Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lithium anyone?

I think most atheists are better able to deal with their knowledge of the universe than I am. I fully believe that an atheist can live a full and happy existence without invoking any hereafter. I accept this, not because I can, but due to knowing enough atheists over a long enough period of time to see how they live their lives.

It has been said that atheists don’t need gods to create an ultimate meaning because they can give meaning to their own lives. We are, each of us, responsible for discovering and applying meaning to our lives and living up to it, to the best of our abilities. I can do this for periods of time, but ultimately I’m filled with gloom. That there is absolutely no meaning to my short existence other than that which I assign to it is for me, in the end, highly unsatisfactory.

And yet, here I am. Another day in paradise – the only paradise any of us will ever have. I could no more make myself believe that I’ve overlooked something and that there really is “something greater” than I can convince myself of a secret world of fairies, elves, warlocks and witches. Every such explanation is so obviously false – as concocted as every religion that has ever been foisted upon our species.

So I go through my existence, trying to play that via rationality I can create meaning, doing pretty well at it for stretches of time and finally falling back into the abyss, only to pull myself back out of it and playing the game again as another year rolls by. And, no, I’m not flipping out because I have a birthday coming shortly; it’s still many months away. For me, this is quite the regular routine (for 30+ years) and I can expect to suffer through this depressing period again next month – or, if lucky, maybe 3 or 4 months down the line.

So I’m throwing it out to anyone – how do you carry on with this knowledge that we are ultimately (in the very near future) to be assigned to the dustbin of humanity? Do you suffer from the depression that hits me, or are you always as happy as you were right before you started reading this?

And here’s another thing to ponder. Do we really want everyone giving up the cherished beliefs that keep them going? I am able to contain my own suffering during my “dark times”, but can we expect all of “them” to be able to do the same, or will a significant percentage of them become monsters in their despair? Maybe some minds need to think there is a deity waiting to welcome or to punish them. Is irrational belief an evolved strategy of social living for cognizant animals? I’ve debated this many times and still unsure where I stand. But you can see which direction I’m leaning.

35 comments:

Brian said...

Sorry to hear you're feeling so down John. I know what you're talking about and I think a lot of atheists struggle with that question to some degree. The thought that helps me is that, even now, I can't say I minded the 13.73 billion years that the universe existed before I came into being so I guess it won't feel any different after I'm gone.

However, it sounds like you might actually be suffering from clinical depression which is more physiologically based and not dependent on existential beliefs. My mom is a devout christian and she suffers the same as what you describe. I grew up with her moaning about how she just wanted the rapture to happen because this life was so meaningless. It was something I actually had to fight to overcome and atheism has actually made me happier and less depressed than when I was in the church.

I'm not a fan of taking pills, but even just realizing that you're suffering from a medical ailment can help put things into perspective. I don't mean to pry into your personal matters, but maybe you should seek a proper medical opinion.

C. L. Hanson said...

I know how you feel, more or less.

The lack of higher purpose and higher powers never really bothered me, but I'm far less zen about the idea that my consciousness will one day entirely cease to exist. I agree that knowing that life is finite makes it more precious, but I'm not going to say "Yay, I'm glad death is truly the end of life!" because I'm not glad about it. I believe death is the end because that's what the evidence says and -- like you -- I can't talk myself into believing things that are obviously false just because they're comforting.

Weirdly, though, admitting this fear and discussing it with other atheists on the Internet has helped: see why I don't like death and death II: deal with it. Before that, I went through a period of worrying about death every single day and occasionally really freaking out about it. Now I don't worry about it so much anymore. It only bothers me when I think about it. D'oh!

RBH said...

Distinguish between the feeling of depression, which everyone has to a greater or lesser degree at times, and what one attributes the feeling to. We humans feel things like depression and then assign reasons for the feeling. As are you, I'm an atheist, but I felt no less (or no more) depressed on occasion when I was a theist. The feeling is independent of the attribution of a reason.

As for coping, I remind myself of a couple of things I know to be facts. First, I am descended from nearly 4 billion years of successful life. As Dawkins says, each of us who are alive are extraordinarily fortunate. Second, by virtue of that descent I am connected to every living thing: Everything in the field outside the window is related to me and I to it. I am a part of the larger panoply of life on earth. Third, the atoms of which I am made were manufactured in stars: As Sagan emphasized, we are literally made of star stuff. Fourth, when I die my atoms will go back into the cycle of the earth, and ultimately, when the sun blows its top, those atoms will go back to the stars. In the end it will be as in the beginning: star stuff.

