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Dwarf Planet Chapter 5

Here’s author, Ben Sledge, discussing Chapter 5 from Dwarf Planet with Dan & Casey:

Questions to answer:

  1. What are some songs that relate to you when you’re depressed?

  2. What are some songs that help you feel empowered?

  3. Examining why we isolate, don’t connect, or avoid digging into the feelings behind our depression:
    a) Which of the following tools do you turn to when life gets hard?
    b) What are you looking for when you turn to those things?
    c) What are you trying to avoid experiencing?
    d) Whom do you know who faced adversity that you admire? Do you have a hero? Have they struggled with depression or something similar?
    e) How can you use technology in a more positive way and be more present in life?
    f) List the tech you use and the socials you connect with. How do they make you feel?
    g) Are you willing to change your relationship with it or take back control?

  4. Unlearning Helplessness (List which options you chose.)
    a) If you ever failed a test, think back to that moment. What was your response? What was your initial reaction?
    b) You applied for a job and got rejected. You think:
    c) You go on a date after weeks of texting back and forth on a dating app. Your date seems disinterested and ghosts you after you send some follow-up texts after the date. You think:

  5. Cultivating Optimism
    a) Write ten examples of times when you felt helpless. This could be when someone you know committed suicide, you got fired, someone rejected you, you got cheated on, bullied, and so on.
    b) In the examples above, write the choice you made when you felt helpless.
    c) In the examples above, write a better choice you could have made that would have helped you feel more empowered and less helpless.

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1. What are some songs that relate to you when you’re depressed?

  • Reckoner (Radiohead)
  • Diamonds (The Boxer Rebellion)
  • To Build A Home (The Cinematic Orchestra)
  • When The Music’s Over (The Doors)
  • Grace (Jeff Buckley)
  • High Hopes (Pink Floyd/Gilmour)
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps (G.Harrison/E.Clapton cover)
  • Hero Of The Day (Metallica/S&M)
  • Junior Dad (Lou Reed+Metallica)
  • On The Floor (The Killers)

What are some songs that help you feel empowered?

  • One Vision (Queen - But also almost everything from Queen o/)
  • I Know What I Know (Paul Simon)
  • Renegade (Styx)
  • Sunlight Moonlight (Septic Flesh)
  • Heroes (Bowie)
  • Swine (L.Gaga), kind of a purely cathartic one
  • Inis Mona (Eluveitie)
  • Whatever It Takes (Imagine Dragons)
  • Kingdom of Heaven (Epica)
  • Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden)

2. a) Which of the following tools do you turn to when life gets hard?

  • Netflix/TV - can say computer as well
  • Food
  • Isolation
  • Drinking

b) What are you looking for when you turn to those things?
Evasion, avoidance, numbness.

c) What are you trying to avoid experiencing?
Feeling too intensely, hurting, crying, worries, fears (anxiety), vulnerability, helplessness.

d) Whom do you know who faced adversity that you admire? Do you have a hero? Have they struggled with depression or something similar?
My dad. My brother. My partner. They all had to face depression and the turmoils of life but always kept being this grounding and reassuring person to me. They sticked to their inner values and beliefs, no matter what. Before my brother passed away, he was reconsidering his life choices and regretted what he considered to be “wasted years” of doing nothing - which wasn’t fair nor true. But the idea is that, in face of adversity, he underlined the importance of giving ourselves the chance to actually live, according to our beliefs and towards our dreams. He never knew it, but it’s the most powerful life lesson he shared with me. Just because he was being him.
I have an ex-colleague, now a friend, who’s also an example of life to me. I see her as a daily-life hero. A giant heart, an incredible energy to share with everyone, a passionate commitment to all the things she does, an incredible humility. I have mad respect for her. She’s kind of my spiritual mother.
The HS team and community is also a huge inspiration to me, of unconditional love, respect, compassion, beyond the turmoils of life. I’ve learned so much just by being here.

e) How can you use technology in a more positive way and be more present in life?
I’m objectively not someone who run after the last technology at all. But I wish to: 1/ reduce the amount of time I spend behind digital screens + 2/ when I use it, doing it in a more mindful way.

f) List the tech you use and the socials you connect with. How do they make you feel?

  • Computer: I use it too much and I feel stuck with this habit/want to change that.
  • Phone: I’ve never been attached to it and I tend to forget it. I don’t really care if it stops working. I don’t really care if I have a very basic phone without Internet or else either. I feel already old when I use that on a phone and still don’t understand how it works. :woman_facepalming:
  • Facebook/Discord/Twitch: I only use those as ways to keep connecting with family and online friends. As it can be draining sometimes, I keep boundaries and stay careful with my amount of connections.
  • Instagram/Flickr: I’m not a huge fan of those, but I use them to 1/ follow inspirational accounts and 2/ keep myself accountable on sharing what I create (kind of a challenge to me, and it helps).
  • Spotify/Youtube/Netflix: this kinda replace the TV subscription and radio I don’t have and don’t want to have. :hrtjakelul:
  • Pinterest/Raverly: for creativity. Those are places that warms my heart, to see all the creativity and awesome ideas!

g) Are you willing to change your relationship with it or take back control?
Yup, I have to think about a plan for that, to do it progressively.

3. a) If you ever failed a test, think back to that moment. What was your response? What was your initial reaction?
“I’m not that smart. Of course this would happen.”
b) You applied for a job and got rejected. You think:
“I’m a terrible candidate. Who would want to hire me anyway?”
c) You go on a date after weeks of texting back and forth on a dating app. Your date seems disinterested and ghosts you after you send some follow-up texts after the date. You think:
“I’m uninteresting and boring in person. That’s why they ghosted me.”

4. a) Write ten examples of times when you felt helpless.

  • When my brother passed away.
  • When I witnessed violence.
  • When my partner and I have been through difficult times.
  • When I was dismissed/lost jobs.
  • Whan I was deeply struggling with eating disorders.
  • When I was abused, assaulted.
  • When I was burnt out.
  • When I was diagnosed for a chronic depression and generalized anxiety, years ago.
  • When I realized that some of my health issues will require me to receive treatments for my entire life.
  • Now, while my sister and I are waiting to know if we’re likely to have the same disease as our brother and mom. To know that we’re likely to wait at least until 2021 before knowing it.

b) In the examples above, write the choice you made when you felt helpless.
I isolated myself. I shut down. I let shame and guilt be stronger. I didn’t talk about it. I always tried to move on and focus on daily life, to overwhelm myself with responsabilities, projects, work/studies… all at once. I forced myself to stop thinking about what was hurting me.

c) In the examples above, write a better choice you could have made that would have helped you feel more empowered and less helpless.
To slow down and allow myself to rest and feel. To reach out and allow myself to be helped. To actually talk, discuss, be vulnerable. To try not to stay alone while struggling. To stop ignoring reality.

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