Rethinking despair

I am someone who periodically goes though short periods of despair. In these dark moments, I feel hopeless, lost, dependent and incapable. The anxiety is high, insomnia is almost inevitable, there are sometimes thoughts of self-harm, and lots of self-loathing. The way out seems distant, and the light at the other side is no comfort in these horrible moments.

These are uncomfortable and painful feelings. They really make life feel like it is a burden to live. But I am starting to rethink despair.

Despair is not nice, but I feel it can be a drive to positive change. The feelings of hopelessness, whilst unproductive and destructive, do have the flip side of forcing re-evaluation.

We learn through failure. Strength is rising when you fall. Being proven wrong is a necessity to finding what is right.

In order to be a truly ethical and good person, we must evolve and change; for this is the way of nature. This means we need the openness to be challenged, and sometimes to be proven wrong. Being able to lose battles, it seems, is as important to winning them.

Imagine an unconquerable will, that overthrows an oppressor and takes power. What will happen when this all-powerful, immovable force stays in power for too long? What good would that do the people?

I do not advocate feeling despair, at all! It is not exactly a choice. And it is not exactly nic. There are certainly better ways I can go about having the modesty to re-evaluate my life. But despair has been an effective way of doing so thus far; a heavy price to pay for necessary change.

I know that high expectations and a need for instant results feed despair like nothing else. Its very easy to feel like you have failed when ‘not being there yet’ leads to feeling like a total failure. My challenge is to change my pace, accept that I am not there yet, progress slowly, and be patient.

This way I need never feel self-induced despair again, and can change and evolve in a healthier way. Nonetheless, those heavy days of despair were intense bringers of change, they showed my courage in continuing on through it, and I do not feel regret toward such dark  emotions.

Since Sunday I was feeling a strong sense of despair. It ended today. I do not feel exactly great, or stable, but I have made some re-evaluations, gained some courage, and change my ways according. For all the hardship and indignity, I feel again that I will get somewhere better, slowly but inevitably.

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Abandonment

I have been experimenting recently with staying away from the nest.

It was the built-up feelings of frustration that propelled me out. I remember a day of boldness and surety, really striving to carve out a place for me in the world.

The next day the momentum started to wear off. I was somewhere without my own personal, safe space. Back to the nest, and then away again.

But this time away meant feeling a strong sense of abandonment and desolation. I had a feeling that the spirit inside would not let me sleep, so I left, cleaving through the night to return to the dark nest.

On that night journey back I felt little of the usual fear. It was like the subconscious was projecting out onto everything, it did not really seem real; things did not seem as they were but only a figment of myself. Symbols representing something beyond my knowledge.

I listened to the spirit and it felt a lot more comfortable on its return. Waking up in the small hours of night I felt a strong sense of abandonment and desolation, and at the fringes of that a fear of self-harm or destruction. An underlining depression and dread.

I cannot quite explain it, only to say it is right at the front of the chest. I am glad I was in a familiar place when dealing with such emotions, because I was able to get through them without much alarm. In an unfamiliar place, it could have been much harder.

Life is not going to be as easy as moving away from abusives to somewhere safe. On my own is not exactly safe, and unfamiliar is not exactly safe. There has to be a careful back and forth until somewhere good is found. If indeed somewhere good is possible.

Maybe, at the risk of the depression talking, this is life now. Maybe we are thrust into tragedy and the best we can do is survive it until we die. Looking at the appalling lot of the people I was forced to grow up with, I can only compare it to something like a developing nation which must suffer enormous tragedy in order to industrialize. The legacy of abusiveness and repressed pain means there is immense suffering by default. The spiritual and emotional retardation means that members of this stunted family start far behind others, who are nonabusive and encouraged a lot more. Instead of a deranged unit which destroys its own interest, most people have a more functional organ which can achieve synergy and unity. As such, none of us can achieve the impossible standards of society, and a demi-success is all we can sustain. I can achieve only an orc-like existence, at the fringes, barely alive, unblessed by the light that shines, and comfortable only with warped creatures of shadow. Without my wretched god of snarling darkness and self-loathing, I am naked and anxious, left to trembling and the cruel punishments of the soul.

All the sentimentalism of souls and eternities and objective meaning are just there so that we never have to see and understand the ultimate futility of Nature. Its beauty and good feeling only fleeting, its ultimate end the stillness and demise of everything. If this is the case, striving for the ultimate state of society will only aid us materially; existentially nothing would have changed. People will suffer anxiety disorders and depressions under socialism. Not because of oppression and injustice, but because this is the legacy of evolution. Humanity will always find something to make itself miserable, as much as it strives to change and struggle for better. All human effort, a vigourous struggle to swim to the surface, but never does a foot step upon the shores of elysium.

Well, that was a depressing tangent! It feels true to express it, painful though it is. For some reason I also find it utterly hilarious. Do I believe such nihilism? Some part of me must do.

The other reveres Elder trees and sings of optimism through bleakness, always seeing light on the other end of the cavern.

An empty void behind, a bright future ahead.

I remember being a burnt out husk, in my early twenties. A wasteland after an emotional Battle of the Somme. Something like a vassal state, spent of resources and plundered into a barren. Trapped and stuck are the words I would use to describe that era.

