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    Hey guys. Thank you again for all your kind words. I just wanted to let you all know that I found the answers to my problems and questions, and I’m doing better than ever.

    I hope you’re all having the best possible day. 🙂


    Thank you all so much for your replies.

    I’ve found the source of my unhappiness, confusion and depression, my ‘everything is meaningless,’ I think. It’s still really troubling me, but thanks to all of you I am trying to find positive ways to work through it.

    For years now, I’ve been suffering with the thought that God does not exist. Bad things happen, we decide that if there is a God, things like that would not occur. It’s a childish way of thinking, but it’s one we fall into when we don’t really know any better.

    Now… well, I’ve quit smoking, so I decided if I was capable of that, I was capable of other lasting change. I was miserable from the pain and withdrawals, I was experiencing a flood of emotions I couldn’t remember having and didn’t know what to do with, so I went to Google and looked up how to deal with anxiety and so forth, and here was Tiny Buddha.

    So I read blog articles, and forum posts, and they led me back to my old curiosity about Buddhism, because it’s concerned with eliminating emotional suffering and suffering being ‘cyclical’ — having dealt with cyclical depression from the age of ten, I could relate all too well.

    I was not only reading about Buddhism but devouring whatever information I could find, until: it got into karma, which lines up, to me, with Christianity’s ‘you’re a bad person, you’re going to hell, there’s not much you can do.’

    Then I stopped. Because as much as I hate to say it, I have done many things I have hated myself for most of my life. It wasn’t so much the pain and issues I dealt with in life that made me decide ‘God doesn’t exist’… it was my fear of judgment, my feelings that I didn’t deserve God. I was low-energy, I was depressed, I was afflicted with wrong, negative thoughts that obscured my ability to understand the way back, I gave up.

    I sank into smoking, not caring about anything, allowing myself to act in horrible, irresponsible, unstable ways because nothing mattered, and what was the consequence? Nothing, as far as I could see.

    After reading about karma, I was deeply troubled. I started thinking I could possibly still use Buddhist teachings to overcome my suffering, but they told me that no, unless I accepted all this pain and learned to really take responsibility for my life, work at it, deal with the things I’ve done if I can’t make up for them — I couldn’t.

    Then, out of curiosity, I researched Eckhardt Tolle and his ‘stillness.’ I tried to find it for myself. I accessed a silence in my mind that made me feel not joy or elation but NOTHING. It felt like it existed behind my ‘mind,’ behind my mental chatter, and it scared the hell out of me. I kept thinking ‘that’s where you’d find God, if you knew Him. That’s where he’d be. Right there, in your head.’

    That morning, I had a panic attack. I was convinced I was losing my mind. I’m still afraid that I might be, because I’ve always been unstable, right? What if this is just me being unstable again, chasing after something that isn’t real just because I want to feel better?

    And then I look at that, and I think that question is wrong thinking. I put it there, and it sits in the way of my making progress, my learning to be a better person, to forgive myself, to feel self-love and extend it outwards. I am trying. So. Hard. To realize that. To have faith and trust even though I keep falling backwards into ‘this can’t be real.’

    Why can’t it? I’m not the only one who can’t shake a belief that something exists besides us.

    And now that I’m looking at all of this, at different religions in which too many things coincide, and realizing that research and thought are ENCOURAGED, and that no, God doesn’t really look down on me or hate me or find me lesser because the lesson is that God is right there, in me, part of me, even if I’m not ready to accept His love yet because I haven’t put the work in … I can see that it isn’t that nothing matters.

    It’s just that I was afraid to let it matter before.

    If I ever get to where I’m going, I’m sure I won’t need to say or think things like this:

    I hope I’m not just going crazy.


    Matt, I’m really going to dwell on what you’ve said. Reading your words of obvious, sincere wisdom to others has helped me in the last few days of serious confusion I’ve experienced in trying to figure out my own ‘puzzle.’

    I appreciate your taking the time to send some of that my way. I actually tried a metta meditation earlier today (one I believe you recommended to someone else), and I did find it soothing and helpful.

    I suppose what I need to really focus on breaking through is always forgetting the goal is not to completely get rid of all my emotions, but to stop being afraid of them, stop judging them as weaknesses, and perhaps to learn to accept and maybe enjoy being human. That’s my perception of your advice, here, and it rings true.

    I’ll try focusing my attention in a warmer, less self-demanding direction for a while.

    Thank you.


    It also leads on to my wondering… if you realize it’s pointless to be ‘attached’ to family members and emotions you attach to people, and even to yourself, do you become so dehumanized that you can no longer relate to those people or feel anything towards them?

    Where does self-love and love for others come in if the goal is to see everything as nothing?


    C, I am aware that PMDD is a root cause of many of my problems, as I’ve been suffering from it since I was ten. I’ve made the choice not to take pills, but (with the confidence I gained from quitting smoking cold turkey that such things are possible) to turn it around and, if I can’t stop suffering from it myself, to change my thinking and behavior in such a way that no one outside of myself has to feel its negative effects.

