forth to the J.O.B. And then there is the job: many of us would be interested, if you care to share, some of your job experiences.

    More importantly, your story of your battle with depression is very inspirational — at least to me. I don’t believe that I suffer from this, but if I ever detect the symptoms, I have something to turn to for one person’s experience with the issue. I gotta believe that that would be helpful.



    October 13, 2017 at 8:57 am

    • Thank you for the suggestions! I definitely have opinions about human behaviors on the interstate through the cities.
      Separation of blog and day-job have been a goal, but I expect there are some facets of my ‘other’ life that could be told.
      De-stigmatizing depression is something I value, so my experience there will continue to be a resource I mine.
      You comments mean a lot to me. Thank you!


      October 14, 2017 at 6:47 am

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