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    1. Struggling with nihilism and the inability to enjoy things

      Preface #1: I know the first response with something like this will be "go see a therapist" - I have been in therapy for over a decade now. There are a lot of things it has helped with...

      Preface #1: I know the first response with something like this will be "go see a therapist" - I have been in therapy for over a decade now. There are a lot of things it has helped with (specifically trauma-focused), but nihilism is not something I've been able to get help with. The help has ranged from things like "focus on the micro over the macro" (which I think is probably the best advice, but also can be boiled down to "don't think" and I can't not think), to "find religion" (for me at least: religion doesn't breed hope, hope breeds religion), to "I don't know how to help, I can't relate to that" (...not all therapist are good).

      Preface #2: I know the quick response to "life is meaningless" is "so make your own!" but I absolutely despise that logic. If everything is meaningless, than that means making your own meaning is meaningless. It's self-defeating in and of itself. That said, I don't really care about "meaning" anyway. I personally view things as "irrelevant", as if you dig deep enough you get to a point where everything is relevant to nothing. And the conclusion to draw from that is: "it's irrelevant that everything is irrelevant" - similar meaning, but checks out logically significantly better to me. But this has it's own problems that I will go in below.

      Preface #3: I know the quick response to the inability to enjoy things is "you don't enjoy things because you are depressed." What I'm positing is the inverse, "I no longer enjoy things, and it's causing me to be depressed." I'm very much not saying the former doesn't happen and I've gone through time periods like that. What I am saying is that the latter is also true, and I'm sure that other people who have dealt with depression for decades understands both "My depression is causing this to happen" and "This is causing my depression to flare" happen.


      To give quick context for myself: I had become a nihilistic atheist by the time I graduated elementary school; I had a rather traumatic childhood and my official diagnosis is (C-)PTSD and all the offshoots that come from it like depression and anxiety (Bringing up as I recognize myself these are thoughts that, according to the DSM/ICD, would be from someone with mental disorders). This led to things like dropping out of high school and becoming a mute hikikomori. To make a long story short, in my late teens I got to a point of either suicide or completely revamping my life with the belief that enjoyment could be found via actually being social (friends and dating) and proper self-sufficiency/money. I chose the latter for one simple reason: there was nothing to lose, so just trust the process. It took over a decade of constant self improvement, but I became a sociable person part of different clubs and hosting my own parties/gatherings with a very active dating life. I also got my degree in comp sci and have done quite well for myself with that. And a lot on top of that just in terms of trying to make the most out of life.

      Unfortunately, none of that actually helped. Having to mask to be able to be social/date is exhausting and frankly people suck, and wasting life working 9-5 one of the most depressing things to me. The reason I bring this up is because I did really fucking try, I tried the stuff that everyone says brings happiness - but it don't. And it's all just so irrelevant.

      Over the last half decade or so, I just can't bring myself to care about anything. And I mean anything, even super simple things. I'll talk to people or listening to a song and think "why do I care what you have to say?". I'll watch a movie or read a book and can't keep focus because seriously who cares about these imaginary things some person thought up? People I know die and I'll just think "yeah that happens." And the absolute worst for me was when it came for knowledge. Because knowledge was the thing I always cared above all else. But what does "knowing things" matter if "things" don't matter to me?

      Which brings me back to preface #2. Everything is irrelevant, but it's irrelevant that it's irrelevant. Except that society demands relevancy to justify ones own existence within it. It's not possible to live an irrelevant life and be part of society. I personally really only see two options: reject society or embrace absurdism.

      Speaking strictly personally, I do not see rejecting society as a means of living an enjoyable life. Mostly because I know it will lead to me living out of my car again, spending my time embracing hedonism via drugs and alcohol to fuel escapism until the end comes. And if in the end I'm just going to fuel escapism, why not just escape to begin with?

      Absurdism is mostly what I fed into while "turning my life around". But I do have issues with it. One is how much it feels like the "this is fine" fire meme; it recognizes the problem but then rejects that it's a problem. This is fine if "life" itself is not a problem and you are able to enjoy your time regardless (after all, the problem itself is irrelevant so yeah just reject it as a problem), but then that gets to my second and main issue: if you don't enjoy life, what defense against suicide does absurdism have? Yes there is the whole thing of "suicide just adds to the absurdity by claiming meaning is needed" but that's only if you are committing suicide because life has no meaning. I don't care that life is irrelevant, I care that life fucking sucks. Suicide then is not rejecting the lack of meaning, it's rejecting time spent unenjoyably.

