I’m really depressed

Submitted by gr3np4chAM in CapitalismInDecay

This probably isn’t a “traditional” post, but I can’t seem to find a good place to express these feelings without inadvertently hurting someone: I have no hope. Everything seems meaningless. I really want to have a reason to keep going but everything is becoming so... immaterial... transient... ephemeral. I wake up and I experience nausea. I call my therapist outside, overcast, and she tells me to count down to ten, to stop thinking so broadly, to focus on the “‘next few days” well, that’s very difficult. It’s difficult when my aunt died of the virus and a cousin killed themselves, and I’m with my family praying over fucking zoom. I can’t tell the difference between laziness, indifference, burnout, and depression: my days melt into a hazy, suffocating mist. Like a steam room that’s getting hotter and hotter. It was nice at first. Being home from college. Things weren’t too hot yet, until they were. I’m mentally incapacitated. Where does philosophy and theory meet pathology? I don’t know anymore. I’m more cynical than I ever was. Can any comrades relate to this? What’s the way out, how can I read my way out of a mental crisis? Proust? Frankl? Gide? Freud? Marx? ... Nietzsche? Or is it nothing, am I supposed to “buckle down” and get things done like everyone tells me. That one think that I can’t seem to do.



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subrosa wrote

I spent something like 2 years being depressed and suicidal, and now a year later I'm still digesting and processing that period. I spent most my time either distracting myself from reality (dull cycle of drugs, alcohol, sleep, movies) or thinking and overanalyzing (in an attempt to find meaning in anything, find a reason to live, etc.). When it got really bad I kinda lost touch with everything. My sense of self dissolved, and nothing made sense anymore. I gave up on my search for meaning. For a while I wasn't even able to answer simple questions people asked me, often I just started laughing uncontrollably, and I really didn't feel like laughing.

Now, looking back, I'm not entirely sure who that person was, but I think I understand him better than the people around me at the time. There's a good chance that we're nothing alike, but here's some 'advice' I would give to 2-years-ago-me. Maybe it's useful, maybe not:

  • Don't try to argue yourself out of depression. The time you spend reading and analyzing (in an attempt to find meaning) may help you better understand some philosophical concepts, but please don't get lost in the details. You don't have to make sound arguments to 'justify' how you feel, and you don't need to know exactly what you want in life. You don't need a perfect understanding of what's wrong, you don't need good answers to the big questions, save that shit up for later. It's enough to know that something is wrong.

  • Try to spend less time in your head. Try to keep in touch with the immediate, material world around you. (When people suggest meditation, they're suggesting a very similar thing. Live "in the now", whenever you can afford it. You are not your thoughts.)

  • Allow yourself to fail, focus on change. There's probably a long list of things you'd need to do to 'fix' your life, and you barely have the energy to give a single shit when you look at that list. Most of the items on the list are burdens of the past, and for some of them it may be time to get them out of your life. Instead of trying to get back on track with your old life, try to free yourself from constraints and responsibilities that no longer serve you. Fail at fixing your old life that got you into this mess, and instead focus on exploring your new life.

  • Reject the language that is used against you. Your 'laziness' is a symptom, not a character trait. You are experiencing laziness, and there's probably a good reason for that. You probably don't wanna feel lazy, it's not fun, so don't take the blame. You wouldn't take the blame for having a migrane.

  • Get help, if you can. Not the "talk to someone" type of help. Ask people to help you get things done, with them doing at least half the work. That's what you need.


bloodrose wrote

This is better advice than I've ever gotten from a therapist.

Don't try to argue yourself out of depression.

I find the most happiness in feeling free to feel depressed. I mean, I spend less of the time depressed if I just let myself experience the depression for a bit. It may be like you said - the reflection time is necessary.

Try to spend less time in your head. Try to keep in touch with the immediate, material world around you.

One piece of advice that really helped me was the "Count 5 things in the room" thing. During this pandemic, I've had moments of panic and anxiety but I can't run anywhere. And just stopping, looking at five things in the room and naming them truly helped. I couldn't spiral because I was busy in the "now".

Ask people to help you get things done

This is so good. People often give the advice of accomplish one thing so that you can feel good about that. But that puts all of the work on the individual who is suffering so that people can blame the sufferer for their suffering. The idea of enjoying things being done but not having to be the one doing them...that's just fresh and lovely.

I would definitely subscribe to your newsletter.


subrosa wrote

When family members took care of one thing I had on my list it was probably the first time in months that I actually considered not giving up on everything else. It felt good.

I would definitely subscribe to your newsletter.

:) <3


lastfutures wrote (edited )

I very much doubt there's an anarchist that doesn't relate to that - and if there is I'd be worried about their psychology! When I read my way out of such a crisis it was with the individualists. Anarchists who start from themselves, not society. I needed a new way to frame my life & projects that didn't rely on the rest of the world getting on board. Of course even then the crises come & go, in this world we aren't always in a situation we're happy with, but my relationship to them is different now.


gr3np4chAM OP wrote

Do you have any author recommendations? I really need something right now. Need it more that lexapro.


lastfutures wrote (edited )

The Collected Writings of Renzo Novatore

Enemies of Society: An Anthology of Individualist & Egoist Thought:

This book tells the story of the most neglected tendency in anarchist thought; egoism. The story of anarchism is usually told as a story of great bearded men who had beautiful ideas and a series of beautiful failures, culminating in the most beautiful failure of them all -- the Spanish Civil War: a noble history of failed ideas and practice. Egoism, and individualist anarchism, suffer a different kind of fate. It is not a great history and glorious failure but an obscure series of stories of winning, with victory defined by the only terms that matter, those of people who lived life to their fullest and whose struggle against the existing order defined them. This struggle was not one of abstractions, of Big Ideas, but of people attempting to claim an authentic stake in their own life.

