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Author Topic: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes  (Read 1226 times)

lue

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Re: It would seem I have depression.
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2013, 03:00:41 pm »

Yes, I've said as much in this thread myself :) . I have some semblance of a plan to get more in-tune with the real world, involving the local community college, and I like to think having a rough plan like that helps a little as well as all the other stuff.
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Garath

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Re: It would seem I have depression.
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2013, 03:15:11 pm »

Mortality has spurred humanity on to prolong life. When this isn't possible by living forever, it is tried to achieve something and gain immortality in legends. Mr Hudson is dead, but the Hudson Bay lives on. More mundane, everyone has things to do before you grow too old for something, a bucket list to do before you die. If you were immortal, where would the desire be that drives you to do things? After all, you do things now because you'll get stuck in it (school, tax forms, prison, stupid job, pick your own), keeping you from doing the things you want to do, before it's too late. As immortal, all sense of urgency is gone. The desire to do now disappears, because you can always do something tomorrow, next year, next millenium. Other things that tend to be exciting or rewarding now become dull. Extreme sports lose their attraction when the element of danger is removed - you're immortal, you can't die. Even Russian roulette loses its thrill. Crossing the atlantic in a rowing boat? why not swimming. In fact, why bother at all, no challenge there. Why build anything? It collapses in just a few short centuries.

Give me mortality any day of the week. It's what drives me to improve my life and to improve the life of those close to me, now. Not some day, but now. As you said yourself, we're not designed for immortality, and that is even when not considering that the body gives out slowly.

As a slight note, too much is sometimes made of the word depression. Many people experience minor and major depressions during their lives. Periods when happy just isn't really happy, when things are bleak and uninteresting. Most of them get out of it without the need for medicines or psychiatric counseling. Often they only realise afterwards that what they'd been going through had been a depression of some sort. Only when you can't get out of it with the help of those close to you (and helping yourself too) after a long time (months, not weeks) or if it's a recurring thing. 'Modern' society seems hell bent on eliminating any trace of unhappiness from daily life as soon as possible with a lot of suffering as a consequence. Allow yourself some slack in how you feel and operate. On average you'll be fine. Unhappy might not be a normal state of a human being, but neither is happy. Most of your life you'll spend in the grey area in between, sometimes closer to the one, then closer to the other.

Final note, fear of death might even be too specific. Just fear will do too. If I'm wrong at that, you'll be fine after conquering your morality. If I'm right, your active mind will find something new to worry about. At least then you'll know what to do.
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lue

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Re: It would seem I have depression.
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2013, 05:36:51 pm »

On "depression" being something made much of: A couple or few days ago, while mulling over how I have depression, I had pop into my mind that one of the requirements for major depression was "experiencing it for at least two weeks", and I realized that wasn't me yet. I'm not depressed now, so that's broken the race towards two weeks of sadness, but it's still not a nice fear to entertain, and also didn't stop from feeling depressed at the time.

I would agree with the observation that we seem to be eager to eliminate bad feelings, as a collective whole. It's natural to want to not be sad, yet the trend somehow makes me want to watch The Happiness Patrol now (as opposed to just knowing the gist of it).

I think you're on to something with the whole "I'll find something new to fear" bit :) . If I were back in high school now, I'd be stressing and worried over homework, readjusting to a non-freeform daily schedule, etc. etc. I still would like to be at peace with this fear, because it's something my mind returns to every once in a while, and because I think it's (one of) the worst thing(s) to get worried about, to develop a hyperactive fear of.

Not that the fear of death doesn't stack with others I may have, because it has before.

Like I said before, this is easier to handle now that I'm also not depressing myself with this fear, and I'm finally getting out of that stupid stomach bug.

Also, it should be noted that my preferred idea of immortality is a very weak kind: basically eliminate aging as a cause of death. Cure aging, you might say. That way, you can live practically forever. But if you're stupid, attract enemies (especially if you're a bit Hitler-y), or otherwise get tired of immortality, there's still a way out.

