Procrastinators Procrastinate Due to Depression?

Yesterday I was scrolling on Instagram as I normally do to frivolously pass the time, and I kept seeing an ad that said "Did You Know, ADHD is caused by Depression?" or something of the sort. And I kept thinking, "They might be onto something". So I decided to put my thoughts into paper and unravel this idea. 

Why Do I Scroll on Instagram?

To escape reality. I know a lot of people will read this and think "No shit Sherlock!" but I am sure a lot of people do this. Sometimes when I think about all the tasks that I have to do for the day I immediately open up the IG app as a way to console myself. It's almost like the adult version of a pacifier because as soon as I scroll IG, my lizard brain takes over and I get sucked into a constant stream of instant gratification. And before I know it, all the mini-scrolls throughout the day add up. And then other parts of my brain begin to rationalize this which further perpetuates this fake-ass dopamine hit. For instance, it goes "Ok after this last reel, I am going to go do work," or "This helps me get my day started anyways..."

Image of time spent on Instagram

The Lizard Brain

The Limbic System is in charge of regulating emotions, addiction, and many other mental processes. This system is oft-called "The Lizard Brain" because many people like to label it as the 'primitive brain'.  It makes sense because lizards often like to scurry around looking for food, shit everywhere, flee from predators, fight fellow lizards within the lizard kingdom, and fornicate. Thus, people often associate this lizard brain activity with things like mindlessly scrolling on Instagram or playing 50 million hours of Valorant. 

Is ADHD Linked to Depression?

Probably not. But I am sure that there is something to it. Personally, I have often thought about hundreds of ideas in 30 minutes but didn't execute them as a result of feeling like the task was too enormous to bear. Thus, it caused me to think again about how worthless I was and how I didn't have the resources to even try so "why bother. Let me just play video games to pass the time and distract myself from these negative thoughts". And the cycle would repeat itself.

Video Games Are "Fake"-Dopamine Hits

The reason why ADHD victims love video games is because it allows them to "feed" instantly into a virtual environment where they are immersed in pleasure. Their headset produces stereo sound effects which are stacked with the visual and physical components of participating in the video game that consistently allows them to "check out" of IRL and lose track of time. The immediate reward is pleasure, in-game growth, and escapism. They spend hours repeating the process in the pursuit of getting better at the game which creates a loop of "work-result-reward". One can say this is a form of "work" that the brain recognizes and immediately rewards. This means the brain recognizes it as work which causes people to get into trance-like deep work states. 

High-Performing Depressed Person

When I struggled with depression, I would mask my symptoms with work. A lot of people do this, but I am going to divulge to you what I would do. I had a sprinters mentality to goal setting. I would set high goals and direct them into daily actionable tasks and I would sprint to accomplish all of the items every single day. I knew there was a sacrifice of time, but I also added food and sleep among those sacrifices. The goal was to achieve my goal quickly before my body broke down. Ultimately it failed for many reasons, but the biggest reason was because it wasn't scalable. 

It wasn't scalable because after a while, my body became robotic and my brain wasn't functioning at full capacity. Eventually, all of the tasks would be finished every day, but I wouldn't be growing cognitively because my body was tapped out of all of its resources. Because I wasn't eating that well, my body was preserving itself by operating on fumes and my brain wouldn't have any other bandwidth to tap into for learning and development. 

Check this blog article called "How I Escaped Blue Belt in BJJ" as a case study of this. 

After Work The Depressed Person Lets Loose 

After a long day of work, where my central nervous system is constantly in high gear doing work stuff at an astronomical level, I would immediately unzip my pants at which my fupa-esque stomach would invariably flop out with a long stream of "FRRRRTTTTTTTTT" unleashed by my ass. 

I would have zero energy to do anything productive at home like my side hustles, washing dirty dishes, or even cleaning my home. Every ounce of my energy was focused at work, and when I was done, all of the emotional baggage from work plus my personal life would unfold. The only way I could totally check out was by playing video games. In essence, my life boiled down to doing work at a high level and then being rewarded for my work ethic by playing video games. 

Unfeed the Goddamn Lizard

At this point, my inner lizard had grown to an astronomical size. Metaphorically, the lizard brain was ruling me instead of me ruling it. I had to change something fast or else I would be another statistic in the Bureau of Labor reports. I had to figure out a way to unfeed and starve this fucking lizard before it terrorized my whole brain. 

The first step was to get my sleep and nutrient intake on point. I was operating at a high level at work because I was abusing caffeine and overworking myself with hardly any food. Thus when work ended, my body would have a desire to recover at which it became a point of no return. The point of no return was when my body and mind could no longer take any abuse because it was operating on fumes. I noticed that the lizard often appeared when it was hungry and the only way to feed it was by playing video games. So if I kept on playing video games, I kept procrastinating cooking food and eating on time which caused me to order take-out frequently. This required discipline mentally and physically to say "no" to things that didn't serve me and slowly adapt to a better sleep schedule. 

The second step was to get into a hunter's mentality. Lizards are really fucking scared of humans and especially the hunters. In primitive times, hunters would snatch these lizards out of their lizard holes and roast them over a flame to eat the tasty jerky afterward. One way I really made the lizard brain my bitch was when I got into a hunter's mentality with everything. For example, whenever I trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and went back home, I would do laundry and shower and all of that, but I would never eat my dinner unless I finished my calisthenics first. Over time, this caused my body and mind to get into a trancelike habit where I could never eat my food until after I finished training. It got into a habit because my lizard brain became my bitch when it pertained to the aspect of fitness. 

The final step is to reframe life as a video game and create micro-goals to achieve that are like in-game rewards. When life is reframed like a video game as opposed to an obstacle, the lizard brain becomes retrained to reward MICRO achievements consistently, and over time these habits become like stone. They are necessities in life that are "must-achieves" in priority. Slowly, like dividends, these micro-achievements compound, and over 365 days, years, and decades; they become solidified. 

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