Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TheDuke

Existential Depression

Recommended Posts

It feels pretty bad to say that I'm only 20 but feel like I've already "figured out life". I feel like a cat chasing a red laser dot who has realized that the red dot is simply light and can not be caught.

I kind of realized this after high school where my goal was to get good marks so I could get into law school. Now I'm in a great school, but I feel like I won the rat race; my future is secured, but what for?

I do stuff, I go out, travel a bit, see friends, exercise 5 days a week, get laid once in a while and while some of these things give a fleeting sense of purpose I always return to this baseline sense of hopelessness. Like I am just wasting time. The closest thing to feeling like life has meaning I experience when listening to music I love. For this reason music is my passion and I am both a pianist and a singer. Thing is I have had issues with my vocal health for the past two years or so, and this is the cruelest thing because it prevents me from singing which I feel may be the one thing for which life truly seems worth living. I have doctors appointment lined up with a good voice specialist about this, perhaps the situation can be resolved or perhaps not, who knows.

I just have this feeling that whatever I do just is worthless. Even when I achieve "great" things it doesn't matter. I feel like if I won a million dollars it wouldn't matter. I don't want much. I do stuff to escape from thoughts, not because I want to do them. I've realized there is no objective truth, no end goal, no right or wrong or anything to life. I feel like I've ruined life. I can't see myself in the future and whenever someone wants to talk about the future I just see black, like I'm going to die. I feel like I will be dead within the next five years like I will reach my breaking point. Not now, tomorrow or anytime soon, just some time. I think about it a lot though, but it too seems meaningless.

As I mentioned earlier singing could be my redemption, if I could get my voice back. If not then I feel it could be the final nail in my coffin.

With all this said, I'm not always in a depressed mood, I sometimes fall into odd depressed moods and wake up in the night with random anxiety but this is not most of the time. I still maintain a pretty wide range of emotions. Even when I feel good though I can't shake the angst, when I look at a beautiful view I see it through a lens of melancholy; as if the beautiful sunset is merely a fading memory of better times. Like reminiscing on a past relationship.

I don't know what to do, I feel like therapy isn't doing anything. I've learned techniques for changing my physiology to get in a better mood, but that is not solving the problem, it is procrastination.

Opinions?

Edited by TheDuke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

deep,i feel that too.on 2012 i was at the top of a hill near an old church,looking at the sea and a ship far from the coast,i stared at that scene and i was feeling good but all i could think was about jumping from it,but i knew i would survive the fall,so i just kept staring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, you sound like a wise 20 year old. I think your post could go into the dictionary as the description for existential angst.

Interesting that you're in law school. I'm a lawyer (well..I'm registered...not working). When I was doing my degree, one of my lecturers was doing a PHD on the topic of why the legal profession attracts so many people with depression & anxiety disorders, even before they've started working 60 hour weeks. I don't know if he finished it but I think - you can't properly understand just how little justice there is in the law (& in life generally) until you do a law degree. I look at how broken the system is & it's hard not to despair.

I'm sorry - not a particularly uplifting or reassuring response. Note - I have long-term, major depression so hopelessness is my constant state of being & my world view is coloured by that.

On a more positive note - I love the law (despite its deep flaws). I loved my job when I was working. I think music is one of the reasons for being alive - & I can't sing to save myself & can only play a few chords on the guitar (very badly). I also love science & I think the universe above my head is fascinating, wonderful & mind blowing.

I don't personally believe there's any meaning to all of this. I like the quote "there is no answer, there's never been an answer, there never will be an answer, that's the answer" (can't remember who said it). But weirdly, I find that randomness somehow reassuring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me it sounds like you are just unsatisfied with your life. Life can have meaning and satisfaction, if you do things that you enjoy and find fulfilling. Do you truly enjoy law? Maybe you really don't so that's why you feel like going to law school is not serving a purpose. Maybe you should pursue a different type of career.. perhaps something related to music since it seems like that is what you are truly passionate about. Maybe, instead of doing everyday activities such as going out and seeing friends that don't seem to give you a sense of purpose.. perhaps you can do something more meaningful in your spare time that benefits others, such as volunteering or charity work. Maybe spending more time doing more "fulfilling" activities instead of "superficial" ones will give you more of a sense of purpose and you won't feel like you are just going through the motions of life and doing things that don't really serve a meaningful purpose. Sorry if this doesn't help at all, but I thought I would try to offer a few suggestions. I think life definitely can have purpose and meaning, but with my depression I just have a hard time living up to my full potential and enjoying what life has to offer. At the moment, I just feel like nothing in life is enjoyable, because of how I feel I suppose.