Edit: It's kind of annoying how a lot of "how to overcome fear of death" articles on the web recommend denial, more or less, even though I don't like that way of accepting it. Maybe it's just me thinking 70+ years of distracting myself from the inevitable is "a lot of work" :D .
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 02:09:50 pm by lue »
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2013, 04:36:54 pm »

Sorry again for the double-post*, I just thought I'd like to give a visible update on how I'm doing at the moment.

So, for some reason these past few mornings, whenever I wake up I'm initially just fine, and then mere fractions of a second later, before I have a chance to remember this is going to happen and try to stop it, my mood gets painted with a sense of (at least slight) despair. I'm also convinced my anxiety here is what's continuing my upset stomach in the mornings.

Then I go throughout the day with varying levels of awareness (and thus severity) of this feeling of despair. By night-time, I feel mostly, if not completely, alright. I'm guessing I get better at night simply because it seems "right" to not have a more fulfilling/social lifestyle when you're winding down for the day.

I'd really like to placate my fears about life and death. As I've stated, denial seems to be the recommended way to go, I just feel a bit skeptical about that approach at the moment. I'd much rather be able to be at peace with the fact, so as to lessen the impact of future episodes of me worrying about it.

How do I bring myself to a better state of mind? I realize that I need to occupy my day with more engaging activities (as that seems to be the main trigger of depressing feelings), and that I should at some point find a way to accept death as something that happens. I should note that while I don't think thoughts like "I will die someday and cease to be" very often anymore, the feeling of despair they brought with them has lingered, and that's what I'm currently grappling with. (Also, if I'm sufficiently bored, those thoughts will come to mind, though as long as I don't try to fixate on them and attempt my best to ignore it, it's not as bad as it was when I started almost a week ago).

Probably the easiest things I can do right now is have some sort of routine set up so the days don't blend together into one uninteresting mass, and to step away from my habit of nearly all-day computering when it's really not helping me in feeling alright anymore. I've done these two things already partway, although it wouldn't hurt to go a bit further.

I feel like I should still consult with some sort of mental health professional, though that thankfully doesn't feel like something that I need to do urgently anymore. I have a strong suspicion that, even if next year I go off the college halfway across the country and have the social time of my life, I'll still spend parts of nights and mornings alone with this lingering depressive feeling. It would be a step up from depressive feelings all day, but I'd still like to not be bummed out about death of all things. The one thing I'm guaranteed to lose against.

Finally, I need to find some relieving way of expressing my feelings in the way writing to this thread does, without having to turn to this thread all the time :). It'd be nice to relieve the anxiety in the way this does every day, without relying on posting here just about every day.

*Again, if this annoys people, I'll stop it.
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2013, 07:23:53 pm »

I'll just give my two-bits to that, I suppose:

1. Denial doesn't help you at-fucking-all. Trust me on this. Acceptance is what you should be focusing on.

2. Consult a professional. Or at least a trustworthy and mature adult. Talking with us here helped you, right? Well, the internet only does so much. Someone who is actually, physically, there for you is important. I'd suggest talking to your parents, both about your feeling and asking their opinion on consultation. Also talk to a friend you know really well.
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lue

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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2013, 10:24:18 pm »

1. Yeah, I suspected as much :) . It seemed though that at least some of the "overcome fear of death" articles I've found (of which there are strikingly few, at least if you want a site focused on psychology and related, instead of something overly-religious) suggested "distract yourself by being with friends etc." (i.e. denial), which never sounded right to me. I guess I'll go google "how to accept your death" after this :) .

2. Like I said earlier, it'll take some work to overcome all the mental barriers I've set up involving talking with my parents, but I feel I should do that at some point (preferably very soon). I'm really feeling that I'll need some help in accepting the inevitable, in addition to getting a better life.