I can’t remember particular days, because I don’t think it was possible to individuate them. Just a sense of going nowhere, there being no hope, only danger outside. A place of threat and humiliation, worse than the one I was in. I had no personal space, it would constantly be invaded. No matter where I put anything, it could not be guaranteed to still be there the next day. It was an example of the total system of the family at its absolute worst, and in those years the seeds of dissent had been sowed wide and thick. There was no way I was going to be like these, seemingly semi-sentient, people.

All of this created a feeling that something was wrong. It wasn’t a rational exercise, as it is now. I didn’t have an insight into psychological disorder and derangement, as I do now.

It was deranged people, out of control, hurting me. Repeating the cycles that destroyed them; petty and pathetic people. The lost leading the lost.

The justifications of ‘discipline’ were paper thin. Humiliation and insult is not a tool of discipline. It is the way deranged and hurt people bring down others, because they haven’t learnt to manage what happened to them.

I remember always hiding away when guests and relatives would come to visit. It would make me feel guilty, not being social. It would also make me seem alien, and ungrateful. But I didn’t have any energy for them, my emotional energy was spent and wasted on two deeply stupid and violent adults.

Now I see that hiding away as a means of grasping on to some independence, and most certainly an act of defiance. I will not play your games or pretend. I am actually quite proud that I managed to pull that off at such an early age. Nothing could move me out – uncle is sleeping, uncle is tired. Yeah tired of your bullshit perhaps.

There was no point trying to justify things – within their destructive system you do not have a choice. You owe them your time and your energy, the authoritarian morons have the final say. That is the price of their “security”.

But this legacy is a futile one, and still rears its head occasionally, even to this day. Sometimes that feeling of stuck and trapped comes back, even though I made massive advances away from the destructive system which tried to destroy my spirit and bring me into line.

When I look back over my shoulder at the last decade, I see big blocks of black void. No light can penetrate through there. It was only really around the age of twenty-six or so that I begun to make up ground, finding freedom and responsibility in squatting and protest sites.

At last I had a chance to be proven, and there was proven. Years free from a destructive system ruled by the thick. It was only in the last three or four years that I started living, and I have no compulsion to stop doing so.

Now I am half-way between, here and there. I still have connections to the system, but I feel myself transitioning away for good; playing out the inevitable anxieties.

And if it wants to dig its claws into me, now I am knowledgeable enough to find all the chinks in its armour and strike back.

And certainly strong enough to shatter it, to lay into them with words three times as violent as they once layed into me.

I only need to be pushed far enough.

Gates of the Psyche

Most people spend most of their lives believing in most of the lies

Fed to them before they had the ability to challenge them.

 

When Pandora’s box first sprung open, around December last year, the feelings were horrifying. It felt like death (or worse, debilitation) was just around the corner. I had no way of understanding what the emotions flowing to the surface meant. I had no means to deal with sleepless nights of feelings of panic.

Slowly I learnt these things, until I was able to restore some kind of dignity and ‘normality’: a rhythm that made existing bearable, troubled though it was.

Now when the Gates of the Psyche open, I listen. I know what it is, and I know what to do. The screaming inside, the anguish, the flailing desperation, it is familiar to me. I can more or less estimate the effect of insomnia on the next day. I do not want to close the Gates as fast I can anymore.

There is such a thing as dealing with the symptom and not the disease. This is valid, to a degree. To constantly experience symptoms is horrible. Insomnia is the best example of this for me. I do everything I can to prevent a sleepless night (a symptom of anxiety and unresolved emotion).

But it is so easy to forget the disease, and obsess around the rituals to cure the symptom!

On balance, the extreme emotions and suffering have done more good for me than harm. Though it is extremely discomforting and disturbing, with a great risk of harming my relationships with others, without the great motivator of extreme emotion I would still be lying to myself, in exile and on the run.

It took until the age of 28 to find somewhere I was happy, useful, and accepted for myself. Yet even there, everything that was inside remained inside. The Gates of the Psyche opened, and I had to face what was within. Even to the death of my time in an anarchist utopia, the emotions inside forced themselves into priority.

But I was lying to myself, even in a place so true, I was in exile from my own emotions. I know what to do now, to shift into adult consciousness and break the chains of dependency holding me back. It is no longer the case that I believe depression to be arcane and beyond explanation, I know the causes and I know it to be psycho-logical. It is just a question of finding the right time and the safest way to step free.

A shadow will loom over most people for most of their lives. Without knowing it, this shadow will bring them ruin. They might never realize how life has short-changed them, or how they have worked against their own interests, because of this shadow. The shadow will be hidden behind morality and social pressure, two extreme sentinels hard for the best of us to overcome.

Some un/fortunates will be so overwhelmed by it that they will either turn to drink and drugs to keep it down until their self-annihilation, or somehow vindicate themselves against the seemingly impossible.

By not dealing with it, you are not freeing yourself from it. Only by facing it do you overcome it. But who wants to face it, when it is so hard and such a lonely path to walk?

To Anarchist Utopia, shadows followed