      I've been able to get through things being both meaningless and unenjoyable with the belief that things would become enjoyable. Now I'm nearly 40 years old, things have played out, and I do not buy into it anymore. Either life needs to be enjoyable, or there needs to be some relevancy to it. Which, I reject the later as even being knowable as a human. Which leaves the former.

      Which then comes to the silly question, how do you just enjoy things?

      I am able to recognize one of my issues with enjoying things: In order to raise my emotional floor, I have embraced being stoic. Things happen that are out of our control. Things are lost, hardships are had, people die. They are simply facts of life. The problem is that it also prevents enjoying things - enjoyable things are also out of your control, so do not embrace them for they will be gone. Which, moments in time then neither "good" or "bad", they simple are just moments in time. Every moment is simply some indefinite, irrelevant moment in time.

      Which, kind of tied to that as well, but another issue I recognize: as I have understood my own trauma and how it's affected me, I've really understood just how much is deterministic in life. Which is especially sad in the case of trauma responses, and how much society basically double downs on the trauma (just easy eg of how "hysterical women" have been treated throughout history, but look at the overlap of BPD and traumatic childhoods).

      But now these are not just moments in time, but determined yet irrelevant moments in time.

      But that still doesn't preclude enjoying things. And I guess that's mostly what I'm for the search for in life, to figure out what things I actually enjoy/how to actually enjoy things I want to enjoy. Because enjoying life is certainly enough, but that requires life to be enjoyable.

      And it's actually part of why I'm even posting this. With all the different ways I've changed my life and such, I've tried to look back at what was actually enjoyable. And long-form text communication is definitely the way I prefer to communicate (oh do I miss when 'social media' was forums). I also recognize the importance of being part of more smaller, tighter-knit communities compared to being a blob in a mass. So it's part looking for help, and part just trying to get back into posting on smaller communities.

      But I also feel like I'm all over the place and I do apologize for that. I think to try to summarize to bring the points clearer...like I said before, life either needs to be enjoyable or there needs to be some kind of relevancy to it. So either how do you find relevancy/where am I wrong on that, or how do you find enjoyment (and I don't mean "try new hobbies until you find what you enjoy!" kind of stuff - I've already ran that gauntlet. I'm not asking where to find enjoyment, I'm asking how to feel enjoyment; how are you able to care about things might be a better war to phrase it)?

      28 votes
    2. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      5 votes
    3. Trouble with time boxing

      I have trouble with having more than one open task at a time. I have problem with it even when time is plentiful. I have trouble taking a half hour at work to improve my education while I am...

      I have trouble with having more than one open task at a time.

      I have problem with it even when time is plentiful.

      I have trouble taking a half hour at work to improve my education while I am fresh, even if it is my break time. I have trouble taking a half hour out to look through the company web site for a new project, even if it is my break time. Etc Etc.

      If I have an open task, I want to focus on it and get it done.

      If I do something else, I feel like I am doing something wrong, and punishment is just around the corner.

      Even when I am reassured in what I am doing, it feels like I have to kill momentum, switch gears, to stop one task after a certain amount of time ( time boxing ) and start a different task.

      Anyone else?

      Is it just a matter of practice?

      8 votes
    4. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      6 votes
    5. u/RNG investigates bitcoin town

      EDIT: Album available here Note: I'm writing this post as I go through my day, taking note of anything interesting. I try to do this with my diary, however for once I'll actually share my thoughts...

      EDIT: Album available here

      Note: I'm writing this post as I go through my day, taking note of anything interesting. I try to do this with my diary, however for once I'll actually share my thoughts with strangers.

      This was inspired by u/arqalite's post on the topic.

      I'm not a journalist. I didn't even take a class on journalism in college. I'm also not a writer, but at least my text is human generated. I have an audiobook I need to catch up on and a day to spare, so I'm going to bitcoin town.

      I'm not a crypto guy, but I'm not going because I think Bitcoin is bad (even though it is). I'm going because I'm curious: how loud is this bitcoin mine really? When I read the initial post I wondered about the nocebo effect, Havana Syndrome, sociogenic illness, etc. Most of the reports are anecdotes of locals, and the null hypothesis doesn't make for a sharable news article.

      I'm using this app "Sound Meter" to see how loud it is in my small suburban house. It peaks at 40dB. If you, like me, don't think in decibels, Google says that's as loud as a refrigerator hum. I'm skeptical about the accuracy of a phone app, but it's what I have.

      Outside my house there are some birds loudly chirping. I would have missed their song if I wasn't writing this. I decide that I should take a measurement. The app reads 55dB. Google says it's the loudness of a residential street. Spot on.

