Continuity of Self

Discussion in 'After Effects' started by Lovecraft, May 4, 2012.

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  1. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    At the worst of times in my depression - at a time when the only thing keeping me from attempting suicide was a lack of reliable options - a very strong part of me didn't want to get better. It wasn't a sense of worthlessness; it wasn't that I thought I deserved my depression or that I enjoyed wanting to die. It's that I didn't want to become a new person to save who I was now.

    Being bleak and dreary, being sad and being so detached from the world - these were things that had become the highlight of my person. It's who I was, it's what made me do all the things I did. The prospect of getting better by leaving behind the depression was, to me, like being told I had a cancer that could only be cured with amputations; it was a dilemma that left me feeling like it'd be better to die whole - even if that death was at my own hands - than to live by destroying so much of what made me me.

    Whether it was the drugs, the ECT or remission from an episode not I or my doctors can truly say but there came a time when the suicidal thoughts, the constant depression, and the extreme introversion loosened. It was liberating in a lot of ways, it was a relief and I felt better. I got better. I truly wanted to live and experience life.

    Now, though, I'm standing at a crossroads in my life where I have to make choices with far-reaching implications for the rest of my life. As is natural with me being forced to look so far ahead makes me look backwards to try and see where I've come from. What's worked before. I looked back in a way that I really haven't before in my life - at least not before in my life after the depression and attempts. It's been more harrowing then I thought looking back could.

    I just watched a short film made by somebody I respect. It was a brief film of less than 10 minutes he made to try and explore a defining theme from many moments in his childhood that influenced him into a film maker; he explains how a seemingly trivial few experiences from his early age directed his passions and eventually what he'd do for a living.

    I realized I don't have that. I don't have any event in my life that's given me a genuine passion for one thing or another. I don't have a sense of continuity from my younger self until now. I look back on my life during and before my depression and attempts and I don't see me - I don't mean to say that my 15 year old self, for example, doesn't seem like I am now I mean that thinking on my self as I was so long ago - I don't even know how that person became me.

    How I act has changed wildly in a few key areas but in most respects I act the same way towards people I did then. My perception of events and people has barely changed a hair - I think the same thoughts, I still think the same thing about all the people I knew and I still hold a lot of cynicism about most everything but somehow the feeling of those thoughts have changed. The essence of my existence just feels altogether different in a way that no event or epiphany I had seems to explain.

    My lingering sense of depression and suicidal ideation died down, ironically enough, in the weeks following my most serious attempt and at times when I'm feeling dramatic I think to myself that I did die that night. I was far enough into it, I was so close to death that I died while the doctor pulled my body back to life. It feels as much, anyway. I'm probably just engaging in histrionics, the days after my attempt also saw a change in medications and that could readily explain the difference as well.

    I didn't have a significant change in feelings or thoughts, as I said, but somehow the constant sense of sadness and the desire to no longer exist faded. That depressed part of me I so strongly identified with for all of my younger years disappeared. I never really considered before that I was once so scared to lose the depression that felt like it became my defining characteristic and then, seemingly without effort or warning it left me before I knew what happened.

    I never really noticed before how empty I've felt in some way since getting better. I definitely did get better - things have been going pretty well for me, I'm interested in making them go well and I've been genuinely happy often but there has been a nagging sense of uneasiness to it. I think that it's that feeling of loss that gives me that uneasy feeling.

    Other people, as far as I can tell, look back on themselves as a young child and into their teenage years and have a sense of natural growth. For example something like a feeling that their quick temper when they were young got better as they grew into adulthood because they had a real learning experience as they got older that showed them getting angry wasn't solving anything and others deserve some patience. That sense of continuity, or lack-there-of, seems to me to be why I've been feeling so odd with my getting better. I don't feel like I grew out of my depression or that I found a better way, I feel as if I'm living in a hypothetical what-if where my depression just disappeared.

    For all the good that disappearance has done me it still makes me feel alien to myself looking back. It's uncomfortable and I'm not sure if I'll ever feel like I grew up from my episode. I'm unsure if I'll always feel like I'm hosting somebody else's memories.

    These thoughts have been distressing me but I'm happy to report that they haven't reignited my suicidal desires or extinguished my desire to make my life work how I'd like. I bring this up to help me understand it better by articulating it and wondering if anybody else ever feels similarly.
  2. scarlettdrknss

    scarlettdrknss Well-Known Member

    i'm not sure if i understood your whole post correctly. but i think i have a similar feeling. lately things have been going good. i feel happy at times and i don't really wanna die, i seem to have given up on that but i still don't like life, i still just go with the flow. i can never stand/sit still because of that uneasy feeling

    and just like you said when i have to think about what i want to be when i finish school i think back to my childhood years (since i'm still a teen) i can't remember that person. i see my face like in a picture but i don't know that kid felt. i know that family, friends & loyalty meant the world to me before. now i just want to get away from all of that. i feel like i hate my family, my friends annoy me and i don't want to be bound to something. it's like i lost everything in me.
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