“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.
“Oh, sure you know,” the photographer said.
“She wants,” said Jay Cee wittily, “to be everything.” ― Sylvia Plath
Bleak mind knows no future, didn’t you know? The future, as you know it, does not exist… The past is long gone and the present is… just unbearable.
Worst of all, how do you explain that to those around you? Mental suffering is covered in stigma and ignorance that disrupts the reality and prevents healing. There are so many things that are not explained and are not understood…
The desire to be ‘everything‘ when you are ‘nothing‘ is overwhelming and defeating. So many hours, days, weeks, months and even years are wasted blankly staring at the empty space your life has become. You see no future. There is no future. Forget the reasoning and rationalization because depression (or be it something else) does not follow a logical pattern. You can not possibly comprehend that tomorrow (in a sense of a better future) exists. It is not possible because you are used to the way things became; you are used to the same feelings and breaking out of this pattern is near-impossible. It’s even more than that…
“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” ― John Green
How exhausting it is to look up to the promise of the future where everything will be okay. A day with no misery and no pain; a day that will not exist. The future that seems to be lost. In a normal sense the concept of future is always there. It is something that will naturally come and the focus should be on today. Today will pass; tomorrow will come and so it goes. But for some, the life leads a different path – to nowhere.
I can not convey the futility and emptiness that besieges your life; it is something dark and inexplicable. Like everything around you closes in on you and your mind is infected; you don’t think or act rationally and that scares you. Tomorrow is not comprehensible. Your mind is not coherent enough to understand the possibility of your life’s continuance. Imagine the state of mind when today and this moment is all that’s left. All the agony and torment is ravaging your senses and your sane mind.
How would you even cope?
“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” (Chuck Palahniuk
Conveying that darkness is impossible if you haven’t lived it. Entrapment, disorientation, turmoil, anxiety, unrest, meaninglessness, worthlessness, a sense of doom; a sense of end. But these are just words that might not have any meaning to you. Understanding these emotions is hell; it’s a torment. Suffering of this kind goes beyond loneliness, anxiety or any other mental distress; it’s far more serious and far more deadly.
I am not writing about suicide. I am not qualified to. Suicide is, however, the final destination that lands at the stop ‘Futility’. Therefore, I am addressing it, lightly and carefully.
“But, in her life, nothing was going to happen. Such was the will of God! The future was a dark corridor, and at the far end the door was bolted.” ― Gustave Flaubert
I seek only to be correct. To reach the minds of people and to present other perspectives. To (try to) explain some things and to reach out.
How many late questions are asked when the unthinkable happens? How much pain it causes? How much pain was it caused by? How many wrong questions are asked? How many false and distorted explanations and inferences are suggested?
Maybe… Just maybe it can start with the idea that the future is a lie. It’s an unattainable object that will never be reached…
This article is not about suicide. I lack the competence and the knowledge to discuss it and I want to avoid it.
Happiness is a private club, that will not let me enter” – Leanita McLain
Life is difficult, but we all know it. And the last sentence was pointless. How dangerous (or not dangerous) is the concept of “follow your dreams” / “do what you love” etc.?
Is that not a lie?
What happens if you don’t know what you love?
If you don’t dream? If you don’t know how to dream?
If you can’t dream because your circumstances require pure survival, commitment towards others; to sacrifice your dreams because your personal circumstances do not allow you the privilege of dreams and hopes?
If you don’t have any talents; strengths?
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – (Confucius) …
“Ester asked why people are sad.
“That’s simple,” says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.” ― Paulo Coelho
The problem with dreaming is that it has a tendency to ignore the reality. Not everyone can afford to dream. It’s very easy if you are rich and successful, but the majority of people aren’t. Dreaming should not be discouraged and avoided, no… However, we live in the real world where we have real issues and responsibilities and commitments and limitations… Dreaming is either for fools or the rich… Not always 🙂 … Be careful when dreaming in the reality. Don’t forget either one of them… Neither must be ignored…
What did the Joker say…?
“Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. […] You know… You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair!”
(Heath Ledger Joker)
Of course, this is extreme… But it highlights the human mind… As long as there is the plan, the objective, the path that can be followed life runs its course, but take that it away and chaos ensues…
“I am an optimist. Anyone interested in the future has to be otherwise he would simply shoot himself.” ― Arthur C. Clarke
Arguably, very arguably, life became more difficult for the new generation, didn’t it? The amount and variety of courses, diplomas, jobs is much higher when it used to be even recently. There is more people now as well. More choice did not lead to a better life.
Traditional types of employment are disappearing for various reasons and are replaced by new and unheard professions. Among this chaos we are told to pick a path we love and follow it.
How many university courses there are now compared to 20; 30 years ago? How many new professions? And how many people are unable to find a job?
We are told to study to further our lives and we realize we are in debt. Often, the tuition fees for all courses are similar, but the standard of lectures, organization, lecturing hours etc. are too disproportionate. University is a bit more business than a center for knowledge.
I understand the value of education… It is something you can not describe but something you feel…If you meet a person you know almost instantly whether he/she is educated or not… On the other hand, we are taught about the history, economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy; we engage in deep discussions about various cultural, political, social matters and sometimes it all seems like a sad joke.
