What Happened When I Quit Coffee? (Everything Fell Apart)

I think most people are too afraid to tell you what I am about to report.

I don’t know why I am back here writing another confessional blog post. These blog posts don’t mean anything. They just fill the stomach of this gluttonous beast called The World Wide Web and make a few people a lot of money while us content generators get nothing but mediocrity and marginalization.

But really, I have nothing better to do. I am frustrated and maybe even a bit depressed and writing has always been how I process these feelings. You should see the stuff I don’t publicly share.

Two months ago, I gave up coffee. After three difficult days in bed with flu like feelings, I was free of the drug. I love coffee. My favorite time of the day was waking early, making a cup of coffee and then reading while listening to records. Coffee brought a feeling of euphoria and interest into my mornings. Most of my life I was miserable in mornings, but once I began drinking coffee, mornings became the time of day I looked forward to most.

Then I had to quit drinking coffee. In summary, here is what happened:

I was working a lot and thinking too much. I started a new business while running a full-time private psychotherapy practice. I am not a business person so all of this felt very unnatural to me. Obviously, I got run down. After three years without being sick, I came down with the flu. The flu turned into a bad case of shingles. After four weeks of having shingles, I thankfully healed without taking any medication. I rested a lot. Doctors where stunned I healed so fast without taking medication but I felt the ravages of shingles on my body. I felt weaker than I have ever felt in my life. Vulnerable. I would ride my bike or walk and feel like I could pass out. My anxiety kicked in. I started having anxiety attacks again. I was almost incapacitated. And as a result, I had to quit drinking coffee.

And because of all of this, my favorite time of day became the most miserable time of day for me. Few things are more difficult than being denied the thing you love most. In fact, all the times in the day became miserable. Life became one long unbreakable spell of monotony and banality with a bunch of never-know-when-they-will-happen-anxiety-attacks sprinkled in. I was happy to be free from the terrible wrath of shingles, but life with anxiety and without coffee was (and still is) difficult to adjust to.

This morning, once again, I woke up in a bad mood. Toward the end of the work week (Thursday), this is how I usually feel in the mornings. I am done with dealing with people. I have had enough of the whole racquet that goes into making a living. I am burned out on playing the game. I’ve had enough and don’t want to play anymore.

As I sat on my couch with a cup of hot water in my hand, this feeling of dread and hopelessness flooded my insides. I thought about the day ahead and dreaded having to go through it all again. Normally coffee would come to my rescue when I found myself in this predicament. Coffee would add a feeling (the high) of euphoria, excitement, energy and interest into the darkened penetralias of my soul. It would give me that push I needed to roll that Sisyphean boulder up the hill yet again. But now without coffee, I just didn’t want to do it. The climb felt too hard. I felt too uninterested and worn out. The hot water in my coffee cup wasn’t cutting it. Everything felt mundane and banal. Life a continual repetition of the same fucking things. Without any coffee to push me through these feelings, I fell into despair.

In that moment everything felt dull, monotonous and uninspired. My marriage. My work. My hobbies. My sex life. My intellectual life. All of it dull and monotonous. I didn’t want to do anything but sit there on the couch and not move. Watering my garden, meditating, reading a book- all of it, dull.

Is there anyone who experiences deep passion and interest in the things that make up their life moment after moment, day after day? Are there people who are almost always passionate and engaged in their lives? Does this really exist in reality or is it an unreal standard that has been created to keep us all trying to achieve it? I have a feeling it is just a myth, but still it bothers me when my life feels so monotonous, banal, passionless and without any genuine interest. Something in me feels like life should not feel like this but maybe this is how life just is. Maybe the American power structure that we all live under is what creates this kind of mundane, banal, monotonous, ordinary, law abiding life we all exist within. We are all continually trying to escape from how shitty it feels and this is the very thing that keeps the gears of power and capitalism churning.

We use booze, coffee, computers, sex, smartphones, TV, food- anything we can get our hands on to help us climb out from the reality of our existence within this system. We are continually trying to change the channel to a better station (I know I am). The coffee and booze (our most popular and most destigmatized drugs) help us to become more interested in things which would normally feel very dull and mundane. These drugs help us to feel passion again, in a life which has become passionless. We need our drugs, our drama and our smartphones to bring some stimulation into our lives or else things feel dull all the time. I mean common, the moment things feel dull or drama free, the most common thing for people to do is reach for their phones.

