46 votes

How to find purpose in life?

I often think about the purpose and/or meaning of life and I've been struggling to work through these thoughts lately. As I teen I've had these thoughts often, but after experiencing my first manic episode (that led to psychosis) back in August 2022, the question of "What's the point?" pops into my head quite frequently.

Alongside this I've been struggling to come to terms with my new diagnosis of 'Bipolar Type I with psychotic features' as I've already been diagnosed with ADHD back in 2017 and I realize that both of these are life-long diagnoses. I know I just have to learn how to live with them, but that's been a tough pill to swallow.

I should mention that I'm not suicidal or anything, but rather I feel hollow and numb inside as I am very unfulfilled with life. Some days are okay and I'm still functioning and taking care of myself (so it's not like a full-blown depression), but as I mentioned before, I just don't see the point in all of this and don't find many things to be worthwhile or enjoyable anymore.

Basically I feel like a shell of my former self after my episode and have found much difficulty in enjoying the things I liked before from hobbies, to music and even food (I was a highly food-driven person). It's definitely much better than it was immediately after my episode, but it's as though life has been sucked out of me and I'm just going through the motions of living because it's what I'm supposed to do. I know recovery takes time, but it's been nearly 2 years since my episode and I thought this feeling would go away by now...

(I've also been seeing a counselor and OT and am doing things such as CBT and ACT which helped a bit, but not enough as I am here asking questions on an online forum seeking help).

If you have any advice on how to work through this it would be appreciated.


EDIT (12/6/24): I wanted to say thank you to all the responses and advice given. I may not have replied to everyone, but just know that I have been reading the comments and I do appreciate them :)

32 comments

  1. [8]
    ShamedSalmon
    (edited )
    Link
    ADHD with BP-II checking in. I struggled for more than 10 years with depression and bouts of psychosis before turning a corner. In addition to what others are recommending, consider taking up the...
    • Exemplary

    ADHD with BP-II checking in. I struggled for more than 10 years with depression and bouts of psychosis before turning a corner.

    In addition to what others are recommending, consider taking up the Great Work.

    Don't necessarily give yourself to a religion, no, but learn the ways that you are your body, that your body is a collection of systems interlinked, and that these systems are a microcosm of the nature that surrounds you. Only do not try to learn these things in a day, but realize them as slowly as you can, so that you don't find the answer to your question, but that it has room to suddenly occur to you one evening, after months or years of inquest.

    There are some tools that can help you partake in the Great Work.

    Take up breathing and/or vocal exercises that stimulate the Vagus Nerve. Find a means to build control of and regulate your breath, be it through walking, running, or hiking, then apply that control to just simply sitting. With the supervision of your therapist, make a daily habit of stretching. Doing so will likely eventually expose, but then later extinguish, past traumas. This is sometimes called memory integration. Building this critical aspect of self-regulation will greatly aid your medications, depending on what you take.

    Surround yourself with aphorisms that are not merely related to this process, but that also speak to you personally. Cultivate a collection of works that contain passages which weave their way into your mind, insidiously. This is sometimes called sublimating your thought patterns. If possible, collect them into a journal or book that you imbibe with a sense of personal meaning or sacredness.

    A few initial writings that I found helpful early on were:

    If you like film, consider also revisiting movies such as Inception, The Matrix, Dark City, Blade Runner, The Shawshank Redemption, The Truman show, Pleasantville, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Fountain, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Holy Mountain. But there's plenty more media out there which follows similar themes to invigorate your self-investigation.

    Learn the key to mundane invisibility by being so still with your thoughts that they cease, people don't notice you (or you don't notice them), and you lose notice of yourself. We all do this for a second or two, here and there, every day. The more you paradoxically take account of this, the more possible it becomes to induce it, creating more and more room for the answer to form. Use this skill especially while sitting outside, if possible.

    Make it a point to drink 32oz of water in the first half of the day, and another 32oz in the second half. Build on this habit by finding a water bottle that works for you, which you can carry everywhere. Use this as the basis for improving your diet, later on. An easy start to looking at your diet might be cutting back on breads and substituting in mixed unsalted nuts, veggies such as cucumbers and carrots, and fruits such as apples and bananas.

