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I Am Depressed Because Life Is Depressing

There is a popular saying, "life is what you make of it." I disagree, not completely but to a significant degree, with this notion. I think there are certain concrete facts about life that are ignored and rejected by most people and by cultural leaders, and this serves to harm a lot of people. I think one of the most obvious concrete facts of life is this: Life is depressing. The facts of life, the realities of life, are absolutely depressing.  According to the edicts of society, depression is a bad thing, a wrong thing. Society says that if you are depressed there is something wrong with you and you need to try to find a way to "overcome" your depression. At the same time, most people who feel depressed are also very unhappy with their emotional state and want to overcome their depression, to become "happy".

But from my perspective, if the factual realities of life itself are depressing, then it is perfectly normal and appropriate for me to feel depressed. I don't want to be "happy" if doing so requires me to reject the fact that life is depressing, because if i did that all i would be doing is escaping from factual and concrete reality as i perceive it. I much prefer to embrace my depressive moods and feelings, recognizing them to be perfectly valid and appropriate, while at the same time still trying to grab as much pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness out of life as i can, recognizing these positive emotions to be desirable and beneficial to me. In other words, i am willing to seek out and embrace positive and happy feelings, but at the same time i will not renounce or reject the "idea" that life is depressing, because i think this is a factual reality.

Why am i so convinced that "life is depressing" is a factual reality, rather than just an "invalid feeling", which is how society would label it? Here is my understanding of my experience of life:

Life is inherently pointless and meaningless. Nothing that you may do, achieve, or accomplish in life has any lasting value, because each of us has a death sentence hanging over us. When we die, the sum total of our life actions dies with us. It loses all meaning because we cease to exist. If i cannot experience something, it has no point or meaning to me. In death i cannot experience anything, therefore nothing i do in life has any point or meaning that goes beyond my individual lifespan. This is depressing.

When we die, we stop existing for all of cosmic eternity. There is no God, no heaven, no afterlife, no reincarnation, no ghostly comebacks, no parallel universes, etc. None of that is real. We don't have any past lives or future lives. We exist because two people had sex and we got created as a result. Our existence is purely "accidental", a one-time fluke, that can never be repeated for all of cosmic eternity. There is nothing to look forward to after death. There is only an eternity of nothingness. This is depressing. Or rather very depressing, IMO.

Everyone that we may love and care about, spouses, children, relatives, friends, pets, etc., are all doomed to suffer the same terrible fate as we are doomed to suffer. Death spares none of us. We have to deal not only with the reality of our own upcoming death, but with the fact that everyone we love or care about is going to suffer this fate as well. This is depressing.

Every living thing that we know, care about, or love, could die at any moment in time. We are consciously aware and have to deal with the fact that our most precious fellow creatures, the ones that we choose to emotionally bond with and love, could die at any moment, leaving us alone to grieve and mourn and cope with this horrific trauma. This is depressing.

None of us are "free" to do as we wish in our lives. All of us have obligations, responsibilities, and needs that consume a great deal of our time and energy, and rob us of the freedom to experience life as we want to. For example, i need money in order to survive and live a decent lifestyle, and therefore i am obligated to spend at least 40 hours each and every week for...30-40 years engaging in manual labor at a job. I am forced to waste a huge amount of time doing this, and other things, that i do not want to do. This is depressing.

Life is incredibly short and limited. Each of us could drop dead at any moment in time, regardless of age. No matter if we live 60, 70, 80 years, this amount of time is nothing, in comparison to the cosmic eternity of time that existed before we were born, and the cosmic eternity of time that will continue after we die. Our lives, our existence, is nothing but a brief moment within an eternal scale of nothingness. This is depressing.

We have absolutely no control over the quality of our lives. Any one of us could be left blind, paralyzed, mentally ill, penniless, homeless, etc., at any moment in time, due to situations and circumstances that are impossible to predict and totally out of our control. This is depressing.

I could go on to list 20 other extremely depressing facts about life, but i won't. And yes, i recognize that many people will disagree with some or all of the "facts" that i list above. I could be wrong about them, but i don't think i am. I think that people don't want to face up to these facts because they find them too depressing, terrifying, etc. They are depressing and terrifying, IMO. But they are also facts. And these facts lead me to the following conclusion:

Life is depressing, and i am depressed because i recognize life to be depressing. Because life is depressing, i feel it is logical and appropriate for me to feel depressed, as i journey through my life. I'm not glad to be depressed, i'm not "happy" about being depressed. But at the same time i don't feel that trying to "overcome" my depression is an appropriate thing to do, because life is depressing. I would have to reject the "fact", as i see it, that life is depressing, in order to decide to try to overcome my depression. And i'm not willing or interested in doing that.

