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Old 07-31-2011, 06:28 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Long story short, I'm kind of experiencing a bit of post traumatic stress and am very depressed about Life and Existence in general, especially if the Atheists are right. The Atheists/Skeptics say they are perfectly cool with a meaningless Universe of Chance and there being nothing after Death, but as much as I try, I don't share their sentiment. Such a Universe seems so depressing I don't see the point of even living anymore, if it's gonna give me more pain. I don't know why I have to think of things so deeply, but that's how I'm wired.

I thought I would die at least three times in the past month (medical thing) but that hasn't eventuated (and hopefully won't) and that really tested my faith. As much as I professed/hope for what the Bible promised, when it came down to it, my fear that there is nothing on the other side kind of drowned that all out. My fear that perhaps it was just a cruel joke. And that's how I see it. If this is all there is, then I sincerely wish I was never born so I wouldn't just get a taste of life only for it to be snuffed out and taken away from me. I don't even care if I'm a 25 virgin or whatever anymore because face it, when you're dead, who gives two Moderator cut: inappropriate ?

I suppose this existential angst has led many to religion/spirituality, but apart from being raised a Christian I truly believe there is more, I don't just want it to be true, but I believe it's at least partly true. I believe life is more than the physical life we live on earth, and our purpose is greater than mere reproduction/self-perpetuation. I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through a similar 'crisis' (many, no doubt) and how they resolved it. Both believers (in whatever religion or philosophy) in the preternatural and staunch 'rationalists' who only believe what they experience or what science tells them.

Because for me it's like a deep depression, a bottomless pit that can't truly be cured by any anti-depressant. It's really getting to me and affecting my psychological health. I don't feel like getting another job or even living day to day. I'm not suicidal, am still afraid of death like most people, do find some pleasure in things, but in Light of the possibility it could all be for nought it seems so hollow. I pray to God to give me more faith and hope but that voice of doubt rarely completely goes away. I do have hope though.

Well if anyone bothers to read this, would be great to hear your feedback.

Last edited by june 7th; 07-31-2011 at 02:10 PM..
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
15,310 posts, read 10,345,088 times
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Well this is going to sound a bit 'hard' trimac but I feel that the saddest part of your post is your admission that you are not able to enjoy THIS life because you feel that there may not an 'afterlife'.

Life is something that passes you by as you're planning for the future

Last edited by Rafius; 07-31-2011 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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I originally wrote this over two years ago to help someone going through something similar.

Existential angst, even reaching to the level of depression, is common among deep thinkers. So, common, that there is even a great literary movement that goes by the name of existentialism with authors like Camus, and works like "Waiting for Godot" and "Rosencrats and Guildenstern are Dead". Perhaps it may give consolation to some that they are not alone in walking this path, for many have struggled with these same issues before them.

Sometimes it is useful to catergorize depression into two types: organic and situational. Organic depression would be caused by severe neuro-chemical implances and often result in psychomotor retardation, loss of energy nearly everyday for an extended period of time, and multiple depressive episodes throughout one's life. Situational depression, on the other hand, may only occur a few times within a person's lifetime, and usually accompany a series of life events (e.g., failures in an important life domain, repeated rejection and loneliness, a seemingly insurmountable problem, etc). Situational depression serves a purpose, it is to inform us that whatever we have been doing isn't working for us, and that we should slow down and re-prioritize our life and re-orient ourselves. Unlike frustration, which simply suggests that we should find another route to our goal; depression suggests that we perhaps give up on that goal and find another way to meet the underlying need our old goal was supposed to meet.

For example, I once knew a man who believed the only way he could feel successful and competent was to be a great salesman. The only problem was, he sucked at being a salesman. His failures led to frustruation and discouragement, but he was able to avoid depression as long as he could come up with a new pathway to use to approach his goal of being a great salesman. New pathways included: reading self-help books, attending seminars, talking to successful salesmen for advice, selling different products, trying new ways to attract customers, etc. But, when he had finally exhausted all the pathways he could think of and still experienced failure, he fell into a deep depression. The thing that finally freed him of his depression was realizing that he did not have to be a great salesman (goal) to feel successful and competent (underlying need). He could feel successful and competent by being a great employee and providing for his family with a steady paycheck. So, he re-goaled and found a new way to meet his underlying needs.

