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Being an atheist stinks for depression for me

Discussions and debates on philosophies and beliefs

by sisyphus » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:03 am

I seem to go in a cycle based on my mood: feeling hopeful about my future and careful about self-care; feeling like everything is pointless and not caring for myself; becoming suicidal; and then back to feeling hopeful. This process takes months, but it seems to repeat itself over and over again. :(
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by clare_hart » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:40 pm

Can you just believe that there is a power greater than yourself? What power does the moon have over tides and maybe moods? Is science a power you respect and care for? Do you totally understand electricity for example, or are you just happy it's there?

IDK. I've been spiritual, atheist, agnostic. Back and forth.

Today I have a spiritual life, but if you say "religion" to me, I run like hell the other way. b :lol:
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by AbyssalPlane » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:54 am

There's a sense of "greater than yourself" when just looking at the universe around you. The universe itself is amazing once you delve into it.

Richard Dawkins is an outspoken atheist, and his speeches on the natural world, quantum mechanics, philosophy, and the universe in general are fantastic to listen to.


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by sisyphus » Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:06 pm

Again, I apologize for taking a while to get back to writing a reply. My partner and I have had a guest over for the holiday and it's hard to sneak away to my computer and write.

clare-hart:
Thank you for the suggestion. I wish I could just be "spiritual" in some sense. Unfortunately, I'm just too scientific, I suppose. In addition to science, I read philosophy and tend to gravitate toward the depressing stuff like absurdism, nihilism, and anti-natalism. My username is actually a reference to a short-work by the absurdist philosopher Camus, called "The Myth of Sisyphus." Basically, it's about life being an endless struggle for nothing. (There's much more to it, but the focus of my post isn't for getting into all that).

AbyssalPlane:
Also, good suggestion. Including Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson has also been featured recently speaking about what you write. I wish I saw it that way. I just don't. I mean, the universe is really cool. Like super cool, lol. I really enjoy reading about physics and biology and philosophy. I actually saw Dawkins lecture in-person at a university. I've also been to a lecture of the cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett. I find all of these things fascinating. But, to me they are just cool things to fill up my time. Just things to give me something to do when I'm not eating, pooping, or sleeping. I share no excitement in being no more significant than a dust particle flying through space. All it makes me think of is just how pointless it is for me to do anything in life, and just how inconsequential it would be for me to end my life. :(
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by Mocha » Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:10 pm



AbyssalPlane, we do not allow links in the forums, that's why I deleted it. If you would like to post a link on your profile that would be fine, just not in the forum.

Thanks for understanding.
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by AbyssalPlane » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:12 am

"Also, good suggestion. Including Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson has also been featured recently speaking about what you write. I wish I saw it that way. I just don't. I mean, the universe is really cool. Like super cool, lol. I really enjoy reading about physics and biology and philosophy. I actually saw Dawkins lecture in-person at a university. I've also been to a lecture of the cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett. I find all of these things fascinating. But, to me they are just cool things to fill up my time. Just things to give me something to do when I'm not eating, pooping, or sleeping. I share no excitement in being no more significant than a dust particle flying through space. All it makes me think of is just how pointless it is for me to do anything in life, and just how inconsequential it would be for me to end my life. :("

Well, that's certainly the depression talking and we all get that. It's a horrible part of the disease. I love watching and listening to many of the same people - I consider it a hobby. It's one of the things I do to give meaning to life.

Everybody finds things in which to find meaning to life. Religion, science, watching reality tv, their children (the most common).

Depression makes that all harder. But why not keep pushing on? There's an army of us that do. Besides, one day you could get your depression mostly under control via medication and therapy.

Besides, I do not see myself as insignificant when I look at the universe. I remember the Carl Sagan quote "You are the universe experiencing itself". That's not an insignificant thing, well, I don't think it is anyways!
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by clare_hart » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:35 pm

AbyssalPlane, your observations are excellent from my POV. And Babaramram, you always have very personal and metaphysical beliefs that I like to hear you share.

sisyphus, My psot here is much simpler and is already reflected in those above. But I'll say it anyway.

Do you have a therapist who can relate to you? Someone with your own level of intelligence?

The black holes can swallow up our self image and awareness, and wreck our sense of self-pride. The part of the ego which is necessary I believe to keep us aboveground.

I feel so totally hopeless and helpless when I am in the depth of a severe depression. No matter what my mind may reason, my head won't wrap around it. I swear that up is down and that will never change.

Then, one day it does. It's not magical and it takes some work on my part, wanting to pull out of it.

I know it takes you awhile for you to get back and post but I am interested to see how you're doing?
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by sisyphus » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:23 am

I deleted my initial replies to the three of you hours after submitting them, while I consider whether I'm just being a douchebag trying to save face about writing things incredibly simplistic in my original post and then getting called on it.