Please understand, i'm not suggesting to anyone else that they not try to overcome their depression. Each of us should do in life as we feel appropriate. All i'm saying is that my personal experience of life indicates to me that life is depressing and therefore feeling depressed in life, is "normal" and appropriate. And at the same time i absolutely do try very hard to find peace, comfort, tranquility, pleasure, and happiness in life, to the degree that i am able, within the context of accepting the validity of my feeling of depression. I think every person has an obligation to himself to try to find peace, comfort, pleasure, happiness, and i hope every person tries and succeeds.

All The Best,



 

 
deepintheheart deepintheheart 41-45, M 14 Responses Aug 24, 2011

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Hi, I hope you're still on EP. I would like to commend you for your extremely brave, and clear use of reason and logic applied to the human condition. Personally, I couldn't agree more. I believe people are conditioned by society to always act like life is this 'happy adventure' when mostly it is actually just depressing for many reasons as you say - that vastly outweigh the 'good' that people seem to only focus on. Using reason to discover the truth makes many people depressed, however they go then medicate themselves because they falsely believe they should be happy about the human condition no matter how bad it is. This is ridiculous, but human history, when looked at, is nothing more than a history of mass delusion, self deception and irrational ways of attaining immortality over the inherent depressing fact of death. (such as religion...if the truth is depressing, make up a better one!) I agree...once you see the truth, it is hard to not be depressed. But I focus all my time on the things most meaningful to me, my hobbies, and plan to save up to retire as early as possible to enjoy the things that mean the most to me, before it is my time. In short, I try and control what I can, towards my own happiness...there's not much you can do, but there is at least something. And...best tip: Kick toxic people out of your life. Life is too short for anyone who isn't a good person to you!

This is beautifully written and very true. All I can add is that as bad as life sounds on paper, it's all we have. The only other option is nothingness. And something is better than nothing in my opinion, so we must cherish it. I always feel on the edge of depression, stress and anxiety, but I accept it, think about the good times I've had in my life (as few as they may be) and look forward to the ones to come. Even then, I still feel inevitable nostalgia, but this is just part of life. We all experience these emotions (as much as some people deny them), so at least take comfort in that. I'll repeat that because I think its important, especially for those who feel alone-- we all feel depression, stress, anxiety, sadness, nostalgia etc. Some people are just better at hiding those feelings than others.

anyone who's depressed is really losing their inner struggle

I believe it is what we make of it because thoughts are the main devise that creates experience. Thus when we change how we think of life, our experience changes as well.

my mother always said you make your life happy.
that is never the case. i have been obese since a surgery gone wrong when i was 7. i would starve my self to where i threw up blood just to keep the bullies away. they would call me fat ,worthless, pig, fatass, ball, and they would touch my breasts like a woman. i had to repeat because i feared i would get bullied even more. my mother calls me useless and fat. my dad cant help me because my mom controlls him. no one respects me. my brothers older and younger bully me. i want it all to end...

YES. this is exactly what I've been thinking about lately. (over thinking is a big part of my depression, i think.) But the part you got me on is about how we are all going to die and just be forgotten someday, this is guaranteed. This, of course, leaves me with the ever burning question of- what's the point? I decided that I wanted to try and be happy and not do stuff that I don't want to do, like homework. But this just left me with super poor grades. There are obligations in life! If I were to not do my homework I am probably not going to get in a good school, then I probably won't get a good career, then I probably won't have a decent life. Life is all about obligations. We have to do all this stuff we don't want to do and then we die. (With brief moments of happiness found along the way.) It is all so depressing. And so how am I supposed to be happy with all of this? Am I supposed to just forget all of it? I don't want to live a lie, I just want to die (RHYME HOLY **** DEPRESSING RHYME RIGHT THERE) k im getting weird now bye

Hi daydreamer, yeah, ignore social obligations. That's only for family/social approval anyway...find your hobbies or interests you enjoy the most, and connect up with people who are interested in that, and spend most of your time doing it. Don't follow society's advice...it will lead you into an inescapable trap...I did. Social obligations just push you into said trap. College is mostly bullshit, its not going to guarantee you success in life these days, maybe back in earlier decades, but now, its better to get a trade/skill and just follow hobbies. Also, move out of your family home ASAP as parents usually have the worst advice and you trust them...I trusted my parents for life advice in going to a private school/top college and then when the recession hit their advice was meaningless. Parents don't know as much as you think about anything.