If you were my client, I'd have you first search for your underlying emotional needs. What do you most crave? To feel: wanted, appreciated, valued, understood, needed, cared for, cared about, important, competent, safe, prepared, worthy, etc? Once you have identified that, I'd help you brainstorm ways to get that need satisfied. All of our emotional needs can be satisfied by either ourselves or by other people. And if it is by other people, there are things we can do to elicit the responses we need from other people.

I'd end by sharing how I found my way out of existential angst. I realized that although my existence has no eternal or cosmic meaning or significance, my existence could have meaning and significance locally, in space and time to the people around me whose lives I touch and influence. My life matters to my wife and kids. If I committed suicide, it would deeply sadden them and disadvantage them in their lives. And I choose to care about their feelings. And although, they, like me, are nothing more than a contained chemical reaction and all the feelings they have are nothing more than a chemical reaction playing itself out, I am a homo sapien and I am content to do what homo sapiens do, care about the feelings of other homo sapiens, even while knowing my "caring" is just a chemical reaction itself. My wife and kids give my life meaning, locally in space and time, no matter how ephemeral. The human mind is the only thing capable of giving meaning and it is also the only thing that craves it. So, I get my need for meaning fulfilled by the only humans I'll ever know (my contemporaries). It would be convenient to be like the deer who have no need for meaning and blissfully live their lives without it. But, I am a human, so I will do what humans do: live my life, satisfy my needs, experience my emotions, and enjoy my fellow humans.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Philippines
461 posts, read 509,735 times
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Hitchhiking on Hueffenhardt:

Each of us is contained within a physical jar (e.g., body). Most of us are also imprisoned within a psychological jar, created partly by others and other external impeti, both certainly formed by our own individual selves.

As such, coupled with our own brand of religion and set of beliefs, we tend to see life as Us versus It. In other words, I am a poorly equipped stranger trying to cope in a completely hostile world, and with each passing day, things never get better--just worse and worse.

Did I sum up your emotions and thoughts fairly enough?

But let's turn this around a bit.

Life isn't something so much as being done to us as we are doing something to life.

Life is a blank whiteboard, and we are constantly writing on that whiteboard. Only a small percentage of what we are writing is really only for us; what we are writing is for others to see and read and maybe learn a thing or two.

We live for others. We exist for others. It is when we stop seeing ourselves as victims and rather as benefactors to others who also feel like victims that we see the real worth of life.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Long story short, I'm kind of experiencing a bit of post traumatic stress
How about telling us about the traumatic event that caused your stress.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:58 AM
 
2,319 posts, read 4,095,324 times
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I think you've gotten some good responses so far. I'll just tell you about me.

When I first began the process of leaving Christianity, I was disturbed by the idea of Jesus not being who everyone told me he was. (This has nothing to do with the OP so I'll move on.) After that, I began to question the existence of God. This really bothered me for a year or so. How could there not be a divine cosmic force who took care of everything? I kept reading and searching, and I finally came to the conclusion that it is unlikely that there is a god or divine force in the universe. There is no verifiable, testable evidence, and so, being a rational person, I finally had to say in all likelihood, there was no god.

About a year later, it hit me "Oh crap! When I die, when everyone I love dies, that's the end. It's over." This disturbed me for a long, long time. I mean, what's the point of anything? Well, I thought about and read about animals. You know, just dogs, cats, elephants, etc. These creatures, presumably, have no concept of these things. They live today. They do what makes them comfortable and happy. Chase balls, smell catnip, squirt water at each other.

I guess it's all just a simplistic view. Maybe too naive or immature, but I came to peace with the fact that all I have is today. I try to help others (volunteer work, chasing the neighbor's dog when he jumps the fence, walking some fresh garden veggies over to the elderly couple next door, etc.), and I try to make the lives of the people and creatures I love better. That's my purpose. I'm more focused on this life and making it better for those in it than I ever was as a religious person. It's ok that I only have today. I plan to try to make it a good day.

Last edited by peppermint; 07-31-2011 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
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"Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion."-Edward Abbey
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:46 AM
 
1,168 posts, read 1,074,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Long story short, I'm kind of experiencing a bit of post traumatic stress and am very depressed about Life and Existence in general, especially if the Atheists are right. The Atheists/Skeptics say they are perfectly cool with a meaningless Universe of Chance and there being nothing after Death, but as much as I try, I don't share their sentiment. Such a Universe seems so depressing I don't see the point of even living anymore, if it's gonna give me more pain. I don't know why I have to think of things so deeply, but that's how I'm wired.