Edited by bb32

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel the big E depression too. I wonder why this seems to afflict a certain type of person. I wonder if it isn't that there is a sparse distribution highly intelligent people, meaning that the highly intelligent are a) isolated b) subject to the values (ie the definitions of success) of the majority despite seeing the absurdities therein c) etc.

I feel like the only solution is Good friends or societal purpose. But a necessary condition on both of these is having 'the right' people around, something which just doesn't seem to happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, you sound like a wise 20 year old. I think your post could go into the dictionary as the description for existential angst.

Interesting that you're in law school. I'm a lawyer (well..I'm registered...not working). When I was doing my degree, one of my lecturers was doing a PHD on the topic of why the legal profession attracts so many people with depression & anxiety disorders, even before they've started working 60 hour weeks. I don't know if he finished it but I think - you can't properly understand just how little justice there is in the law (& in life generally) until you do a law degree. I look at how broken the system is & it's hard not to despair.

I'm sorry - not a particularly uplifting or reassuring response. Note - I have long-term, major depression so hopelessness is my constant state of being & my world view is coloured by that.

On a more positive note - I love the law (despite its deep flaws). I loved my job when I was working. I think music is one of the reasons for being alive - & I can't sing to save myself & can only play a few chords on the guitar (very badly). I also love science & I think the universe above my head is fascinating, wonderful & mind blowing.

I don't personally believe there's any meaning to all of this. I like the quote "there is no answer, there's never been an answer, there never will be an answer, that's the answer" (can't remember who said it). But weirdly, I find that randomness somehow reassuring.

"There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer."

~ Gertrude Stein

I have a huge 37 page word document of just quotes, and now I'm gonna add that one too. I guess I just love quotes for some reason! :sigh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, you sound like a wise 20 year old. I think your post could go into the dictionary as the description for existential angst.

Interesting that you're in law school. I'm a lawyer (well..I'm registered...not working). When I was doing my degree, one of my lecturers was doing a PHD on the topic of why the legal profession attracts so many people with depression & anxiety disorders, even before they've started working 60 hour weeks. I don't know if he finished it but I think - you can't properly understand just how little justice there is in the law (& in life generally) until you do a law degree. I look at how broken the system is & it's hard not to despair.

I'm sorry - not a particularly uplifting or reassuring response. Note - I have long-term, major depression so hopelessness is my constant state of being & my world view is coloured by that.

On a more positive note - I love the law (despite its deep flaws). I loved my job when I was working. I think music is one of the reasons for being alive - & I can't sing to save myself & can only play a few chords on the guitar (very badly). I also love science & I think the universe above my head is fascinating, wonderful & mind blowing.

I don't personally believe there's any meaning to all of this. I like the quote "there is no answer, there's never been an answer, there never will be an answer, that's the answer" (can't remember who said it). But weirdly, I find that randomness somehow reassuring.

"There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer."

~ Gertrude Stein

I have a huge 37 page word document of just quotes, and now I'm gonna add that one too. I guess I just love quotes for some reason! :sigh:

Oh wow, thanks, that's it :-). I love quotes also - summing it all up in just a few words.

Completely off topic but...one of my favourite quotes (one that I relate most to) is from the King of Quotes, Winston Churchill: "I'm going to make a long speech because I've not had the time to prepare a short one".

My life is spent, in large part, trying to keep my word count down ?

Edited by Els1e

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone should start a quote thread, is there one?