hi! i'm doing much better by now. well, i still have breakdowns, but they are not as bad nor as often as they used to be. i'm a junior in high school, which is stressful, but i am trying to stay sane by doing what i like rather than what everyone wants me to do. i have a very supportive environment for the most part and i am very lucky. my biggest worry at the moment is my best friend, who is really feeling the pressure right now to get perfect grades! i found a post of hers that said she wanted to commit suicide (but wouldn't) and that she cuts. :/ i've known that she's had issues with depression, but i thought she was better so i was really disjointedness and heartbroken to find that. she sees a therapist and takes meds and i try to be as supportive as i can and i'm just not sure how to help or if i even can. **sigh** i think i'm just going to try and have more "open" conversations with her and hopefully she sees how much i care about her! thanks for response <3

None of us are "free" to do as we wish in our lives. All of us have obligations, responsibilities, and needs that consume a great deal of our time and energy, and rob us of the freedom to experience life as we want to. For example, i need money in order to survive and live a decent lifestyle, and therefore i am obligated to spend at least 40 hours each and every week for...30-40 years engaging in manual labor at a job. I am forced to waste a huge amount of time doing this, and other things, that i do not want to do. This is depressing.'

The single reason why I'm depressed.

Hi...did you know some people actually don't work and earn a passive income?
Google 'financially free' or ' high passive income' or 'professional investor'. But you have to learn to become smart at money and investing. But if you succeed after hard work at financial freedom...you don't have to work and you have a year round holiday. Escape the rat race, you're young enough! There are many ways...I still haven't figured out, but I know people have achieved this financial situation. So its possible at least. Good luck and I hope you feel less depressed.

I like what you are saying.
You write very very well.
Perhaps a writing career would be suitable for someone like you.
Great writers are not forgotten after
They die.

i think solomon said it best in the bible, "vanities of vanities, all is vanity." -Ecclesiastes 1:2-3. btw i highly encourage you to at least take a look at that particular book in the bible if anything. but yeah it seems like you are very compassionate, good hearted and a pure being. i admire that you are strong enough to face up to the reality of reality. most people are so weak minded and selfish that they actually buy into the fantasy world of status, money, materialism and every other thing that shall pass. they are essentially on a quest for nothing yet they are blinded by their need to conform to the standards of society. its very depressing to observe and it is something i will never fully understand. ive rejected standards long ago. maybe ive rejected society...idk. but you are on the right way. you have nothing to worry about. you are blessed because of the purity of your heart. and that is the only thing that matters. what is a human without love. you have gained the world through your love but the world will hate you for it because people dont have love these days. oh the dualities of life...how ironic, how fascinating they are.
i just wanted to tell you that there is nothing wrong with your outlook on life and dealing with depression. and i completely agree with you on that because ive been suffering with it for a while. im tired of faking it, im tired of pretending that everything is perfect. and tired of people faking their whole existence by putting on a facade, a mask of a happy face. is it wrong to be truthful. is it wrong to be sad when you really are sad. if so take my truths and they can shove it up their *****.

When I was a teenager, I was always the 'nice girl' kind, helping people, making their lives easier...I genuinely was naive and thought helping people was good, it made me feel like a good friend. People apparently thought I was some kind of pot-smoking constantly high (because I was so friendly) doormat (ironically I didn't smoke any marijuana at all, and they were). In college I turned around and became more edgy and mean, and bam I had people's respect and lots of friends. It's like people don't want to be friends with me unless I'm mean and heartless like them...

Ironically, I feel less depressed when other people admit that these things are true. It makes me kind of sick that people choose to believe lies so they'll be happy, and then they base their lives on these lies, perpetuating the "joy of life" by "sharing" it with their offspring.