All those tie me into the universe, locally to life and globally to the stars. That's a pretty connected feeling: I am not an isolate.

Lifeguard said...

The revelation of Mother Theresa's "dark night of the soul" confirms that the kind of depression a lot of us feel over the meaning(lessness) of life are by no means exclusive to atheists or theists for that matter. It reminds me of what Sartre said regarding existentialism not being about the fact that god doesn't exist, but, rather, that even if he does exist, it wouldn't make a difference in terms of the questions posed to us by the fact of our existence.

Personally, I have struggled with this much the same way you have, John. At times I'm fine but other times it depresses me a great deal. The funny thing is that as I look back on the ups and downs, I realize that my actual life circumstances haven't changed much. Maybe it's just moodiness, restlessness, or some chemical imbalance. Who knows?

I think the pressure is to anchor ourselves in something-- whether it's god, reason, philosophy, or whatever-- to help keep us emotionally steady when we plunge into depression. But, truth be told, deep down inside, we either know that whatever meaning we've found has been supplied by our own consciousness, or, if we are people of faith, we have the anxiety of not always being able to ground our faith in hardcore facts and reasons. The atheist is stuck with Sartre's existential angst, while the theist is stuck with Kierkegaard's (not to be confused with Lifegaard) "fear and trembling."

So, what's the difference.

Sometimes, I think the answer might be more akin to a zen or taoist perspective. Just letting the world be, remaining content with our own limited understanding oh the physical world, and not getting too caught up in the large issues.

Patrul Rinpoche, a famous Tibetan Lama, once wrote "your lot in life is to eat, drink, and shit. Beyond that is none of your business."

grumpylion said...

Evo, I know what you're doing. You're using a pity whine to get another award. You've really got to get hold of yourself (not there).

Anyway, Billy's got cigars and scotch. I'm sure he'd donate if that works for you.

Seriously, though, I go through the same crap. Up. Down. Sideways. Meaning of life. No meaning of life. It comes and goes.

I take my vitamins, pop my DHEA so I'll feel less than 63 just in case I fall in with a woman, and just do stuff that I find interesting. Some days I don't do shit. I'll stare at the books and the computers, grump at the cats, feel lost and bored and all 'What's the point?'y, and under all that still find it interesting and encouraging that I'm actually alive, despite the eventual outcome.

What pisses me off is that I won't be around to see how the whole human mess turns out. Goddammit I really want to know that.

But I won't.

I can get depressed over any number of things, and usually discover that actually I'm angry over them and feel powerless. Death is like that. It can't be helped. It's coming. Today. Tomorrow. Next fucking year. Whenever. It's good philosophical soil to work in, because it teaches us about life. But for atheists it's just not worth worrying about. Dead's dead. I'm going to the same place my cats go when they die. Nowhere. Okay. Not thrilled about it, but don't see any way around it.

When you're bummed, be bummed. Enjoy it. Means you're alive, and the more you appreciate being depressed, the sooner it goes away.

PhillyChief said...

I personally find it far more depressing to accept that in this world there is no Aquaman, no Spiderman, no Batman, no Jedis, no Wookies (I'm cool with not having to hear "nub nub" singing Ewoks though), no dragons to slay, no damsels in towers with long flowing locks to rescue, no alien being who may come to take me away to protect the galaxy because I rock hard at a video game (come one, don't tell me you don't remember The Last Starfighter), no leprechauns and and their pots of gold (or Lucky Charms), no Lone Ranger, no getting super strong from eating spinach, and so on.

Be that as it may, there's a world of things I've never experienced and sadly I won't get a chance to and when I die, whether there's an afterlife or not, I'd probably have the same last thought, "I can't go yet, I still have shit to do".

The Exterminator said...

Evo:

Well, I'm sorry that you've been feeling so very existentialist lately, but I don't think you're being fair to the memory of Charles Darwin when you suggest that your depression is tied evolutionarily in some way to freedom from faith.

Not being a scientist, I can only guess why I think this concept is wrong, and even then, I can't articulate it very well. But ...

Even if we accept the dubious thesis that belief in superstition has, in the past, been an evolutionary strategy to keep people from turning into monsters of despair, it's not necessarily an effective one for the further propagation of the species. You might just as well say that getting high on mind-altering drugs is an evolutionary strategy, or that drinking until you have no memory left is an evolutionary strategy, or that being born an idiot without the ability to reason at higher levels is an evolutionary strategy.