Anyway, here's the breakdown:

1) I said things much more simplistic in my original post than what I actually think, because I didn't think anyone would care much to read or reply, so why waste the effort?

2) People did reply and intelligently at that.

3) Barbaramram: I do not share your pantheistic views, but I acknowledge much truth to what you say of "living in the present" / also known as mindfulness

4) AbyssalPlane: You are correct in everything you said. I just don't see things with such optimism. However, if I make an effort, I can see that I feel this way for chemical reasons beyond my control and that it is possible for me to feel differently in the future. That is important for me to be reminded of and to remind myself of.

5) clare_hart: My current therapist (I've had at least 15 since I've lived many different places) is not someone who can relate to me much, but she's trying. Even though I may come across as intelligent, I'm really just someone with a small amount of information who simply wants more information. I came to this forum to ask for more information. In doing so, sometimes I have to explain a little of where I'm coming from in my thinking. But, because I know stuff that is kinda out there for most people, I end up having to explain some things.

But, I have now deleted all those explanations from this forum. The last thing I want to do is come across as some douchebag out to teach others. I have nothing to teach.

Maybe this is the blackhole. I don't know. All I know is that I'm the last person who should have an ego. And if I still do, that just goes to show what an idiot I am.
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by clare_hart » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:20 am

OK, I can understand wanting to delete some posts. I have started whole new threads, posted, then deleted them. So yeah.

"I came to this forum to ask for more information. In doing so, sometimes I have to explain a little of where I'm coming from in my thinking. But, because I know stuff that is kinda out there for most people, I end up having to explain some things."

No one can get across their whole message. Life stories are the same as books, often a series!

Your stuff may be kind of out there - if you say so - but I still thank you for sharing what you did. Every bit of input we get from a member helps us (at least me if I resist speaking for others) to put things into perspective, to give thought to other ideas & issues, and to compare our knowledge to that of others. Which adds to recovery.

So, no matter what you think, I really doubt if anyone thinks you're a douche bag!!!

But, if you insist >>> :lol:

Hey, I thought trick or treat was over a couple days ago.
Sorry about being flip. I don't mean to offend. I just use humor to fend off the blues.
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by sisyphus » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:52 am

No offense taken. I don't get offended easily :) It's nice that things don't have to be overly serious here.

I've never met someone else who has said that they will start whole new threads and then delete them! I'M NOT ALONE!!! hahaha Someone called me out on facebook for this behavior in the past, but I guess it's a bipolar thing :P (maybe)

And, yes I see what you mean about sharing. Maybe I will edit what I wrote and re-post it. I just didn't want to come across as a “know-it-all.” And, I feel like I have to be a little more cautious about that, because I have gone to school and worked in the mental health field. I don't want to sound like I have everything figured out, because … CLEARLY … I don't.

Thank you :)
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by sisyphus » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:13 am

Now for the lengthy explanations... if anyone is still interested!

Babaramram:

You are quite correct that the definition of a deity is far ranging and very individual. I have explored many religions and spiritual perspectives. I was rather summarily trying to state that belief in some kind of “guiding force” that brings meaning to existence, would contribute greatly to reducing my feeling of existential despair. It sounds like you have that and I envy you; though I do not feel that I can share your perspective even in my own independent way.

Not all atheists are equal in their perspectives either and I think you may come to see that the ways in which you have conceived of my perspective are not actually representative of how I think, or why I think what I do.

I don't remember hearing of Tolle before, but I read about him after reading your post. Living fully in the present moment is indeed a powerful tool for relieving stress and bringing a sense of peace, if not also meaning, to your life. It is so true, in fact, that the practice of living in the present moment, also called "mindfulness" is an integral part of dialectical behavior therapy in the field of psychology. Further, the well-known atheist, neuroscientist, and philosopher, Sam Harris has spoken and written about the importance of mindfulness. So, we are in 100% agreement on that aspect.

Where I disagree is that living in the present moment is "living with God." But, I don't want to get into the specifics of my disagreement on that, because this isn't the place. Further, I value the value this holds for you and would never want to change that. It just doesn't work for me. But, to reiterate, what you say about the importance of living in the present, is a truth that is worth me reminding myself of. Thank you.

AbyssalPlane:

You may have read or heard about the voluminous amount of evidence from neuroscience and psychology that free-will is an illusion (Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Daniel Kahneman, etc.) Every part of conscious experience is as much a chemical process as the passive chemical processes that regulate our bodies in other ways.