Familiarity breeds contempt. No matter how wonderful your life is. No matter how great of a job you have. No matter how cool your partner is. If you see it or them in the same way every single day, you will start to hate it or them. Oh, but you should be grateful for the things you have. What bullshit. This sentiment just causes people to feel worse about themselves. I should feel grateful when I am miserable is like asking someone to feel grateful when they are stuck cleaning someone else’s filthy house. Possibly, the reason you are miserable, is because of the routine, the repetition, the lack of real interest, the mundane nature of capital driven life within the system we all live in. Just going through the motions day after day. The struggle to survive. Doesn’t matter how many wonderful things you have around you- if you are around them every day you will feel contempt towards it. This is why we love our phones so much. Every time we pick them up there is something new and different waiting for us. Why do you think social media is so deeply addicting? There is always something new going on.

In a sense, coffee would provide me with a new feeling every morning. It would help interrupt the feelings of banality, monotony, dullness, lack of interest, which are all a result of the system in which I live. Everyone is trying to out run these feelings all the time. What a recipe for disaster. Coffee would provide me with a feeling of happiness, stimulation, engagement and hope. Trust me, we live in a culture where almost every business, idea, building, book, movie, album and on and on was created because of coffee. America is a culture built on coffee. You are probably needing coffee just to read this right now. Without coffee most of this shit would have never been done because things would just feel too isolated and dull.

And this brings me back to where I was this morning. Not wanting to do a fucking thing. Just mired in the misery that has become our dull, collective lives. Not wanting to play the game anymore. Sick of the routine and without coffee to push me forward into enthusiastic willingness. I was expressing all of this to my wife who was sitting the chair next to me (lucky her), drinking her morning cup of coffee. She listened and added a few thoughts of her own. Her perspective was frustrating me. She couldn’t possibly understand as she drank her morning coffee. So, I sat up and asked her if I could have some of her coffee. Enough was enough. I drank half her cup and now here I am anxious, a bit more excited, slightly interested and as a result, writing this.

 

 

Advertisements

I Am No One

I am no one. Unlike most other humans, I do not identify as any one particular individual who is separate from other things and people. I am one with everything. Your consciousness and my consciousness is the same thing. The only difference between us is these characters that we are all playing inside our heads.

For a long time I was someone and man that was miserable. Throughout my life I have had many different identities or personalities. Ben the professional tennis player. Ben the failed professional tennis player. Ben the architect. Ben the anarchist revolutionary. Ben the artist and writer. Ben the recluse and introvert. Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben……. What a bunch of bushtit that was.

Why bushtit? Because all those identities or personalities I was identified with did not really exist. Where are they now? Where did they go? What does the tree or the bird care about Ben the architect? What about all those personalities that existed two hundred years ago? Where did they go? These identities are just dreams of our imaginations. As my professor at UC Berkeley once pointed out, “Ben all of your opinions and beliefs only exist within your head, they have no separate existence outside your head. That sky up there could care less about what you think.”

I realize that our personalities or identities do have a social function. They make it easier for us to identify one another and to have things sold to us. Many believe that our separate identities (our ego) are the lungs of capitalism. In order for capitalism to breathe, we all need to purchase these identities that feel unique to us. But it is all a bunch of bushtit.

Being no one is quite wonderful. When you are no one there is no one to bother. I realize that few around me understand so I let them think that I am somebody. I want others to do what they want and unlike the actor Jim Carrey, I have little need to push my agenda or experience on anyone else. I am only writing this because, well……I want to.

You see being no one (not identified with being a specific character in my head) gives me a lot of time and freedom. I no longer have to be caught up in the very time consuming struggle of needing to be someone. I am free to just exist, to enjoy the moment, to not need to strive to be anything more than what I am now. No One. When you are no one, there really is nothing to get done. I mean sure I still clean my house, care for my garden, read books, go to work, listen to music, dress well (I enjoy wearing nice suits everyday) but I am not doing these things to be somebody in the future. I am doing them because I enjoy it in the moment. These various tasks that compose a life well lived bring me pleasure. When I was trying to be somebody, I was always trying to get someplace else and as a result was not able to enjoy these smaller aspects of my life. Now the smaller aspects of my life mean everything.

A person is only irritated being where they are at if they want to be someplace else. If a person has no desire to be someplace else there is the absence of irritation. Ever since I became no one, I have only wanted to be right where I am.

