Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A funny thing happened on my way to depression...

For the one or two people who still occasionally "follow" my misadventures in living, aka this blog, I'm sorry to report that this means of communication is going to end. Sadly, you'll have to get updates from me the old fashioned way - by sending me an e-mail or meeting with me in person. I simply have not the energy to continue writing about my daily undertakings, epiphanies, discouragements, etc. Although sometimes it may be therapeutic, I find that writing about and talking about "my issues" only solidifies the storyline more concretely. I don't want to give my currently unpleasant situation any more power than it already has.

So throughout the last few crushingly difficult weeks, I've experienced a wide range of emotional states; almost all of which were negative. I could actually sense the momentum of sadness, hopelessness, despair, and negativity spiraling to levels never before experienced. At the same time, my awareness of this phenomenon has allowed me to trace them to at least one source; the gap between where I am and where I THINK I should be. As the sadness and frustration mount, the gap then grows much larger, and as a result, the pain increases to that extent. So there is a lesson here, obvious to anyone who is familiar with Buddhist philosophy, about surrender and acceptance. This is not to be confused with "giving up", but rather, totally focusing on the present moment and accepting all that it contains - the good, the bad, and everything in between. A simple concept, but not an easy one, especially when we are marinating in a culture/society that is obsessed with "getting somewhere".

Interestingly, there is actually this sense of gratitude for being in such a unique situation where I have no choice but to face the ugliness of it all. As I wrote about earlier, having no back-up plan and no idea how to navigate the future created (and still creates) tremendous suffering. But now since I realize this is becoming a rather familiar state for me, I am tempted to befriend it rather than fight it. So being whittled down to the nub is not a pleasant state, but certainly a necessary one as far as seeing situations more clearly, honestly, bravely. I end this blog with heartfelt "thank you" to all who have checked it out, all who have supported me, and of course, to the unique set of circumstances that have brought me to such a crossroads. And for now, I'm OK with standing in the middle of the intersection...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sense of doubt

The title of this entry really cheapens the weight, or felt reality, of the confusion and doubt that I am experiencing these days. Sometimes it is just too much, too obscure, too massive to get a handle on. I don't know how I am getting through each day, but more of a concern for me is that I don't know why I am getting through each day. It all seems rather pointless. (If that's not a sign of depression/cry for help, I don't know what is!)

But as I was telling my team of therapists today, up until recently, I've always had something on my plate to look forward to. When I quit my job last summer, I focused on getting my ESL teaching certificate. After that, my focus was getting the hell out of Madison, Wisconsin. Then once I accepted the job in South Korea, my focus was preparing for a year abroad, getting rid of my apartment, selling possessions, etc. It was a very busy time for me, yet I clearly remember that I was not "happy", merely looking forward to a possible respite from a life(style) that I had grown bored with. Then after Korea fell apart, I quickly focused on Mexico, and geared up for that adventure, all the while hinging salvation on some obscure alternate reality where I might find happiness only because I am "elsewhere".

Well clearly, my attempts to pursue meaning and purpose through travel have not done the job, and now I cannot delude myself any longer. So this is where the doubt comes in. Even on a superficial level, if I rebuilt my life to where it was -- with job, apartment, friendships, dull routine all in place -- the doubt and emptiness will still be there. I could totally reshape my image, wear new clothes, grow some hair, etc., but there is no escaping that feeling. Because now there is nothing on the horizon to set my sights on, and I am left with the barren emptiness of the present moment. Some would say that it is here, and only here, that one can find answers (peace, contentment, acceptance, whatever) to life's challenges. I wish I could disagree, because it was much easier to delude myself and think I'd be happier somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else. It just doesn't work that way, sad to say.

So it seems very much like the traditional path has come to an end. Not that I've ever really been on it, but I took some sort of sick comfort in knowing that it existed, and that everyone else seemed to be gleefully following it. Now I know that I have to hack and stumble through my own version of a path, but perhaps the hacking and stumbling IS the path. In which case, I am right where I need to be, which is ironically where I've always been.