I thought I would die at least three times in the past month (medical thing) but that hasn't eventuated (and hopefully won't) and that really tested my faith. As much as I professed/hope for what the Bible promised, when it came down to it, my fear that there is nothing on the other side kind of drowned that all out. My fear that perhaps it was just a cruel joke. And that's how I see it. If this is all there is, then I sincerely wish I was never born so I wouldn't just get a taste of life only for it to be snuffed out and taken away from me. I don't even care if I'm a 25 virgin or whatever anymore because face it, when you're dead, who gives two ****s?

I suppose this existential angst has led many to religion/spirituality, but apart from being raised a Christian I truly believe there is more, I don't just want it to be true, but I believe it's at least partly true. I believe life is more than the physical life we live on earth, and our purpose is greater than mere reproduction/self-perpetuation. I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through a similar 'crisis' (many, no doubt) and how they resolved it. Both believers (in whatever religion or philosophy) in the preternatural and staunch 'rationalists' who only believe what they experience or what science tells them.

Because for me it's like a deep depression, a bottomless pit that can't truly be cured by any anti-depressant. It's really getting to me and affecting my psychological health. I don't feel like getting another job or even living day to day. I'm not suicidal, am still afraid of death like most people, do find some pleasure in things, but in Light of the possibility it could all be for nought it seems so hollow. I pray to God to give me more faith and hope but that voice of doubt rarely completely goes away. I do have hope though.

Well if anyone bothers to read this, would be great to hear your feedback.

I believe...in some way, we are to complete something...as Jesus said.."Give onto God what belongs to God"...Might mean, something that was once upon a time, TAKEN WITH OUT PERMISSION...Now that leads us back to the Garden Principle...the EDEN Principle...Genesis..*2:15*, **9:3**, using Acts 3:21, and under order of Acts ***10:15***...in that Rev 17:17 is done when that is done sinlessly by the one or the many....

That seems to lead us into a different dimension...a harmonic state with nature....something this world order is missing...and or Destroying for profit and gains in more problems than solutions.

So the more who Grow all kinds of plants and do it sinlessly...the more Edens become a constant....the constant being **the Gardens** multiplication..and in that we produce helpers of the Garden....to keep it holy...and in good stwardship give, share, and care for the living things Good made good.

The idolic world order has forgotten about the Garden, and is hell bent on idolic and bent resource production to gain wealth...and by making detramental omittions, and pesticides being used...the system goes into chaos....and from this they derive the need for X (that is against the commandment of God)...at a high price...when if people would just plant more plants...and all kinds of plants...the need for X would diminish...for climatizing the planet would be done naturally...and freely...and sinlessness would abound more under a free lifestyle....if everyone has, there is no need to steel anything...if everything is shared, and well cared for..there are no enemies!...nature would embrace us as helpers...not destroyers!...as all life knows the preditor, and the ones who destroy their habitates...for they all have brains to think.

This Ideal Idol they impose in the idolic system X..by removing or prohibiting certain plants from being sown is in light of such a detramental act.
Making something God said was Good..into something bad..is not recommended....for who would know better than God on how things work, but the builder of it??....That is my Point of view....the matrix of this world is based on Plants....and that matrix should not be forgotten , and nothing should be omitted...if we want it to work in our favour.

So if God wants us sinless...then the 11 commandments are in place to help us become sinless enough....to put it back where it belongs....and because of the sinless part of us...we can then enter it....harmony!...Peace!!...health...happiness....e tc.
It can only be in such a way, that we respect them other living things, and start caring for them all...and in turn they will help us, help God.

That seems to be what the Bible is telling us God can provide abundantly...if we become like God and share, care, and help eachother....make Edens out of what is left of EDEN...it could spread into the heavens.....But because of SIN and EVIL being born under an IDOL of engraven images, God said not to make or have before him...Humankind is failing again...

So You have the choice...as they say free choice...if you go along with Rome...then you belong to Ceasar till the end of this world.

If you go along with Christ and God, you make Edens forever, even if they kill you...Rememeber Free Choice starts when you start ...
"Those who do the will of the Father, Shall enter Paradise"....a telling attribute of those who do...have a green thumb!