Yep - see under 'The Forum Cafe - The Lighter Side'. Just went looking for it myself ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too attended law school and it was quite possibly the worst decision I have ever made in my life. As was mentioned earlier in this thread, you go into law school with the attitude that you are going to do something positive and make a difference. Within the first weeks of law school this mentality is stripped away from you and you see how truly corrupt, power hungry, and greedy the law is. I am in the a similar situation as you because a health condition also prevents me from pursuing my true passion in life. From what I have found we just have to keep moving on and trying different things until we find a new passion.

I think legal education really sets a person up for depression because it teaches your brain to over analyze situations and come up with the worst case scenario. I have actually been walking down the street and stepped on a tiny bit of a persons grass and have thought to myself that I just committed a trespass to land :poster_oops:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, you sound like a wise 20 year old. I think your post could go into the dictionary as the description for existential angst.

Interesting that you're in law school. I'm a lawyer (well..I'm registered...not working). When I was doing my degree, one of my lecturers was doing a PHD on the topic of why the legal profession attracts so many people with depression & anxiety disorders, even before they've started working 60 hour weeks. I don't know if he finished it but I think - you can't properly understand just how little justice there is in the law (& in life generally) until you do a law degree. I look at how broken the system is & it's hard not to despair.

I'm sorry - not a particularly uplifting or reassuring response. Note - I have long-term, major depression so hopelessness is my constant state of being & my world view is coloured by that.

On a more positive note - I love the law (despite its deep flaws). I loved my job when I was working. I think music is one of the reasons for being alive - & I can't sing to save myself & can only play a few chords on the guitar (very badly). I also love science & I think the universe above my head is fascinating, wonderful & mind blowing.

I don't personally believe there's any meaning to all of this. I like the quote "there is no answer, there's never been an answer, there never will be an answer, that's the answer" (can't remember who said it). But weirdly, I find that randomness somehow reassuring.

"There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer."

~ Gertrude Stein

I have a huge 37 page word document of just quotes, and now I'm gonna add that one too. I guess I just love quotes for some reason! :sigh:

Oh wow, thanks, that's it :-). I love quotes also - summing it all up in just a few words.

Completely off topic but...one of my favourite quotes (one that I relate most to) is from the King of Quotes, Winston Churchill: "I'm going to make a long speech because I've not had the time to prepare a short one".

My life is spent, in large part, trying to keep my word count down

My all time favorite quote would have to be by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well first of all, you sound like an awesome guy with whom I'd totally be friends in real life.

I remember being 5 or 6 and looking out of my window and thinking that either an asteroid was going to come and **** me tomorrow, or the sun was going to eventually expand and destroy our solar system in a few billion years, and it didn't really matter which, because either way everything I would do in my entire life would be completely erased, literally torn apart on an atomic level, and that kind of sucked to think about as a kid. It still does.

The big conceptual issue I have with what you've written is that you're assuming because you have a "wide range of emotion" or even just because you're not perpetually sad, you aren't depressed. That's a specific kind of depression, but it's by no means the most common, or even necessarily the most severe. Depression can and often is just a basic outlook, where you feel good for a while and then return to a baseline level of "Oh, actually that enjoyable experience was totally meaningless, just like life itself." So I'd say what you describe actually fits perfectly into the way most people experience depression.

I actually don't have a remedy for what you're describing, because making billions of dollars or being a lawyer is never going to do it for me. The best approximation of an answer I can come up with is this:

1. People who know the answers the questions don't have to ask them.

2. I'm always asking myself what the meaning of my existence is, except for rare but repeatable things.

3. Those things, for me, are: being in dangerous situations, playing intense sports, travel, writing, loud music, kissing pretty girls, and especially helping people.

4. Since I'm not asking about the meaning of existence in those situations, they are probably the key to how I experience meaning.

Thus my approximation of existential meaning is something like saving the world and chasing girls, neither of which remotely address the actual problem that life itself is probably meaningless. I'd suggest your background depression is probably a factor in how you filter that fundamental problem, because lots of people, even lots of ridiculously smart people, do seem to enjoy themselves. I think the answer is probably not as simple as "I can see the Matrix, and it makes me sad."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP

Warning!

What you are about to read may be too harsh for the faint of heart.

