The negativity of my mind is drowning me today. Maybe, it’s just the anniversary of my divorce tomorrow that is causing all of these self-doubts and feelings of desperation to resurface. Why does this still affect me 15 years later? Why? It’s not my intent to continue reliving past experiences and traumas that have prevented me, up until this point in my life, from living a happy and productive life (or living any kind of life at all, as I struggle to leave my house). But periodically, these memories invade my consciousness, forcing me to stop everything, remember, reflect, and search for meaning. What is the meaning? What is the point?
My therapist gave me this question to ponder as I was leaving my last appointment, “What is my purpose/place in this world?” I’m not sure if it was out of sheer frustration or a momentary lapse in judgment; but I emailed him this response that – re-reading it, now – sounds full of bitter angst:
In the case of existential questions like this, I suppose I could answer this question a few different ways. Questions like this have plagued me my entire life, beginning very early in my childhood; but given my current mood and attitude towards life, I believe I’ll answer the question with – my basic purpose is to be born, breed, and die. That seems to be the case for most other species, so why should we as humans be any different? Just because we think we’re special does not make it so. Ask me tomorrow or another day, and my answer could be completely different.
As I sit here watching an ant wandering around aimlessly on my desk in search of food or whatever else it is that wills an ant to spend countless hours wandering around aimlessly, I can only compare my own life to that of this ant because that is how I feel. I feel like that ant, wandering around aimlessly in search of something; but I have no idea what. Most people don’t take the time to give an ant a second glance, let alone contemplate its purpose (which in my mind is every bit as important/unimportant as anything or anyone else). Most people would happily squish it and not think twice about it. And that feels like my place in this world amongst other people. When I say I am an insignificant speck in this Universe, I mean I’m not convinced that anyone or anything has any value; and if nothing has value, then everything is pointless and meaningless.
If the point of life is simply to breed, then my duty is fulfilled. In this scenario, the fact that I did not get to raise and nurture my children is inconsequential because procreation is simply a means to repopulate the earth and continue the survival of our species. However, society only places value on those people who have the ability to handle all of life’s pressures and make a meaningful contribution to the world. Anyone who cannot shouldn’t be here by society’s standards or, at least, those lesser people should sit in silence and suffer their fate. I’m not saying that this societal standard is correct or even right or wrong; but I feel it is my choice whether or not I accept this fate. And if I choose not to, it is my right to die as much as I have the right to live.
And IF the point of living is simply to have lived or to experience life or even to learn as much as we possibly can for whatever reason – I lived. I experienced. And I learned. Even though I experienced and learned a lot of beautiful things, the bad outweighs the good and, quite frankly, I am SICK of being here and dealing with this crap! Don’t worry (not that I honestly think you would), while a fear of death might be at the bottom of my list, a fear of pain, whether emotional or physical, is at the top. That’s the main reason why I know I would never succeed in suicide even though I have desperately wanted to succeed so many times in my life. Maybe, my purpose is simply to experience death. Maybe, that is why I obsess so frequently over these thoughts and never-ending conversations in my head (no matter how disturbing they are to me or anyone else).
[Last paragraph redacted.]
In the end, I literally flipped a coin to decide whether or not to send this email. Heads won, so I sent it. Now, 11 days later, I’m wishing I had flipped tails. I wish I hadn’t sent it. In my mind, sharing these thoughts, even thinking these thoughts, is confirmation that I am “bad,” that I don’t deserve help. The fact that I received no response from my therapist leads me to believe, maybe, that’s true. A year and a half ago, I would have been able to talk myself out of this train of thought. Why can’t I, now?
This is mental illness.