Tag Archive | Psychology

Existentialism

BBC Radio 3 celebrated 100 years since the birth of French Author Albert Camus with a number of recorded short “Essays” about the philosophy of Existentialism and how it has impacted upon certain areas of our life from psychology talking treatments to drama and literature in the 20th and 21st century.

I remember studying Existentialism at school when doing my French ‘A’ level. Sartre (Les mains Salles) and Camus (L’Etranger) were both on the syllabus and I also supplemented my studies with reading some Simone de Beauvoir and other books written by the French existentialist authors.

What struck me at the time, and something which I have only just remembered by listening to the Radio 3 Podcasts, is that I “got” Existentialism. I identified with it and had many a heated debate about its general philosophy. Depressing, full of “angst”, despairing are all potential features of this school of thought.

That’s still me.

I still fear; I still despair; I am a “non-believer”; I take responsibility for my failings and hate myself for them; What is the point?

I still don’t know what the point is.

That may be the essence of my depression. Perhaps I need to talk to someone who specialises in this mind-set.

I’m on the case.

Coasting in neutral

I am a person of extremes. I feel things deeply and I get excited about the most mundane of things. If something or someone annoys me, everyone gets to know about it. There are no half-measures and what you see it what you get. Tough if it’s you I don’t like.

Except.

I’m in a strange and unfamiliar place at the moment. It is not unpleasant or disturbing. It is not exciting or emotional either. And that is what is so strange. I am coasting along in neutral.

I am ambivalent to many things and people who cross my path. Problems and issues pass over me like a stream over a pebble and I have no strong feelings about anything I do. I just do it.

Maybe most people live like this and go through the motions whilst life passes them by? I’m not sure but it is not native territory for me and it’s weird. I’m hoping that after this week I will be able to go away with a clear mind and think about where I am and what I do next. Why am I stripped of emotion for many things yet overcome with emotion for others? Am I having a mid-life “crisis” or have I just exhausted my options and don’t know where to turn next? I’m not sure but I don’t like it.

I’d rather be me even though it clearly has disadvantages. Opinionated, energetic, interested, loud, inventive, determined and raring to go in top gear.

Coasting along in neutral is not me.

Not me at all.

My return to the world..

Depression is a frustrating illness. I should have worked that out by now. So why is it that I still ignore the warning signs and carry on regardless only to wonder why I plunge into the dreaded black hole of despair and despondency, unable to communicate with friends and family, moulded to my bed, tearful and fearful that the miserable ever-tightening shroud will not lift this time? 

It seems that I may lack emotional intelligence (EI). I have come to the conclusion that I must have been at the very back of that particular queue and as a result, in very simplistic terms, I desperately need to learn to “practice what I preach” a bit more and look after myself.   

As a new-comer to the topic I will start the ball rolling with Daniel Goleman, reading his book “Emotional Intelligence”. This should at least give me an idea of whether “the cap fits” .

In the meantime, I will be applying a more basic common-sense approach to my post-depression episode recovery. Without putting too much pressure on myself, the mantra which I find most difficult to adhere to, I will be taking steps to recover from this recent set-back and put some extra-strong fortifications in place to help prevent relapses in future.

Starting here, starting now.

So, I will be eating healthier, drinking more water, excercising a little more and making time-out for me. It all sounds so simple doesn’t it. But when you wake up in the morning and have to do battle with yourself just to get the shower turned on, everything is hard work. Believe me it’s no fun staring at the taps willing yourself to do the sensible thing and turn them on whilst all the time you just want to crawl back under the bedclothes. But sometimes you have to knuckle down, ask for help and support and dig yourself up and out.

Which is exactly what I will be doing from tomorrow; Turning negatives into positives; Living in the moment; Being arsed;  Focussing on what’s important; Putting aside some “me” time every day; Saying “no” more often; Appreciating what and who are good in my life;

Easy? Not at all.

Worth it? I hope so.

Necessary? Absolutely.