In essence, your argument here boils down to: Ignorance is bliss. I refuse to accept that as an evolutionary strategy, or, indeed, as an effective strategy for anything -- except maybe getting yourself elected President of the United States.

So I empathize and sympathize fully with your depression. And I totally understand from my own internal struggles how unbearable the knowledge is that we all, ultimately, are destined for the dustbin of history. But I'm sure -- even though I don't know why -- that a flight from rationality is NOT the way to feel better.

Perhaps contemplating the wonders of evolution in its myriad manifestations will cheer you up. Go outside and watch some birds.

Lynet said...

I regret most of all the knowledge that morality is created and to some degree variable. I don't want that to be the case. Admittedly, when it comes to the things I feel strongly about, I know I'll always find them worth working for no matter what, and that's a comfort, but the idea that morality itself can have grey edges is something I still mourn over occasionally.

I have less trouble with meaning, though. I'm used to creating my own and it feels normal. Indeed, I love the way that creating a life and a self can be a sort of work of art, and I'd hate for some God-figure to come along and start holding my hand on that one.

Maybe I worry less about death because I'm young. I still worry about getting old, but it's more for the sake of chances missed. Still, sometimes I'm glad I don't have to go on creating myself forever. I love life, but it's hard work! Realising that I can think that way gives me an odd feeling in my stomach, though.

heather said...

I don't see that having a deity waiting to reward or punish them can be seen to make any people happier.
There is a natural human willingness to hope that imaginary powerful beings will intervene to save us when we are really miserable. I suspect it's even more upsetting to call out for help to an imaginary being that you really believe in, and still get back nothing.

Tommy said...

Hey John.

Like others have mentioned above, one can feel depressed at times with or without belief in god.

There are moments in my life when certain situations fill me with anger or despair. But all in all, I feel extremely fortunate. I have so many good things in my life to be grateful for.

As for the meaning of life, all I know is that I am alive. I know some things make me happy or give me pleasure, and other things make me unhappy (even if they seem pleasing at first) or hurt me. I naturally desire happiness and contentment, so I try to live a life that maximizes that. I don't know what else there could be to it.

Ordinary Girl said...

I can't really empathize, so maybe I shouldn't even post.

Death doesn't bother me so much. Maybe it's because I'm still young. Maybe it's because when I can't do anything to fix something I have to let it go. Otherwise I go crazy. Or maybe it's because when it's over, it's over. I won't be worried about what comes next or what came before.

What's important to me is the time I spend with the people I love. I'm going to miss them a whole lot more than I'll miss me. And it scares me a lot more losing people than dying myself.

And getting old and losing my mind scares me too. But maybe it'll be like death and I won't even notice.

The thing that bothers me the most is losing my thoughts and ideas. But I know that even though I feel unique, none of my ideas or thoughts really are. People will be there continuing on with them after I'm gone. Maybe I influenced some people and maybe I didn't.

Like Grumpylion I'd love to see how we turn out. I'd love to tell people in 100 generations what we were like. The historian in me wants to record everything, because when I'm gone that's all that will be left. I think losing the history bothers me more than death.

Ute said...

I know how you feel. I've always been more or less of an atheist... but that didn't mean that I was (or am) at peace with the fact that I'm going to die. As a matter of fact, I was so depressed at one point that I cried myself to sleep night after night, after suffering horrible panic attacks. I got over it mostly... I find comfort in the same thing Brian said... "I can't say I minded the 13.73 billion years that the universe existed before I came into being so I guess it won't feel any different after I'm gone."

Most of the time that'll do the trick. Only sometimes I have a wave of panic rolling over me. I'm hoping that'll get smaller as I'm getting older. My grandmother, asked once how she felt about dying, said "You know... I'm looking forward to it." And she was by no means suicidal or sad. Quite the contrary. She was alive and happy and healthy... just a little tired after living almost 80 years.

sacred slut said...

I'm pretty much with you, as you already know, John.

But I'd still rather have the knowledge that life is finite than the illusion. At least I have the opportunity to do something wonderful with the life I have.

And frankly, I've always been emo, even before atheism. The only thing that's different now is that I know I don't have future lives to get this thing right.

Then again, if I did have previous lives, I don't remember them now, so WTF good would they do?