    The basis for my suffering is definitely depression, and feelings of hopelessness which continually lead me into ruts in which I can’t accomplish anything or even see how it could be done.

    So the reason for my original post was to explore my confusion due to coming out of this, to having more emotions than I had before due to quitting smoking — another reason I don’t want to take drugs, it was the nicotine that so twisted my brain that I’m having to learn how to live with my own consciousness.

    I’m trying, now, to be positive and change my thinking, so the root of my problems is no longer my depression (thank whatever deity is appropriate (or not)), but my confusion in the aftermath of that depression (and, yes, my fear of falling into it again).

    I have a lot of questions now, about how to become a really positive, stable person (or whether stability in positivity is even possible). I am constantly having to remind myself to go easy on myself, try to love myself and remember that I’m no good to myself or anyone else if I’m wallowing in pointless, subjective self-loathing rather than looking objectively at the present and what I can do to improve it, and, in so doing, improve the future. I imagine (those words are important, here) that I sound very mature and stable already, like I’ve actually already answered all my questions, but the truth is, I’m only doing my best and trying to go with what feels right.

    Inside, most of the time, I am still a mess. I wonder if all I can achieve is to not let anyone know that. I wonder if it’s because of physical reasons, the results of nicotine having left my body, or whether emotionalism exists outside chemicals at all (factually, I don’t see how, but does THAT matter?). I’m riddled with questions and confusion, and I know I’m the only one who can decide on the answers, so I’m trying as hard as I can to find ones that satisfy me and will serve my life in a positive, constructive way.

    I looked (again) at Buddhism, which did help in ways, but when I got to the parts that feel (to me) more like every other religion, condemning you to a life spent tethered to the things you did in the past, ensuring that one day you’ll be horribly judged, I just felt worse. I had to remind myself that I believe those parts to be fantasy, metaphor, not fact.

    What I keep coming back to, trying to center myself on, are these things, cobbled together from systems of belief and thoughts I’ve had and found:

    I need to improve my self-esteem until it is real self-esteem, dependent on no external sources. Until I really do love myself, stand up for myself, believe in myself, and can therefore do those things for others effectively and routinely.

    Having done this, I can possibly maintain a high level of emotional intelligence that would allow me to control my emotions in a way that would serve my life and the lives of those around me, so that my depression never gets so out of control that it hurts me and others again. So that I might actually be able to live in real happiness for more than a moment.

    To find that happiness, I need to always strive for something helpful and productive, so that I have something to feel good about. I also need to remember that there is no ‘end’ at which I will suddenly ‘find’ happiness, the point is to be happy now, just because I’m alive and working towards good things and care about myself and other people.

    This all sounds well and good, until my brain starts in again. If I’m relaxed, I’ll make mistakes. I’ll forget things. I won’t perform as well. The stress is necessary, you can’t be happy all the time.

    Then I’m afraid to be happy, but at the same time, in seeking to eliminate the negative emotions, I am now marginally afraid of feeling them at all, because it makes sense that they’re pointless.

    But it seems as if some of them tether me to earth and keep me connected to other people, but maybe that’s just because the only people I know have always BEEN negative.

    And then I realize that my quest for self-improvement may just be a whole new way for me to be too hard on myself.

    I saw some interesting Eckhardt Tolle quotes here, so I looked him up, and I wish I hadn’t, to be honest.

    Both of us twenty-nine at the time of a search for a solution that would eliminate emotional suffering, but I feel (please don’t take this as a judgment on your own personal beliefs, I could always be wrong) as if what he’s found is a kind of… nihilistic enlightenment that could be the source of a lot of power for anyone with less than decent intentions. Reading about it, working overnight and accidentally experiencing it for myself, I realized: his ‘stillness’ is a more intense version of my old coping mechanism for dealing with my inability to be happy. I would tell myself nothing matters. Nothing is really real. I don’t have to care about anything at all.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding his methods (I don’t think so, but I could be), but I see no joy in that.

    The silver lining, there, is that it makes me feel a little better about my confusion in my own journey to be a better person.


    I tried to communicate effectively today, which has always been hard for me. My father is bipolar, my mother is simply mean, and whenever I said something as a child that wasn’t acceptable to them, or made a noise they didn’t feel like hearing at the time, I got hit. I learned not to speak up for myself. I withdrew. I have a hard time making eye contact, or even feeling like I deserve to inhabit the space I stand in and the air I breathe.

    So today, because I want to make a change, I took my frustration to work and sat down with my boss and said, ‘Okay, I know I have poor communication skills, but I’m working on it. I’m frustrated because ______, _______, and ______.’

    She told me to relax, do the best I can and not stress out about getting everything done. She told me she’d heard from others that my lack of anything to say about anything had caused problems for them, and they thought I didn’t care about anything or was just an angry person (which I assumed, dimly, through my nicotine haze anyway).

    For about an hour, I felt fantastic. I did it. I talked to someone about my frustrations. I was honest, I was vulnerable, I trusted another human being to hear me out and respond with kindness and understanding.