You may be wondering how I became no one? It took a lot of time. Ben the tennis player, Ben the architect, Ben the writer and artist, Ben the failure, Ben the anarchist- these identities did not go away easily. I felt like I needed to be somebody in order to live the life I wanted to live. How wrong I was! I didn’t get that it is impossible to live “a good life,” as long as you are trying to get someplace else. The Ego is never satisfied. It always wants more. It is never happy where it is at and it does not want to give up its pursuit of being somebody. It is relentless and caused me a great deal of unhappiness. Over time and lots of hardship, I was finally able to let my Ego go and become no one. It still comes back from time to time, but I notice it and send it on its way.

I have no place I want to be more than right here. Nothing I have to do. Nothing more I need to achieve. Everything feels full right now. I am free to live my life as it is in this moment without looking to the future. Once you become no one, the future is just a dream that you wake up from.

It can be tough at times because society demands that you be someone. People don’t know what to do with no one. It just makes everyone nervous. People need me to be Ben the architect in order to hold on to something. Fine. I let them do that but once you become no one, none of this matters because who are they doing it to? Society and all these people who put you in boxes, judge you, label you, demand things of you, force you to be someone you are not can not get to you once you are no one because there is no one there to get to! So I let people do their thing, because I am no thing.

It really is quite a wonderful space to dwell in, and even though the outside world is going mad because of their egoic identifications and never ending strivings to be someone, it’s ok. It is just that way things are. Doesn’t bother me since I am no one.

Eventually everyone gets the point. The unfortunate thing is that most don’t get to enjoy the point because they are unable to separate themselves from their ego until they are dead.

Suburban Silence, Part One.

 

I don’t ever talk about it. No one knows I feel this way. They can’t understand. They don’t want to understand. They see the world the way they want to see it. To them I am just a twenty-seven-year-old fuck up.

I know they think I am a loner. I hate that they think this way about me. I want to have deep connections with other people. I want friends but I am picky about who my friends are so I end up with no friends. I know this may sound snobby, but I don’t go in on friends if I do not think they are worth it. I just cannot do the superficial friends thing. I can’t have friends that I only talk with occasionally. I know some people are recharged and energized by this but not I. I want my interactions to be deep.

I like people who have personalities that I can mesh with. Low key personalities is what I gravitate towards. I just can’t make friends with people who are loud and obnoxious. Most people tend to be this way so it is hard. I need friends who can talk about things that I like to talk about. I can’t just talk about the weather and superficial things. I know extroverts can do this but I can’t.

I don’t just talk to random people, but when I do they never fit my criteria. So I end up with no friends.

Sometimes I will make friends because I do not want to hurt the other person’s feelings but deep down I am not feeling it. I know that this is not the kind of person I want to be friends with.

I don’t know. I want to have people to connect with at a deeper level but I don’t go by myself to the places these people hang out. Feels too risky for me. I know I should push through this. I know I should just suck it up and go but I don’t. Being so scared and selective severely lessens the odds of me meeting people. I want to meet other people but I am so scared and selective that I don’t try.

If people initiate with me, if they start talking to me, I will talk their ear off. I am not able to initiate, which statistically lowers my ability to have friends. People who are able to initiate conversations with random people, have a lot more friends and fun experiences. This is an ability or skill I just don’t have.

To initiate feels morally wrong to me, even though it would probably be in my best interests to try and initiate more. But it feels like I would be being someone who I am not. But because I am not willing to be something I am not, I end up not getting the results I would like to have.

I feel so angry about this. I have to be something that I am not in order to get someplace that would benefit me. I want the benefits but I do not want to be something that I am not. I would prefer to be able to get these benefits by just being myself.

It makes me so angry.

I guess, I guess that if you are already the kind of person who is a sell-out it doesn’t matter so much but I do not want to have to become a sell-out to get what would be good for me. Yes, I want all the things that come from being a sell-out, but once you become a sell-out you can’t come back from it. You end up losing all your time and are always worried about work.

I don’t want to end up this way. They don’t understand this about me. It is not that I am lazy and a loner. There is much more to it than this.

I want to be able to maintain whatever sense of self that I have left. Maybe I am asking too much? Maybe I am not being realistic?