I think the key is keep on setting goals for yourself. This is something that probably gets harder with age anyway. Also winter is bad for us depressive types.

Get some exercise and have more sex, that's the Whore's prescription for you. ;-D And create something.

Infidel753 said...

Even if I believed in God, I wouldn't care what meaning or purpose he had chosen my life to have. I care only about my own purposes and goals.

I can't imagine why it would seem comforting to have some irresistable cosmic tyrant deciding what the purpose of your existence is. Millions of people have had the experience of living under very real human tyrants who similarly claimed the right to determine the purpose of their subjects' lives. No one ever seems to find such a situation pleasant.

If I thought that I would someday be judged by some deity whose ideas about how I "should" live had no connection with my own choices in life, and might even condemn them, that would make me gloomy and pessimistic.

As for aging and death, you've already seen what I have to say on that subject. It's not some profound and immutable fact about reality. It's just an engineering problem that will get solved in a couple of decades, as so many other such problems have.

John Evo said...

I want to thank everyone who has left a response on this topic. Most of you have touched on at least one "general truth"; about me or about existence.

Brian said: it sounds like you might actually be suffering from clinical depression

I am. And I take Lexipro daily. New research shows that for most people, a placebo effect is about all you get from anti-depressants is a placebo effect. I tend to believe that. I have felt marginally better since I started on them 3 years ago. Since I get them for free, I'll keep right on. Lexipro has had no side-effects (that I have noticed), so what the fuck.

CL Hanson, I went through a period of worrying about death every single day and occasionally really freaking out about it.

Thanks for increasing my Schadenfreude! :)

RBH, felt no less (or no more) depressed on occasion when I was a theist. The feeling is independent of the attribution of a reason.

You're probably on to something here. I think my association of the two is due to the fact that both started at roughly the same time in my life. Still, that's correlation but not necessarily causation.

Lifey, The revelation of Mother Theresa's "dark night of the soul" confirms that the kind of depression

Yep. Folks like Mother Theresa and me...

Seriously, I know we all go through the same things - religion or no religion. It's a human thing. I just think that, for the most part, those of us who see things for how they are have it a bit tougher. But maybe I'm just trying to build myself up.

Ric, When you're bummed, be bummed. Enjoy it.

I haven't gotten to that level of enlightenment but at least I DO recognize it for what it is and just allow myself to go through it. I didn't feel any great NEED to write this post. I just thought I'd be honest about how I was feeling and open it up as a subject.

Philly, there's a world of things I've never experienced and sadly I won't get a chance to and when I die, whether there's an afterlife or not, I'd probably have the same last thought, "I can't go yet, I still have shit to do".

Combine this thought with the knowledge that I'm a bit of a hermit and don't even TRY to do a lot of those things! Whatever....

Exterminator said: but I don't think you're being fair to the memory of Charles Darwin

You know how to hurt a guy! Are you trying to help?

and, Perhaps contemplating the wonders of evolution in its myriad manifestations will cheer you up. Go outside and watch some birds.

Of course! Where do you think I've been for the last week? Reading your recommendation, "The Beak of the Finch" and starting my spring garden (with the help of my
blue jays and squirrels).

Lynet, I regret most of all the knowledge that morality is created and to some degree variable

I'm with you 100% on this. In fact, when I express my dismay over the meaninglessness of life, a big part of it is apparent when you think about morality.

Heather, you were one of the few who attempted this part of my question when you said: I don't see that having a deity waiting to reward or punish them can be seen to make any people happier

While I agree with you, I still say that happy or unhappy it is quite possible that many of them would behave (within society) much worse without the rewards/punishments of their favorite superstition. I know a number of unhappy Christians who don't do anything to hurt others. I wonder if that would remain true without their faith.

Tommy, I don't know what else there could be to it.

I don't either. Doesn't make it easier knowing that though.

OG said, I can't really empathize, so maybe I shouldn't even post.

But then you know how hurt I'd be, that you didn't stop by to tell me to snap out of it!

Ute, My grandmother, asked once how she felt about dying, said "You know... I'm looking forward to it

I think this is fairly common with older people. My uncle was ready to go and my mother has been ready for 20 years!

Infidel, long time no see! you said, As for aging and death, you've already seen what I have to say on that subject

Yes. but I'm not as optimistic as you that anything like that will happen in my lifetime. C'est la vie.

John Evo said...