In case of severe controversy in your head, please cease the dose and contact the moderators for immediate post removal or press the backward button on your web-browser.

#1

You are mistaken - the ratrace is not over. Should it even be called a ratrace? Is the cat ever in control during the race? No, you are being manipulated by the invisible hand. Even though you know the red dot is pointless to chase after you do it anyway, because you don't know what else to do. Do you consider yourself Not in control of what you do? That you are just some empty shell, the invisible hand gets good grades for you, puppeteers your body to do some exercise, ruins your voice, gets those girls in bed with you. No, it's you that does all that! You can do good for yourself, but you can also screw up. Well, c'est la vie, I make a lot of mistakes, too.

It's only roses and party if everything goes well? You'll give up the minute things don't go your way? The problem is in your thinking.

(Your vocal coords can and will heal, if that's what this all is about. I have learned singing, aswell, I have had a vocal crisis and I'm alright)

#2

My opinion - you don't know how to lose. Trust me when I tell you - you have not figured out half of "what life is about". I have only figured out what I am supposed to do, the rest is a work in progress. I consider myself left-wing, but I take my sweet time with things that concern little ol' me. Revolution is not always the answer - you can't wish something away or change and expect it to happen by the next day on its own.

#3

This "I feel like I'll be six feet under in the next 5 years" is a boat load of garbage that gets dumped to the ocean on a daily basis. It's problematic if the contamination reaches the danger-zone. Keep thinking like you do now and you will be within that danger-zone in no time. Is that what you want? Let's call it mental self-flagellation.

#optional

I'll give you an example how I overcame one of my senses of zeroness a while back: I have been exercising as well, I had a very specific goal when I was a young lad, which I achieved. I kept exercising, jogging, swimming, but that alone felt a little dim for me. About a year ago I took up martial arts (wushu, if you are curious) to add to the exercising list. I still go swimming and jogging on a regular basis, but martial arts, for me, has some deeper meaning to it. Everybody finds their own inspiration. I could hit the gym, lift them weights for years and years and knock anybody out that comes looking for trouble - but there is no point to it. Practicing martial arts, in essence, is To avoid violence and/or end it more peacefully, with less injuries. I train to be able to control my strength, not use it in an abusive manner to "show them who's boss". It also provides mental discipline, because martial arts is about restraint. You could say I am protective.

I'll also mention one of my setbacks, which came like lightning from a clear sky. I auditioned for a music school, to learn classical music and classical singing. Everything went fine in the practices - control over voice, timbre, resonance, breathing - excellent. Performed 2 pieces in the entry exam and according to the judges, I passed the singing part, but I didn't pass the ensuing interview - seemingly small talk, they want to know about the person, hobbies, interests and blablabla

One thing about me, I like to seize control and be dominant in a conversation and that is what the instructors disapproved of. I know one of the teachers very well and he told me what happened when they were talking things through. As if to send a message: "You have to change your attitude, if you wanna study in this school!"

At first, I was destroyed - who wouldn't be? Over half a year of hard work just washed down the drain, because of my attitude? I will not "change my attitude" because of what a handful of people tell me - I know they are all respected singers in the opera world, but that is not enough to convince me. It's a loss, but I won't cry my eyes out over it. Perhaps it was for the better, who knows, as you so eloquently put it. No time for doubts and thinking about what-ifs

#Important

You are full of doubt. You feel what ever you do is worthless, because you can't take pride in anything. You can't seem to appreciate your own accomplishments. It just all looks like you're getting all this, because that's where the red dot was at the time. Meow

What good do you remember? It makes no difference what it is, just so that you genuinely remember it as a happy moment. Anything?

I will be very glad if you defy my opinion and insist on your own way, that is half-way of where you need to be, for I never said I am right. The second half is figuring out for yourself what's up.

Well, that ends my sermon - if you hate me for being a judgmental creep, that's fine. If you can take something away from it, that's good. If you wake up some day with a smile on your face, knowing exactly what to do, that would be ****** fantastic.

