Originally published on November 13, 2021
The Next Chapter in the GOOYH Journey: Navigating the Abyss
I know, I know. It’s been more than two months since my last blog post. I’m sure you’re wondering just what the heck is going on. Well, I hope the wait finally seems worth it, as today, I’m announcing my new book, “Get Out of Your Head Vol. 2: Navigating the Abyss of Depression.”
This summer, I did my best to keep the blogs rolling out at a consistent rate while working on the final draft of Vol. 2. And, for a while, that was somewhat manageable — at least until Autumn rolled around. With the holiday sales season rapidly approaching, I quietly put down the blogs and focused on getting this book finished as quickly as I could, so readers could unwrap and read it over their respective winter breaks.
At times, it felt as though the manuscript would never be done. I swear I could’ve continued editing it for years. But, at a certain point, you almost have to trust in the work you’ve put in, take a step back, and say, “I think it’s good enough.” So, what’s this book all about? That’s what we’ll discuss in this post.
Vol. 2, or as I sometimes refer to it as Navigating the Abyss, is a heavy work that takes aim at the subject of depression. In my mind, it’s a natural progression from book one; the last one talked about anxiety, while this one covers fear’s fraternal twin (and, yes, some people do call it that, I learned).
The journey to this book started in the fall of 2018. I won’t ruin the entire story since I tell it in the manuscript, but, right around the time of publishing GOOYH Vol. 1, I found myself in the grips of a very unexpected battle with depression.
It was a difficult and frustrating one for me. Just weeks prior, a few pals and I had laughed as we celebrated our various recent accomplishments, including the success of my friends’ businesses and the pending release of Vol. 1. We joked and proclaimed, “How could we have possibly gotten so lucky! Something almost has to go terribly wrong, very soon, because this just doesn’t make any sense!”
Not to sound overdramatic, but something did go wrong, and quickly. Just a few weeks later, I spiraled into a deep and dark depression that lingered for many, many months. To me, the worst part of that battle was that I didn’t even see it coming. Here I was, a self-proclaimed mental health expert and author — completely miserable myself — and totally unsure of what to do about it.
If I had to diagnose the issue, I’d say it was a confluence of factors that all came together at once. The first had to do with my work and living situations. Though I was very fortunate to have a flexible, remote-first, and decent-paying job, the truth was, I really disliked that role and the work (or lack thereof) I was doing in it.
Day after day, I’d wake up in my empty apartment, walk over to the kitchen table, open my computer, and twiddle my thumbs for eight hours while I waited for a task or issue to come my way. Boy, did that get old quick.
It was such a puzzling situation to me. It was the exact job I’d told myself I wanted just months prior. And, yet, here I was with it, overwhelmingly uninspired and bored to tears. Again, it was a good position, and I was grateful for it. It just wasn’t what I’d been expecting, and I didn’t know what to do about that. With all the added free time, I retreated into the bowels of my mind.
In addition, right after that discontentment with my job surfaced, I accidentally stumbled upon several publications related to the increasing bleakness surrounding our environment and climate change. These stories freaked me out and launched me deep inside my head once more.
In that scary place, I ruminated endlessly over life, death, and the meaning of it all. As I chewed these articles over for weeks, even months, on end, I thought of how terrifying a possibility it is that we might pollute the planet into annihilation and wipe humanity out in the process.
There were other issues at play as well: getting older and feeling it on a deep, emotional level; not exercising as much as I had been in previous months (a scientifically proven remedy for depression); being isolated for most of my waking hours; and watching my grandmother deteriorate and pass away, mostly before my eyes.
It was a tough stretch for me, I’ll be totally honest. But I’m certainly not here to throw myself a pity party; I’m simply laying the groundwork for the bulk of what you might be reading in the coming days and weeks.
I also realize that you, someone you know, or someone who ends up reading Vol. 2 will likely have been through far worse than some of the things I just described. There’s no question that life is difficult for many and downright brutal for some. Thus, I wanted to make sure I touched upon that in the book and respected the challenges that just about everyone here has been through.
As my depression journey wore on and I reflected on my experiences, I thought to myself, “What am I going to do about this battle? And, more importantly, what am I going to do with it?” Though the answer to that first question was a bit long (don’t worry, you’ll read all about it in Vol. 2), my response to the second one was shorter, and, more importantly, keenly relevant to our discussions in this post.
Namely, I decided that, when I finally felt as though I had enough material and wisdom, I’d write another book — this one on the difficult subject of depression. I’d take my experiences, talk to as many folks as I could, read countless books and journal articles on the subject, and weave all that information into a compelling narrative that aimed to help sufferers all over the world once more. And, so, here we are.
That brings us to the most important question of the day: What is the abyss, and why are we navigating it?
Though the abyss is many things, most notably, it’s depression. It’s the terrifyingly deep and dark parts of our brains and psyches from which despair emanates. It’s the horrifying, disheartening, and demoralizing subjects that keep us up at night: global warming, the rise of artificial intelligence, the finitude of life, and the like. And, lastly, it’s the feeling we sometimes experience that says, “Our conditions are hopeless, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
In this book, we’re learning to navigate that abyss because we can’t just sit around and wait for our despair-filled states to magically lift on their own; that would an unnecessary, foolish, and painful course of action. In other words, we need reliable ways to sail around our heaviest and most daunting emotions. We need another mental health toolkit — one we can pull out when we’re not feeling like ourselves and utilize to get back to baseline.
Though I do a lot of talking about myself in this second book (as well as this blog post), the truth is, I wrote Navigating the Abyss for everyone out there dealing with this dreaded affliction. Just like my last book, I took a look at the statistics, as well as all the folks suffering around me, and saw myself. And, when you see something like that, it’s impossible not to want to help.
We’ve all had a tough last eighteen+ months. Rates of anxiety and depression are at record highs, and I’m fairly confident that would still be the case even if we didn’t have a life-altering, once-in-a-century (we pray) pandemic. People all over the world are burned out, stressed out, and looking for answers.
With this second book, I seek to provide some of those answers. But, most importantly, I seek to provide you with hope. Though depression is a brutal disease that, at times, challenges your will to live, it’s also something else: beatable. No, maybe not instantly or easily beatable, but conquerable nonetheless.
That hope of conquering your demons, of successfully navigating the gyre of despair, is why I wrote this book, and it’s what you’ll rediscover as you sail through its many pages. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and I hope you enjoy reading Vol. 2 if you pick it up. When you’re done with it, come back here and let me know what you thought of it — or, reach out to me directly through the “CONTACT” tab at the top of this site.
Best wishes, my friend.
**Cover image designed and owned by Brian Sachetta ©2021