Inspired by the writings of Stirner's "The Ego and His Own" the assertion these people make is not of the composition of a better world (for everyone) but of how the machinations of society, especially one of abstractions and Big Ideas, have shaped the individual members of that society. How everything that we know and believe has been shaped (by structure and intent) into a conformed, denatured shadow of what we could be.

Individualists anarchists have always argued that anarchism should not be a version of heaven on earth but a "plurality of possibilities". This has relegated their activity to the actions that people make in their lives rather than participating in political bodies and formations that shape, and participate in, society. Egoists have gone to war with this world, robbed banks, practiced free love, and won everything except those things worth nothing: history, politics, & acceptance by society.

People like you have been denounced as "enemies of society". No doubt you would indignantly deny being such and claim that you are trying to save society from the vampire of the State. You delude yourselves. Insofar as "society" means an organized collectivity having one basic norm of behavior that must be accepted by all (and that includes your libertarian communist utopia) and insofar as the norm is a product of the average, the crowd, the mediocre, then anarchists are always enemies of society. There is no reason to suppose that the interests of the free individual and the interests of the social machine will ever harmonize, nor is it desirable that they should. Permanent conflict between the two is the only perspective that makes any sense to me. But I expect that you will not see this, that you will continue to hope that if you repeat "the free society is possible" enough times then it will become so.

edit: I'd also like to mention that there are a thousand and one objections to these ideas. Some valid & expanded on by later anarchists, most are not. But what is truly valuable in it is the orientation towards life, towards reclaiming one's life as one's own. Leftists will object to the attacks with piles of theory and accusations, but as far as I'm concerned leftists reap what they sow when they find themselves in crisis after they realize their magical social transformation is not happening on their timeline. Is such a transformation possible and desireable? Perhaps, but it will only ever be worth it if it means each individual takes their life back for themselves. For those of us most hostile towards this society, that transformation must begin now.


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

reading, counting down, or buckling up isn't going to help you feel better, probably.

You need to do some practical things that reinvigorate tu raison d'etre. Your reason to be.

The path of least resistance is what you should take at first. If there are organizers in your general vicinity, start doing small things with them and keep going. They should be actions which require you to physically change locations (out of your room) and physically interact (without stressing any disabilities you may or may not have).

If there aren't organizers in your general vicinity, that makes things harder so look harder for them too. If you're truly isolated from other like minded people, you will have to start on the individual level first. I would recommend creating art installations and putting them up around town, learning a new language and finding online communities to speak it in, even just exercising a little every day will help. If you have reading interests, go for it, but remember that in order to get away from the feeling of immateriality, you will probably have to ground yourself physically in the real world rather than purely in books. So books can only be part of the solution, if you ask me.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it sounds like you might have clinical depression. It's relatable to me. So explore your healthcare options around that, and remember that some days will always be worse than others-- the latter is true for everyone no matter whether they are depressed or not. Don't set unreasonable and unfair expectations on yourself, that you are going to completely transform either society or yourself. When Sisyphus isn't able to push the boulder up the hill completely, he gets flattened when it comes rolling down, so set more realistic goals and be your own person rather than just another Sisyphus.


kore wrote

Read some Zen philosophy. I'd recommend Zen Mind Beginner mind by Suzuki Shunryu.

Also go plant a flower or bake some cookies or draw a picture or something.


rot wrote

I can relate on some level. Nothing seems real anymore, it's like i'm in a particularly boring sims game


AnarchoSpook wrote

Sorry that I won't be very specific in my response. I think many of your feelings are commonly felt by all non-conformers in society, and yet many more are endemic to this society; increasingly, this air of cynicism and depression can be properly called a global problem. Especially the last months I think intensified this and the unbearability of the situtation might have disillusioned many others who had last drops of hope in the future under this system. I've also been struggling with unending idleness, dismotivation, and lack of meaning. Theoretically I can say that Nietzsche's affirmation of life really helped me through with this. I can recommend a not-so-demanding secondary read of Nietzsche Nietzsche and Anarchy. On the non-theoretical side, it might help to invent some very small daily activities, anything that could encourage a bit of curiosity, really. Needless to say, the biggest help would be social interactions, and maybe meeting new people in particular, but unfortunately it's much harder to do this nowadays, yet still not impossible.


lautreamont wrote (edited )

Much anguish and hard feelings about yourself should be just seen as what they are: emotional investments. You feel these things because you care about these, but at the bottom line, the things you care about are forgeries, delusions. Your entire place in society was made of illusions, spooks, concepts.

Like, I have these depressing thoughts on really bad or ridiculous shit I done in the past, and they're following me like ghosts. But they are just ghosts, and are unworthy of investment. All these emotions do is to cause me more pain and anxiety, for nothing. I owe nothing to these things I feel for. Taking ownership of yourself is recognizing that.

So the world around you starts having no meaning? That's because you're becoming self-aware, slowly. Or rather becoming aware of a new dimension. Consciousness never comes with the promise of happiness; it's rather divergent.

You're growing to the realization that the world around you, while being ordered in some ways (there are easily-observable patterns everywhere in nature), is also always more complex and bigger than you believed... and also it is not centered around you. A part of facing the unknown can be frightening, but it's the price of the bare "truth". Your world, assuming you are in the US, seems to be collapsing because this society has evolved around a managerial system that reveals itself as total crap, unreliable and crooked.

I warned people about the pitfall of legalism/statism for ages, and now you see the consequences of following the way of the State (as most people have been doing). It took a very little to take things out of balance. There's a price to pay when living as domesticated subjects, and it's your autonomy. When the institutions start to fail, of course your world starts looking like an asylum, because the institutions were making up the spectacle of your daily life.