      I'm entering Granbury, TX and a massive American flag hanging from a crane greets me along with a pro-Trump billboard. There's a large lake running through the town. Seems like every house has a dock. Lot's of folks on boats and jet skis are visible.

      Downtown is an old court building with a clock tower. The streets are lined with mom-and-pop shops for furniture, clothing, and trinkets. To my surprise, there are a lot of shoppers here with arms full of bags. They seem cheerful. They are all white.

      The GPS takes me outside the city limits. I stop at a gas station a half-mile from the mine. I ask a couple of people about the mine while I grab a water. They've never heard of a bitcoin mine, and didn't know there was one around here.

      As I approach the destination, the bitcoin mine looms over the horizon. The sheer size of the facility cannot be overstated. This facility looks like it should be pursuing some massive scientific endeavor. I wouldn't guess in a million years that all of this infrastructure exists to mine bitcoin. My car reads 98°F (what I expected based on forecast.) I imagine cooling systems will be as loud as one can expect on a day like today. And yes, it is loud.

      Across the way, I see signs saying "Bitcoin sux" and "Bitcoin Noisehood". I take a lot of photos. I pull out "Sound Meter" and take measurements. It consistently reads 81-83dB, peaking at 88dB. Google says 85dB is the limit of safe hearing, and is comparable to the sound of a snowblower. This seems perfectly accurate to me. I'd be pissed if I lived across from this place.

      I'll be in Granbury for the next hour or so, if anyone has a specific question about the mine I'll see if I can answer it. I took a lot of photos if there is interest.

      119 votes
    6. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      4 votes
    7. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      4 votes
    8. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      6 votes
    9. What have you done to conquer your fear?

      I've been in therapy for ten years. Recently, I hit a local minimum. I saw where the rest of the curve would take me, if I did not change somehow. It would end me early—maybe even in a few years...

      I've been in therapy for ten years.

      Recently, I hit a local minimum. I saw where the rest of the curve would take me, if I did not change somehow. It would end me early—maybe even in a few years or less.

      And I saw what was holding me back.

      I've had emotional scars accumulated from an early age. That kind of trauma seems to have a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy; my life has been replete with repeated traumas. I've been reliving those root traumas over and over again, in my own mind, overlaid atop later events that only found correlation due to triggering those old wounded emotions.

      I understand this to be called "CPTSD" in more civilized parts of the world than where I live: the United States. (As far as I know, the DSM-V does not acknowledge CPTSD.) I digress.

      In therapy, I had identified two deeply wounded "parts" of myself: one represented by an ostracized seventeen year old Exile who attempted in all but direct intent to end himself and the other an emotionally abused and rage-filled ten year old Inner Child.

      Recently, I healed the seventeen year old part. I saw how it was hurting me. Its expectation, its fear, of exile fueled nearly half of my life. My therapist and I pushed on it. What was preventing me from changing?

      It was the fear of what I would become without it. Would I lose my wife? Would I lose my identity? Would I lose everything?

      But it was this or my life. So, in that moment, I made a choice.

      Instead what happened was something unexpected. The Exile flourished. It was as though my teen and 20 something years had been rewritten: a Back to the Future moment. It was no longer The Exile. It was transformed into something else entirely. It became strong and confident. Tapping into that part, by choice, I now seem to be able face most situations that would once cause near panic with, instead, determination. I persevere. I even seem, at times, to flourish.

      However, the rage-filled Child remains. He is more activistic. He still has the sense that he will be punished for some perceived wrong. When provoked, he doesn't feel anxiety from these imagined tortures, he feels rage.

      In my meditations, now, I attempt to integrate with this newfound strength to then reach out to and show more compassion to the Child—to salve his fear and show him that we, together, as a being, are now strong. I am hopeful.

      In these ways, I am remade.

      I still recognize old pieces. And, yet, there is so much new, so much yet undiscovered, that I confound myself with what is now easy and what remains difficult (but difficult in new ways). I am increasingly kinder to myself, allowing more connection with others, particularly those I would once consider incompatible, and perhaps even beginning to become physically healthier.

      I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Or, perhaps, I am only now stepping into that light, after decades.

      How have you become more than your past traumas? How have you transformed for the better? How did you accomplish it?

      EDIT: I shared this in the hope that it inspires. There can be healing, though it can take years and much effort. I would love to hear your stories of hope!

      EDIT2: Feeling self-conscious, this all was decidedly not a humble brag. I never imagined that this sort of abrupt transformation was possible. However, it was a culmination of literally a decade of therapeutic intervention and hard work.

      31 votes
    10. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      1 vote