Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by betweenthelines, May 5, 2008.

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  1. betweenthelines

    betweenthelines New Member

    The experience of anxiety-depression yields alienation from the world. So long as I am gearing into the world practically, without depression or anxiety in a seamless and absorbed way, things present themselves as meaningfully co-ordinated with the projects in which I am engaged; they show me the face that is relevant to what I am doing. But the connection between these meanings and my projects is not itself something that I experience. Rather, the hammer's usefulness, its value as a hammer, appears simply to belong to it in the same way that its weight or color does. So long as I am practically engaged, in short, all things appear to have reasons for being, and I, correlatively, experience myself as fully at home in the world.

    In the mood of anxiety-depression, however, it is just this character that fades from the world. Because I am no longer practically engaged, the meaning that had previously inhabited the thing as the density of its being now stares back at me as a mere name, as something I "know" but which no longer claims me. As when one repeats a word until it loses meaning, anxiety-depression undermines the taken-for-granted sense of things. They become absurd. Things do not disappear, but all that remains of them is the blank recognition that they are.

    Another term that could be used, is a feeling of "nothingness." which also emerges in anxiety-depression because what I do or used to do to re-enforced my practical identity and was constituted by the practices I engage/d in, when these collapse I "am" not anything. In a manner of speaking I am thus brought face-to-face with my own finitude, my "death" as the possibility in which I am no longer able to be anything. This experience of my own death, or "nothingness," in anxiety-depression (and here’s the hopeful point) can act as a spur to authenticity: I come to see that I "am" not anything but must "make myself be" through my choices.

    To sucumb to your own existencial death by your death in reality, is ultimately giving up on yourself, not others. Other’s will just pass a final evaluation of who ‘you’ were, not what you are, as no-one can pass a judgement of who you are, because ‘you’ are not yet ‘finalised’, or dead, you as an individual are constantly re-newing yourself, every moment is a re-newal, you are constantly creating who you shall be. When you are dead, you can no longer ‘make yourself be’, as you no longer exist.
  2. middleofnowhere

    middleofnowhere Well-Known Member

    Depression/anxiety/panic separates "who I am" from "who I am now." They tend to be two different people with diverging world views. I would disagree with you on the point that I can't say that I am until death reveals my completion. I am who I am given the path I've followed to this point and where I choose to be. That "I am" will be either similar or disimilar to tomorrow's "I am." For me to find any meaning at all, either in a peaceful state or in a depressed state, I must focus on who I am right now.

    Certainly, others see me differently than I see myself. All they can see is what they remember of my past and what I look like today. They can't see the I am that I really am inside unless I open myself up to them. That is to say, they see a very limited, finite image of me.

    So, when I am out of the depressed/anxious state, things do have meaning, and I can be seen to have meaning outside of being an item with no identity or identification with the world. In the d/a state, I agree with you that I experience a sense of "nothingness". Outside that state of being, I am defined by my connections with reality, with such things as my occupation, my personhood, my actions...In the d/a state, those connections are blurred. I lose my sense of being because I can't see those raisons d'etre. Does that mean that those reasons cease to exist? They do in my own consciousness, perhaps, but not, I believe, in reality. As you say, we die to those reasons and are only alive to nothingness.

    After death, what then? Is it nothingness, is it mystically surreal? Or is it a new reality, which can't be experienced fully in this life. Perhaps, then, we cease to be as we understand being, and become a new, infinite being. That's a future to prepare for, but not one in which we can yet live.

    "I am" is whom I choose to be, or as you say, "who I make myself be". Many of us are the walking dead, who have lost that sense of being. We have given up on ourselves. Others may or may not see into our real self. Mostly they see the virtual self, the self as we present it to the world. At the final death, we will be complete or "finalised". Is it relevant, then to try to be a person we wish to become? Or should we simply be the person "I am" in the Now. True, we are creating or shaping our future selves, renewing ourselves constantly. The primary issue must be the who "I am" in this present moment.

  3. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    It is so difficult to be in the world, especially when faced with overriding anxiety and/or depression...I have found that during those times, when I recognize my state of being, I remind myself that my perceptions are distorted, and try to rephrase the 'narrative' (the internal voice) so that i am not leading myself down the path to darkness and isolation...when I can revise my way of being, I find I can re-enter the world in a way that brings a considerable amt of pride...J
  4. betweenthelines

    betweenthelines New Member

    In the d/a state, those connections are blurred. I lose my sense of being because I can't see those raisons d'etre. Does that mean that those reasons cease to exist?

    Maybe in the actual state or mood of d/a/panic, one is unwillingly dropped into the nausea of consciously/unconsciously being brought face to face with the fact that your existence has no reason, you can’t find a reason to justify your existence. You search frantically to find what was never there in the first place, your ‘essence’.
  5. Aleth

    Aleth Well-Known Member

    Depersonalisation seems to be a relatively common symptom of deep depression.
    A large part of one's identity is defined by interactions with other people. No man is an island unto himself, as the saying goes, and in this manner if you become disconnected from your environment, you also become disconnected from yourself.

    You can define yourself "in your head" to a certain degree, but I think you also need positive feedback from others to cement it.
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