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How can I relieve depression from existential thoughts?

By October 27, 2008 - 5:56pm
 
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I get depressed......I have been through therapy but even my therapist had to finally agree that an intelligent person is bound to become depressed occasionally at the thoughts of death, age and illness.
I am not religious in the least, so I do not believe in an "after life", though the idea sounds great...it just isn't plausible to me. The whole religion thing seems to be a way for humanity to comfort itself at the thought of ceasing to exist, in my opinion. I respect other peoples views on this, but for me, religion seems like an escape.

Sometimes, I wake in the middle of the night and feel an overwhelming sense of pointlessness.
I am an artist and when I keep busy with my work, I "forget" about looming thoughts of death and age, but when I stop my work, they often return.
I am terrified of death...of not existing....even though in not existing, I will be unaware....a little Woody Allenesque of me, really.
I seem to get a little worse as I get older. I am thirty eight now and the work, work, work attitude in this country does not help me at all.....as then I feel that that is all that life is about. My fiancee just returned to school to get a law degree and I feel that, after these three years of intensive studying, he will get a job and be killing himself with work and then time will whizz by as it does and we will be old.....
I know that I am in a bit of a depression about all of this, but really want to know how to cope.
I have no children and no biological clock that I have ever felt.....though my fiancee would maybe like a child one day. This depresses me too as I am not getting any younger and don't particularly want a child anyhow, as they seem to take over your life and kill romance.
My relationship is very important to me and I sometimes feel that when you see couples with children, they don't like each other very much anymore. I am sure that this is not always true, but it is common that couples tend to eventually take each other for granted. Again, I don't wish to offend, but perhaps children are not for me. I have two dogs which I adore like babies...they make me happy a lot of the time.
I am sorry about the rambling....but I would like any help with coping with these feelings of hopelessness, which are very real to me. We ARE going to get old. We are probably all going to suffer illness at some point and death is inevitable. Do I just not think about it all? This is what my sister suggests. Do I avoid the subject? I really want to be a happy person. What can I do to put meaning into my life?

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am going through a similar faze as well right now. I am going to become 18 soon and the thought of growing up is frightening. I always wonder if I work hard as an artist, would I eventually find happiness whatever my age would become. My sister also saids to not think so much about it. I also don't want a child, yet society keeps pushing that for woman's to desire to care for one. Then life gets me thinking of how little impact I could ever give to the world for my artwork. Life as I see it seems so short, depriving the potential for everything. I understand this is a very old article but I feel so connected emotionaly towards your questioning of life. I don't want to keep working and let time past by so fast. I really want something more to this world than this. It leaves me very anxious and depressed.

May 2, 2015 - 7:06am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am going through a similar faze as well right now. I am going to become 18 soon and the thought of growing up is frightening. I always wonder if I work hard as an artist, would I eventually find happiness whatever my age would become. My sister also saids to not think so much about it. I also don't want a child, yet society keeps pushing that for woman's to desire to care for one. Then life gets me thinking of how little impact I could ever give to the world for my artwork. Life as I see it seems so short, depriving the potential for everything. I understand this is a very old article but I feel so connected emotionaly towards your questioning of life. I don't want to keep working and let time past by so fast. I really want something more to this world than this. It leaves me very anxious and depressed.

April 29, 2015 - 7:00am

The unfortunate awareness of ones mortality and the realization of the truth of our existence can be over come but not with out cost. You must agree to give up the thing that you most cherish. Your ability to see beyond the reality that man creates for himself so he may hide from the truth( a gift and at times the enemy). The funny part of it all is none seem to know the truth so we create many lies in attempt to quieten our existential mind . This makes us the greatest of contradictions. The knowledge we so desperately need is well beyond our ability to grasp yet we have been lost without it from the beginning of our existence. We have this undying unrelenting need to explain what all this around us is and our place in it. We so desperately need the one truth the one secret to it all that it drive us mad or we spend a life time wrapping ourselves in delusions so we don't implode. I have only seen one knowable secret to life and that is there is no one secret. The truth is we each have a personal secret to life and only that secret will sooth the hole in our minds where we believe the truth belongs. No one can give it to you know matter how much they love you. You may never be able to fully escape or come to terms with ceasing to existent but you have to chose how much of your short life you will give to that beast.
Psychological repression of said awareness.

June 7, 2013 - 4:28pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

The unfortunate awareness of ones mortality and the realization of the truth of our existence can be over come but not with out cost. You must agree to give up the thing that you most cherish. Your ability to see beyond the reality that man creates for himself so he may hide from the truth( a gift and at times the enemy). The funny part of it all is none seems to know the truth so we create many lies in the attempt to quieten our existential mind . This makes us the greats of contradictions. The knowledge we so desperately need is well beyond our ability to grasp yet we have been lost without it from the beginning of our existence. We have this undying unrelenting need to explain what all this around us is and our place in it. We so desperately need the one truth the one secret to it all that it drive us mad or we spend a life time raping ourselves in delusions so we don't implode. I have only seen one knowable secret to life and that is there is no one secret. The truth is we each have a personal secret to life and only that secret will sooth the hole in your mind where you believe the truth belongs. Find that thing and fill that hole. No one can give it to you know matter how much they love you. You may never be able to fully escape or come to terms with ceasing to existent but you have to chose how much of your short life you will give to that beast.
Psychological repression of said awareness.