    Lastly, and once again, try not to do these things all at once, but little by little, over a long time. The key to thriving with BP is a seemingly natural evenness. Seek to build a new set of habits which unconsciously limit your highs and lows by means of personal awareness and interoception, without dulling yourself in the manner that you may presently feel. Don't be afraid of this paradox, either: BP, like any mental disorder, is non-rational in origin, and non-rational problems often require non-rational solutions.

    Relying on your rationality to self-convince your way through the question is the trap to avoid. Anyone can say that they know the answer, and if you believe you have found it early on, keep pushing. When you have come to experience the way that these things each fit together into a greater whole, the genuine answer to your question will stumble into clarity and you bear witness to the fact —possibly by accident, like I did— that you have once again changed, but for the better.


    《內業》 25 Nèiyè: 25 Translation based on H.D. Roth

    人之生也,
    必以其歡,

    憂則失紀,
    怒則失端,
    憂悲喜怒,
     道乃無處,

    愛慾靜之,
    愚亂正之。

    勿引勿推,
     福將自歸。
     彼道自來,
     可藉與謀。

    靜則得之,
    躁則失之。
    Fán
    Rén zhī shēng yě,
    bì yǐ qí huān,

    yōu zé shī jì,
    nù zé shī duān,
    yōu bēi xǐ nù,
     dào nǎi wúchù,

    ài yù jìng zhī,
    yú luàn zhèng zhī.

    Wù yǐn wù tuī,
     fú jiāng zìguī.
     Bǐ dào zìlái,
     kě jiè yǔ móu.

    Jìng zé dé zhī,
    zào zé shī zhī.
    Altogether,
    The vitality of people
    Certainly comes from joy.

    Sorrow loses the guiding thread.
    Anger misses the fundamental point.
    With sorrow, grief, pleasure, and anger,
      There is no place for the way to reside.

    Love and desire—Calm them.
    Foolishness and disorder—Correct them.

    Do not pull, do not push.
      Good fortune will naturally gather,
      And the way will naturally come
      For you to rely and make plans.

    Stillness will become gain.
    Passion will become loss.

    (Ch. 25 in Harold D. Roth's arrangement, 18a in Jeffrey K. Riegel's arrangement, 10a on ctext.org. There are no punctuation marks in Old Chinese and divisions in the text are not always clear.)


    Note: I'm not a doctor either, just some day-laborer on the internet, who reads too much.


    EDIT: Camus

    41 votes
    1. gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      Much good advice in your post and this seems especially pertinent to me today too, as Im learning more about controlling my BPII. Just yesterday I decided to swear off coffee for a test - as I...

      Make it a point to drink 32oz of water in the first half of the day, and another 32oz in the second half. Build on this habit by finding a water bottle that works for you, which you can carry everywhere. Use this as the basis for improving your diet, later on. An easy start to looking at your diet might be cutting back on breads and substituting in mixed unsalted nuts, veggies such as cucumbers and carrots, and fruits such as apples and bananas.

      Much good advice in your post and this seems especially pertinent to me today too, as Im learning more about controlling my BPII. Just yesterday I decided to swear off coffee for a test - as I HATE the way it makes me crash hard after about 45 minutes - I love coffee but I literally have to have a nap for 5 or 10 minutes to recuperate every morning. Just annoying. So I started drinking water instead and already noticed a difference in my energy level being more level.

      I love fruits and veggies but never thought about the unsalted nuts. Gonna add that to my diet next. Thanks for the excellent advice you gave. Im going to check out some of those books too.

      9 votes
    2. [2]
      Thomas-C
      Link Parent
      Had a response in mind, read this, thought "nope, this is it". What a great read and great list too. Really surprised to see the 36 Lessons of Vivec in there, cool choices. I wouldn't have...

