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On Faith, Existential crises, And Other Bits

February 8, 2015

Author’s note: I’m an Agnostic-Atheist, I don’t know if there’s a god or if there isn’t, but I’m hedging my bets that there’s not. I also incorporate Norse philosophy into my life and believe the universe demands balance. So there’s that. Anyway, enjoy the show.

I was in the shower just now when I had this thread of thought running through my head and it had been building for awhile now. Basically it’s thus: I’ve had a crisis of faith and not in the godly sense where I go, ‘I’ve lost faith in you,’ but in the sense I’d lost faith in myself. I questioned my decisions, the decisions of others, and just generally fell into this cynical mass of rejection. This had been going on for quite some time with the self-deprecating humor that bordered on flagellation for imagined crimes against everyone. Was I annoying? Did they hate me? Why don’t girls like me? Guess I made annoyed them all away and I’m a scumbag.

Truthfully this still happens, but I took it to the extreme at one point and with the added stress of feeling burned out I collapsed. My whole belief system was decimated before my eyes and I lost sight of who I was an who I wanted to be. I don’t think they ever tell you this stuff when you’re a child that, yeah, you might crack under too much pressure. For me the pressure was growing up and admitting to myself that I could no longer enjoy the things in my life the same way again. You’re expected to get a job by such and such an age or you’re a failure and you need to be married by this point in your life an have children because that’s the way things are!

And since none of those things have happened or seemed likely…well, I just internalized it all and turned it against me: I’m a failure, I should be ashamed of myself for being such a failure, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you find someone? You’re the chewing gum scraped off someone’s shoe, that’s who you are and that’s all you’ll ever be. It’s hard to live with those kind of thoughts, but that’s what happened and in 2008 I folded, and how! I cried every day, I couldn’t get motivated to do anything. There were glimmers where the old me would show up and remind everyone of who I used to be, but that was short-lived and it was back to the crying. Back to the shame, to the humiliation that is my life.

It’s only now that the faith for myself is somewhat restored and I’m finding my footing again. But the old doubts are still silkily whispering in my head, ‘What happens if you succeed? People will want more of you and expect more of you. Can you handle that?’ And so it goes. But this time I’m stronger. I think. Yeah, there’s days where I sink back into self-pity, as my previous entry shows. However, the point is coming where I’m not afraid of this anymore. I can’t be. I’ve really let fear run my whole life. I can’t get on rollercoasters because I’m afraid, I can’t get on a plane because I’m afraid to fly and that requires putting a lot of faith in a person to get you from point A to B, and I’m afraid of women because women are fucking terrifying sometimes—especially once you give a shit.

The thing about depression and anxiety is that not only is it a master at self-perpetuating, but it’s also great at destroying any kind of faith a person has be it in a deity, their lives, themselves, it’s a fucking master. It will knock you down, chew up your sanity, and spit it back out to the point you’re not even sure what is you anymore. Is the depression and anxiety the lie or were you always the lie and this is just how you really are? Trust me: the depression and anxiety’s the lie. It’s always the lie. But that’s the funny thing about lies: we can easily believe them if they’re good enough and they’re so hard to let go.

That’s the real trick to getting over this, though, you need to have enough faith in yourself to know what’s the lie and what isn’t. For those that find that lacking there’s pills and therapy. For me, talk therapy and getting the fuck outside are good enough checks on this feeling. Some days it’s hard, though, some days I’d love nothing more than to just play games and watch movies, but I know that won’t help me. In the long run I’m finding it’s best just to confront the anxiety and whether I succeed in fighting it or fail at doing so…at least I did it and it restores some of that lost faith in me little by little

I also know myself better than I did when I was younger and slightly dumber. So that helps restore FIDoism a little bit. Pretty soon I might actually be a real boy. I don’t know why I’ve endured all of this and why I’m still here when by all rights I probably would’ve killed myself a long time ago, but I’m not ready to die. True, I don’t know my purpose in life right now and that doesn’t even matter, either. I don’t know if I’m meant to write a great novel or become a teacher and spread knowledge, but again: that doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride now and see where it takes me.

I spent so many years just worrying about this and that and I’m tired of it. I’ll still do it occasionally, but I’m getting better at recognizing when it’s happening and realizing it’s all bullshit. I felt on the verge of a panic attack on Friday and honestly, I couldn’t even muster the requisite anxiety for it so I just let it wash over me like water on a duck then it went away. That’s how most anxiety has been this last month and a half.

If you are going through anything I described the best I can give is go to therapy and be patient. It will go away and you will get through it and you can’t be totally afraid to fall short of your expectations sometimes. Oh, and giving up on the bullshit. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end once you start trusting yourself.

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