Disclaimer: the author is not a physician nor a psychologist, and this post is satire masquerading as advice. Advice not guaranteed to work for everyone. The prescriptions offered in this post have not been evaluated by anyone with the credentials to prescribe such cures. 

Have you felt like you want to throw your printer against the wall because it keeps jamming? Or invading another’s territory because you believe like they’re doing it wrong? Do you find yourself binge watching netflix all day, feeling guilty about it but being unable to motivate yourself to do more? Are you painfully aware that you’re preaching one edict but practicing another?

You may be facing a condition known as Integrity Depletion Syndrome or IDS. IDS is defined by a doctor (okay, well, a Ph.D.; okay, well, me) as “having a lack of coherency between the different parts of yourself”. The symptoms vary by individual but can include listlessness, frustration, boredom, disquietness, weight gain (or loss), lack of energy, and a WTF moment upon reflecting back on your own choices and actions .

Integrity Depletion Syndrome is a serious condition affecting individuals, organizations, and society, and has many causes, but also, thankfully, cures.

Cause #1

Perhaps the most common cause is the repeated telling of lies to others like “oh no, your dog barking all day doesn’t bother me while I’m working from home”. Or, telling lies to the public such as “we’re not a cheating company, we’re an ed tech company”. Or, telling lies to yourself like “my weight gain isn’t from poor eating habits, drinking too much or not exercising, it’s just because I’m aging and so there’s nothing I can do about it”. These lies, scientifically known as rationalizations or justifications, enable us (at least in the short term) to live somewhat peacefully with our choices and decisions even though we are not living truthfully. Living in a prolonged state of such dishonesty, however, does eventually lead to IDS, which can deteriorate not just the self, but relationships and institutions.

Prescription #1 

Stop lying. Just Stop it. Face and tell the truth to yourself and others, no matter how difficult.

Cause #2

Another common cause of Integrity Depletion Syndrome is an obsession with performing rather than learning. The performative life approach means that you focus almost exclusively on tasks, mindlessly moving from one to another, treating yourself like a factory production line that has widgets to make. The most seriously afflicted spend more time making check-lists and checking things off the list, than they actually spend time on higher order activities. This mindless check-list mentality makes you temporarily feel good, until you realize that you are slowly transforming into one of those AI-bots that churns out assignments for students who don’t want to learn. To be sure, tasks need to be done, but a focus on performing your life rather than mastering your life can lead to boredom, binge watching netflix, vicariously living your life through others’ social media posts, and, yes, a severe case of IDS.

Prescription #2

Stop performing and start learning. Push yourself and get uncomfortable.

Cause #3

The third most potent cause of Integrity Depletion Syndrome is an unhealthy lifestyle. According to the renowned international health expert, Apple Watch, sleeping too little, eating too much, drinking too much, and not moving enough throughout the day are bad for you. To be fair, the Apple Watch might be onto something. Apparently there is some scientific evidence that your mind is connected to your body. What? I know, right! I think it’s got something to do with, like, blood, oxygen, and other hocus pocus words like “neuropathways”. Basically, if your body isn’t as healthy as it could be, then your mind is also not as healthy as it could be. And when our brains aren’t firing on all cylinders, it seems to be pretty tough to slowly and carefully thinking through how to unjam that printer, let alone to focus on higher order human needs like integrity, wholeness, and purpose. 

Prescription #3

Practice mindfulness and experiment with the right eating and exercise routines that will help you find the healthy balance that works best for your body and brain. 

So, there you go. You are now more aware of this common and dreadful disease known as Integrity Depletion Syndrome. While it is dreadful, there is hope. If you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms of IDS, I urge you to act immediately by taking my prescriptions now before your syndrome worsens. You will feel more integrous before you know it!

Disclaimer: Results are individual and cannot be guaranteed. Side effects are unknown but could include happiness, tranquility, promotions, self-love, and self-fulfillment.