Stop giving a damn!

Stop giving a damn! November 17, 2011

This morning, I counted how many days it’s been since I last wrote something.

Six days.

Six long days where I was unable to write.

At first, I wondered if I’ve had writer’s block. But, no. I’ve had so many ideas for blog posts lately that my brain can hardly juggle them all. No, writer’s block isn’t the problem.

The problem is that I started giving a damn.

Like most people, I spent the majority of my life giving a damn what people thought about me. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted people to believe that I had social skills (however untrue that may be).

Then, right before my senior year of high school, I broke off an abusive relationship and sunk into a deep depression. I made stupid mistakes during this time in my life and that got people talking about me. My ex told his friends and family lies and secrets about me, which earned me a few enemies. Rumors spread that I was “loose,” which meant dirty looks from some folks, awkward personal questions from concerned others, and even blatant requests for sex from one person.

My reputation (which was mostly undeserved–I’m not really as badass as people thought I was) and my depression  knocked me down to rock bottom and when I got there, I figured I had two options: grab a shovel and start diggin’, or stop giving a damn.

I chose the latter.

Allie Brosh sums up this point in my life fairly well. You should read this, now:

Uninhabited by my fear of what others would think about me, I was able to share my stories. I was able to ask difficult questions. I was able to be honest about myself and who I was because I no longer had anything to lose.

And you know what happened?

My not-giving-a-damn about my reputation started helping people.

And my not-giving-a-damn about my reputation helped me find healing.

Eventually, in the spirit of not-giving-a-damn, I started this blog.

Lately, however, I’ve been taking steps to cure my depression and I’m on medicine that diminishes the symptoms. That’s a good thing, but now it’s tempting to start giving a damn again.

It’s tempting to worry more about my reputation than about helping others.

It’s tempting to think twice (or three times, or four…) before asking a controversial question.

It’s tempting to avoid my the publish button on my blog.

I’m thrilled to be getting the upper hand of my depression. I hate depression. I hate it so much that if it were a vegetable, I would hide it in my napkin and feed it to the dog when my parents weren’t looking.

But depression taught me something.

But I hope I never forget what it taught me–that sometimes, if you want to make a difference, you have to stop giving a damn about what people are going to think of you.

As one commenter has already pointed out, giving a damn isn’t always bad! So, tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how you should start giving a damn. Until then, what stories would you tell and what questions would you ask if you didn’t give a damn about your bad reputation?

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  • I waver with this sort of thing too. For me, I find that I give a damn when I don’t feel like I have a strong support system around me. When I feel like I have people who accept me and would back me, I am able to be bold and confident and be myself without caring what others might think. But when I feel alone and without that group of people to support me, I’m anxious whenever I get into a situation where I feel someone might judge me or attack me. Part of me feels like this is normal, but then part of me feels like I should be okay enough with God and who He’s made me to be in order to stand alone without a group of people around me. Still working it out. 🙂

    I hope that you decide not to give a damn; I like reading your posts. 🙂

    • I hope you can stop giving a damn too! 😀

  • I think giving a damn isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    I give a damn about not hurting people, so I don’t publish every thought that I have. I give a damn about being clear about my point, so I will try to choose my words carefully. I give a damn about protecting my friends & family, so if I’m sharing part of their story, I get their permission first.

    But yeah, I don’t want to live with fear. Caution is healthy, fear is not. But damn if they don’t look really similar.

    • good points! yes, it’s good to give a damn about other people’s feelings. I was specifically referring to my own reputation, but you’re right! Giving a damn about others is very important!

    • Also…the post I have scheduled for tomorrow is going to be called “Start giving a damn!” I hope that will clear everything up!

  • For me, not giving a damn was about being honest, open (and occasionally a bit caustic, where neccessary) about my depression; I’m a medical student, and medicine is one discipline where ironically, mental health problems are greatly frowned on, and scare people a lot. When I stopped giving a damn about how people would act towards me and my illness, I gave them a reason to question their own stance and actions. Although this was painful and difficult, it has lead to improvements in how my medical school treats students with MH problems and made them more aware of support needs, as for me, there were none.

  • This year, I’ve decided not to stress about the holidays like I usually do. Because crazy people are crazy, and I’m tired of making plans around them.

    Beyond that, I pretty much just do my thing. (If being the weird girl out has taught me anything, it’s how to not worry too much about other people’s opinions. 😉 )

  • I really think one of the biggest problems with relationships these days (and why there are so many broken ones) is that people put other people’s feelings ahead of their own. They worry more about what other people think and feel than what they’re feelings themselves. I’m glad you point this out as a problem because it IS! It leads to codependency which is extremely bad and unhealthy for relationships.