Coaching Session 002: The Follow-up With My Colleague — Changes Are Happening!

So, if you guys haven’t already read the blog or heard the podcast about my colleague who is/was depressed, I suggest you do that, first.

Now, just recently I had my colleague make some significant changes in her life.  I had her write down the list of everything she likes to do, passions, what are her strengths, and other things.  I’ve struck gold with it.

Over the next week, she seemed a lot happier.  She paid $500 bucks for dance lessons, and this was awesome because she’s always dancing at work.  She committed to fitness by making videos on Instagram, showing herself doing squats and other exercises.

Shortly following that, she sent me her list in regards to the positive things about her and this is what she wrote.

  1. What are my natural gifts? Making people laugh.
  2. What are my skills? Organizing and acting.
  3. What do I enjoy? Dancing, singing, taking photos.
  4. When do I feel most alive? When I’m with friends.
  5. What am I passionate about? (still undecided)
  6. What brings the greatest joy in my life? Good work, taking care of my mom, good family (all conditionals though — nothing in the present)
  7. When do I feel best about myself? Helping others.

 

Strengths

Listening

Challenges

Commitment

 

Now, her natural gifts, skills and enjoyment interlink with each other, but there are still some areas that she’s not exactly sure about and that we need to tap into.  Also, living in a country like Thailand, most people aren’t good at giving positive reinforcement and feedback with peers.  In the spot where it says “what have people always said I’m really good at,” there wasn’t anything.  This isn’t an issue, but culturally speaking, this isn’t good.

Nonetheless, she did message me and tell me that she feels much better and she claims that it’s fromt he medication at the psychiatrist.  However, that’s actually the problem. With Fish Oil, Vitamin D tablets and 20 minutes of exercise a day, she can wick away those “depressive thoughts.”

That’s the next big step in my coaching with her.

Podcast

Stephen Covey: Work Centered – The Story of My Student

When I met her at the base of the elevator, her energy was off.  I’ve seen this wonderfully, stern-faced doctor a plenty of times.  She’s kin to me….like a sister.  However, I just felt like there was a ball of negative energy around her that I couldn’t quite understand.  So, I asked her, “what’s on your mind?”

“Nothing,” she replied.

As the lesson went on and I tried asking her about different stories: funny, scary, adventurous, inspirational…..she was at a loss of words.

I asked, “have you been living?” — jokingly.

“No, I have a sad life,” she retorted.

The opening up came in and that’s when I realized something was up.  I went through the wheel of life exercise with her and her categories were suffering.

Personal Development – 0

Career – 4

Fun & Hobbies – 4

Friends – 8 (although the friends she’s around kind of live the same dismal lifestyle)

Health – 4

 

Awareness

“Look what’s happening.  You’re now aware though.  A lot of people don’t develop this type awareness and go through life seemingly discontent which ultimately breeds depression.  Best part about this session is you’re not aware of what’s happening.”

“What am I supposed to do, AJ (nickname is AJ in Thailand because they can’t pronounce Arsenio)?”

I pulled out my little Jack Canfield book that has an exercise to “find your purpose.”

I went down a series of questions.  “What brings you joy? What’s your defining moment?”…..and so many others.  She didn’t know.

See, schools (especially those “academic” schools) don’t knock on the core genius of young individuals…so then they grow up being “work centered” and end up being miserable.  A study showed these results of American doctors.

A GRIM PICTURE OF PHYSICIANS’ MENTAL HEALTH

The study polled more than 15,000 doctors in 29 specialties. In the survey, 42% of physicians reported burnout. Physicians in critical care, neurology, and family medicine had the highest rates of burnout. The specialties with the lowest rates were plastic surgery, dermatology, and pathology. The specialists with the lowest rates were also more likely to seek professional help for their mental health.

Fourteen percent of physicians reported being both burned out and depressed. The specialties with the highest rates of co-occurring depression and burnout were:

  • Obstetrics and gynecology (20%)

  • Public health and preventive medicine (18%)

  • Urology (17%)

  • Neurology (17%)

Of course she’s a Thai doctor, but you guys get my point.

I was sitting there with my hands on my chin wondering what the hell to do next, and then suddenly I realized a very good exercise I saw in Stephen Covey’s book in regards to finding your “center.”  She read through it and she began reciting something so identical to what her present situation was — she was work centered.

Someone who puts everything into work to whereas they forget about everything else, especially life.

What did I do next as a coach?