      Had a response in mind, read this, thought "nope, this is it". What a great read and great list too. Really surprised to see the 36 Lessons of Vivec in there, cool choices. I wouldn't have articulated myself the same way really any earlier in life, but I have always had a perspective along the lines of "it doesn't matter from where wisdom comes, it's wisdom all the same". And sometimes it's that a first encounter is not the complete story, that upon finding some other thing, the first thing makes new sense. Keep going and the web takes shape, the connections form and one day it just sorta hits you, something important, something meaningful. The more gets collected the further that process can go, and "take it all and let it do its work" has been my mindset for a long time.

      The last paragraph in particular is better said than anything I was putting together. No one else's answer will ever fully suffice, is the conclusion I had reached with myself over time. It's until I stopped trying to force things and allowed that "answer" to come forth, as a consequence rather than as the object of an intention, that I ended up finding the things which animated and motivated me. I wasn't dealing with bipolar but rather a severe and seemingly intractable depression, a kind where intervention gave me a temporary reprieve but never peace. It felt like all of living was trudging through a swamp, until one day I just stood in it, and instead of forcing the next step I slowly, carefully, gently stepped differently. Learned the mud, the way it moved, the way I could position my foot so it didn't give quite the same. From afar it appeared like standing still for a very long time, but eventually, this way of stepping became natural to me, and I could get myself up to the surface. Then things changed a bit, I could move again, and so I could bring back my intention and get somewhere with it. If that all makes any sense. Anyway, this all woke me up better than the coffee, thank you again for sharing.

      7 votes
      1. ShamedSalmon
        Link Parent
        Hey thanks and you're welcome. :) I figure you probably already know, but for anyone scratching their heads over that one, it's a product of Kirkbride's descent into the unconscious, following in...

        Hey thanks and you're welcome. :)

        Really surprised to see the 36 Lessons of Vivec in there, cool choices.

        I figure you probably already know, but for anyone scratching their heads over that one, it's a product of Kirkbride's descent into the unconscious, following in the tradition of Jung. Vivec is to Kirkbride as Philemon is to Jung, or Virgil to Dante. More than dream journaling, these works fit into a mystical subcategory of pseudo-gospel writing. For Kirkbride, the quest to dislodge the Heart of Lorkhan is a Jungian exercise in rediscovering one's sense of identity by reforging the Persona after it's been displaced by the Shadow during the process of enantiodromia.

        A bit about Elder Scrolls and it's divine alchemy:

        Click to Expand
        For lore-heads, in the same manner that Talos is the product of Hjalti Early-Beard + Ysmir Wulfharth + Zurin Arctus with the Underking as the shadow-remainder, the Nerevarine is the product of Voryn Dagoth + Nerevar + Alandro Sul with Dagoth Ur as the shadow-remainder. While the alchemic formula (Thief + King + Observer, respectively) and process (Foul Murder) to produce these respective gods is slightly different, the necessary ingredients and results are largely the same. The process always produces two results, but only one of them can come to occupy the position of god-messiah to change reality.

        In some sense, it's a two-stage process of refinement. Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil share a single point of divinity with which they temporarily occupy Nerevar's King position in order to expose the Thief that is meant to displace them, Dagoth Ur. ("Hortator and Sharmat, one and one, eleven, an inelegant number. Which of the ones is the more important? Could you ever tell if they switched places?")

        The Tribunal manipulate the refinement of the blind Observer, being the Dunmer people, by revolving around the Nerevarine's karmic fate and identity via a divine expression of the Three-Body Problem. At their center is the gestalt seat they will vacate at the last moment, to shift into the Observer position and recognize the Thief Nerevarine who will displace the momentary King, Dagoth Ur.

        This is, ultimately, how they thwart the divine disease of Ash-Blight. Rescuing the people's autonomy, despite the Oblivion crisis, is the very achievement of the peace of Morrowind. The two eruptions of the Red Mountain are the opening and closing of it's Hero-cycle.

