A short background: diagnosed depressed in 6th grade, bipolar in college after my first psych ward visit, many, visits since and most recently ECT as we begin last-resort treatments.
Over the past two years I’ve been living off savings at my parents house after a failed career, working on music and poetry and trying to figure myself out. I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness: no hope, no despair, but that nothing has any intrinsic meaning or value. Date a girl and she really likes you? Great, you still feel just as empty. Perform a well received concert? Great, still feels empty. Your car blows up and now you are confined to a few miles around your house? Great, still feels empty.
I’ve been talking about this with many doctors, who seem to keep reaffirming to me to “not give up hope,” but it doesn’t really feel like I’m despondent or depressed, it just feels like there’s NOTHING. I kind of laugh sometimes because there’s no reason to do anything, or not, either way, doesn’t matter.
I have no interests or desires anymore, after putting out two albums this year, playing roughly 200 open mics and writing lots of poetry. I just don’t see a reason to do anything anymore. I don’t want to date, I have no ambitions to be a big musician or have a career or house or wife or kids. And if things get worse and I go bankrupt and live at a homeless shelter, that’s fine too. It really is.
I realize this viewpoint is pretty nutty, borderline depressive. I’m just not sure how to correct it, that is, actually care about something, or if its somehow a phase (been going on at least 2 years now), or if I’ve somehow given up on life?
It isn’t nutty. Because I completely understand, and feel it too. I’ll engage in things, I’ll play games and have fun and accomplish things and what not, but there is always that constant background emptiness. It just doesn’t go away, and it can be depressing, however I just decided to see it as a gift. A gift, because things don’t phase me. I mean, I still have emotions, but situations and circumstances don’t change the way I live or the overall way I feel. I don’t feel attached, at all. almost completely disconnected. I really don’t care where I end up. I always tell people how I wouldn’t mind being homeless and broke. I just don’t see the difference between rags and riches, because no matter which I fall into there will always be that emptiness. So basically what I do with my spare time is just walk around town for miles by myself, and just find places to sit down, and just be. I don’t need to constantly progress. And it is kind of true that everything is empty, from a quantum physics perspective. But yeah, no desires, no ambition, not much connection, just existing. Even though i’m having a hard time putting it into words, I understand you one hundred percent. Read up as much as you can on Buddhism and Daoism, try to forget about psychiatry. Explore different spiritual disciplines. I always have these moment where I convince myself that i’m depressed, but I know I’m not. I’m just content. And in a world full of discontented people, that looks depressing. Monks would love people like us. We’d already be masters of non-attachment.
But yeah dude, I just want you to know that I can relate to everything you said. And I’m serious about that.
Thanks, its very relieving to hear someone who feels the same sense of detachment. I’ve had the whole “Hey, why don’t I just live in a homeless shelter” thought too, partly out of boredom, just a new experience, as messed up as that sounds.
I’ve been reflecting some more and I think this mind state (which I’ve been in many times before that I assumed was depression), is just one of complete non-attachment and feeling “empty.” I think (if the past is any indication), I’ll eventually find something to get obsessed over and throw myself into it for awhile to distract myself from things, only to return to the emptiness. Buddha, you silly, silly fool.
I don’t know if you just had a need to express yourself to the world or you’re exactly feeling this way all the time. I’m also a musician and get in those states sometimes, but I’ve also quit my psychology studies to live for the music, only because the entire mental health establishment is a business that feeds on the normal states we get into. in the most hypocritical way too. I don’t give a shit I skipped school and now live in a music studio, at least I’m not feeling empty anymore. I’m also not a rolling stone. I realized that without music and following a psychology profession I’d drink a lot, probably get really fat and especially become dull and empty.
I suggest to not stop exploring and seeing for yourself how full of shit the actual mental health business is. If I could go back and see the same fat alcoholic faces I’d desire to hurt them physically. It was something that kept me away from music for a dangerously long time so ironically I stopped feeding them for an imaginary tuition for my own health. Can I hear your music?
