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Are You a Capable Person? What Does That Even Mean?

Are You a Capable Person? What Does That Even Mean? | A Chronic Voice

The Modern Day Definition of Capability

One of the definitions of the word ‘capable’ yields, “having power and ability; efficient; competent”. How does modern society perceive this? Perhaps you might picture a powerful woman, who not only leads a multinational corporation, but also has three kids, a dog and runs half marathons on a regular basis. Or perhaps you might picture an enterprising entrepreneur, who has set up 10 companies across the globe, travels at every opportunity, and squeezes time for every drop of usefulness he can get out of it. Whichever persona you have in your head, is probably one who is on the go, the epitome of activity.

What if I showed you a picture of someone who is lying in bed, feeling defeated by depression? Or someone who is in pain, crawling to the bathroom only 10 steps away? Would these people fit into your category of ‘capable’? Probably not. They already need so much help to achieve simple tasks, how could they accomplish more?

Here’s What I Found When I Searched for ‘Capable Person’ Stock Photos…

Capable Person Stock Photo

Capable Person Stock Photo

Capable Person Stock Photo

The Unreliability of Our Thoughts

Many of those who struggle with mental symptoms know just how unreliable a feeling can be. Can you trust yourself? The anxiety or even euphoria you experience, might be a result of inflammation in the brain, a hormonal imbalance, or something else. As a result, we have developed defensive mechanisms to help us differentiate between fiction and reality.

Think of it this way – there is a raging fire somewhere in your body, and it is spreading fast. Your body’s control centre, the brain, sends out distress signals. This creates a chain effect of reactions; your body works as a single unit. Thinking happy thoughts will keep your hopes up, but that doesn’t mean the fire will stop burning. The smoke produced can be suffocating, no matter how much willpower and desire you have to escape. Sometimes your own buckets of water aren’t enough to put the fire out, and you need the help of professional firefighters. They often come in the form of therapy, medications and more.

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The Unreliability of Our Thoughts - Can You Really Trust Yourself? | A Chronic Voice

The Future of Experiencing

Many of those who are on medications know how one small pill (I’m looking at you, prednisone) can manipulate your current state of wellbeing, for better or for worse. This futuristic exoskeleton is very interesting – it allows you to experience what old age might be like, by mimicking arthritis, hearing loss and blindness.

I hope that in future we will be able to experience a wide assortment of ailments through simple means. A box of colourful pills: ‘pick one to mimic the effects of an illness for a day’. To let people experience first hand, what it’s like to live with chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, joint pains and more. And to realise how much difference tweaking just one chemical or protein in your body can make. It is both dreadful and mind blowing. You will realise that sometimes, you are no match for your own body.

Struggling With Dark Thoughts

There are people who are struggling with this single thought right now, “To kill or not to kill myself?”

Isn’t that pathetic? They should try to distract themselves. Fill their time with sports, the endorphins will help. Immerse themselves in hobbies, pleasant activities are good for you. See some friends, we are social creatures. Do something, anything, except lie there drenched in the excrement of self pity.

But the fact that they haven’t ended their life yet is one hell of an amazing feat. You may or may not ever comprehend their level of physical or mental pain, but there is a boiling point. The word ‘clinging’ sounds feeble; it is often associated with infants or children attached to their mothers. But have you ever tried clinging onto life when pain is all there is? When there might be nothing left to live for? When life has lost all meaning?

Capability is to pursue life, but sometimes that means focussing inwards and not pushing outwards. To preserve yourself and survive. Especially when your body is at civil war, and your mind is a traitor playing tricks. To lie there in all your defeat and hopelessness, whilst clinging onto life for no clear reason. If that isn’t capability, then I don’t know what is.

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Capability is to Pursue Life Quote
'Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.' - Corita Kent Quote

*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.

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Are You a Capable Person? What Does That Even Mean? | A Chronic Voice
Capability - What Does It Really Mean? | A Chronic Voice
    For More Insight:

  1. Are Mental Illnesses Caused by “Chemical Imbalances?” (article on Pete Earley):
  2. 81 Awesome Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford a Therapist (article on Greatist):

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Rachael Tomlinson
June 28, 2020 15:22

I don’t feel very capable at the moment, but I can see where you are coming from, I watched an episode of Greys Anatomy yesterday that took me back to a part of my life I would rather forget, I will recover from it but I just need a little time, great writing Sheryl x

Katie Clark
June 28, 2020 00:46

I love how you say that sometimes being capable is shown through the inner work rather than the outer doing. At 56, the last two years of inner work has really been something that makes me feel accomplished and has given me back some of the confidence I had lost the three years prior when I didn’t know why I was declining.

Shruti Chopra
June 27, 2020 14:13

A couple of weeks back, a good-looking, successful, intelligent, very well educated, well spoken, articulate, 34-year old Indian actor committed suicide (Name: Sushant Singh Rajput). He was what any young person would be inspired by and be seen as much more than capable – and he was.

It’s been a huge shock to anyone who has followed his journey over the years.

What cost him was his mental health.

So as I read this today, I completely agree with you Sheryl on our perception of what ‘capable’ looks like. It takes a lot to keep going and like you have so beautifully said that “Capability is to pursue life, but sometimes that means focussing inwards and not pushing outwards. To preserve yourself and survive. Especially when your body is at civil war, and your mind is a traitor playing tricks. ”

And a huge shout out to everyone who manages to look inward and keeps persevering – you’re all doing such a brilliant job and quietly you know that it’s true. We all just need to be kind to ourselves and each other.

Shruti Chopra
July 7, 2020 00:28
Reply to  Sheryl Chan

Thank you Sheryl. Love to you too.

I agree on the increase in conversation and the increase in awareness of the options people have. I always feel fortunate that I went through counselling as a teenager and how those lessons improved my mental health. An early exposure armed me well.

Sadly India is the highest in suicide rate in our region of South-East Asia. Hopefully I’ll do a podcast on it soon.

But again, thank you for raising awareness and increasing conversation on being “capable”.

June 26, 2020 22:04

Great post, and I think many people put themselves down when they live with chronic illness, thinking they aren’t capable because they aren’t able to do certain things. Yet perhaps they are the most capable of all!

jojo vito
April 29, 2020 00:17

I like it when you say Living each day is capability. Enabling us to face the challenges and struggles of life is capability.

July 7, 2020 23:14
Reply to  Sheryl Chan

Well written! I hope people get an insight into what it feels like to live with chronic pain or mental illness from this article.

April 24, 2020 02:28

All human beings has the capability to be good and great. There are lot of factors that affects our capability to reach our full potential but i think is up to us to overcame it. Nice article, good read and informative.

April Key C. Rode
March 31, 2020 06:52

I believed we are all capable of something great we just have to trust ourselves more and do it. Excellent read and I enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.

Jho Pasquin
Jho Pasquin
February 5, 2020 01:10

This is a beautiful post. For me, apart from our skills and skills, the capability is the power from within. Something that drives us to move forward.

February 22, 2017 04:02

When faced with adversity, in whatever shape it comes, we are all so much more capable than we may feel or even appear. Human spirit and our survival instincts are the essence of capability.

February 20, 2017 23:38

Really interesting piece. As a family we are all too familiar with mental capability and dark thoughts – me with long term chronic illness, hubby having had a breakdown, and now adolescents….one having a major crash during first year uni, another now on antidepressants & self harming ahead of A levels, and the 3rd with major anxiety. Doesn’t make me feel great as a mum when I received a letter detailing an assessment and listing out all our family issues!! But we have to work through it don’t we, and teach our kids too. Thanks for sharing on #Chronic Pain & chronic illness linkup party!