Some other thoughts:

I think what's happening is that I don't have anything to look forward to in my life at this time, so perhaps my brain has defaulted to the one thing left to look forward to? Also another possibility, could I just be mourning my death ahead of time, simply because I won't be around to mourn it afterward :) ?

I'm also confident that, once I finally accept this down to my core, I'll have decades of my life where it's not something I worry about, even when it comes to mind, instead of worrying and accepting it when my days are numbered. That's something to look forward to, I guess. :D

I realized just a short while ago that perhaps Dwarf Fortress can give me a little motivation for doing stuff when it seems we and most of what we do is fated to fade into obscurity so what's the point: Losing is Fun! Perhaps that's how I'll accept it in the end: someday my adventurer will fall to a hydra, someday my fort will flood, and someday an entire dwarf civilization will be wiped out. But, I should have fun while it lasts, not like it's permanent or anything :P .

I should really take a look at the stuff I want to do, come up with tasklists for doing those things, and work on stuff. That, I predict, would help a lot. Also spending time with my family helps. When I'm in the middle of doing stuff, and I get twinges of those feelings and thoughts, it's much easier to say "not now brain, I'm busy doing fun stuff". I definitely have to find more to do with my life, so that I at least don't spend all day with only these thoughts to contend with.

As I said before, were I in school right now, I would've likely dropped these feelings entirely by now, because of all the stuff I'd be dealing with. Come to think of it, it's entirely possible (and likely) that those previous depressing episodes I mentioned earlier only occurred during various week-long school breaks (where my standard vacation plans were "stay home and do nothing"), and then those spells were broken within a few days back at school. I can remember one of them happening during winter break one year. Something to consider.

Also, I need to trust that the set of things I like to do, listen to, watch, and so on will change and expand over time. My brain seems to think that all the stuff in that collection is set in stone, and then I have trouble imagining a fun life when I have such a small and stagnant collection of "things I like" to carry through the decades with me. (The whole "hard to predict new things happening in the future that I like" in one of the early posts.)

Finally, while I don't refuse the possibility of religion being correct (there is life after death! in particular), I'm merely trying to accept the worst-case scenario of nothing.

Here's to my ongoing fight with these issues!

EDIT: I just realized: perhaps some of my panic surrounding this whole mess of my stagnant life comes from me being just 18. For example, when you've got a plan in place that may take up to a couple of years, it seems like it will take up a lot of your life when you're younger. At 18, two years is 1/9 of your life so far. If you were instead, say, 66, two years is 1/33 of your life. I should remind myself that a year here or there to get my life in motion is comparatively little, especially when the right effort throughout a few years gives you decades of a better life.

Also, I am still meditating (it helps a lot, I plan on doing it in the morning too in order to combat that "painting of despair" I described previously), and I should give an earnest try to journal-writing this time 'round. I'm also thinking that perhaps I could write a short story and then share it with this fine community, as a small step towards "doing substansial stuff" :) .
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 10:38:51 pm by lue »
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2013, 11:34:20 am »

I'm going to repeat it, but your issue might just be with fear in general. Especially if it is strongest in the morning and less so in the evening. Fear of failing in whatever tasks lie ahead, fear of responsibilities and more along those lines. Which is pretty normal around 18 as a lot of things are coming at you, including what to do with the rest of your life for some reason, as if you really know by then.

I tried the approach from the 'everybody is free (to wear sunscreen)' song
Quote
Donít feel guilty if you donít know what you want to do with your lifeÖthe most interesting people I know didnít know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still donít

The whole song has some great advice though, although:
Quote
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experienceÖI will dispense this advice now
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 11:45:18 am by Garath »
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2013, 02:56:17 pm »

I never wear sunscreen. I guess... that probably doesn't really affect my advice-ing credentials.
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lue

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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2013, 05:38:28 pm »

Garath: yeah, I suspected that the feeling of fear/despair came and went throughout the day based on how productive I feel I should be at that time. It doesn't mean there aren't times during the day where I feel pretty alright or times at night where it's not looking so good. Just a general trend it is.