Students are taught these deep (and interesting) things but for what? There are very few jobs in some fields… Even fewer placement opportunities. Sometimes I believe academics live in their own bubble, a perfect world that is not reachable to the majority of students…
“The past was gone and the future had yet to unfold, and he knew he should focus his life on the present…yet his day-to-day existence suddenly struck him as endless and unbearable.” ― Nicholas Sparks
Pessimistic? No, realistic… I see things what they are and that differentiates me. I understand what’s beyond that lecture, that quote, that idea. And should that make me happy?
Why would I be? False positivity is very dangerous. I don’t want to be blinded, naive and foolish…
“I can’t deceive myself that out of the bare stark realization that no matter how enthusiastic you are, no matter how sure that character is fate, nothing is real, past or future, when you are alone in your room with the clock ticking loudly into the false cheerful brilliance of the electric light. And if you have no past or future which, after all, is all that the present is made of, why then you may as well dispose of the empty shell of present and commit suicide.” ― Sylvia Plath
“We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favored heroes attain-not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” ― C.S. Lewis
Interestingly, I want to mention, that people with emotional suffering, well, I better be careful what I say next… Depression makes things ‘clearer’… It destroys the positivity and what’s left is the reality. Your mind is not ‘clouded’ by happiness, in a sense…
“You are constantly told in depression that your judgment is compromised, but a part of depression is that it touches cognition. That you are having a breakdown does not mean that your life isn’t a mess. If there are issues you have successfully skirted or avoided for years, they come cropping back up and stare you full in the face, and one aspect of depression is a deep knowledge that the comforting doctors who assure you that your judgment is bad are wrong. You are in touch with the real terribleness of your life. You can accept rationally that later, after the medication sets in, you will be better able to deal with the terribleness, but you will not be free of it. When you are depressed, the past and future are absorbed entirely by the present moment, as in the world of a three-year-old. You cannot remember a time when you felt better, at least not clearly; and you certainly cannot imagine a future time when you will feel better.” ― Andrew Solomon
But lack of hope and the sense of futility does not have to limited to those with mental distress. We shouldn’t discriminate anyone for their thoughts, emotions, feelings despite their personal circumstances, status, wealth etc.
To so many people the idea of rich, successful, famous people suffering from depression (and other things) is puzzling and baffling. I can understand that money, fame, success – all those things- might not necessarily buy you happiness and can leave you empty… On the other hand, it is much better to cry in a Lamborghini than in a Volkswagen Passat…
I will not analyze this idea further. All people can feel all emotions despite their personal status. A rich person can see no future just like a poor one sees his life as pointless.
I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. – Sylvia Plath
Sometimes futility can arise because there are too many opportunities; too many places to visit; too many skills to learn; too many experiences to experience… There is the constant lack of time to engage in the activities you want to do; lack of opportunities to develop your hobbies and skills; lack of choice; lack of money; lack of health…
“What’s the Future? It’s a blank sheet of paper, and we draw lines on it, but sometimes our hand is held, and the lines we draw aren’t the lines we wanted.” ― John Marsden
Maybe you feel like it’s too late? Maybe it is too late… You have rejected too many offers to socialize, to go out; you have turned down too many invitations; you made too few friends, if any; you procrastinated your work up to the point where you feel you already too far behind to start again; you missed too many classes, too many lectures; too little success and too much disappointment.
“At times it may seem as though you and your past are one. Sometimes we fail to differentiate between what has happened to us and who we are today. If you have a hard time getting beyond that damaging mind-set let me encourage you right now. You are not your past. Although you are changed and shaped by past experiences who you were yesterday does not control the person you have the potential to become tomorrow.” ― Sue Augustine
But how would I know? I’m just a young adult with no future just like the best of us. 🙂
I didn’t even know that there are people with their lives figured out; their professions ‘handed down’ to them… The rest of us are down here scavenging for clues, ideas and weak strengths that we could develop into something profitable and make a career out of it…
“A thousand years from now nobody is going to know that you or I ever lived. The cynic is right, but lazy. He says ‘You live, you die and nothing you do will ever make a difference.’ But as long as I live, I’m going to be like Beethoven and shake my fist at fate and try to do something for those who live here now and who knows how far into the future that will go. If I accomplish nothing more than making my arm sore, at least I will be satisfied that I have lived.”― Jackson Burnett
Giving up is not an option, no… It’s not a solution. I know that it is tough; there is so much going on you start to lose yourself and the sense of clarity about everything. It’s not that difficult to be defeated but consistency is one of the only things attainable to everyone.
Try to avoid apathy and futility. It’s not important whether it is too late and how would you know? Don’t stop whatever you want to do or what has to be done… If you wanna be an artist, don’t stop painting no matter how bad your art is. Similarly in all other professions, hobbies, talents.
If you stop, you’ll never know what would have happened.
The sense of futility can be temporary. It can pass.
“All people are either going into a storm, in the midst of a storm, or coming out of a storm” – Charles Stanley