Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Existentialism With an "I" and a "Me"

I'm not going to sugarcoat things here: I have to struggle with my anxiety and depression every single day of my life. For me, it is always a matter of degree. If I were any more symptomatic than I am now, then I would probably have to live in some kind of assisted situation. As it is, I sometimes wish I could live in some kind of assisted situation to get the help I need. I fell into the trap of drugs and alcohol because they offer short-term relief. (Of course, they compound the problem and magnify the symptoms in the long run!) Having said all that, I sometimes I get angry when I feel pressured to always put a "happy face" on my life. On the other hand, I feel guilty when I'm honest and forthright about just how difficult it is for me to manage my symptoms, especially when it comes to my family.

Of course, this doesn't address the larger issue: What do my problems mean anyway, particularly when compared to the problems of others? In my defense, self-pity only gets me so far. I mean I'm damn good at it! But my empathetic nature and general sense of humor keep me from being permanently lost in the realm of "Poor me!" (I have, however, accumulated a lot of frequent flyer miles.) Plus, my parents did a good job teaching me to appreciate what I have, and I realize how blessed and lucky I am in life. I came from an intact home, I always felt loved, and I've never had to want for material necessities.

So I do realize that all of my problems don't mean anything. Trying to compare suffering is a most foolish and pointless exercise, yet my immediate needs pale in the face of the needs of millions, if not billions, in the world today. But even the cares of the world fade into nothing. Triumph and tragedy come to the same end in the inexorable march of time towards oblivion. So while such existential insights might offer perspective, they don't do much to cast a friendlier light on Being.

Personal Roundup

Days sober: 9
Weight: 240 pounds
Waist: 47.5 inches