So it is up to your free choice...one leads to destruction of the planet (which we are now witness to the dead blood suckers)...that is the path they are all on...and then there is you and me and others....who question our place or our divinity...

As you state you know something is up....that is the path...mystery...and in a nutshell what this is all about....putting something back,,and leaving it alone....eating only the fruits and nuts and grains....not killing anything...and if we do take a life, we pray for it, and give thanks for it...If one has no sin...there is no need for sin offerings....

So remember these simple things...go out and sow seeds freely...be one with the natural estate for a change of pace...like signs attract...and the God of Eden, will come to take you away or walk with you in that estate...when the end comes....because once you solve for X and put it back where it belongs...You are awarded a crown of Glory....work towards that....and don't stop with one plant of tree...plant as many as you can...and in the end you have done what God asked we do...for that is why God made us in the first place.

SO in all you fulfill all...and put a fig tree in the ground for Jesus...as he wanted a fig but never got one.....go the extra mile.....that said...is there anything wrong with this ideal?....it not only helps us know Gods work...but it keeps it in toe....even if they destroy this planet with there stupidity...the word and will and those who helped God...will all be saved somewhere...to start over....that is the mystery we are coming to see....

So you cannot be part of something you had no hand in.
and as sin and evil cannot be sinless...they will not enter it...and cannot enter it....so it is with God...and Jesus to judge them and us...as sinless doers or evildoers....

THink about it...open your bible and read it again...knowing that Dandelions, Poppies, MariJuana, and other plants they tell you are unwanted...are part of the matrix God made Good....acts 10:15 says not to profane anything God made clean or Good...so we have to put it back eventually...and stop poisoning our produce....be sinless, and God will control the rest....But if sin and evil abound...then God will take away his hand...and turn against the lands where the evil spawn is brewing.

Witnesses we are!....I can see that, Can you?...So we are witness to something that is in error.....can we correct it?

The answer is in the Bible....once we do right by it, it cannot be undone.

Last edited by Sir Les; 07-31-2011 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:47 AM
 
Location: USA
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Sorry you're feeling this way Trimac ... I can absolutely relate.

When I went through a long period where I was most convinced that there was no god, I experienced much the same emotional state as you've described. People will scoff, perhaps, but what helped me most was reading Eckhart Tolle's book, "The Power of Now". Really, it just helped me to do what other people in this thread have already talked about ... learning to accept that the only thing I knew for sure that I have is the here and now. So when the depression and anxiety about all the existential stuff would start to overwhelm me, I quieted my thoughts by simply focusing on appreciating the moment I was in. That sort of "meditation" continues to be very helpful to me when depressive/anxious thoughts start to crowd in on me. This link on meditation for depression was helpful: Meditation and depression | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Beyond that, as to the questions of the existence of God, purpose in life, and an afterlife, as a life-long Christian I decided to accept that IF there was a God, there was only really one main thing that mattered about that God: Love (the 1 Cor. 13 description of it, in particular). The Christian Bible says God IS Love, and the other religious traditions that I read about may not have said that outright, but still there were core teachings in them that pointed to the vital importance of love. And, of course, my own experience pointed to that same thing. I decided IF there was a God, the surest way to experience that God was through love, and it seemed obvious that that God's purpose for humanity (and for me personally) would be love.

I still find myself skeptical about the existence of God (though less skeptical than I used to be), and really skeptical about there being an afterlife. But I'm never skeptical about the fact that love gives this life purpose. I've become more able to explore and discuss things relating to God without getting so angst-y about all the minutae of it, simply filtering everything through the principle of love, and with the purpose of becoming better at loving in the here and now rather than with the main emphasis always being on trying to figure out the answers to all the "big questions". That does wonders for my mental well-being.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:29 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Long story short, I'm kind of experiencing a bit of post traumatic stress and am very depressed about Life and Existence in general, especially if the Atheists are right. The Atheists/Skeptics say they are perfectly cool with a meaningless Universe of Chance and there being nothing after Death, but as much as I try, I don't share their sentiment.
No reason you have to, it's a free country. Although that you are trying to I suppose means you want to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Such a Universe seems so depressing I don't see the point of even living anymore, if it's gonna give me more pain. I don't know why I have to think of things so deeply, but that's how I'm wired.
Lots of people do this I guess.