I know it is possible to work a job and still maintain a sense of self but I often feel like it is one or the other for me. Where would I get the energy to do both? I don’t know if I could personally do it without a specific kind of discipline. I’ve never been able to be disciplined. It is possible to do everything that is asked of you and maintain your sense of self but I just don’t know where all this energy would come from. But it could happen. I would have to be in the right mindset to make it happen.

I am just really scared of becoming that kind of person who says that they do not want to do something but they are going to do it anyways because they have to. I can do this. I can become this kind of person but I feel like once I do there will be no turning back. If I get to this point I will just be mad and pissed off all the time. It feels imprisoning. No time to do what you want because all your time is spent around work. I will end up mad all the time.

Living Wrong

I hate cobwebs. I don’t like seeing them in the corners of my house or on my things. When I see them I will try and annihilate them.

This Person whom I am writing about does not do anything about the cobwebs. This Person lets the cobwebs grow everywhere, either not seeing them or not caring about them. Maybe This Person just expects someone else to take care of the hard work. This Person would let his/her entire house become one large cobweb and then maybe This Person might act to get rid of the cobwebs. But not before.

This Person is many people. Maybe you know This Person or someone like This Person. A person, who in your mind, is living wrong.

Obviously, This Person would disagree with all that I am writing here because the only way that This Person can remain This Person is through a continual defensive reflex. If they were not always defending themselves, they would have to change.

This person seems not to care about refining any sensibilities. Intellectual, aesthetic, environmental, political. Developing any or all of these sensibilities does not seem to appeal to This Person. Developing sensibilities takes hard work. A person has to remain curious and continually seek out challenging information and knowledge. They have to continually put themselves in uncomfortable situations. This Person prefers easy entertainment, comfort and simple distractions. Things that do not ask too much of them.

The artist Chuck Close said, “Whenever you reach a fork in the road, take the most difficult route because everybody else is going to be taking the easy route.” This Person always takes the easier route, thus never really distinguishing themselves in any one thing.

This Person is content being ok at things. Not bad, not great. Just ok. This Person does what they need to do to be good or ok at things and nothing more. This Person does not like hard work. This Person starts many things but struggles to stay engaged if it is too hard. Like I said This Person prefers what is easy. Simple distractions, sleep, hanging out, work if they must, doing what others force them to do but what they would rather not do (clean house, pay bills, clean car, take care of themselves, etc…)

This Person is not that driven to do much unless it is easy. This Person prefers to do the bare minimum to get by. They will work but not more than necessary. Sometimes they will have a burst of energy and get really into something, but it will not last unless the something is easy.

I can not help but think this is living wrong. In my mind it is important to excel at things. It is important to work hard at things that interest you. It is important to cultivate sensibilities and challenge yourself. It is important to develop your intellect. To put yourself in situations where you have to continually push yourself to do what is not easy. This is what it means to thrive.

Humans are like slabs of stone. As we grow we carve away at these stones creating shape and texture. Most people’s stones look ugly, lazy, basic and very unfinished. Most stones all look the same in this way. For most people carving the stone is just too hard and they give up, barely working on it anymore past the age of 45. A lot of people expect other people to carve their stone for them. They don’t want to do the work. To have a stone that looks distinguished, unique, one of a kind and has a beautiful shape- takes continual effort. You have to work hard on it for a bit everyday.

Even if it means maintaining a beautiful living environment. It is important to continually keep things in their right place. To not grow lazy with the care of your home. Once you let your home go and become comfortable with cobwebs everywhere, how can a person excel at anything in life? A person’s living environment and the care they take of it determines the degree to which they will be able to live right.

If This Person has the ways they are living all wrong pointed out to them they become immediately defensive and withdraw further into incapacitation. If you point out to This Person that they do not exercise, that they would benefit from being more physically active- this person will withdraw into more sedentariness. If you point out to This Person that they should challenge themselves more intellectually, they will read less intellectually challenging things. It is an unconscious and reflexive behavior.

Pointing out to This Person how they are living wrong is a battle that can not be won. All a person can do is accept that This Person is just not interested much in pushing themselves right now, in refining themselves, in differentiating themselves from the mass of people who take the easier route. A person can just pick up the slack where they can, continue to take the harder route within themselves and not worry about This Person who is living wrong.

Everyone is free to live their life in a way they feel is right. Maybe This Person thinks that I am living wrong.