This is pretty much the reason why I dot socialise that much and spend most of my time watching movies or tv shows (pre downloaded). The escape from the fact that the world is slowly dissolving into a meaningless cycle fed by our natural urge to do as little as possible to gain alot

"I can see the humorous side of things and enjoy the fun when it comes; but look where I will, there seems to me always more sadness than joy in life."<br />
<br />
Jerome K. Jerome (English writer; b:5/2/1859/d: 6/14/1927)

Hi stilltickling, that's a very accurate quote, IMO. Many people seem desperate to ignore the sadness, to find something in life to obsess over, something to give them the perception or illusion of life having some grand, noble, sacred purpose. I just can't do that. I see the sadness, i recognize it to be valid and appropriate, and i accept it. One of my primary life goals is to see things as they actually are, not as how i might want them to be. Sadness, despair, tragedy, hopelessness, these things are pervasive in life, i see them everywhere, and i embrace their validity. But at the same time i won't give up on my life. I fight to preserve it, to maintain it, in part because i feel i am so in touch with the horrors of every aspect of life, including death. All The Best, :-)

I agree with a few things you said. People never look a things realistically they would much rather take out a book and read what someone else wrote or live by the authors ideas. For every 1 thing that goes right you have 20 things that go wrong (screwed up ratio). Its a constant struggle to survive and be happy. And I dont want to throw in the news media and those Pharma commercials advertising their drugs with extreme side effects....Oh yes, they will keep you alive being half dead and living miserably until you finally take a dirt nap. Light at the end of the tunnel my a$$ yeah at a cost.

Hi mysterycaller2209, I think most people spend a lot of time looking for a "leader". They want to follow someone or something, and whoever/whatever offers them a path that looks comforting and "easy", they are eager to embrace it, and choose not to critically analyze it. This causes huge problems all over the world, far beyond the issue of depression. I agree that finding the good in life is very difficult, and the social structure makes it much more difficult. IMO, the best way to cope with my depression is to totally accept the realities of life, constantly build up and embrace a love of self, and do not allow negative emotions to be directed inward. The last thing is the most difficult, imo, because the overall structure of humanity encourages and promotes negative self-image and the internalization of negative emotions. I often feel as though i am at "war" with human culture, constantly having to deflect the malicious, stupid, hypocritical ideas and behaviors that it is trying to impose upon me. But that's just me, i'm kind of weird that way. Take care and keep up the fight, :-)

Religion. Right here.
My major in college was philosophy, and I did make a 'commitment of honor' towards seeing the truth, no matter how ugly. But...unfortunately, its hideous not just ugly. I believe the irrational culture you describe 'malicious, stupid hypocrtical ideas and behaviours' might indeed stem from the basic self delusion and illogic that if they are unhappy, it must be something wrong with them, because the world isn't that bad. The people who use reason see that the causality is the opposite - literally, people are reasoning backwards and that causes a clash.

When the true causality is that the external world, more powerful than the individual mind, causes the mind to change to fit it: I.e life happens to an innocent child, and causes it to become unhappy and It isn't the unhappy child that causes the world to be miserable. So people will have 10 tragedies, beaten, abused, lose all their money, unfair treatment, bullying, and then feel depressed, and then go 'there must be something wrong with me to think life is bad'.

Yes to all the above...and my depressive disorder will go there...I have raged on about how pointless and painful and stupid it all is.<br />
<br />
But I've figured out that means I'm out of the moment, I'm in pain, and that this is a depressive symptom...and I need to do something about it. My usual tools are mainline therapy and meds, but there are other tools to treat oneself with.<br />
<br />
An acquantance of mine uses exercise and buddhist practice to control severe PTSD symptoms. He is very happy.<br />
<br />
Another friend used heroin for years. That tool does not come recommended, but it can make for a short and happy ride. Morphine...MMMM.<br />
<br />
I find laughing at the absurd and horrific s**t to be a good and useful tool; one I recommend ;)<br />
Your mileage will always vary.

Hi hylierandom, I think rage is a totally appropriate emotional response to the horrors of life. The facts of life are unfair and unjust. It is not fair that life is so depressing in so many different ways that we have absolutely no way of "fixing". I cannot fix any of the horrible facts i listed above. I can't change them no matter how hard i try or wish it.

It's very difficult to find happiness and pleasure and peace within yourself, given the realities of life. Whatever works, i say go for it. Personally, i have a pretty "rigid" emotional perspective. I'm not willing to embrace falsehood, even if it might bring me comfort/happiness. I'm not wiling to alter my brain chemistry with either prescription or other drugs, same goes for psychotherapy. I agree with you that laughing at and mocking the absurdities of humanity lifts my spirits quite a bit. As for exercise, i find it very difficult to motivate myself to exercise, but i have a job that is very physically demanding. I work 12+ hours straight sometimes, walking maybe...5-10 miles per shift, carrying lots of heavy things, and i do find that this very heavy work often does improve my mood. One of the only good things about my job. :-)

Have a good night and take care of yourself,

:-)