The Weight Of Obligations

At the end of a day working as a psychotherapist, I can’t help but wonder if unwanted obligations are not the main cause of so many physical and mental illnesses. On a typical day I will see between six and eight clients, most of whom have lives that are filled with things they have to attend to, but do not really want to do.

In America we tend to see this as the normal way life is. It is as natural as the sun coming up in the morning. We have all these obligations to tend to, things that we do not really want to do, but we do them anyways because in a sense we must.

For most Americans, work tends to be one of the main obligations that people would rather not spend their time tending to if they did not have to. Afterall, the definition of happiness is doing exactly what you want to be doing.

But as Americans we have been taught to remedy the unhappiness of doing what we have to do but do not really want to do by buying things. In fact, the more we are able to buy, the nicer the things we own, the more successful we are seen as being.

But I am not so sure that buying things really brings lasting happiness. Yesterday, I bought a really nice table my wife and I have wanted for some time. A few hours later we were arguing about a problem we have been having with one of our dogs. I couldn’t help but note that the happiness from buying the expensive table did not last long.

I realize that in America we see everyone working hard and then buying their way up the status ladder with the money they have earned. This is just what we do, it is how we have been taught to live and we don’t really question it, except maybe when we are in a hospital bed.

I wish that the things we bought from the money earned doing things we do not really want to be doing but are pretending like we really like doing, brought long-lasting happiness. I really do. But the truth is that this way of achieving happiness is like stacking more stuff in a garage that is already over-filled. You buy a car or a house and a dog or have a few kids and then you just have to spend more of your time doing things that you do not really want to be doing with your limited time.

Now that I own a home and have dogs and some nice things, I have to spend a lot of my time engaged in home care and dog care and organizing and paying for all the things I own. The time I spend doing the things I really want to be doing has grown exponentially shorter. If I complain about this, I feel guilty because I feel like I should be grateful for what I have. I remember having very little and I should be happy that I finally have a nice and comfortable lifestyle. But I sure spent a lot more time doing the things I liked to do when I was poor.

This is what I call a middle-class syndrome. Middle-class because day after day in my work as a psychotherapist I see people dealing with the anxiety, depression, chronic worry and stress that are symptoms of this particular syndrome.

Because happiness is having the ability to do whatever the hell it is you really want to do (and not just on the weekends), I often tell my clients that they must find balance.

Unfortunately, it is the nature of economic life in America that most people will have to work jobs that are not the ideal way that they would like to be spending their time. They will also have to do a lot of things outside their jobs that are not the ideal way they would like to be spending their time. It is just how we have set up economic life in America.

If a person goes an entire day without spending some time doing exactly what they want to be doing, this is a recipe for misery.

Everyday a person needs to try and take the power back by committing themselves to doing exactly what they want to do- even if it is on a lunch break. For me it is reading, writing, making art, meditating and listening to music. If I do not do a few of these things everyday, I will feel despair. If I neglect these things for too many days I will just start to feel like a hopeless robot going through the motions with no real purpose or interest driving my life.

If we want a shot at feeling good we must make the effort to balance out our daily lives by doing things that we want to do (and not just when we get in bed at the end of a day with a book). If this is for too long neglected the anger, stress and depression that we feel will manifest in a physical and/or mental illness.

I am not sure that there are too many people who get to do exactly what they want to do all the time. I am sure that even Donald Trump would rather not put on a suit somedays. Life in the current late-capitalist American economic system that we are living in, means spending a large majority of our time obligated to things that we do not really want to be doing.

Like I said, most see this as normal and do what they must without thinking much about it. This is what the powers system wants, a non-questioning, submissive, automaton.

But we are human beings and I believe that the point of being alive is to be able to enjoy your life as much as possible; to be able to do exactly what you want to do most of the time. I believe that we were designed to live this way and nothing we purchase is worth its exchange. It is just the current system that we are all living within that has messed this up by encouraging us to turn our lives into a never ending series of weighted obligations.

If you really want to do the things that you want to be doing in your everyday life, you are going to have to really try. Because after all, the person easiest to neglect is yourself.