June 7, 2013 - 4:12pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

You sound like me, a recent note to my therapist-

The underlying mood and energy are better.
Now what I am struggling with are the thoughts. I think I should have some dreams or goals that I feel passionate about,
but anything I think of seems meaningless and pointless. Life is kind of like a loveless marriage.
My son was listening to a speech about people dying all over the world. I said well 100% of people die.
The problem isn't that they die, it's why they die. He told me the day before that he thought that if no one was afraid
to die the world would be a better place, somehow he thought being afraid to die was weakening people.
I think myself that living frozen like I am is worse from an individual perspective. In the medium picture, it is not better.
While people feel death is the worst thing that can happen, suicide is one of the most abusive thing you can do to people
around you. In the big picture whatever happens that people have to live through, is nothing,
especially once mankind is extinct and can't think about it any more. So really it doesn't make sense that we waste
our time thinking, doing, living, loving, breathing, they are nothing more than the pretty dramas of poets.
I look at people right now, and I don't feel a part of any of it. I feel like a fly on the wall.

Why should I care to exist, invest my passions into something that neither I nor the universe will recall?
This is anger that I feel, and I know that the only one that is affected by it is me. Still, you can't live in the moment.
The moment is always past or future. There is no now, you can't measure "now." It is a point on a line with no room for a
whole human being. There is no time in the moment to even feel it, let alone to think about and value it.
I feel intangible, invisible. But I feel something else that if I try to hold anything in my hands it turns to ash.
I have no faith, no hope, in fact to try to feel there is some positive outcome to living seems like I'm trying to
make up a pretty story so I can go numb, instead of feeling this raw meaninglessness. Yet, I want to feel it until it
is done. I want to see what happens if you shake your fist at it forever. I don't want to give in to it, and believe or invent
stories; over time believe the stories, and preach the stories, love and hate for the stories I tell, or the voices of mankind tell.

Still there is something I get out of my resistance to accepting that stories are all we know how to do, and tell them as
long as I breath. Whatever it is that I get from it feels disturbed, unsettled, but it feels like I am saying "That all I know,
is nothing, but at least it seems more true than stories." Yet it is really another story, in which I am a prisoner of ignorance,
circling the great abyss. I see in my minds eye, a dragon snapping and roaring circling the pit trying to snatch me and drag me down.
I stand here thinking, didn't I already take this leap? how is it that I am still here, my feet grown into the earth hanging half-way between
fantasy and chaos? I thought I had already fallen, but here I stand clinging to the world. Why can't I let go and just fall?

July 24, 2010 - 10:29pm

What a great post, thanks for sharing.

I have so many thoughts after reading your personal story, so forgive me if I ramble!

I was also in a bit of depression, off and on, and went to several therapists. Part of my sadness was relocating to a town where I had no friends (except a boyfriend, now husband) and no family. I tried and tried to be happy, because on paper, I had "everything I had ever wanted" and worked for. I read books on "how to be happy", wrote journals regarding my good days and bad days. Oprah suggested writing three things that you are grateful for every day. When I would go on vacation, I would reflect on what made me happy and write it down, so I wouldn't forget when I got back into my real life. (Hindsight: this was silly, because if something made me happy, I wouldn't forget!) Anyways, nothing really worked. I had good days, bad days, but seemed to be on a roller coaster.

I am not a religious person, either, more intellectually curious about religion (I have attended a Unitarian Universalist "church", which I loved, because they spoke about the BIG picture ideals that every religion has: love, hope, community, etc.). This helped me think of things other than myself. Volunteering also helps get out of your funk and help those less fortunate than you. I had a tough time being down-in-the-dumps with my own life when I was volunteering for a battered women's shelter, because some of these women had literally been living in hell and fear. There are more low-key places to volunteer, too, that can help lift your spirits.

A book that a therapist recommended also helped: Taming the Gremlin. It is almost like a children's book with little text and many pictures, but it takes the blame of depression off of you, and puts it onto a gremlin. Like diane said, the depression (or Gremlin) doesn't want you to think positively.

What has helped me get over my depression is both big and small. I moved back near family. I quit my job that was not a good fit for me, but I didn't realize it at the time. I stopped bickering with my husband. I joined some female "special interest" groups and feel like I have more friends than at any other time in my life (it's taken nine months to feel like these acquaintances are friends).

Do you know what makes you happy? Do you have a good social support network of friends? (Friends are difficult to come by as adults!). Do you feel valued and understood by your fiance? It's OK to say "no" to any of these; because they can be improved without drastic measures! For me, just being "real" with myself has made all the difference. I was finally honest with saying some things in my life were not right, and I needed to change them. Like you said, life is short...and we have the power to make things better!