Sorry Slut!

You said, I think the key is keep on setting goals for yourself. This is something that probably gets harder with age anyway. Also winter is bad for us depressive types.

I AM old and it's early March... good luck to me!

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Well as usual, I got here late. I'm having problems catching my own tail.

Here's the way I look at death, namesake.

It's there. It's inevitable. We can't do anything about it. No use dwelling on something you have absolutely no power over. Much like women, in general.

If mankind hadn't developed the brain capacity to even be conscious of impending death, then we wouldn't know about it, and we wouldn't worry about it. We'd be happy, likes pigs in shit. Of course, on the other hand, we'd actually BE pigs wallowing in shit.

So would you rather have the mental capacity to know about and plan for your own death, or would you like to have the brain limitations of a pig?

I think the choice is obvious.

As for Lexapro, it's a wonderful drug. Smooths out all the rough edges, but I find there are side effects for me. Weight gain on the negative side, and delayed orgasms on the plus. It tends to work out.

John Evo said...

SI said: As for Lexapro, it's a wonderful drug. Smooths out all the rough edges, but I find there are side effects for me. Weight gain on the negative side, and delayed orgasms on the plus. It tends to work out

Have you read the latest studies on anti-depressants? I don't think it's anywhere near "slam-dunk" yet, but the results look pretty solid. Supposedly only the deeply depressed get any statistically relevant results. The rest of us are just getting placebo effects.

This would make sense from my own experience. I feel moderately better. It's the same old Evo - still get down at times (though maybe not as low, or as often), don't feel drugged or inhibited in any way, still see the world pretty much as I always have, and no side-effects (the ones you mentioned could be placebo related).

Anyway, I'll keep on taking it until further work is done. I see no downside to continuation. I couldn't have said it better than you did - smoothes the rough edges.

John Morales said...

That there is absolutely no meaning to my short existence other than that which I assign to it is for me, in the end, highly unsatisfactory.

Well, there's the crux of your problem. I guess I'm lucky that I don't feel any need for meaning any more than I feel a need for an objective morality.

Do we really want everyone giving up the cherished beliefs that keep them going?

Only when those "cherished beliefs" are irrational and their consequences are imposed upon me.

tina FCD said...

Sorry, I have no advice or any inspiring comment to make.
I think all of us have felt this way at one time or another.(depression)

About death, I am far more less afraid of dying since I realized I was an atheist. My life is far more interesting and I have learned so much more from people like you and the Exterminator and others, than I did growing up.

I must say, I have learned a lot from my son Larry, also.

I hope the spring brings better days for you.

bullet said...

Hey Evo.

Weltschmertz-the despair resulting from the difference between how the world is and how one wishes it to be.

I was 25 or so when I found that word (Thx NYT Word of the Day!) and I was overjoyed to find there was a word for what I felt.

As far as your depression goes: If you find that your depression is cyclical, even while on medication, what you may need is not an anti-depressant but a mood stabilizer. When I finally found a shrink who figured out that I was having a fairly regular cycle he put me on one and it has worked wonderfully. Also, Lexapro makes you sleepy, like most of them, and I find that Provigil (taken with the others) perks me up and makes me feel a LOT better.

My 2 cents. I have no idea how long you've been dealing with this, so you may know all of this. If you're getting your medicine from a GP, you might want to try a psychiatrist. If you already have a shrink, maybe play with the medicine a little. It took me years before I managed to get mine under control.

John Evo said...

@ John Morales

I think I'm with you on your last statement. That's where the line has to be drawn. Beyond that, I think it's best to leave them alone.

@ Tina

Thanks for the compliment! You aren't just trying to cheer me up are you?

@ Bullet

Thanks for Weltschmertz and the tip on Provigil. I'll definitely look into it. Your situation sounds a lot like mine.

By the way, you write really well on your blog. That story about your drama instructor was moving.

The Celtic Chimp said...

Hi John,

I don't really have this problem. I won't bother posting my view as ordinary girl has summed up how I feel about things pretty well.

One question that is definately being begged here though is
Why must life have meaning?

So what if there isn't one. Will the things that bring you happiness do so less if there is not a grand plan. Pass on what you have gained, genetically and intellectually, thereby adding to the human race. There you go, ready made purpose :)

PhillyChief said...

All meaning is subjective. Even if you believe in a deity providing meaning, it's still its meaning, therefore, subjective. For more, read my comments at Lifeguard's blog.