I do feel a lot of self-pressure to decide on how to lead my life from this point on, with some weird sense that I'm essentially deciding my course for the rest of my life. I say weird because I've never been someone who likes the idea of specializing in just one thing. There are too many interesting things to do! (I'm basically a wannabe polymath :) )

I think it's just the transition from guided days to a future that I decide that had paralyzed me, in a sense. (The secondary influence of "I'm too stressed to go college-hunting", valid or not, during the last couple years of high school only worsened matters.) Now that I'm living with that decision of doing nothing, my mind's decided to mull over pointless questions.

The annoying part is that it comes in waves throughout the day: I'll feel alright, aware of the looming specter of death at times but not too concerned about it, then a half-hour later I can find myself feeling like there's absolutely no point to life. Half an hour more later, and I'm not as concerned anymore. And so on.

If my suspicion that these previous episodes started during school breaks and ended mere days after school came back, then it seems clear I only fixate on this when I've nothing better to do. I feel the general plan for handling this is as follows:
  • Do something with my life. I've got the vaguest of ideas on how to start, I just need to keep pushing. When my days are filled with things to do, I won't spend so much time fixating on these terrible issues.
  • Accept mortality. This seems like it would be a lot easier once I have much of a life (see 1, above). I would love to get an epiphany that lets me accept it and be done with it, but that's highly unlikely at this point.
The low points of each day are the hardest, but I can pull through and enjoy the better times. My current placeholder strategy for dealing with it seems to be ignoring those questions by distracting myself. Definitely not my preferred method for dealing with it, but I think I'm just trying to shelve the issue until I have better tools to tackle it head-on with.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had a stronger religious background, in order to have an unshakable and unwavering belief in life after death :) . Again, I don't discount the possibility (and in fact hope it's true), I'm just the type of guy who's expecting the worst, and not doing so well with the prospect.

I really hope that a more fulfilling life will make the question of whether there's a point to it all seem less important, and much, much easier to handle and accept as something that's hard-to-impossible to answer.

Keep providing any insight you have for me, it's always welcome. I won't be done here until I feel I've fully moved on from this stupor.
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2013, 02:50:52 pm »

First off, not everyone who is religious has an unshakable and unwavering confidence. Everyone has doubts, 'tis human.

A. No one can set your expectations for you. Don't let them try.

B. Do whatever makes you happy. If that's a combination of things, do them. People are multifaceted, it happens.

C. I've struggled with ennui pretty much all of my life, distractions don't help you. You're still bored, you just don't realize it.

D. Just. Do. It. Whatever it is. What is it that made you happier in school? If this wasn't a problem then, it makes sense there's something different about then versus now. Was it the activity, the learning, the people, the sense of purpose?
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Those hookers aren't getting out any time soon, no matter how many fancy gadgets they have :v

lue

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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2013, 05:32:04 pm »

Naturally, but I would assume it's more likely that you don't get despondent over death if you have an afterlife to look forward to.

A. I feel like the only expectations I really feel are the "basic roadmap" that our society tends to purport (not meaning to sound like one of those guys, but I guess I can't help it here). The whole get a job, a spouse, a house, and children deal. Not that I object to it, it's just that the "picking a job" part seems incredibly limiting (and somehow I don't like the idea of having to categorize my other interests as "hobbies", though I bet that's what will happen eventually.) I'm young, you can blame this foolishness on that :P .

B. Will do.

C. The distraction part is more to do with not thinking about death, and not so much the boredom aspect. I should really try and dissociate thoughts on mortality from boredom, because they're separate issues. I thought letting that association stick around (as I mentioned a few days ago) would be a nice way to get me to do something, by making boredom intolerable mentally in addition to the existing emotional aspect. That doesn't seem to have worked, however.

Again, at some point I'll find a way to accept the nature of life and death, but I don't feel I'm quite able to do that yet, beyond "yep, that's a depressing thought" and then trying to forget about it. The ennui with my life is a whole other can of worms, and a more manageable one at that.

