Depressing Bar Talk

Is there anything more therapeutic than whisky? Apparently not.

Why spend thousands of dollars to verbal diarrhea all over some asshole who spent hundreds of thousands himself to be a professional listener? In all fairness, I’ve never seen a therapist before, and I don’t judge or wish to disparage anyone who believes in therapy. I’m sure it works for many sick people out there.

This is how things played out the other night. I am at a bar with my friends. You’d think that we should be having fun conversations, or that my single friends would be trying to mingle with other ladies.

But no, since we’re a bunch of dorky Asians who collectively have the game reminiscent of Steve Carell’s character in The 40-Year Old Virgin, we end up talking to each other all night about depression.

I made the brilliant move of bringing this question up to the guys. On a scale of 1 to 100, how happy would you say you are with your life? I know, I am such a douche, but hey, it was the Macallan, I swear. I love Macallan.

I had it in my mind that out of everyone in the group, I was certainly the most depressed. I wouldn’t even consider myself a pessimist or a cynic, but yet I am growing more and more aware of this emptiness inside of me that is becoming more cavernous by the day, and it’s not because I’m dieting either.

To my surprise, however, I come to find out that my friends are pretty fucking depressed themselves. Good times. Positive vibes all around.

That night, there were probably around 200 people at the bar. I’m pretty sure that my friends and I were not the only depressed souls drinking our sorrows away. In fact, I’d venture to say that at least half of these fuckers shared the same feelings of melancholy and emptiness as we do.

What’s even crazier is that so many people are probably depressed and they don’t even know it. People have too many responsibilities and their dance cards are too full to even recognize that their lives suck. If you’re working fifteen hours a day, where is there any time for reflection or self-evaluation? I get it – there’s no time to be depressed.

Or maybe they’ve been sucked into the monotony of life for so long that they don’t even think about anything. Life has become a routine: we get up, go to work, come home, watch TV, eat, shit, and sleep. And that’s all there is to it. We grow older and the dreams we once had when we were younger fade into the grayness that surrounds everything.

Which comes back to me. Why the fuck am I depressed? I have everything a guy could ask for. I have family that’s present in my life – a little too fucking present but that’s neither here nor there. I am in a loving relationship that’s great – so great that we can blog together, I suppose. I have good friends that I can rely on. I have a shit job that pays pretty well.

So should I even be depressed? Is this some first-world problems bullshit? Am I just being a bitch?

I usually come back to this scenario – If my life ended today, would I be satisfied with how things turned out? I must say, I would definitely feel like I left a lot on the table if it was game over now. There’s so much more that I could be doing than what I am doing now.

I have this conversation with Emily constantly. Sometimes I feel bad for her because she has to listen to my bullshit, but I listen to her bullshit too so I suppose we’re even. The thing I’ve noticed about depression is that oftentimes it comes from a perspective that life can’t change and that there’s not much we can do about it.

With this in mind, I should take comfort in knowing that I am taking strides to take more control over how my life story is being played out. Yes, I feel depressed at times but I don’t feel eternally hopeless. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t really know, but I’m going to find out.

And to think, all this shit came up at a bar. I guess guys do talk about other things than girls.

– Chris.


What Is Your Social Media Motivation?

People are all salesmen in today’s world.

It’s apparent in all social mediums – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – that overlooked post of someone trying to sell a product that gets glossed over by people browsing through their feeds. They want their products sold, their websites to be visited, and their gigs to be attended. These advertisements are commonplace, unnoticed and not talked about.

The most common ads, however, are not made by corporations or celebrities. They are made by the common, everyday person, with their social media connections being the target clientele.

Madison Holleran was a tragic example. A budding track star at UPenn, she used Facebook and Instagram to advertise the grandness of her life. She was pretty, smart, and athletically gifted. She was selling an image of happiness and success through every post while concealing the intense struggle within her. Most unfortunately, Madison lost this struggle, committing suicide at the age of 19. People on the outside would have never suspected her to be battling depression because what they saw of her through her social media posts was someone enjoying life with a promising future. (If you want to read more about Madison, this is a good read)

Like Madison, millions of lives are on display via social media, the stars of their own reality show. Even the most ordinary of lives are now glamorized and elevated through photos – moments in time that are sensationalized through captions. Whether they realize it or not, people are selling the idea that their lives are fabulous and desirable.

Why is there this burning desire to sell an image? Why are Millennials consumed with their own celebrity?

These motivations can be better understood by thinking about the audience, which can be split into three groups – 1) people that are already part of one’s social circle outside of social media, 2) people that were once part of one’s social circle but are no longer, and 3) people that one is trying to get the attention of. Every photo, every caption, and every status update is on display for every Facebook friend, Instagram follower, and Twitter follower. Do people seek validation of their elevated status in the form of likes? Do people genuinely want their friends to share in their successes and failures? Is a photo or an inspirational quote meant to sell an image of someone the poster wants to be, but isn’t?

These questions highlight a great struggle for the Millennial generation. It’s the identity crisis that is being played out on a cyber scale. Do character and value dictate one’s social media, or does one’s social media dictate character and value?

Only the individual knows his or her own motivations. But this social media motivation is a discussion that is worth having – who knows how many people are out there just like Madison?

– Chris