        A bit about how Morrowind is a Grail story:

        Click to Expand
        Another way of looking at the Dunmer religious story is that it is a bit like the Grail Cycles. Lorkhan and his loyalists represent the lineage of the Fisher King, responsible for protecting the Holy Grail. Because of his fateful connection to the Grail, as well as his mortal wound, the Fisher King's body and realm are decaying in a parallel manner. In a rough sense, Boethiah inspires and sends out Veloth in much the same way that Joseph of Arimathea sends out his son Josephus to lead a religious group to Britain where they will protect the Grail. As Veloth is seen as the defining spiritual leader of Resdayn—much alike Josephus to Britain—Nerevar then comes to serve the same historic role that Josephus' brother Bron—sometimes called Galahad—does in governing the secular aspects of the land.

        It was the Fisher King Pelles who discovered, through magic foreknowledge, that the famous Lancelot—whose childhood name was Galahad—would have an heir destined to find the Holy Grail. So the Fisher King conspired with his own daughter, Lady Elaine, to trick Lancelot into sleeping with her and fathering that heir. When Lancelot discovered that he had been tricked, he immediately left Elaine, but she was already pregnant with a son—whom she would name Galahad.

        The Nerevarine (like Duncan Idaho) serves as the Galahad figure, being an example of a successful attempt at engineering a fateful birth. Vivec (sort of like Leto II in the extremity of his rule) can be likened to Perceval, the masterful warrior and cousin of Galahad. Sotha Sil is like the virtuous Bors. Almalexia possibly serves as the Grail Heroine (but maybe also as Lionel). Tiber Septim is King Aurthur, Zurin Arctus is Merlin, Azura—and/or perhaps Nibani Maesa—is Viviene the Lady of the Lake, etc. There may be better arrangements for these analogues, but the Grail theme remains prevalent as the Heart of Lorkhan is that very Grail.

        So, the Lessons, in telling a story a bit like that of Arjuna and Krishna in the Gita, serve as a guide to the would-be Nerevarine, urging them to discover their own personal divinity, or in a psychological sense, their own individual personhood.

        2 votes
    3. [2]
      elight
      Link Parent
      Beautiful. Reads much like Buddhism, to which I wholeheartedly subscribe secularly.

      Beautiful.

      Reads much like Buddhism, to which I wholeheartedly subscribe secularly.

      3 votes
      1. updawg
        Link Parent
        It's a Daoist text.

        It's a Daoist text.

        5 votes
    4. [2]
      maevens
      Link Parent
      Thank you, your response helped me to remember to be patient and compassionate with myself. Interestingly enough I have one of the books you mentioned (The Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath...

      Thank you, your response helped me to remember to be patient and compassionate with myself. Interestingly enough I have one of the books you mentioned (The Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran) and I really enjoy Camus' absurdist perspective/take, but never quite got around to reading his books so I'll probably start with those two in terms of books you suggested (though I am curious as to what order you recommend I go through these books).
      As for everything else, I will definitely look at making changes to my diet overtime, drink more water and pick up my (now lost) habit of doing yoga in the mornings. I really do appreciate the time you took to create this response and I've already found myself coming back to it multiple times for guidance of sorts so once again, thank you.

      3 votes
      1. ShamedSalmon
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        In a rough sense, I've listed books of poetry, essays, mystical writings, fiction, and dream gospels, many of which indirectly relate to each other. I suppose that it's already in the vague order...

        In a rough sense, I've listed books of poetry, essays, mystical writings, fiction, and dream gospels, many of which indirectly relate to each other. I suppose that it's already in the vague order that I might suggest, but in truth, there is no correct order in building a cathedral of mind.

        Sublimating your thoughts can undermine the rationale against forming good habits. Good rationality alone eventually loses to bad habits; we see this every day. Likewise, bad rationality alone eventually loses to good habits. Bad habits do not necessarily need good or bad rationale to endure, mainly persistence. Good habits do not necessarily need good or bad rationale to endure, mainly persistence. But if you struggle in either direction, good rationale is the companion of good habit, and good habit is the companion of good rationale. Together, they are your companions in finding the secret answer to your question.


        EDIT: Woops! Also, you're welcome. :)

        2 votes
  2. [3]
    elight
    Link
    Sounds like you have expectations for yourself that you're not meeting. How is your self-compassion? You clearly hit large obstacles in the form of this episode and subsequent diagnoses. The...