D. Stop endorsing shoes ;) . To be serious, I think what made time at school fun (despite how much I griped and groaned about it internally) would be these things:
  • The obligation. There were plenty of times, especially towards the end, where I frequently felt that if I didn't have to go, I wouldn't. Seeing as it's the only way I ever got out of the house and around people, it was a much more tremendous help in those necessary components of not-depression that I could have ever realized at the time.
  • Learning's definitely a good thing. I don't need to be around people or in a classroom to learn (because it's fun on its own), but those pluses don't hurt. Also, some subjects sometimes need someone who knows how to teach you the information in order for the learning to work.
One thing I started today, and plan on continuing, is to say things to myself like "Today is going to be a wonderful day!" and "You're going to have a lot of fun!" when I wake up, even if I don't necessarily believe it. It's to combat that feeling of despair I've described getting when I wake up. It'll take a couple of days before I know if it works. I can say that the initial hit of despair wasn't as dramatic as it was in days past, though I can't be sure if that's a result of saying those happy thoughts near-immediately after waking up or if I'm just getting better in general.

Well, I guess I should just keep trying to ignore the question of mortality, while doing things I like to do. Still not entirely easy, and that rollercoaster of highs and lows still happens, but I feel as though each day is getting on a whole better than the last. Slowly but surely.
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2013, 08:05:42 pm »

Ever read Siddhartha?

The guy goes the whole book trying to find enlightenment. The next step on the ladder to Nirvana. He tries learning from monks, he tries learning from a courtesan, he even tries learning from a businessman.
But he loses it all.

Then he goes to live, and to work, with an old ferryman. He finds what he was looking for not from the ferryman, but from the river. And he only found it after being at peace with himself. He had to let go of his old self, first. That's a hard thing to do --the harder than anything he did any other time.


I suppose that might not be helpful at all. I think it applies to you as well, in that you can't find peace by looking for it. You have to let go of the doubt, fear, and conflict.
Peace isn't brought in, or hunted down. It's the absence of turmoil.


So, y'know. Stop questioning and figuring, and just live. Well, do your best to. That's all you can do, and all you need to do.


I really hope this is helpful. Otherwise, don't mind it.
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I think the slaughter part is what made them angry.
OOC: Dachshundofdoom: This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with goddamn VUVUZELAS.
Those hookers aren't getting out any time soon, no matter how many fancy gadgets they have :v

lue

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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2013, 11:35:42 pm »

Haven't read much about him except the basics (unless you're somehow not talking about the guy who became Buddha, in which case I know nothing).

Yeah, like nenjin said much earlier, I'm far more likely to learn these things by living life, rather than sitting around and thinking about it all day. I've got a slow, but in-motion, plan to begin actually being a part of the real world. Until that time, however, I feel the best course of action would be to do useful things with my time, to placate the ennui, and to try my best to divert my mind from thoughts of our mortality, as it never does good to worry about it. I hate how I've an annoying habit now of over-stressing about how we don't live forever, and I hope to kick this very soon.

And don't worry, thecard, you are being helpful. Discussion always helps.
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2013, 01:18:24 pm »

What I found was that I feared death and oblivion because I found no sure meaning in life. When I accepted what brought me away from that each time as meaningful (the beauty and endless detail of the world and the people in it, might be something completely different for you), it became much easier to focus on that and let dead-me worry about death when it comes.

Also, hey, Google's fighting death, so maybe there's nothing to worry about! Google!
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Re: Stupid Fear of Death, Making me Sad Sometimes
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2013, 03:03:46 pm »

Nah, I'm actually talking about the other Siddhartha who went off in search of enlightenment in India.

I seriously am, that wasn't sarcasm.
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I think the slaughter part is what made them angry.
OOC: Dachshundofdoom: This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with goddamn VUVUZELAS.
Those hookers aren't getting out any time soon, no matter how many fancy gadgets they have :v
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