Still I think people can find things of value even if they don't believe in meaning or afterlife. There's friendship, family, community, pleasure, etc. I find the atheist understanding to be rather flat and empty, hence my period of considering it ended quite strongly (I've said atheism is "dead to me" as an option and it is.), but I guess they don't see it the way I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I thought I would die at least three times in the past month (medical thing) but that hasn't eventuated (and hopefully won't) and that really tested my faith. As much as I professed/hope for what the Bible promised, when it came down to it, my fear that there is nothing on the other side kind of drowned that all out. My fear that perhaps it was just a cruel joke. And that's how I see it. If this is all there is, then I sincerely wish I was never born so I wouldn't just get a taste of life only for it to be snuffed out and taken away from me. I don't even care if I'm a 25 virgin or whatever anymore because face it, when you're dead, who gives two ****s?
This is a difficulty I had. Oddly the atheist thing that actually hit me the hardest was practically the simplest thing directed at a similar time in life. That being "Fine let's say it's all perfectly nice, why should it be real? You wanting something to be real, doesn't make it real in anything else." (The whole "The Bible is so old, Your people did the Inquisition" never had any influence on me.)

On top of it in my brush with death I saw...nothing. I didn't precisely believe in near-death-experiences, even then, but I think on some level I was maybe expecting something. I thought I was in Purgatory for a bit, but I was in a hospital bed and people remember me asking about that.

I'm not entirely sure how to explain it all, particularly at this hour. I guess in a way you could say I decided to make a "leap of faith." I want there to be "The Whole Truth." I want reality to be understandable to someone at some point, not just a trial-and-error "journey that goes on forever." I want to be more than an animal. I don't want our species to be alone. (Aliens don't solve that as the distances/differences mean communication is implausible even if they exist) I know "You want something that doesn't make it real" but I think my beliefs are defensible. I think they're the most likely even. Maybe they don't "have to be true", they're not simply logical truths that are inevitable, but I can live with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I suppose this existential angst has led many to religion/spirituality, but apart from being raised a Christian I truly believe there is more, I don't just want it to be true, but I believe it's at least partly true. I believe life is more than the physical life we live on earth, and our purpose is greater than mere reproduction/self-perpetuation. I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through a similar 'crisis' (many, no doubt) and how they resolved it. Both believers (in whatever religion or philosophy) in the preternatural and staunch 'rationalists' who only believe what they experience or what science tells them.
I guess I dealt with some of this above. You might read some existentialists, both Christian-existentialists and irreligious ones. Maybe try some Gabriel Marcel or Sartre or Jaspers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Because for me it's like a deep depression, a bottomless pit that can't truly be cured by any anti-depressant. It's really getting to me and affecting my psychological health. I don't feel like getting another job or even living day to day. I'm not suicidal, am still afraid of death like most people, do find some pleasure in things, but in Light of the possibility it could all be for nought it seems so hollow. I pray to God to give me more faith and hope but that voice of doubt rarely completely goes away. I do have hope though.

Well if anyone bothers to read this, would be great to hear your feedback.
I don't want to be overly judgmental, but think you might be letting yourself reflect on this a bit too much. When I went through a period somewhat like this I wasn't quite as locked in on it as you sound. And I'm a pretty isolated person in many ways.

Possibly you should try experiences more outside yourself. Talk to more people. Real people, face to face, and reflect on those experiences. I do much/most of my communication online, but it's not the same. Evolution or God or whatever I think we're designed to respond to faces, voices, touch. (By "touch" I don't mean sex as I'm celibate.) Maybe see if you can audit, or even take, a philosophy course or lecture series. Go out in nature, do volunteer work, stuff like all this.

This is not meant to be "ignore the problem and hope it goes away." I think sometimes though when you have an issue you occasionally need breaks or need confront it with more perspective. And maybe other people will teach you things you need.

Although to be honest I guess a big part of what helped me was just time. When you almost die things can kind of go in a flux for awhile. You don't necessarily just jump back in a few months like nothing happened or even have a dramatic "TV-style" cathartic meltdown that makes everything better. (I had a meltdown, but it did not make everything better. It helped some things, but in other areas it maybe made things worse for awhile) And maybe you'll never entirely be the same, I'm not. But it's okay now. I'm happy, I feel some of that connection to God again, etc.
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