Interrogate Yourself


Interrogate yourself, to find out what inhabits your so-called mind and what kind of soul you have now.

- Marcus Aurelius

Each morning, I check my Daily Stoic App for a quote to consider for the rest of the day. This quote struck me because it is the purpose for my blog and public speaking.

I aim to examine myself as deeply as possible.

I want to see why I react the way I do to certain stimuli. I want to know why my thoughts trend in a particular direction. I desire to step outside myself and evaluate how I live.

This degree of introspection is not uncommon for depressives or those with some other mental illness(es). When life forces you to acknowledge your deep currents, you can ignore them and be swept around (as I did for many years), or you can work to understand them (as I am attempting to do). In this, I follow in the footsteps of those who battled The Black Dog of Depression.

  • Abraham Lincoln

    • “I am now the most miserable man living.” (at 32)

    • “If it were not for these stories—jokes—jests I should die; they give vent—are the vents of my moods and gloom.”

  • William James

    • He felt the “ebbing of the will to live . . . a personal crisis that could only be relieved by philosophical insight.”

    • “Life shall be built in doing and suffering and creating.”

  • Franz Kafka

    • “It is generally agreed that Kafka suffered from clinical depression and social anxiety throughout his entire life,”

    • Kafka was “an accomplished swimmer, enjoyed hiking in the mountains, and was a talented horseman.”

I am not the first to think this way. To feel this way. To be this way.

Unlike Lincoln, James, and Kafka, I live in an age where my solitary battle can be shared with others. If, long after I am gone, a biographer decides that my life merits their words, I hope there isn’t much more to write than I already have.

We learn about people who shook the masses with their actions in school, and then later, far too late in my opinion, we learn about what motivated them. No one but a depressive like Kafka could write The Metamorphosis because only a depressive knows what it feels like for their existence to be a burden to those they love.

It takes a great deal of work to go from: “I suffer under the weight of my illness,” to: “I live with my illness”.

My aim is to examine myself, my illnesses, and my reactions as deeply and honestly as possible, and to share my findings with those that want to learn how to make their minds more agile.

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