Everything that I'm thinking and feeling is every bit due to physical processes in my brain. The fact that I look at the universe and think "This sucks!" and you look at it and find awe and meaning, is due entirely to different neurochemistry. If not for these complicated scientific explanations, this truth is also self-evident to anyone who has ever taken a psychotropic substance that has changed the way they thought or felt. It is definitely possible that in the future, through some concoction of the right medicines, foods, lifestyle choices, etc. that I could reach this state of peacefulness. Though I may never reach it, the realization that what I'm feeling about life being undesirable has no actual substance to it, (no necessary reality), lets me decide whether or not to dwell on it.

Living in the present moment, acknowledging that I am an assemblage of chemicals that has created the illusion of a self-made will and sense of agency, frees me from the illusion of individuality and the notion that anything I'm feeling has any significance whatsoever. My feelings are significant only if I let them be (though of course I have no free will in this either). But, by the process of causality, such as this web forum (philosophical determinism does not see nature and nurture as mutually exclusive), perhaps I can be “reprogrammed” to acknowledge this more frequently. :)
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by AbyssalPlane » Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:27 am

Hello Sisyphus,

Yes I've read some of their stuff, particularly Sam Harris from that list. I also find his speaking style engaging, friendly, natural and full of information.

"The fact that I look at the universe and think "This sucks!" and you look at it and find awe and meaning, is due entirely to different neurochemistry."

I agree. We each see the universe (and the world and people in it) a little differently, again kind of like looking at a hologram. Turn it just a little bit more in any direction and you're looking at it from a different angle. Neurochemistry has everything to do with it, the pills I take wouldn't do anything if that wasn't the case. I've also made lifestyle changes and attitude changes. They say practice makes perfect, I worked at it for a long time. I get what you're saying because I've been there, and still feel that way sometimes.

I used the hologram example because of the holographic principle - very fascinating stuff. Neuroscientists are beginning to think that the brain stores information holographically, just as the universe itself is one giant hologram.

Sorry, digressed a bit there. I fully believe that for most people, they will be able to through dedication and the right medication lessen the grip that bipolar has on them and exert some control on their emotions and actions.

These are universal questions you are asking, and that's great and interesting in and of itself. But if this whole notion of meaninglessness bothers you, start small and find something that does give you and your life meaning. It doesn't have to be an overarching meaningful belief or activity on a cosmic level. It could be going for a walk in the park for example.

But I definitely understand the questions you're asking. Some people are just naturally resistant to treatment and drugs, that could be the case with you(?). Or it's just your personality like you said, again nothing wrong there either. I fight crippling depressions sometimes where things seem bleak and meaningless too. Not sure if it's the same type as yours but again I get the sentiment.

I've heard Sam Harris say that the universe doesn't care about us and life is essentially void of meaning. But then he does all of those public speaking engagements and connects with others that way. Seems to me he found his meaning ...
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by Blake's Poisontree » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:44 am

I can't believe in another sadistic psychopath, believing in myself is more than enough.

I've tried out quite a few religions over the last 25 years and have never been so unhappy. None of them ever brought me happiness, none of them ever removed me from myself. I am my own god and nothing exists except for me, and I am everything.

Sounds delusional but atheism stopped working a couple of years ago so I had to move on. I told myself that atheism lifted me out of depression but that was also delusional, it numbed me to depression, there was no lifting anything. That "dead" feeling eventually became death and death taunts me far too often. I need to live, so I moved on and became my own god.
I don't have a God complex, God is not this complex.
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by AvantGarde » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:28 am

Blake's Poisontree wrote: so I moved on and became my own god.


:lol: That's great!

Idk, I had the delusion I was god and when the delusion lifted, I felt a sense of peace, of not needing to believe in anything because we just don't know !

All else was thought of by other people already, on our own minds it can be rewarding to believe in stories, or in the lack of them, whatever floats your boat.

But I found reassurance on not knowing, not really caring right now, and hoping that when we die some sort of revelation will unfold :lol: I can dream, right?

Metaphysics is a soft spot of mine, I love to think about the unanswered questions of humanity, philosophy and all. But it's for my own enternainment :lol:

Living in the moment is good, but we're made of past and always constantly building the future. That has to be kept in mind as well, so we don't keep going knocking on the same door of thought.
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by Mocha » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:22 pm

Blake's Poisontree wrote: so I moved on and became my own god.

:lol:

I had forgotten how much I loved this thread.


AvantGarde wrote:Living in the moment is good, but we're made of past and always constantly building the future. That has to be kept in mind as well, so we don't keep going knocking on the same door of thought.

:)
At my age, AG, I know exactly how true this is.

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by Jaivi » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:33 pm

OoOoh, spirituality ^_^

I groove on a lot of different spiritual elements...I've tried to check in with as many as I can.