In the end, I realize I was TRYING to be happy, now I AM happy. If you are not happy right now, just acknowledge it, because it really is OK: you can change things, talk to people, make friends, change careers, try yoga or meditating...you can be happy. (oh--it's not a bad thing to be sad, either. Life's regular "down" moments make for better "up" moments).

Have you been diagnosed with depression from your therapist? Have you tried any medication?

Last thought: I have a two-year old son. I was like you, and did not have a biological clock ticking (I am 33), but I did want children in my life in the future. I just decided that it was "now or never" since I didn't have that "baby urge". Our son has changed our life in every way, and it has all been for the better. I do feel like I have a bigger purpose in life now, but I also feel like I have my own purpose in life, aside from my son. I love being a mom, but also love being independent and a person I would want to "hang out" with!

Best wishes!

November 2, 2008 - 8:35pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Reading your share was as if I was reading my own life story. I have exactly the same attitude. No biological clock, the pointless feeling if I am not busy trying to accomplish something or conquer the world and the overwhelming feeling that time to whipping by and one day, I will be old and wish I hadn't worked myself to insanity.

I am a proclaimed work-a-holic. I work full time and also work several jobs from home that mainly use so much brain power that I am exhausted by the end of the day where I lay down my head and don't wake up until the next morning. Just to do the same thing the next day.

I complain about it but I always seem to do it. In my mind, I am supposed to do something that is legendary...I am not sure what that is but I have so much energy to make something good happen. For an example, I always wanted to help children get out of poverty as they got older because I worked so hard in my life to get out of it instead of giving into the reality that poverty was going to be my life. I tried so hard and at this time, I can say I own my own home, have a Master's Degree, currently attending school for taxes and have a wonderful dog. Yes, I agree with the dog love. There is nothing like it, unconditional. The only difference with me is that I do not have a boyfriend. I was married once but he was killed in Iraq.

When you spoke about religion, again, I agree. I completely respect people's choices to pray and rejoice in a higher power, but I do not. I have a hard time believing in things I do not see, touch, feel, etc. It is just my choice and my beliefs. I don't think that is a bad thing, just opinion. I was too interested in evolution to understand religion. Hope my parents were happy spending money on 9 years of Catholic school education.

I had the opportunity to talk to a Great Aunt of mine that has a Doctorates Degree, never had children, currently single and also wants a meaning in life. I never felt like I was happy with my accomplishments in life and talked to her about her life. She actually had a college building named after her for her accomplishments in education before she retired and she also was not fulfilled. I think that is legendary to have a monument named after you and still, not happy.

I suffer everyday with this and don't have an answer but can definitely relate. There are two things that really make me happy everyday when I wake up. One thing is that I continue with my education because otherwise, I feel like I am getting dumber by the minute. Second, I exercise. As Todd said earlier, try Yoga. Since there is no greater power that we believe in, believing in yourself is a great tool. I find that Yoga is very relaxing for the mind and body. It is amazing how aware of yourself you can be. Try it and let me know.

I would love to hear from you again and share ideas. Let me know what you have tried.

November 2, 2008 - 12:59pm

I have a good friend who works with avatars in his classroom (he is a college professor in education). I would love to hear more about how avatars can help individuals become healthier and/or help improve their health conditions. I believe it could work; I'll do some research on my own, too.

thanks!

October 28, 2008 - 12:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

The avatar course is a series of experiential exercises.
The techniques address real world issues at their root:
in our own consciousness.

If we are able to make the link that what is happening in our life is related directly to what is happening in our consciousness -
then this opens us to explore our ability and power to restructure our own consciousness for the purpose of altering what is happening in real life.

Sometimes our lives get so out of control and there is no place to grab on to.
Avatar demonstrates that we can control what is happening in our real life by becoming aware of what we are creating in our consciousness and then building the skills to structure it the way we want.

Improve what is happening in the world, by working on the inside.

Ever notice thoughts flying by in our heads?
where do they come from?
how do they get there?
what if they all come true?
why don't they agree?
what are they actually creating?

Everyone is different.
Everyone has a consciousness.
It is up to you to understand how your consciousness works, and what you want to do with it.
No one else can structure your mind for you.

There are some basic elements of consciousness that avatar training helps us to understand and helps us to build the skills necessary to get our minds back under control - to get our lives under control.

Like yoga or physical excercise, it takes some willingness to get started.
unlike yoga or exercise, avatar training works at the root of the issues.

The exercises are experiential - amazing - nonintuitive - powerfull and effective: they really work.

Trained avatar masters can show you the techniques and can guide you through the existing pathways of your own consciousness, and can help you create the new pathways that you desire.
They can not do it for you, but they can help you develop the skills you need to do it for your self.
To regain source of your life.

arbind.thakur@gmail.com

October 28, 2008 - 4:34pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Check out http://avatarepc.com
The material will help you to explore
- how you create the thoughts that are occuring for you
- how you can become the source of those thoughts
- how those thoughts are creating your real life as it exists
- how to create the thoughts that you actually want and which will result in the actual reality that you want

Send me a message if you find it usefull:
arbind.thakur@gmail.com

Take and give care,
..arbind

October 28, 2008 - 12:37pm
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