I was hit by an intense moment of depression today. The kind that makes you instantly feel faint. It’s as if you’re dying of blood loss, except it’s not blood that’s leaking—it’s you; your sense of identity and ego and will and meaning and truth. This lasted for an hour or so.
What’s surprising is that it was so sudden and seemingly irreversible, triggered by a mere realization. What ideas and emotions were running in my subconscious that had such a potent and unexpected effect?
I’ve been deciphering a particularly difficult book for months now, and I was reading the chapter on ‘meaningful work’ earlier. I don’t view my current work (study) as meaningful, and I’ve known this for some time. The only sense in which I can consider it meaningful is that I just want to finish it so I can bury away this part of my life, hopefully earning my freedom in the real world. But today, I felt as though nothing I’m doing really matters. I’ve been trying… to look after myself. This past week, I’ve been practicing mindfulness and been relatively productive as a result (compared to my usual baseline). Despite still recovering from injury, I’ve made sure to get at least some exercise. Diet-wise, I think I’m going okay. I have to admit, I’ve been utterly confused about my social needs though., but perhaps there is no point talking about it in detail right now.
I try to boost my mood through various means; walking, eating, listening to music, or pursuing my known hobbies such as playing the piano. And yet none of these have been effective lately and only this depressive bout has allowed me to understand why.
I’ve been selfish in the sense of trying to make sure my personal needs are mostly being met. This is a good thing. But I don’t feel good, because it seems futile. Why am I looking after myself? Why does it matter if I establish balance or not? Why does it matter if I make a lot of progress in the context of my hobbies? Honestly, I hardly feel like I’m even doing this for myself. I’m not looking after myself for my own sake, because I don’t really care anymore. I don’t love myself, but I don’t hate myself either.
I feel like a slave to the external world. I’m undertaking one of the most difficult tasks in my life, and even if I succeed, there’s nothing waiting for me on the other side. Even if I graduate, I’m not suddenly free. All my daydreams about what I want to do next are futile, because any plans I make could be crushed in an instant by the whimsical disapproval of my family.
There’s another thing. I’m lonely. I haven’t felt lonely in months, especially with all these other things in the way, and even though I remain excellent at repressing my feelings I know I am lonely. I’m lonely but can’t even feel it. That’s worse than just being lonely, because it means I don’t know what needs to be done. My mind and body are giving me the wrong signals. Even now, I’m willing to downplay my social needs as being the lowest priority among other problems.
Now, a common tip for guys like me is that self-betterment is the long-term path to improving social life. They say that as you work on yourself and focus on your hobbies and doing your own thing, you become more and more awesome and eventually other people start to notice and want to get to know you. And things just get better and better from there. The idea has always made sense to me, but today: fuck that. That’s exactly the problem; I’ve invested so much concern in how to become a more “desirable” person that it feels it was never really about me, but about how to be accepted by other people. I was brought into the world, not only with below-average base attributes, not only with terrible scaling per level, not only with the worst possible special ability, but to top it off my character class is generally disliked for arbitrary reasons and that’s something that no amount of grinding will ever absolve me from. The game is rigged against my RNG-sorry-ass existence, so why would I follow other people’s guides and expect to succeed the normal way, tried and tested as it may be for the average hero? A poor person following rich people’s advice makes a poor person…
I don’t want to be a slave anymore. I don’t see the point in any of this self-improvement stuff. It’s not necessary for survival. That’s the thing: survival. I can’t remember anymore but I had a rant in my head about survival.
Anyhow, I can see it now, and that’s why it’s so depressing. If I apply wishful thinking and imagine that I’ll achieve everything I want to achieve in 2018 (within realistic limits), I still won’t be happy. I could be infinitely cooler and more awesome than I am now; I’ll have mastered a song or two, started learning a new instrument, be in the best shape of my life, got in touch with my creative side with a relaxing but crafty hobby, started working and developed a possible roadmap, and finally found a couple of friends by putting myself out there more. But I wouldn’t be happy. Because deep down, I feel I’ll always be chained by the same prejudices that I was born into.
What are my struggles for? Who is it for? Why does it feel like I’m not even a beneficiary?
Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness—give me truth.
I couldn’t disagree more with this quote (which is from Into the Wild) right now. The truth just sucks too much.