Trying To Be "Normal" Makes The Abnormal Mentally Ill
The average person would be diagnosed with a mental illness if they were forced to live my ideal life.
And I was diagnosed with one (err, several) when I had to live in theirs.
Allow me to explain.
Here are some key aspects of my current life:
How many hours I sleep per night varies between 3 and 15; My longest streak in the last month of having "normal" sleep hours (7-9 hours) is 3 days.
Most days I wake up after 11 AM
Most days I go to sleep after 3 AM
The only consistency in my daily schedule is that I have a client most afternoons, get sun at some point, write at some point, work out at some point, and eat one meal at some point (always after dark).
I usually work between 2 and 6 PM and then again between 12AM and 4AM, but often very other times.
My week is compartmentalized and scheduled, set every monday, with specific "topics" that are to be the focus of each day.
I have a maximum of 2 social events per week, 1 of which is a one on one (always wednesday) , and the other which includes a max of 3 other people (always friday or saturday)
I work from home and I only go to places where there are more than 5 people about once or twice a month (including places like restaurants, grocery stores, etc)
I am self employed, never with more than a few months of work queued, the product I sell only as good as my newest and freshest ideas and marketing, and must push and grow for every dollar I make.
My job is to have conversations with people, asking them questions about their minds and lives they've never considered, toying with logical decision trees to cause their brains to break in weird ways, which helps them ultimately live a weirder life more optimized to their temperament too.
50% of my free time consists of consuming new information which challenges me and goes against what I currently believe, constantly breaking apart my understanding of the world and refining it.
40% goes toward thinking, meditating, writing, and ruminating quietly by myself in my mind.
10% goes to some other kind of highly stimulating, often slightly dangerous, activity that will engage all of my brain.
Half my brain power is reserved for pondering humanity on the 100 to 100,000 year scale, trying to figure out root concepts about human nature and deriving new ways of making humanity more effective based on it.
The other half going toward concepts of personality, temperament, and what they mean for individuals and their lives, and how to improve other people's lives with it.
I rarely if ever seek out professionals or expert opinion for anything that I do, instead looking at all the data myself (or, when its not available, binging several experts who disagree and finding the commonalities between them) and coming to my own conclusions after often dozens of hours of research
And i feel more content, more happy, more emotionally well, and more connected with my purpose than I ever have in my entire life.
What do you think would happen to most people if they had to live my life? This level of inconsistency in schedule; this tiny amount of social interaction, the little bit there is going almost exclusively toward extremely deep, probing, personal and philosophical conversation; this amount of time spent in their head; this lack of structure and authority, forced to solve every problem in their life with little to no help; this level of uncertainty in employment; this level of having to challenge daily their core understanding of the world, etc?
I can assure you, they'd be so depressed, anxious, and chaotic, they'd assuredly get themselves a nice stamp of "mental illness" too.
Just as happened to me when I had to live the "ideal life' for most people. My "normal teenage life" ending up with me in and out of mental hospitals, rehabs, and doped up on a concoction of pills.
And most of my adult life — of consistent income, daily social interaction, structured work from an employer, rules and hierarchy, consistent sleep, waking up at 7AM, doing the same job all day, not being in complete control of my schedule, etc — had me almost as miserable (just far more disciplined) constantly oscillating between chronic anxiety go-go-go (hypomania) to burned out in bed hating myself for getting mediocre results (depression).
Had I discovered that I was "different" and was given tools to move myself in this direction sooner (A life that has only be in the works for 2 years) I likely never would have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, nor Bipolar II Disorder.
And I am certain that there are thousands if not millions more people with atypical temperaments who have a similar story, as well a lucky few who DID get the information they needed at an early age off living happy, meaningful, financially free (albeit slightly odd and unorthodox) lives devoid of "mental illness".
My point is:
If you're "anxious" or "depressed" or categorized as some form of defective when compared to most people, it might actually be the case (and in my estimation, is most likely the case) that you're just working the wrong job in the wrong field with the wrong schedule surrounded by the wrong people doing the wrong things with the wrong systems.
The degree to which you experience consistent and intense negative emotion is closely related to the degree with which you live a life misaligned with who you actually are.
And that most ANYONE who was forced to live a life so misaligned with who they are, what they want, and how they are designed to operate would have the similar “symptoms” as you do.
The primary reason you're miserable and most aren't, is that the default way of being we are all afforded works for them and not for you (its the default precisely because it works for most people)
And the solution is NOT to try and contort yourself in to something you aren't so you can fit in to a shape you're incompatible with (this just causes stress, suffering, and unhappiness, all the while getting mediocre-at-best results). It's to discover what you are, and then build a life that suits it.
My point is:
The solution to being a fish who is asked to climb a tree is not to try and grow claws.
It is to find an ocean.