What seems to be the problem?

Often we stew about life and its problems. Some of us – myself included I regret to add – are perpetual worriers. Given a free rein and even a modest impetus most of us can gallop fairly liberally in the direction of disconsolateness. But these blue devils need to be checked. Otherwise we do nothing but add to the heap of misery under the weight of which we shall eventually collapse.

As in the resolution of most matters, the dissection of its constituent elements is the first step in handling the situation. It isn’t for example sufficient merely to observe “I’m upset!”. Rather one must analyze the cause of the depression, for there is little point in searching for the answer before one knows the question. As simple as that prescription may sound it is nonetheless fraught with pitfalls on the way to understanding. One must for example avoid the inaccuracy of attributing the problem to the symptom. In its broadest terms the symptom is always disfavour, being out of sorts or in the dog house, but that could encompass everything from a headache to a broken heart. One must resist the temptation to vapourize upon the symptom and attempt instead to locate the cause. Neither is this an idle undertaking. By allowing ourselves to become distracted by the symptom we risk heading down a dead-end trail because in effect the symptom is the same as the problem so it does nothing to advance our cause by calling the same thing a different name. Instead we need to unravel the layers which envelope the problem. While I am of course tempted to portray my own technique for doing so, the fact is that each of us must cultivate his or her own method of scrutiny.

What is universal about the process is that it leads to resolution. One person whom I know characterized the discovery as “the truth”, adding that she despises any camouflage of the truth even where it may be designed to cushion to blow of it. The other thing to keep in mind is that just as we do in so many other ways, we frequently compound our problems by persevering in the inertia of one course of action. It is human nature to repeat, and our minds are no different from our bodies in that respect; we continue to feed ourselves the same fodder day after day.

It is equally imperative to be perfectly candid with oneself. If you are searching for a solution it only clouds the procedure to avoid the petrified certainties, the scummy details of the matter. The acknowledgement of this sometimes disagreeable minutiae has the effect of enhancing the ennui in the sense that it enables you to see it in a larger scope rather than imagining that it is but a bland blight. By virtue of enhancing the detail of the problem it has the added advantage of slowing the momentum of one’s sour determination. Too often there is a tendency to lubricate the already slippery road down by failing to discover the many twists and turns which have evolved over time. Adding a few more bumps in the road to perdition will at least slow things down somewhat.

Most of us will admit that things are seldom as bad as they seem. Something as simple as not having a good night’s sleep can add immeasurably to an already bleak condition. The point here is that breaking the stride of disappointment can assist in getting back to good health.