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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.

 

 

Lazy Person

You are a lazy person. Maybe you can’t help it. Maybe it is just the way you are. I don’t think this is true, but I suspect that you do.

Antithetical to your own popular thought, you are a lazy person. I know you do not think so. I know that in your mind you contrive fantasies of a very engaged and capable person who does a lot. After all, how could you live with yourself not in a continual state of despair if you didn’t fool yourself like this. It takes a very logical and advanced mind to reflect back to itself the truth of its own being. Most mortals continually lie to themselves all the time. It is a preventative strategy against the pit of despair.

Only strong minds can exist in this pit of despair and not be destroyed by it. Most prefer to avoid it. Distract themselves from it because their minds are too weak to handle it.

Your laziness controls you all the time. It grips you by the throat. It causes you to not do what you would like to do. It causes you to not be the person you would like to be. Instead you sleep and sit more than you would like. You consume things more than you can control. You say things and then do the opposite. Your ability to control yourself in the way you would like is outside of your own control. You live in the center of this paradox, which causes you to lose faith in yourself. So much energy is exhausted by continually doing the things you set out not to do. Much confidence in oneself is lost when we continually avoid existing in the ways we would like. Our laziness wins over us, and we become the person we would like not to be.

The paradox of laziness is that it costs you energy. As much as you feel like you are preserving energy by not living in the exact way you would like, by letting go of control over the person you want to be- you are depleting yourself of energy. It exhausts large amounts of life energy to continually go against your best self. To throw yourself under the proverbial bus again and again, saps a person of vitality. You do not see this but the daily failure to be the exact person you would want to be (thinner, stronger, more organized, healthier, creative, intellectually engaged, financially independent), to be fully in charge of all the decisions you make, causes you to lose faith in yourself. Few things exhaust a person like a chronic feeling of bad faith directed at themselves.

Laziness is what grows out of this chronic, self-directed feeling of bad faith. It is like being punched again and again, day after day, by a relentless opponent. Eventually you will give up and just take the punches. All your strength and self-esteem is lost and like a punching bag gone flat, you take punch after punch. Under these conditions who has the energy to do much? Who has the motivation and strength to really sail their ship in the direction they want it to go? No way. I would rather just rest and space out, you say.

Just give up and sleep more than you should, drink more than you want, make yourself sick with stress, watch more tv and porn than you want, have the body that you are not happy with, eat as much as you want, lose the will to organize your life, let things exist on the verge of chaos. Just go with the flow of your lazy life without ever doing anything about it. This is the fate that you lazy person have chosen.

I know you think your life is better than this lazy person. I know you think you do a lot more than you really do. As I said, it is necessary for you to think this way or else you would slip into the pit of despair. Your illogical (delusional) thought processes are a survival strategy. You must avoid thinking logically about certain things because if you did you would have two choices. You would either have to slip into a state of complete existential dread about the meaninglessness of all life or you would have to claim agency, develop a stronger and more disciplined mind and actually change your life (push against the currents of laziness). For the lazy person the option of existential meaninglessness (especially in today’s bleak world) seems to be a much easier option. Do enough to just get by, to just keep your head above water and then let everything else go. Accept living in a state of chaos. The lazy person loves the easier option.

You lazy person know what chaos is, right? I mean, chaos is many things. There is the external chaos of the natural world that we are subjected to all the time. We live in a chaotic universe where anything can happen at any time. We think we are the ones pulling the strings in the external world but this could not be further from truth. You really think that person meant to trip and fall and break their nose? You think they really saw that comming as they were lost in thought a moment before? What is really going on is that nature is pulling the strings all the time and we are victims of this event though are entire lives are often a futile struggle to prevent this from being so.

But we do have greater control over our internal state. In the same way that a water skier glides and jumps over the unstable water through which she surfs, we can do the same internally if we chose. Even though the sea around us is completely unstable and chaotic we do not have to give into this internally. You lazy person have given into the internal and external chaos. You have lost control over yourself. You have become weak inside because you are continually going against yourself. You think one way but you do another thing. You say one thing but you do the opposite. You want to achieve one thing but instead you give up on achieving anything once it gets too hard. “fuck it,” you think to yourself. If you had a best friend who was continually making specific plans with you and then again and again did not show up in the way they said they would- you would lose faith in them. You would resent them. You would stop showing up for them. Why should your inner self be exempt from this?

