Depression.
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19-11-2012, 03:17 AM
Depression.
I joined an atheist forum to discuss this one topic. I used to be religious. Even after I rejected my faith, until the very recent past I considered myself to be agnostic, but with a pretty heavy emphasis on the conceptualizing god part of that. I even went through a new age phase when I started taking hallucinogens, thought I was channeling spirits and having pre-cognitive experiences, astral voyaging, the whole bit. Though that shit really leaves me scratching my head sometimes, most of the time I'm willing to accept that I was probably delusional in some way. Who knows. But anyway, at this point in my life I can certainly say that my mind mostly runs on an atheist operating system...and it's hard. I've had trouble with depression all of my life, but the problems I face with an atheist perspective definitely trump everything else. You have no idea how comfortable the belief that you're going to live forever truly is. But really, I have no idea how to motivate myself to do anything, to find meaning in anything. I've become completely obsessed with the concept of death. It feels in my mind as if I already am dead. How can any event in anyone's life hold any sense of value; pain, happiness or otherwise, if it all ends in absolute nothingness? I talk to a lot of people about this, and their general reflex is to say something along the lines of that quote, "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW, what a ride!" which just sounds like rhetoric to me. When I die, all of those memories will not be preserved in any way shape or form. It's like saying you won a million dollars, and before you got to spend any of it you got robbed, and you go around saying, "well damn, at least that time when I had the million bucks was pretty cool!" The smile etched into your face when you're lying in your grave will literally mean nothing, because you'll be nothing. Whatever impact you've had on this earth will mean nothing, because it too will one day parish, and it will be as if it will never had existed in the first place.


[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Assuming there are some more experienced atheists in this forum, I'd appreciate any advice from those who struggle with this issue. I'm well aware of how cliche this question is, but it remains unresolved in my head anyway. Please help if you can.[/font]
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19-11-2012, 04:44 AM
RE: Depression.
The only real thing I could say, unfortunately, is something you've already refered to as "rhetoric".

In your psychological state, it's understandable that such words would have little impact. Being ok with a meaningless life by finding your OWN meaning takes a certain mindset, and I fear your depression may be preventing you from aquiring that mindset.

To that, I say, you must first seek to overcome the inherant depression before you can tackle the next problem: that of accepting and enjoying an otherwise "meaningless" life.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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19-11-2012, 05:07 AM
RE: Depression.
We have a depression/anxiety thread.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...Depression

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
I'm an agnostic. We cannot know if there really is a teapot orbiting the sun.
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19-11-2012, 03:02 PM
RE: Depression.
PTSD is a real issue for many people leaving a life of religion behind, and often manifests as clinical depression and/or general anxiety disorder. It's not really something that will "just go away" for many people. I'd recommend seeing a doctor for chemical help and a therapist for help with your thinking. But first, check the link that Bucky gave you. Lots of good stories and ideas that you might identify with there.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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19-11-2012, 03:41 PM
RE: Depression.
Can I suggest a different take on your "million dollars" analogy ?
Life isn't about stocking up memories for future use, it's about experiencing things right now. So alternatively, wouldn't it be a shame to win a million dollars, then regret not having spent it just before you die ?
If you've accepted that there's nothing after death, then that's the greatest reason for enjoying your life to the fullest.
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20-11-2012, 09:13 PM
RE: Depression.
(19-11-2012 03:02 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  PTSD is a real issue for many people leaving a life of religion behind, and often manifests as clinical depression and/or general anxiety disorder. It's not really something that will "just go away" for many people. I'd recommend seeing a doctor for chemical help and a therapist for help with your thinking. But first, check the link that Bucky gave you. Lots of good stories and ideas that you might identify with there.
Yeah, unfortunately I don't have expendable income or health insurance. I've heard cranial electrotherapy stimulation is pretty effective, I'm trying to save some money for that.
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20-11-2012, 09:25 PM
Depression.
(20-11-2012 09:13 PM)littlejssn Wrote:  
(19-11-2012 03:02 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  PTSD is a real issue for many people leaving a life of religion behind, and often manifests as clinical depression and/or general anxiety disorder. It's not really something that will "just go away" for many people. I'd recommend seeing a doctor for chemical help and a therapist for help with your thinking. But first, check the link that Bucky gave you. Lots of good stories and ideas that you might identify with there.
Yeah, unfortunately I don't have expendable income or health insurance. I've heard cranial electrotherapy stimulation is pretty effective, I'm trying to save some money for that.

I've been interested in that myself. I brought it up once with my shrink, but he seemed to think we should stick with the head meds a bit longer.

Maybe you don't want to do therapy, so this suggestion may not do anything for you. But, don't let money stop you from counseling. If you're anywhere near a school with a psych program, most of them have a free community clinic. I've done this both as a patient and as a counselor in training. In some ways, this can be a good setting because students are less jaded than someone in the field for a long time.

But if it's not your cup of tea, that's fine.

You'll find this place a good place to vent and rant and hopefully smile. Smile

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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22-11-2012, 04:12 PM
RE: Depression.
I said that in another thread (no clue where exactly anymore) and I'll write it for you again:

Humanity, just as every other living form, exists to keep existing. That is biologically the only goal the species as a whole has. So yes, your life is meaningless for that goal, your memories etc. And it is really difficult to come to realize that life ends and you will not be there anymore at some point. We have all been there, and it is a hard phase.

But you leave impact on the people around you, girlfriends, wife, children, grandchildren, friends, teachers, coworkers. You are on pictures and in forum postings. People talk about you, even if you don't realize that right now due to the depression.
So once you are dead there will still be your "footprints" around.

And another approach is, you do not mean nothing at all.
So when you are dead in your grave you become soil and food for the small animals, if you get cremated you turn into excess energy and that again will be consumed back into the universe and used in another way. You will not be gone, you will be transformed and be used in a new way.
Maybe I sound overly excited about it but it is a fact.

Alone the fact that we are stardust is so great. Did you know that the universe has all those chemical elements in certain amounts... so and so many percent water, so and so many percent helium etc etc. Humans have the exact same percentages, of all the elements that are in the universe, in them. (I read that somewhere, but I forgot where, sorry. If anyone knows where that was, please add the source).
That is such a great thing, how we find all that in us.

Yes, we are tiny and for the universe we are pretty irrelevant, but just look at how great it is, in all the chaos of the universe, a planet turns out to evolve and have living thinking, selfaware creatures on it. And that is us...
That alone gives me a boost sometimes.

And knowing that my time on earth is finite makes me enjoy every day just so much more because the next day it could all be over, and wouldn't it be a shame to not have tried and experienced as much as I can?

hang in there, it'll get better Smile
Leela

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04-02-2013, 11:54 PM
RE: Depression.
I already rarely get negative emotions, but I find that reading science books helps. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and a greater understanding of the workings of the universe. It gives you a new perspective, a sense of "truth" and beauty. It can also help you understand the processes involved in your own emotions.

Also, a recent study I read indicated that individuals who meditate have significantly reduced response to both physical and emotional pain. Might try meditation.
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05-02-2013, 04:30 AM
RE: Depression.
I have been pretty depressed first year when I totally lost my faith. If your atheism is 'new', then wait for it to settle. You might feel better after a while.
Also try distracting your mind from 'meanings' and 'purposes' and just enjoy the ride.

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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