I like the term "theosophy", or that God can be reached in any number of ways.

Gong washes and crystal bowl stuff and the like are cool (meetup.com). So are breathing exercises and yoga. Great way to understand how the mind and body intersect.

As far as Tha Lawd goes, I personally do believe in Christ and God, but my faith is more grounded in Indian spirituality and I don't believe in judging others, nor do I believe that Jesus does.

There's a very interesting book called, "A Course in Miracles," which has led me to a great deal of peace, especially in the way it interprets God.

Also, am wondering if The Flying Spaghetti Monster allows his adherents to eat him, a la Jesus? Jesus is always like, "eat me, eat me, eat me!!!"
Enduring in the faith in my dreams and hopes: got to keep laughing :)
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by hal » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:17 pm

Spirituality is more important to me than religion, although I'm an actively practicing Catholic. There's belief, faith, hope, and love.

Belief for me means simply accepting a set of propositions. This is of little interest to me. Faith implies commitment. But to what? Hope is for the future, maybe life after death. Love is a universal value, but what is it? The Greek words/concepts agápe, éros, philía, and storgē are at the foundation of Western philosophy and Christianity. (These mean, roughly, love for all (caritas), sexual love, friendship, and family love.)

These are all social in some way. Spirituality is private and, I believe, separable from religion, though they are often and legitimately associated. Mysticism is an example: it begins with self but also seeks to lose oneself in a higher Self. I once considered myself an everyday mystic, that is, not someone committed like a monk but oriented toward a particular type of introspection. It is based on a sense that a deeper reality can be obtained subjectively. I don't practice this much anymore, but I remember those times fondly.

You don't have to believe in a god to be spiritual. An alternative place to begin, or end, is Nature. I think this is what drives many scientists: curiosity first, but then meaning found in the pursuit of knowledge which can even become wisdom.
. . . all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
-- Tennyson
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by AvantGarde » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:25 pm

hal wrote:You don't have to believe in a god to be spiritual. An alternative place to begin, or end, is Nature. I think this is what drives many scientists: curiosity first, but then meaning found in the pursuit of knowledge which can even become wisdom.


Very beautiful thought. I hearthly agree.

In my mania, I read about most religions, never really found one that suited me. But my spiritual connection to nature was huge. Still is.

I moved to a place closer to nature, and my PTSD symptoms just subsided.

Reading and petting or playing with my pets keeps me grounded.
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by Jemane » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:55 am

I grew up in a religious cult which I was in until my mid 20s then I was a Pentecostal preacher for quite a few years, then I became an atheist after scientifically questioning everything I believed.
I actually felt relieved to become an atheist but I do find everything a bit pointless, and I miss the community of people I had when I had a faith.
Sometimes I wish I was a believer, but I can't make myself believe something I don't think is real no matter how hard I try!
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
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by hal » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:16 am

Community, that's the thing. As a young man I was heavily involved in the Mormon church. It was my life, and I even fulfilled a two-and-a-half year mission (in France).

But then I had a run-in with Authority. I thought my immediate superior was unqualified and asked others what they thought. The Mission President called a special district meeting, gave a stern lecture, and then called in each of the missionaries for interviews one by one.

I was last. It seems that in questioning the supervising elder, I was by implication questioning HIS superior, and then HIS, and so all the way up to the president of the church, and that meant I was questioning GOD, because God appointed the president, who appointed others, who appointed still others, all the way down the line to my supervisor.

When he said that, I burst into tears. It led to my first real depression. I recovered, and finished my mission successfully. Nevertheless, my commitment to the church diminished, and a few years later, I left
. . . all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone.
-- Tennyson
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by mom6 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:21 pm

Hmmm. Guess im not the only one who struggles with this . So heres the story. Born catholic. Raised catholic. In fact, catholic supermom. Hubby catholic. Kids go to catholic schools. Now i dont want to be catholic. Its not helping. I want to find something. Ill know it when i hear it. The prob? "Mom! You r going to hell!" hubby?"u r so different now." ( i.e., i cant be married to u if ur not catholic.)
What i really think? No one can really say how to get to that mysterious place we all seem to be looking for. You might be right. I might be right. We both might be wrong. Who cares who is right if it doesnt help u navigate this life. This is where i am now. This is the life i have to get thru. God doesn't need religion. He invented it for US. To help US. So shouldnt we go where it helps us the most? I am so sick of feeling the typical catholic hang up of feeling guilty. Dont u think there is a problem if i have to talk about my religion in therapy?! I know i fuck up! U dont have to remind me!


Imo.
Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows fall behind you-Walt Whitman (mostly)
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