Sometimes I feel the same way. I feel that life has no meaning and everything is pointless. I know what it feels like to think nothing matters and giving up on life. The only advice I can give you is to find a purpose, since you don’t seem interested in money, maybe you can try helping people or join an NGO or something.
This might give you something to care about.
i will be back to read all of the comments.. i make music myself.. good for you… you my friend HAVE THE POWER TO INFLUENCE THE WORLD TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEMSELVES N PROMOTE HAPPINESS… YOU ARE CAPABLE OF HAPPINESS… LOVE IS ALWAYS AROUIND US IT CONNECTS US IT ISNT JUST A THOUGHT ITS THE HARMONY OF OUR MINDS IN UNICEN…. THE PILLS THEY PUT YOU ON CAN PERMANENTLY DAMAGE YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY… MEDITATION NUTRITION AND EXCERCISE MY FRIEND HELP YOU RECOVER… TRUST ME… I DO PSYCHEDELICS… PSYCHEDELICS THERAPY IS HUGE AS WELL… I HAVE SEEN THE HIGHEST HIGh, AND THE LOWEST LOW…. STAY ON THAT HIGH ROAD MY FRIEND.. ITS WORTH PUTTING A SMILE ON YOUR FACE(: AND SPREADING THE SMILES(: for real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and actually thats really big of you to say you have no ambitions… you my friend are deeply in tune.. you dont idealize about a future that you dont have.. you are living in the present!!!! you dont need fame!!!! you dont need to have an image of your future self with a beautiful wife n house! but it is our instinct to reproduce.. i want to hear your albums! i make music my friend very seriously one love
depression and bipolar disease… you cannot prove those to me.. ill give a bunch of money to whomever can prove said mental diseases… the pills they give people are the fucking addiction/disease/brainwash… its normal to be sad, then happy,, happiness is underneath us and when you are unhappy, thats just how it is! you have to take the steps to getting to that state of happinesss through action and thought.. not pawning your sadness off on a lab synthesized fucking dopaminic and seratonic tampering chemical.. jesus christ america. Jesus Christ
Some of us are just different. I’m just like you: disconnected, emotional and wanting nothing. I often long to hide in the woods away from folks. I’m an artist and musician. That’s how we are made. I’m a songwriter and a poet. I cry often and laugh hard.
My logical emotionally in control bf is my total opposite. He is not a musician, he is not creative. He’s a logical thinker and always the same. His life seems way easier than mine, although, uneventful and boring.
Embrace your mind.
Focus on love.
Live how you choose.
You’re manic moment is brewing, no worries.
SMiles to you…
I find people have trouble separating themselves from their thoughts and feelings, they are evolved traits that serve a function but they are not the core of your being, the mistake is in not keeping them in perspective as tools with a function designed to help you, so can you see how you have allowed thoughts and feelings off their leash? That they are controlling you not serving you? It is a matter of will but it is also a matter of time to retrain, it just takes discipline to will and awareness to recognise when you need to apply that will.
I completely agree and understand, I’ve been dealing with my own depression (and maybe bipolar II) for several years, and your ’emptiness’ is exactly how I would describe my own feelings with depression. I’d say one of the causes is ennui (as several other commenters are saying) but that finding a purpose isn’t necessarily the solution (though I would encourage you to entertain the idea of ‘Altru-Hedonism’, the pursuit of your own pleasure through selflessly helping others).
What’s made the biggest difference for me, is learning to accept and be content. Even though I still feel empty in life, when I think about it, I choose to enjoy myself anyways and disregard the emptiness (easier said than done, and some days much harder than others). It’s a matter of positive thinking, and enjoying everything to the fullest, even if it’s insignificant. My favorite little saying (for lack of a better term for it); “The little things in life aren’t little”. This applies to everything… The positive and the negative; you have the power to be happy, and spread happiness, through the smallest of actions (and to breed hate, sadness, out even emptiness through careless thoughts or actions).
I’m not sure if that makes sense or would help you, but it’s done wonders for me :) peace