Laziness is a result of this resentment towards oneself. You have lost faith in your ability to confidently show up for yourself. So why not sleep and eat and drink and fuck and do nothing more? Trying to get a handle on things exhausts you because you are not able to ever show up for yourself (your aspirations) and thus you have given up and become lazy. Just take things as they come, you tell yourself. Keep doing what you can because it is too hard to do anything more. Just make the best of things. Live for the moment. What’s the point of anything else?

My Testicular Examination

The doctor wants me to get an ultrasound of my testicle. “Really?” This is what I thought when she told me. As if I had not already gone through enough.

I went in to see him because my testicle had been very swollen for half a year. I put it off for as long as I could, but when my testicle started getting in the way of my ability to walk and cross my legs, I decided to go in. He became a she because he was out sick. When they asked me if I didn’t mind seeing a female doctor I told them it didn’t matter to me. A doctor is a doctor is a doctor is a doctor as far as I am concerned. None of them know what the hell they are talking about.

It was bad enough when she asked me to pull down my pants and with a rubber glove on cupped my testicles in the palm of her left hand. As she turned my testicle around with her two fingers like some sort of fidget cube, I prayed to myself not to get an erection. It would be humiliating if I did. I made myself think of my grandmother in her hospital bed and I told myself there was nothing sexy about a female doctor examining your swollen testicle with a powdered rubber glove on. “Get it together man.” This is what I told myself. Fortunately, I succeeded in my efforts but the moment was awkward for both of us.

As I went to pull up my pants she told me not so fast. She asked me if I had ever had a rectal exam as she put some kind of jelly like liquid on the tip of her pointer finger. I told her I had not and she told me to turn around and that there was a first for everything. She told me that she just wanted to make sure that my prostate was ok. “Ok,” I thought. “Well, let’s just get this over with then,” I said.

She told me how to position myself with my pants down against the examination bed. I was  a good patient and did exactly what she said. When she inserted her jellied pointer finger into my anal cavity and poked around at my prostate I was surprised to feel a strange sensation of pleasure. It had been a very long time since I had felt the sensation of pleasure and did not expect it to come on so fast when I had a finger up my ass.

She told me that everything felt fine and that I could pull up my pants and I pulled up my pants faster than anyone in the history of human civilization has pulled up their pants. I felt very disturbed by the fact that my prostate exam felt so good but impressed that I was capable of pulling up my pants so fast. I fall in love quickly with any woman who can make me feel sexual pleasure so I tried to avoid developing feelings for the doctor as she explained to me her findings from my testicular and prostate exams.

“I would like you to get an ultrasound of your testicle.” This is what she said. “Really?” This is what I thought but did not say it out loud. I am a very compliant patient. My father was a controlling doctor so I know that more agreeable I am, the better the medical care I get will be. She gave me a number to call to schedule the ultrasound and told me to come back and see her a week or so after I have the procedure done.

It has been a few months now since the time I described above. I am yet to call that number, which I have tacked on the wall above my desk. I look at the number every single day but I don’t call. My wife keeps asking me when I am going to do it and I always say, “Soon.” The truth is I really, really do not want to call.

I have had many ultrasounds before. I have had them done on my chest, knees, foot, hand and the one thing I remember about all those ultrasounds is how good they felt. The warm heat from the ultrasound wand moving around in that jelly like substance all over my skin. It was kind of like a sexual fantasy, which was no sexual fantasy at all. I no longer masturbate or have sex with my wife or anyone else (although I am looking if you know anyone). I have not had a pleasurable sexual experience in a long time. I know that if I get that warm ultrasound wand rubbed all over my testicles, the outcome could be sticky.