    And then I realized — I still have too much work piled on me, none of my concerns were addressed in a way that actually gets the work done, and I feel stupid. I feel incredibly stupid. I feel like I’ve traded in the smart, cynical person I was before who saw the nastiness in everyone and the ways in which all they wanted to do was take advantage of me, for some idiot who says, ‘I’m flawed, and I know I need to work on it and try to improve the way I’m viewing this impossible situation I’m in, because I can’t actually cause any positive changes externally whatsoever.’

    So I end tonight feeling depressed and angry, and as if I’ve completely betrayed myself, and less like I know who I am or who I want to be than ever.


    Well, I went to the doctor on Wednesday. I didn’t really get any answers. He listened to my heart and lungs and said there’s no fluid in the lungs themselves. A few months ago I had an EKG, and he believes that was recent enough that there could be nothing wrong with my heart … I am, of course, not sure whether he knows what he’s doing. At the end of the day, when my legs and feet are swollen and everything hurts, I want to go to the ER and have them run actual tests, do some imaging, find someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

    But he says I should just expect my body to be ‘haywire’ for a while. He has no idea what’s causing the edema. He did draw blood to do a comprehensive metabolic, to see if it could be an imbalance of electrolytes or something of that nature — but then again, he said they could all come back perfectly normal on paper, but still not be “my normal,” meaning they could be the cause and even after the test, we won’t know.

    So I’m going to give it about a month, and if the swelling hasn’t stopped, I guess I’ll go back.

    I wonder about the use of going to the doctor at all. I never seem to find one who can tell me anything that makes sense.

    There is so much on my mind recently that I’m having trouble figuring out what’s worth writing about here. For two days, I did a pretty good job staying positive and being happy. Then there was a meeting at work in which more work was piled on me, work that will potentially cause conflict between me and a coworker. Conflict I’ve been avoiding by doing both our jobs and allowing her to spend the whole shift sitting and reading a novel, because she’s one of those people… if I ask her to do something, she’ll do it wrong so I won’t ask her to do it again.

    I tell myself the work stuff doesn’t matter. That’s how I’m trying to cope with that. Work as hard as I can, do my best, and then whatever happens, I can tell myself it’s okay, it’s fine, what do they expect of me anyway? But the thing is, that works until I’m sitting around thinking about the physical and emotional wear on me, the ways this is contributing to poor health I can’t remedy fast enough to counteract it, and then that doesn’t help as much.

    So anyway, today I’m not doing very well at staying positive. I don’t know whether it’s the PMDD I suffer from making areas of my brain not function correctly, making it impossible to feel happy, or just the objective issues in my life, work among others, such as my younger sister’s $1300 dentist bill I’m not sure how to pay and my family’s unhappiness at the situation we’re in and my inability to make enough money to get us out of it (small trailer, inadequate food, inadequate everything).

    Today, my thoughts are between:

    I’m ashamed of how hard it is for me to handle work in a happy way/This job is so hard and unreasonable that no one there can, everyone’s miserable and looking for something else.

    I need to have a more Can Do attitude and try my best/I can’t possibly complete everything they expect of me in the time I have with no help, and they don’t take I’m Doing The Best I Can as an acceptable answer.

    So many dual thoughts like this, I think today’s goal should just be to forget the physical pain, which I can’t help and will worry about until it makes me even sicker, and try to focus on getting my mind quiet and organized, try my best, even if it is PMDD, to be as positive, or at least as calm and borderline pleasant, as possible (the anger, just boiling, is really terrible).

    I don’t know. I suppose it’s obvious I’m still very, very confused and conflicted.

    Thank you for your kind replies, C and Madonnika.

    C, I hope what you’re going through eases up on you.


    Adding on… I always do this, thinking of things later.

    I keep thinking the reason I’m emotionally a complete and total wreck, crying for what feels like no reason, sometimes for days at a time, is because I’m in some sort of mourning for the years I’ve lost, for everything I shut out, for what feels like lost humanity I now have to figure out how to navigate again.

    But here’s the thing — I’ve suffered from severe depression since I was ten years old, and one of my most effective coping mechanisms was to remind myself that emotions are all brain chemistry. That they don’t matter. That they’re best off ignored completely, taken for the meaningless chemical state they are, even if they are responses to what we think and what happens to us. Essentially, everything subjective is ridiculous, and only fact matters.

    It’s very inhuman, I know, but it kept me from giving in to suicidal ideas.

    If emotions don’t matter, they can’t drive me to end my life.

    I seem to be of two (or more) minds about everything. Emotions don’t matter. But now that I’ve regained (and am still regaining) so much of what makes me ‘human,’ I feel … irrational. Emotional. Like the difference between Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk.

    My mind is always racing, zipping back and forth between all my conflicting beliefs.

    I need to figure out who I am.

    I need to find out if I could really make life better — my health, my messed up family situation, a stressful, terrible job, my own mental state.

    I am completely lost, and at square one.

    Maybe it’s a good thing.

    I don’t know.

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