Take care, buddy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too. i've had it with this life, not knowing what to do anymore because one feel like everything is already achieved. It feels just like some open-ended sandbox game where you have all the freedom to do whatever you want, which leaves you with no interesting choices to do. My only interest is just the answer for what happens after the inevitable ending? do you become a ghost, to just wander around like you do in real life, seeing everyone, but they can't see you? Sheol? If i would go to hell i would probably enjoy it more than what i am doing with this life, because of the endless torment, and that would probably feel better to feel more pain on the outside than on the inside.

It's just something i feel so pasionate about because we can never really know what will happen after those first 30 minutes after you forced that blade into your heart/ pulled that trigger pointing at your brain.

I hope one day that i have the guts to jump out in front of a fast-moving train, and if that's your dream too then i wish you good luck with that part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've said exactly what I've been thinking for years. I studied something I loved but knew I'd likely never get a job that fully utilized my degree. And like most I only really figured out what I'm truly passionate about after graduating. Now I'm in a job I hate and applying and interviewing for jobs I don't want because my dreams are meaningless to the "real world".

What you said about people asking about the future and you see darkness is exactly what I picture. I get uncomfortable when people discuss the future and their goals because I feel like I'm never going to get anywhere. Sort of like during one of my breakdowns when my mom asked me if there was anything I wanted to do career wise and I said no because I didn't even want to talk about the things I'd like to do.

I got great grades in high school and did very well in college. I got a job a few months out if school. I finally replaced my old car. But now I just feel like none of it is what I want and I don't know how to get to where I want to be. It also doesn't seem like I can find anyone to help me much either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess my depression is equal to the optimism I feel in the moment primarily about my voice troubles. Sometimes I'm sure my problems will never solve so my mind turns to suicide. Sometimes I think my problems will solve themselves and so my depression lifts until I either become pessimistic again or simply bored with life.

It's not that I want to quit when things are hard, it's just that when the core purpose of my life is not working there is no point in "growing stronger" or "overcoming" anything. I just don't see how a therapist can help me when my depression is situational.

I don't feel like I have a mental illness, I just feel like life actually sucks. Suicide seems like the only rational choice if things don't resolve. Why put up with bulls*** when you could be happier dead?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And after my last post I went out to exercise listening to my fav music, then I started feeling very strong emotions and started crying. After that I started to feel good and normal, felt that life was just fine and important. And first then did I realize how depressed I was feeling. It's like everytime I get depressed I feel rational and when I feel normal I feel high. It's so confusing, how can anything matter if I can just feel better like that sometimes? Nothing changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi TheDuke,

I am new here, just joined because I needed somewhere I could communicate with people who actually understand me but then I couldn't work out what to write regarding my own issues so thought Id read some other posts. I stumbled across your one and as I read it, I thought wow! This guy is so young and has such a promising future but so many hurdles are being placed in his oath he can't see the finish line.

You sound like you are really struggling to keep your head up because you have so much emotional energy invested in pursuing a dream that you know you could accomplish if only your voice issue cleared up... Please do not give up. Even if you need to put your dream of singing on hold, it is merely a pause in your journey. A time to discover other interests and talents that you may have bypassed if your dream were to become a reality now. Follow your heart of course, if music is your passion then immerse yourself in other areas of music such as your pianist skills, composition, songwriting, production etc. Network, become known in the industry for your other abilities. Then when you eventually overcome your medical difficulties you will be well placed to make your bigger dreams a reality, and worst case scenario if you are never able to vocalise the way you want to then you will hopefully have found a passion for what you can do. I really hope that you are able to see the finish line soon as you knock down those hurdles, or jump them, either way.

It seems like you are already on your path to discovering your life's true purpose but are being held back by your expectations of what that should look like. Have you considered integrating meditation into your daily routine? If not that may be helpful for you. Finally, please believe that your life has so much more meaning than simply what occupation you end up in or which hobbies you pursue. Self-discovery is a journey and all these other things are just stops along the way. If you truly want to find your lifes purpose, be open to it. Try not to restrain yourself with limiting beliefs because you may close yourself off to a whole other amazing world that you are yet to discover. Know your self and believe in your self :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...