Every single time I think about scheduling an appointment this imagine comes into my mind: The technician moving the warm wand around my testicle and me trying really hard not to get an erection. But then I do and both the technician and I feel very awkward. Then I orgasm all over the technician’s hand. How humiliating would this be? No way. Even though I am sure these technicians have experienced this before, I don’t want to be that guy. The pleasure I felt during the rectal examination was enough trauma for me.

But now it looks as if I am walking around with a large golf ball in my pants. My testicle has swollen to unbelievable proportions. I know that when people see me, my enlarged testicle bulging through my pants is the first thing they see. How could they not? My testicle is so large now that it is an obvious sign that something is out of place. All my pants are slim fit and at the rate my testicle is growing, it’s only a matter of weeks before none of my pants fit.

If I could just cut the testicle off to avoid having this ultrasound procedure done, I would. However, self-mutilation is not my thing. I am going to have to adopt an attitude of I Do Not Give A Fuck. I Do Not Give A Fuck if I develop an erection and ejaculate during the ultrasound procedure. I have been telling myself for years that I need to practice Not Giving A Fuck. I Give Too Much Of A Fuck what other people think and I disdain this about myself. It is a horrible way to live because then you go through life never really getting to be yourself. Those who Give A Fuck what other people think, live in bondage. I tell myself that this is a good opportunity to practice Not Giving A Fuck. “Just call and go get it over with,” I tell myself. Don’t Give A Fuck. But I still am yet to call. I am going to put it off for as long as I can because no matter how hard I try not To Give A Fuck, I still fucking do.

Things All Over The Place

Things all over the place. Someday, some yet unknown civilization will study us and think that we had things all over the place. We are consumed by our things and few things ever remain in their right place.

I love some of my things, but does this mean I need to have things all over the place? Has humanity really evolved to have this many things all over the place? Can our brains really handle all these things all over the place? Just about all of our homes have things all over the place. There are things everywhere, too many to name.

Some of us are lucky enough to have the time, energy and/or money to have things continually kept in their right place. Few of us are disciplined enough to keep everything right where it needs to be, at all times. After all, this is the only way that most of us could maintain sanity and stability with things.

We have built our lives in order to have things all over the place. This is what we do. This is where human ingenuity has landed us. We labor away and then we collect things. It is fun buying things with our hard earned cash. If we did not do this what would be the point of our labor? We certainly don’t love the things we do for cash so we better enjoy the spending of it.

We end up with things all over the place.

What we did for fun becomes an excess of things all over the place. Memories materialized into things.

And now our lives become about keeping things in their right place. Learning how to not get so angry when things are all over the place. Figuring out how to keep things from getting all over the place. Straining our relationships because of the stress of having things all over the place. Not spending our time more meaningfully because we are too tired after dealing with things all over the place. Wishing we could just be comfortable with things all over the place but never being able to achieve this ideal.

Those who are perfectly at home and relaxed with things all over the place are the enlightened beings in our day and age of too many things all over the place.

Our world is surrounded by things all over the place. The inside of our homes is a reflection of the clutter all around. Everything is out of place. There is clutter everywhere, unless you are fortunate enough to live where no one else or only a few are around. But chances are you still live in a home with things all over the place. We live in a world of things all over the place and our homes become microcosmic portraitures of this macrocosmic crisis.

It is inevitable. When we live with things all over the place our inner worlds become filled with things all over the place. Everything is out of place on the outside because everything is out of place on the inside. Or is everything out of place on the inside because everything is out of place on the outside?

Thoughts all over the place. An endless number of things to get done. Different feelings running into one another. Continually trying to get things organized on the inside but never feeling able to. Looking towards drugs and alcohol to help us straighten things out, if only for a minute. Meditating, doing yoga, going to therapists, reading self-help books, going on retreat- all in the hope of effectively dealing with these things all over the place.

No scientific research is needed to tell us we live in a world, inside and out, with too many things all over the place. We are buried beneath these things, always struggling to find a way to get things in order. We struggle to remain organized inside and out. We try as hard as we can to deal with things all over the place. But more often than not, our only shot at survival is to say fuck it and accept that this is now a world with things all over the place.

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