Last week one of my regular customers and I had a conversation on how he just had his first child. I honestly was wondering when his wife would give birth because it felt like he was talking about his kid for a whole year now. Nonetheless he was excited and I couldn't take that away from him. While talking to me about his new found father hood he told me how he was happy that his wife was not pregnant anymore. Curious Chloe asked “why?” He said, “because I don't have to deal with her pregnant hormones anymore.” Me being me, I looked at him like he had to be shiting me. I said, “You do know that is inevitable right?” He then countered with, “I wont put up with that nor that postpartum depression bullshit.” he continued, “It's a mind thing, she will get through it, we will get through it. I’m just not putting up with it.” At that moment I realized how misogynic he was, while I finished his transaction. As he left I processed what he said and thought to myself, I need to write about this. Pregnant women would be too much of a secluded group so I broadened it. I asked over 400 men and women the same questions, “Are emotions a choice or are they triggered??” as well as “Is depression a choice or is it triggered?” Some would say depression is a form of an emotion (which they did) but for the sake of this article they are separate. Out of the four hundred people I asked, more than half answered. Thank you for the people who did, for you are the reason this article is possible. When asking these questions I didn't know what to expect, but this is what i discovered.
Interestingly enough, 15.62% of people said that emotions were a choice. For various reasons i could understand why one would say that. In everyday life you choose how you will do certain things, how you go about your day, so why be limited to just physical and not mental? “Emotions are definitely a choice”, says Vincent. You have to “learn to not take things too personal..some people are transparent and wear their heart on their sleeve..you cant let your emotions control you”, he said. Do you agree? Have people become so reliant on their emotions to speak for them they forget they can control them? And how to react to them? When a situation happens, it impacts you. Thinking of how to solve the issue rather than just jumping to conclusions might be a safer route. Honestly, “it's not about how you feel about the situation, but how you handle it”, says Sydney. Brianna agreed with her and said, the “capacity at which you allow [your emotions] to affect your situation and yourself, is a choice.” Having control over our emotions can cause such a domino effect. It allows people to see that not everything needs a reaction. Ronnie says, we let people who are “spreading negative energy..affect us mentally.” What happens when you just brush it off and forget it was an issue? “Mind over matter”, says Ravin. You move on, you let it go. But what happens when you can't? That's when trigger comes into play.
A whopping, 62.1% of the individuals who were asked if: emotions were a choice or are they triggered? said , “triggered.” Does that mean we are all ticking time bombs waiting to explode? No, not necessarily. I was taught you never know the type of day another person is having. You can be the icing on their cake, if they are having a bad day. As well as the cherry on top, if they’re having a good one. Many can say, “you can choose how to react to certain people or things” What if they cant choose how to react to you? A lot of the people who said emotions are triggered have a point. One individual, Stefanie said, “your environment heavily affects your emotions, what reason would a person have to be angry, if all they know is happiness.” she then goes on to say, “They wouldn't even know the emotion to “choose” to be angry”. The misconception with your emotions being triggered is that you are known as not knowing what emotion to choose so you react off of what you feel. Is that a bad thing? “Emotions are something we are born with..people think its a choice [but] it is not. As much as you pretend you don't have [them] you do”, says Zahnyia. It is easy to say that if you believe that emotions are triggered, you are intune with your emotions. If at that moment you get mad, happy or sad, it is easier for a person to dipicit you. If you are really sad, but tell them you are happy what good is that doing for you, but causing confusion. “Emotions [are] inevitable, everyone has to face them. Whether it is [now or later], says Dre. Don't get me wrong, “we have the ability to control our emotions but [they] can be almost uncontrollable once it faces an imbalance. Like anxiety, hurt, even pleasure” he continued. Wouldn’t you want to express how you feel instead of harboring that emotion? “It's a natural reaction”, Bryan continued. “Emotions [are] your personality, how your brain thinks. When something is funny, you laugh. No hesitation.” Do you think there can be a fine line between the both?
Well the 16.1% believe so. Although “both” was not in the question, people made it an answer. “Emotions are triggered but they are also a choice, [they] are either extrinsic or intrinsic, but you choose how you respond or react to situations.” says EJ. I once read that, maturity is knowing you can violate but, you don't. The ‘both’ in this context represents balance. Allowing your emotions to shine through but choose to react as though they do not phase you. I already knew that people would have a very forward approach to emotions because it is there. You face an assortment of them on a daily basis. So that's why i did not stop just at: are emotions a choice or are they triggered? I added. We hear about depression but we sweep it under the rug. If we don't see it, is it really there? The second question made people think harder, because most people aren't going through it. The ones that are, are trying to get through it.
Surprisingly, 15.62% of the individuals asked, they responded depression is a choice. A “Choice” said Walter. “You choose to allow things to get to you”. Interestingly enough I can see why people believe that depression is a choice. “You have a choice between staying sad or moving on from whatever you are going through”, says Leilah. One of my coworkers said that, “depression is a choice because if wasn't, it wouldn't be genuine. A lot of people who countered said “why would people choose to be sad. Who wants to be?” When I was growing up, my father told me that depression is choice. For those who may not know, my father is Haitian. His theory is that, depression is an american disease because back home, no one is depressed. Simply because, they do not have the time be. So I understand where people can say that depression is choice, because an idle mind wonders. But what if you were born with the gene, the one that triggered once you reached a certain age? Is it still your choice?
The 60.3% of the individuals who said depression was triggered, brought up the fact that it cannot be a choice. They all stated that it is a an illness. The more I read the answers the more I saw how people are starting to recognize what is going on. “Depression is a clinical illness and we need to change our language as a culture to reflect that. We should not minimize the importance of mental health.” says Kristina. Depression is a large epidemic in the the whole community. It doesn't discriminate who it touches. Many do not understand the severity of depression because society has linked it to sadness. Although depression is a deep form of sadness. It “literally is a chemical imbalance of the brain”, says the other Kristina (what are the odds their name is spelt the same, with the same opinion? Go figure!) I have met so many people who use the words “I’m depressed” so loosely they have no idea the surverity behind he word. The first step is understanding because it could happen to you or someone you know. The rest was the 14.3% that said, both.
The one answer that stuck out to me was apart of the 16.15% who said, neither. “Depression is more complex in my opinion. I see it being brought forth by a feeling or lack there of fulfillment of one's desires, whatever they may be. I see both as regular trials and tribulations of life that we need to express ourselves.” said Mahir.
Interestingly enough I wasn’t too knowledgeable about either words. I grew up hearing street slang on how people viewed emotions and depression. It was more so tied to the gothic, grunge or “emo” (short for emotional) kids. So ignorant me always thought that wearing black, dark clothing and cutting oneself solidified one as being depressed or emotional. I was young and obviously nowhere near capable of understanding the bigger picture of both of the words. The oxford dictionary describes emotions as a mental state in which “ A strong feeling[s] deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” As well as, “Instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.” Depression on the other hand has a deeper meaning. Oxford describes it as “Feelings of severe despondency and dejection.” but carries on to say “A mental condition..often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.” So it affects you both physically and mentally, interesting. You may or may not have agreed with anything in this article, that's okay. The purpose for it was not to give anyone more credit than the other but, to shine light on a very serious and important issue that is silently killing people. That, being ourselves. Whether we believe it is a choice or not, it is triggered or not. Whether it is both or neither, if you need help, ask. If someone ask for help, help. Just like faith, just because you cannot see, doesn't mean it is not there.
Without Wax - Chloe Ridore