Who am I to say that This Person is living wrong? Maybe they are living right! Maybe life is a meaningless experience and all of our efforts to refine and distinguish ourselves are ultimately all for nothing? Maybe if we could just learn to care less, let ourselves go a bit more, not care about the cobwebs that will continue to grow no matter how hard we try to get rid of them- maybe then we could have a happier life? Maybe the harder route isn’t that great after all.

Who am I to say? All I can do is live in a way that feels right for me and try not to force This Person away from living wrong. The moment I push, force, encourage or try and motivate This Person to move in a different direction is usually the moment I start living wrong.

The Suburban Captive, Part One

The main task, effort, lesson, understanding or goal (whatever you want to call it) for the suburban captive is to learn how to be completely content and happy within their captivity. No easy undertaking and often one must go through years of hating and denying their captivity in order to get to a place where they are able to embrace and make friends with it.

These years of denying and hating captivity and the experiences that a person has when in this stage or state (depression, emptiness, self-destruction, addiction and excessive boredom) can be the subject matter for volumes upon volumes of books. Outside of a few novels and essays, this subject matter has yet to be undertaken or covered by writers.

Everyone who lives in the suburbs experiences suburban captivity. There is just no way around it when living in the suburbs. Avoiding captivity when living in the suburbs is like avoiding getting wet when swimming in the ocean. Cannot happen.

Captivity is occurring when there is no place for a person to go where they can feel permanently freed. A person in suburban captivity can’t go anywhere and be authentically free. They are held captive in and by their homes. Even though a home and garden can be incredibly beautiful, comfortable and filled with all kinds of delights- a person is still captive there because they really have no place to go.

The vast majority of people who live in the suburbs are continually trying to escape from their captivity. Their lives are a continual effort to escape. They travel, they go out to restaurants, they go to movies, they go hiking, they go to work, they go to friend’s homes, they go to bars, they go to parties, they watch television, they are obsessed with the cell phones- always trying to escape captivity. But this way of life is very draining and often they embrace their captivity when they have no energy left.

The suburban captive who has fully embraced his captivity is full of energy but does not use this energy to go anywhere. Instead, he uses the energy to successfully live a life while embracing suburban captivity.

Those who are preoccupied with trying to escape their captivity, deep down know that there is no place to go. Even though they often think about all the things they have to do and all the places they want to go- they often know that this doing and going and consuming never really delivers them the escape they are searching for. The reason for this is because this constant doing, going and consuming is what causes much of the captivity in the first place. One is wrong in thinking that escape equals freedom. What kind of prisoner escapes and experiences more freedom as a result? Very few.

Most suburban captives search for escape their entire lives. Some finally realize that there is actually no place to go, no place to escape to. They then stop needing to leave their homes (unless necessary) and begin learning how to enjoy captivity. How to really settle in. This is not a surrender but instead it is an embrace. It is a way of life that can bring a person great fulfillment when done correctly.

The suburban captive is held captive by their homes, their expenses, their banks, their garden, their television, their dogs, their furniture, their books, their records, their appliances, their electricity, their water- all the things which make up a suburban life. These things erect an invisible wall around a person which shelters them from the chaos of the outside world. But in order to maintain this shelter a person must work, and the unpleasantness of this work for money often causes the suburban captive to long for escape.

More escape just builds bigger walls that a person will never be able to climb over or break through.

The true suburban captive has stopped needing to go out. They go to work and go out for a few things (occasional meals, trips to the market and social situations) but they no longer need to go out into the world. They once went out into the world to do things, to buy things, to have experiences- but they eventually realized that this does not work. They reach a point where they realize they are living in captivity and that there is no escape from it. Like any skilled captive in any situation, at this point the suburban captive embraces their captivity. They learn to build a fulfilling life within the walls (which is actually how to get rid of the walls) that can never be seen from the outside. Suburban walls exist within.

Once the suburban captive has reached the stage of embracing their captivity, realizing that escape cannot be found in buying things, going out, spending money, promiscuous sex, alcohol, socializing and even working- this is the stage when the suburban captive begins to deepen their relationship within themselves. The successful suburban captive is at home within. A fully realized person. Self-actualized. Nothing any longer stresses him out. He is completely fulfilled and at peace within himself, therefore nothing outside himself can cause much distress. Most suburban captives are continually getting stressed out because they are avoiding settling in to themselves. They are still look for escape on the outside.

