My Existential Crisis

I have been on a steady stream of writings about death, but I’m going to make a slight detour today; mix it up a little. Death and depression go hand-in-hand for me, so this shouldn’t be too sudden of a transition. My grandmother’s recent death shook me up a lot more than I expected it to. On the heels of the five year anniversary of my mom’s passing, it brought to the surface a plethora old thoughts and feelings that I believed I had control over. Needless to say, it’s been a struggle for me to deal with all of those feelings surfacing again. I’ve found myself depressed and experiencing tremendous unfounded negativity and anxiety — my head running away with itself; conjuring up completely irrational fears. I’ve taken two sick days from work this week, just to try to get my head on straight again. I literally cried for three hours one day for no rational reason other than I felt like shit. Depression is a mental and emotional nightmare that if left unchecked, will manifest itself in physical symptoms ranging from merely annoying to completely debilitating … and they can potentially come and go as they please. I’ve been lazy and careless; I’ve been taking care of my body, but neglecting my mind.

In the midst of this internal whirlwind, I felt compelled to open up my unread copy of Maslow’s Toward a Psychology of Being. I am a firm believer that the things I need always find me when the time is right. This quote found me:

It seems quite clear that personality problems may sometimes be loud protests against the crushing of one’s psychological bones, of one’s true inner nature. What is sick then is not to protest while this crime is being committed. And I am sorry to report my impression that most people do not protest under such treatment. They take it and pay years later, in neurotic and psychosomatic symptoms of various kinds, or perhaps in some cases never become aware that they are sick, that they have missed true happiness, true fulfillment of promise, a rich emotional life, and a serene, fruitful old age, that they have never known how wonderful it is to be creative, to react aesthetically, to find life thrilling.

Good gawd. Have I been neglecting my inner nature far too long? It makes perfect sense. I’m stuck in the rat race. Stuck. I went for a long run today with no headphones, and as I pushed onward with my body, my mind moved forward also — I feel utterly, completely, ridiculously passionless. Purposeless. I have reached an existential stand still. 

No wonder I’ve been depressed. I had multiple experiences in a very short time period scream at me, “Life is short!! Get on with it!!!” I have been doing everything in my power to get outside, to the desert, to the mountains, to sleep in a tent, to climb a peak, to run a trail; but that doesn’t take care of the daily grind. And it certainly doesn’t give me purpose. Nature is my drug — I feel good when I’m there, but when I’m home, the high wears off and I find myself back in my suburban pit of despair, feeling like life really has no meaning. I often say that it’s a freeing — to have no purpose in life except to experience happiness absolves us of much responsibility, but not having passion for what we do with ourselves might just negate that freedom, squashing what good comes of it by offering a reminder that we as humans have a desire, a need, to be wanted, to serve a purpose, to have passion. I need a fire lit under my ass. I need to care deeply about something outside of myself, and I need to do it every day.

I have much to think about now. There is work to be done. I must find my passion.