Ok, we need to find your passion.  You’re uninspired for so many different reasons. Do this exercise in terms of answering the questions about yourself that’s been untapped forEVER.  After that, you need to figure out your true alchemy.  Sure, you have the money, but you’ve neglected every other area (as pointed out above).  So, time to read about your alchemy (Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist).  After that, read the ensuing 10 pages of Stephen Covey’s book to completely unlock what’s happening in your life (I almost know the chapters verbatim).

What I’m expecting?

She’s going to come back with renewed passion.

Podcast

 

The Terrifying Fact of Depression

It’s all……THOUGHT.

That’s right.  Let me superimpose it for you.

THOUGHT

Think about it.  Our mind, which is home to trillions of cells, can and has created everything around you at this very moment.  The environment, relationships, feelings, assets, friends, everything!

When I came to realize this back in early 2016, I literally unfriended every coworker I had because I was becoming them.  They would degrade me, look down upon me, and insult everything about Thailand and I was quickly becoming just that.

Was I depressed? Nope.  I had the conscious awareness to realize I was going down a very dark road. A lot of people don’t have that conscious awareness which then leads to depressive thoughts that accumulate over time and form thoughts on suicide.

The feeling of “not being enough” in the world.  I’ve had those feelings 4 years ago.

But what if I told you it can all be undone with just your thoughts? Literally, your thoughts create everything. Your thoughts have created depression (for those of you suffering) and a lot of people don’t even know what thought is.

I just saw a lady jump 17 floors to her death yesterday.  Two weeks ago a young boy was suffering from depression and hurled himself over an indoor balcony, killing himself in the process and sending people into pandemonium just 30 minutes north of Bangkok.

Get this, one was a student and the other had a 4-year-old child.

So, what is thought? I tried breaking it down in my podcast down below.

 

Lewis Howes: Joker Mask – Part II

“Like many people, I want to avoid being the dark cloud in other people’s lives, so I pretend things are sunny, even when they are obviously not. So I keep things light, or at surface level. I want to talk about other people. I want to focus on other people’s challenges because focusing on my own feels more vulnerable.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

But when you’re able to spew your problems out and talk to people about them, like Dale Carnegie once said, you’re able to lift all of that off your chest.

If I can look back at the most “depressed” moments of my life, one coming for only 5-minutes back in 2014, it all had to do with my personal feelings and vendetta.  In 2014, I was denied jobs, face-to-face, because of being African American.  I was in the back of a taxi circling around an area of Bangkok (invasive technique taxi drivers do in Bangkok to rake up the meter), and at the given moment I felt like I was just a spec in the world.  I snapped out of it within minutes.

Also, being dismissed in a relationship in 2009 left me in absolute shambles.  It was the darkest cloud hanging over me, simply because it was my first love.  It took two-months to shake it off, but I did and later went to Australia for the first time in my life that summer.

In 2003, I was surely depressed in the latter portion of the year, but this revolved around my mother not having a job, no food in the house, and two girls not wanting anything to do with me.  This developed anger, which I talked about in an earlier podcast/blog, but I ended up getting over it by joining Track & Field – the best sport to join because you can only place blame on yourself.

I really need to tell this story that I read in Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Stop Worrying And Start Living.’

Mrs. Moon’s Story

In December, a number of years ago, I was engulfed in a feeling of sorrow and self-pity.  After several years of happy married life, I had lost my husband.  As the Christmas holidays approached, my sadness deepened. I had never spent a Christmas alone in all my life; and I dreaded to see this Christmas come.  Friends had invited me to spend Christmas with them.  But I did not feel up to any gaiety.  I knew I would be a wet blanket at any party.  So, I refused their kind invitations.  As Christmas eve approached, I was more and more overwhelmed with self-pity.  True, I should have been thankful for many things, as all of us have many things for which to be thankful.  The day before christmas, I left my office at 3pm in the afternoon and started walking aimlessly on a street, hoping that I might banish my self-pity and melancholy the avenue was jammed with happy crowds — scenes that brought back memories of happy years that were gone.  I just couldn’t bear the thought of going home to a lonely and empty apartment.  I was bewildered.  I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t keep the tears back.  After walking aimlessly for an hour or so, I found myself in front of a bus terminal.  I remember that my husband and I had often boarded an unknown bus for adventure, so I boarded the first bus I found at the station.  After cross the Hudson River and riding for some time, I heard the bus conductor say, ‘Last stop, lady.’  I got off.  I didn’t even know the name of the town.  It was a quiet and peaceful little place.  While waiting for the next bus home, I started walking up a residential street.  As I passed a church, I heard the beautiful strains of “Silent Night.” I went in.  The church was empty except for the organist.  I sat down unnoticed in one of the pews.  The lights from the gaily decorated Christmas tree made the decorations seem like myriads of stars dancing in the moonbeams.  The long-drawn cadences of the music — and the fact that I had forget to eat since morning — made me drowsy.  I went to sleep.