The suburban captive who has embraced their captivity knows that they exist in captivity. They have accepted their captivity even though no one can see the walls. From the outside everything looks affluent, privileged, free, calm and beautiful so no one imagines that captivity could occur. How could you be held captive when living within such beauty? But it is exactly the act of owning and sustaining these things which creates the suburban captive. The only way that the suburban captive can truly be free and happy within this kind of affluent captivity (the worst kind of captivity is the kind of captivity which everyone is experiencing, but no one talks about because they think their captivity is their freedom) is to acknowledge and embrace the captivity which they have taken suburban residence in.

Once a suburban captive has done this, once they have had enough of the pain involved in trying to escape, they can get down to the real business of cultivating a truly fulfilling life from within, at home.

I Choose Depression

When I told my mother that I am dealing with depression she said, “Well son, depression is a choice.” Then she quickly escaped any further conversation about it by making up a story that she was in a meeting and had to go. What meeting? My mom has not worked in over twenty years.

Even though I felt deeply wounded by her quick dismissal of my pain, I thought about what she said. “Depression is a choice.” Am I choosing to be depressed?

A fellow psychotherapist whom I sometimes have lunch with deals with serious depression. But he is one of the happier people I know. He often says, “I choose joy. I choose to be joyful because I have to.” Really? You have to? I find it odd that someone who is very depressed could appear so happy. Something seems very forced and inauthentic about it to me, but who am I to judge? Don’t most people do this?

Deep down, depression is a choice. It is true that I have little interest in happiness. I find positivity and happiness to be incredibly banal and superficial states to be in. If I am happy, great- I will enjoy it. But it is the pursuit of happiness and positivity that I think is responsible for so much misery.

As a psychotherapist, the one thing I hear all the time is, “I just want to be happy.” This I feel is the root of most people’s unhappiness (and empty bank accounts).

I choose not to be happy. If happiness shows up, as it sometimes does, I don’t turn it away. I enjoy it. But I choose to not strive to be happy and positive. I don’t think I should be happy. In fact, I think the desire to be happy is just as dangerous as driving a motorcycle at high speeds.

Depression is a logical emotional reflection of the world we are living in today. Just like a pool of water reflects the sky and trees that hang over it, depression is a reflection of the world the soul is living in today. The soul is lonely and in a state of terror and despair. The soul is sad about all the sensless violence all around. The soul feels under threat from the absence of creativity and authentic community in our working and private lives. The soul feels stuck by political and economic conditions outside our control. The soul feels empty because the more it tries to find fulfillment in external things, the more alone and empty it feels. The soul is quite frustrated in the Capitalistic world of today.

And then there is the simple fact of our own mortality. The fact that everything we love, everything we hold close to ourselves, everything we have earned, even ourselves, will disappear. When a person really looks closely at the image being reflecting by the pool of water- depression is what they will see.

Most chose not to look at all. Just keep looking away. Say you have a metting to get to.

My mom is right though. I do chose depression because depression is what I see reflected back at me, especially in my work as a psychotherapist. I mean how could I hear about the worst things that happen to people in life, day after day, without feeling depressed? How could I be a psychotherapist and be happy? Happy Psychotherapist is just another term for Sociopath Psychotherapist, Psycho Psychotherapist or plain old Shitty Psychotherapist. If a therapist is able to be happy while hearing about the worst things that happen to people, stop seeing them. They do not care about you, even though they may act like they do.

The best psychotherapist I ever knew, who was given all kinds of awards and wrote several books and was a prestigous mentor to many including myself, jumped off a bridge.

If I am going to provide guidance to those going through the various difficult aspects of life, I want to be one of them. I want to get real with myself and stop pursuing fake dreams of Hollywood induced happiness. How else can I really help? This is what I learned from him.

In middle-age, my life has become more about learning how to live with, learn about, accept and get better at describing the image being reflected back at me, rather than trying to change it, run from it, fix it, deny it, worry about it, complain about it and/or ignore it (common stratageies in the America of today).

Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. This is my strategy. I leave my depression alone. I see it and accept that it is there. I lean into it and learn from it. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just notice that it is there and smile at it. Sometimes I notice that it goes away.

Because of depression I am pushed further inside of myself. I am forced to let go of any kind of belief in the attainment of any real Hollywood fulfillment through economic and material gain (consumerism) and instead work towards transmuting my loneliness into real solitude.

I meditate. I contemplate. I sit alone.

