Rohit's Realm

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May 08, 2011

Into the Heart of Despair

Those who know me well (and by that, I mean long-time readers of this wretched exercise in self-defeat) most likely realize that I spend much of my waking life consumed by low level despondency and existential despair. Generally, that's not a problem: over the years, I have grown quite adept at pursuing success—money, cash, hoes, that is—even while the increasingly irate voice in my head continues to question why I have chosen to go on that particular day (the answer, by the way, is usually a pernicious combination of hope and complacence). Most days, therefore, the competing virtues of meaningless materialistic pursuits and suicidal impulses can coexist in a peaceful harmony that manifests in the particularly acrid self-loathing that is part and parcel of my existence (such as it is).

But some days, that peaceful harmony of self-loathing that allows me to remain a semi-functional member of society is disrupted. Perhaps the petty joys of senseless materialism overwhelm the existential despair for long enough for me to feel a brief, effervescent sensation of happiness—for me to hate others more than I hate myself, in other words. Or more likely, the ultimate futility of existence and the sense of meaninglessness rise to such a fever pitch as to destroy the delicate balance. Nipping at the heels of the tidal wave of all-consuming self-loathing is usually what I years ago dubbed the black venom: soul-crushing, debilitating despair from which recovery is never assured.

Debilitation, of course, existential or otherwise is not an option. All theorizing about suicide aside, I will almost certainly end it all before I am relegated to the status of failed human being. But what to do when a debilitating bout of despair is on the horizon? Engage it, that's what.

While that might sound crazy to many of you, dear readers, I assure you it is not. Fundamentally, it's just a matter of control. Either you decide when you're going to be consumed by despair, or the despair decides for you. And I don't know about you all, but these days, I can't be despairing willy nilly; sometimes—often times, even—I have work to do.

So, how does one engage the despair without becoming consumed by it, you might ask. How does one, in other words, go down the river into the heart of despair without losing oneself to the horror?

I can't speak for others, but for me, sitting alone in the dark for a weekend usually does the trick. Acknowledging the dark realities—that life is meaningless; that we are all necessarily alone; that no one, least of all me, will ever accomplish anything of import; that loneliness and mediocrity, followed by inevitable and unlamented oblivion are all that await us—can help return the balance that has been disturbed. In a day or two (usually), I emerge again ready to engage meaningless pursuits consumed by low level despondency.

Why do I mention all this tonight? Well, because I have just surfaced from one such session and it does seem to have worked. Whereas Friday I was an emaciated, exhausted wreck of humanity on the verge of debilitating existential despair, today I'm only an emaciated, exhausted wreck of humanity, once again ready to embark upon a journey of assured meaninglessness and futility—a definite improvement, if you ask me!

More to the point, over the years the unusual antidepressant I identified in 2004 has become less potent (or perhaps, the existential angst more formidable). Whereas once other people's idiotic lives may have provided solace, today resistance (and existence) is futile. So next time you are consumed by your own worthlessness, dear readers, try engaging that thought; acceptance is the first step of recovery, after all.

And if that doesn't work, give dangerous levels of intoxication a try. If you can't bear to engage the despair, you might as well escape it, right?


I've heard that throwing baloney at midgets is spiritually uplifting.

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