When I awoke, there were two small children who had apparently come in to see the Christmas tree.  One said, “I wonder if Santa Claus brought her.”

The children were terrified when I woke up, but I told them I wouldn’t hurt them.  They were poorly dressed.  I asked them where their mother and daddy were.  “We ain’t got no mother and daddy,” they said. They were orphans.  They made me feel ashamed of my sorrow and self-pity.  I went on to buy them food and refreshments, and I banished my depression instantaneously.

See, in the book they would call this “masking a problem,” but I would disagree completely.  This is basically realizing that you have it well.  There has to be a deeper story to why people, of all statuses, commit suicide.  Robin Williams had all the money, a wife, oscars, and everything – but he ultimately killed himself.  So I will ask again: “what is depression?”

“Beneath the jokes is often a sadness or some problem. Behind the mask—no matter how funny or entertaining—is a real person. Psychologist Edward Dreyfus puts it even more directly: “Perhaps we should listen more attentively to those who hide behind the mask of humor. Perhaps we should be asking them to whom do they turn to make them laugh? Perhaps we should spend a little more effort in seeing the person behind the mask.” If we had listened to what Robin Williams was saying behind his mask, I wonder what we would have heard.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

Maybe people, who are comedians, just love making people laugh for the sake of bringing joy to the world?

“So many comedians/funny people will tell you they grew up feeling hopelessly inadequate, hideously ugly, impossibly fat, meekly small, and direly insignificant. These deep-rooted insecurities are what provided them with a die-hard desire and unrelenting ambition to be seen, respected, and accepted by their peers. Society will accept you for your flaws, so long as you’re funny. Taking on the role as the class clown at school is the ultimate way for the incessantly bullied kid to gain popularity. – Author Zara

Humor becomes the ultimate mask—one that gets you what you’ve always wanted (acceptance) for being the opposite of who you’ve always been (different). Not surprisingly, this detachment from the emotions and the identity hidden behind the mask can have profound effects on relationships, on professional life, and on overall happiness.” – Lewis Howes

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

I read this and I just couldn’t relate.  This part of the book is focusing on how bad “comedy” may be.  So someone, like myself, who loves to make someone laugh, is hiding something? Is that it? Absolutely not.  I know that the more we laugh and have those feelings of joy, the more we attract to us more of those feelings that will keep pushing us to a spiritual and joy “high.”

What Robin Williams had was something much more deep-rooted in his childhood.  Kevin Hart, who’s a comedian, had very little when he was growing up.  He used all of the transgressions in the past as comedy today.  He’s not hiding a thing….or so I believe.

Podcast

How To Cure Depression In Fourteen Days

Psychiatrist Alfred Adler, “you can be cured in fourteen days if you follow this prescription.  Try to think every day how you can please someone.

There are a few things that I’ve talked about in my podcast, and there are some things that I told everyone that I would prefer writing down so you guys can have it at hand (for those who are reading around the world).  Here is what psychiatrist Alfred Adler said to his patients. *Long Story*

Melancholia is like a long-continued rage and reproach against others, though for the purpose of gaining care, sympathy and support, the patient seems only to be dejected about his own guilt. A melancholiac’s first memory is generally something like this: “I remember I wanted to lie on the couch, but my brother was lying there.  I cried so much that he had to leave.”

Melancholiacs are often inclined to revenge themselves by coming suicide, and the doctor’s first care is to avoid giving them an excuse for suicide.  I myself try to relieve the whole tension by proposing to them, as the first rule in treatment, “Never do anything you don’t like.”  This seems to be very modest, but I believe that it goes to the root of the whole trouble.  If a melancholiac is able to do anything he wants, whom can he cause? What has he got to revenge himself for? “If you want to go to the theater,” I tell him, “or to go on a holiday, do it.  If you find on the way that you don’t want to, stop it.”  It is the best situation any could be in.  It gives a satisfaction to his striving for superiority.”

That’s an interesting take.  It seems that everyone, including myself, who is or has been depressed…uses the personal pronoun “I” quite often.  I’ve been depressed three times (if I can recall) in my life, and it was all based on my personal wants and needs.  There was one time that I felt like a spec in the world and that I wasn’t wanted anymore, but I snapped out of that in a minute and a half.

In my podcast, I go over some stories and how you can rid yourself (possibly) from depression.  This is unlicensed, but it is professional.