So excited I forgot to blog   6 comments

Last time I blogged, I wrote about depression.

Let me write about it again.  I made what I suspect will be a life long change not long after I wrote that.  My dad is a recovering alcoholic.  If you hang around AA or recovering drunks, you will run into people like my dad who were at least as addicted to the double life as they were the alcohol they consumed in one life and not the other.  In a way, for the last 20 years or so, I’ve been living a double(ish) life.  Now, I wasn’t flat out lying like my dad did, but I hid the symptoms of my depression vary carefully.  I would tell my very close friends, and some members of my family because they needed to know why I acted the way I did. Whether it is in accordance with the ‘proper’ realization of Christianity or not, most of the church sees depression as a sign of enormous spiritual failure, and despite the pity, the effect of telling your church that you struggle with depression is something akin to the effect of telling your church you struggle with going to homosexual bath houses: it’s OK if you say it once, but if you are back next week saying the same thing, it’s because there is something wrong with you, or the way you are working the solution, and not the solution itself (which is, of course, more of Jesus).

One of the wisest things I ever did was really explore Christianity and my doubts about it.  I think most people who knew me hoped that this would strengthen my faith, but instead I became first became an increasingly radical Christian, then a theist, then a diest, then an agnostic, and finally an atheist adhering to the philosophy of existential nihilism.  However, disappointing this was to my friends and family,  the result for me was the peace and freedom I had always sought in Christianity but never found.  Enormous loads of my depression sloughed away over about a 2 week period.

I remember in particular waking up one morning and realizing it was the first time I could remember that I hadn’t woken up wondering if today would finally be the day that I would disappoint myself so completely that I could finally kill myself and have done with it.  So that was a great day.  Improvement, sadly, is not cure. Several times a year I still found myself struggling to go to work.  Struggling not to cry all day.  Struggling not to kill myself.  Most often the fear of making myself a quadriplegic and no longer having the ability to kill myself was what stopped me.

So, last week, I’d had enough. I was hitting a pretty dark stretch. I went to my doctor and told her I couldn’t stop thinking about killing myself, I hadn’t slept more than a few hours a night in weeks, I was having trouble remembering to eat, and I was carefully avoiding my family so I wouldn’t scream at them or start weeping or both.  She strongly recommended that I take an anti-depressant and start therapy.  So I did.

I’m not sure how much of the following is the effect of the drugs, or after a mere 5 days is placebo, because I didn’t think I would change so fast. And frankly, I don’t care. I’m not euphoric.  I’m not excited, or ‘too happy’…I’m just not depressed.  Looking back over my life, I feel like I am walking up from a dream.  How in the world was it OK with me to hurt myself?  Where did that come from?  Why did I let so much guilt from a faith I no longer hold keep me in sway?  Why did I hate myself so long?  Why was it OK with me to put my wife daughter through my symptoms?

I don’t know, but I’m glad I’m on the other side of it, even if this temporary or placebo.


6 responses to “So excited I forgot to blog

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  1. If you’re referring to the existential nihilism that perceives reality as being entirely subject, I suggest going back to agnosticism. Just accept that you don’t know what’s going on and learn to live with it. Those existentialists aren’t much better than the – if you’ll forgive my terminology – cults you left. Good luck with all that, the pursuit of truth is never the wrong choice.

    • All I believe in is reality and truth, and I believe that truth is that which conforms to reality.

      I suppose I am an agnostic in the grand scheme of things, but in my personal life, I’m a soft atheist: no belief in god, rather than the harder belief in no god. I believe in evidence. Evidence leads me to believe that my life has no intrinsic purpose in the grand scheme of things, and that lacking a purpose or evidence of purpose, I can give my life whatever meaning I find most beautiful. The term ‘existential nihilism’ carries a lot of baggage with it that I don’t like, but for the purpose of a label, it comes closer to my beliefs than anything else.

      In the end, I find that any kind of magical thinking is very harmful for me. Atheism and existential nihilism are the best tools I personally have to live towards truth, but (1.) The fact they help me get closer to truth doesn’t mean they are helpful for anyone else and (2.) the fact I find them helpful right now doesn’t mean I always will. It’s about truth, not how I get there, and I’m more than happy to drop these tools and pick up better ones should I need to.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Oh my. Well put, good sir. Semantics aside, would you ever venture a guess at the inherent purpose of a human being? I mean to say, I understand what you’ve said – after that I found this question: Yes, I can do as I please, but what I please is of course determined by the laws which compose me. I believe the term is “determinism” – I’m not the man to ask nomenclature. So, the question is, what does life lead me to desire? And given that my will is arguably subject to to the forces of nature, what good does it me?

  3. Inherent purpose of a human being? To be. What sort of a life does this lead one to? One of just being. That’s what I strive for, to relax and just be. Stressing about what I should be doing is, I’ve found the fastest route to doing nothing but stressing about what I should be doing. I try to just be, and I am getting better at sorting out short term desires and long term ones and knowing what I truly wish to be at that exact moment. Somedays this means making my life a work of art as Nietzsche believed. Sometimes it means watching porn and not going outside all day.

  4. Well imagine a hypothetical: A person becomes thoroughly capable of “simply being”. They control their thoughts, emotions, body, their overall selves in such a manner that they are satisfied – happy – at all times, so long as that control remains. Now, given that situation, what would a person do? Would they seek to maintain that control, yet aimlessly floating through life? Would they attempt to grow to control more and more of their surroundings, all in support of that control? Would they simply kill themselves, having achieved all there is, being done with life? Or, as I imagine the case to be, would they seek to answer the question of why they do anything? Euphoria must get stale eventually.

  5. I’ll tell ya when I get there.

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