Loneliness is a terrible feeling of disappearing even when we have so much and are around so many. When lonely, we can never get enough and are continually in pursuit of more. We even feel separated from ourselves when alone so we turn on the TV for company. Solitude means to be at home in ourselves. A person who is in real solitude is a person who is comfortable within themselves. A person in solitude is a person who is no longer disappearing. They have arrived. They are two people in one. Friends with themself. A person who is dealing with lonliness (which is the majority of people in American society) is no one in one. They have no friend within to sit with.

The person who is striving for happiness is often no one in one. This feeling of being no one within is the fuel that keeps us searching for more. Some of the greatest empires and fortunes have been built by these kinds of people. But this striving is an endless pursuit because it is the pursuit which is creating the loneliness.

Depression pushes us down into solitude. The person with depression is given the opportunity to become more at home within themselves by being pushed further within. The person who survives and successfully manages depression is the person who has been able to move from loneliness into solitude. Those who do not survive depression or who end up having depression destroy their lives, have not been able to move through loneliness. They get stuck in continually feeling as if they are disappearing inside because they are pursuing happiness on the outside.

So yes, I do chose to be depressed. Why not? Depression helps me to relate to the world in a way that feels more logical and sane. The happiness and positivity craze that the vast majority of people are suffering from at this moment in history, only leads a person away from themselves and towards more lonliness. Just do a Google search on the amount of people taking psychiatric medications and buying self help books in this country. The pursuit of happiness and positivity creates a superficial existence that lacks substance because it is always in pursuit of something. Depression is deepening. It pushes a person further within themselves because there is the realization that the loneliness in the outside world can never bring them the happiness they were looking for.

Fuck happiness. Stop buying their books and going to their workshops. Stop ingesting their pills. By now don’t you see that it does not work? Instead, get better at being depressed.

It is only through going further within, through the deepening of one’s relationship with oneself that real solitude can be attained. And it is when we discover solitude within ourselves, that we really start to live free.

On Becoming A Gopher

I never imagined this sort of thing possible. How? There is nothing online written about this. None of the great philosophers discuss it. No contemporary theorist makes any mention of it. No one seems to have ever heard of such a thing happening to a person. But it is happening and it is happening to me.

I know it sounds odd to say, but I am becoming a gopher.

The gophers had been destroying my lawn. I hated them and did whatever I could to get rid of them. One day I was running water from my hose down into one of their holes. The water shot out and up into my eyes and face. I tasted something that tasted like fecal matter. I instantaneously become unwell. There was a metallic taste in my mouth and my eyes burned. Ever since that ordinary morning in my backyard, nothing has been the same.

I have grown hair in areas I never before grew hair. Short, stubbly hairs to be exact. On my ears, my cheeks, my arms, the palms of my hands, my forehead, my penis, the soles of my feet, my shoulders, my fingers.

I have had difficulty breathing. My breathing is shallow and fast. There is the continual presence of chest pain. My rib cage feels as if it is being squeezed together. I am in a continual hyperarousal, anxious state. Everything freaks me out and when it does I become immediately mad. I continually play with my penis to calm my nerves.

I never did any of this before. I was a respected psychotherapist for Christ sake!

Rather than being angry at the gopher holes in my lawn, I am now drawn towards them. Something is pulling me towards them and I have this odd desire to squeeze my way down into them. That is where home feels like it is. In those holes. Obviously, I can’t fit.

Instead I have been isolating myself in my writing studio. I have covered the door with books, furniture and anything else that will prevent anyone from coming in. I want to have nothing to do with the human race. Humans terrify me! Once I loved helping humans and now they absolutely terrify me. They are such a threat. I go out at night and collect food from the kitchen while my wife is sleeping, but I then immediately retreat into my safe space and erect a strong wall that not even the police and fire department have been able to break down.

I don’t want to see anyone. I am repulsed by any kind of high pitched sound. I chew on things. I lick myself in areas I was never able to lick before (the one benefit of this entire nightmare). I am terrified and nothing on the internet is helping me to figure this out. Once you cease to be a normal human being, the internet is no longer of any use to you. Accept when I look at pictures of female gophers I am incredibly turned on. I immediately masturbate. This is odd not only because images of female gophers are turning me on but also because before all of this happened, my sex drive was gone.

I don’t know what to do at this point. It is obvious to me that I am becoming a gopher. At this point I have no choice but to just wait things out in here.

Anyone else out there experience anything like this before? Please help