John Evo said...

Hey Chimp! Thanks for stopping by and giving me more to chew on. I think I'd say life has to have meaning for the same reason we don't say, "you have a weight problem? Well, if you think about it, why do we HAVE TO eat"?

It comes with the territory of being a cognizant being. It's inevitable that we will try to put "meaning" to everything, including our own lives.

That said, I agree fully with your ready made meaning. And 95% of the time, that works for me.

grumpylion said...

Evo -

Try some DHEA. Seriously. Health food store brand. I use Nature's Plus.

And take your B vitamins.

Mama says.

grumpylion said...

Evo -

Try some DHEA. Seriously. Health food store brand. I use Nature's Plus.

And take your B vitamins.

Mama says.

JP said...

John,

I feel you and I do know what you are talking about.

IF you want to talk privately about that, email me but to give a general overview. I am seeing a "counselor" right now who wants me to see a phychatrist. She feels I need to get a "medical evaluation" because I too suffer from depression that runs deep in my family.

Be true to your heart John on matters of faith or lack there of.
That is what I am trying to do

PhillyChief said...

The way to be true to your heart is to eat right and get some exercise.

JP said...

...and not to smoke, but I fail there to.

The Celtic Chimp said...

Hi John,

Having given it some more thought, I can see where you are coming from. It is not something that overly concerns me personally but I suppose I can understand the argument.

I think perhaps that the search for meaning may be a flavour of the fear of death. It may be comforting to think that even though we will be gone, we have fulfilled some vital task or function. The will to live coupled with the ability to understand our own mortality can certainly create some angst. We don't want to die but we will die. It is certainly more comforting to think that death is the cap stone on a worthy and important endeavour than just a biological inevitability that we are utterly powerless to prevent. The search for meaning may be our way of negotiating with death. Convincing ourselves that we are meeting our end on our own terms. Add to that the human ego, the desire to be significant. Couple that desire with even a vague conception of the scale of the universe and it is hard not to be impressed by our sheer insignificance. The bottom line is that no-one on earth living or dead is really objectively important. Even the greatest figures of history, even humanity itself is insignificant when viewed from far enough away or when considered on a long enough timeline.

I suppose the only way then to really address the issue of meaning is to start by deciding what exactly we are talking about. When you say meaning do you mean significance? Or perhaps necessity? In all likelihood you mean the world to your family. You are necessary to them. You are significant to those who know you. We are all objectively unimportant but we can have immense subjective meaning.

What do you mean when you talk about meaning? (no semantic or ironic puns intended)

John Evo said...

JP - thanks. That's what I always do. I don't even have to try. I'm not bragging, it's not something I can't control. As depressed as I can get at times (and that's a pretty dark place), I NEVER question if I'm right about there being no god. I only question the point to all of this.

Chimp - you said: The will to live coupled with the ability to understand our own mortality can certainly create some angst

That's very true. I believe one of the prime purposes that humans created religion for is easing that angst. And, for many, it's not even our own mortality as much as the mortality of everyone we love. Dying is probably a easier thing than losing someone that you feel you can't live without, and knowing that you ARE going to live without them for many years in all probability.

To your question at the end - "meaning" is not a completely personal concept for me. It's not so much "what do I mean" as "what does THIS mean" and the answer, of course, is "there is no meaning". It is a tough one to swallow at times. Most of the time I'm fine with it. Last week, it was gnawing at me. This week, I don't care. But the concept never goes away. I believe it's a concept that pokes away even at the most religious people - because, deep down, they aren't as ignorant of reality as they testify to. But they keep proclaiming their faith to keep from being gnawed at the way I am at times.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Sorry - sorry you're feeling so shitty (and I hope you're on a more even keel now) and also that I've been so busy I'm only just now reading this.

But I don't know what else to say. Even when I was a believer I didn't think of God as putting "meaning" in my life - in fact, that was one of the problems I had with the whole thing. What is "meaning" and why should our lives have any of it, anyway? The meaning of our lives is the people in them and the suffering we relieve and the joy we share. It's in what we do, now. That's always been more than enough for me.

I hope though that you find something that comforts you.

Psychodiva said...

as a regular sufferer of depression myself I Understand what you are talking about- it is very very hard sometimes for me to pull myself away from the edge - determination and grit and pure bloddy obnoxiousness does me every time :) something as simple as a sunny day can help too

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