    Sounds like you have expectations for yourself that you're not meeting.

    How is your self-compassion?

    You clearly hit large obstacles in the form of this episode and subsequent diagnoses. The diagnoses indicate what may be able to help you but they can't define you.

    Remember, medical diagnoses fit people into boxes with labels. The way you experience "ADHD" will have some similarities to how others do but it's also going to be your own experience of it. The label doesn't say how impulsive you are or aren't, how much you focus, what you focus on, where you struggle with motivation, etc.

    Try thinking of it as "now I know that I have something like what others call ADHD." Then explore yours.

    Try not to beat yourself up. It's not your fault that you have these conditions. Yes, they're there now. They're your responsibility to work with. And that's got to be hard. It's ok, even wise, to grieve. I sure did when I got my ADHD diagnosis! I grieved for the years that I lived without the diagnosis and what could have been had I been medicated and had therapy. Same for when I discovered the deep well of trauma I've carried through my life.

    The best thing I've done for myself with every condition of mine that I've managed to overcome: I faced my fears head-on in meditation and in therapy. Eventually, it pays off.

    Wishing you well.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      maevens
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I have a tendency to have high expectations of myself. My self-compassion is definitely in the works as it was not great before (still isn't now really haha). I appreciate your insight and...

      Yeah, I have a tendency to have high expectations of myself. My self-compassion is definitely in the works as it was not great before (still isn't now really haha).

      I appreciate your insight and kind words as you really hit the nail on some things (like my expectations and beating myself up over things). I guess I just haven't given myself time to properly grieve (both the past and honestly what it entails for my future) after receiving both diagnoses. Sometimes I get exhausted after working/fighting so hard against the challenges and struggles that come with these diagnoses, but it is encouraging to know that things get better with time (and hopefully easier!) and that it pays off. Thank you for taking the time to write out this response.

      I'm wishing you well too kind stranger.

      2 votes
      1. elight
        Link Parent
        I feel your words. It is like a war. The war is exhausting and feels never-ending. Progress is rarely predictable and is often non-linear. There are setbacks; it's important to grieve them...

        I feel your words.

        It is like a war. The war is exhausting and feels never-ending. Progress is rarely predictable and is often non-linear. There are setbacks; it's important to grieve them adequately.

        The best thing you can do for yourself and those around you: don't give up on yourself. Don't. Ever.

        A stiff upper-lip leads to accruing more trauma. Yet it is easy to wallow in self-pity or self-abuse with shame, guilt, and self-judgement. You didn't choose this. You are choosing to fight it.

        Yes, give yourself respites. You do the work, you've earned the break. Sometimes you get to a "good enough" point and want to just live for a spell—to appreciate what's now a little easier. That's deserved. Everyone needs their rest.

        But then don't sit on your laurels forever. Give yourself boundaries. Decide when you will check-in again with yourself and your therapist. Then decide if you need more time or if you're ready to pick up and fight smartly.

        Don't try to wage war when you're tired.

        But it can get better.

        2 votes
  3. [2]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    I have the same diagnosis you have. Bipolar disorder is highly treatable. In regards to a psychiatric treatment, given that you were recently diagnosed as bipolar, you're likely to improve soon....

    I have the same diagnosis you have. Bipolar disorder is highly treatable. In regards to a psychiatric treatment, given that you were recently diagnosed as bipolar, you're likely to improve soon. If you don't, talk to your doctor. Everyone's different but I find it much easier to treat my bipolar symptoms than my ADHD symptoms.

    Even though I don't have psychosis, I am familiar with the crash after a crisis. I start questioning who's the real me, and what are my real desires. That sentiment will go away with your treatment, and you will more or less "(re) create" yourself, basically deciding which bits should remain and which bits must go away.

    Ultimately, however, you're the same person. Our brains have a pathological tendency to dissociate. Mood stabilizers are well known drugs and extremely effective. Just hang on for a little while!


    On the existential front, we tend to ponder about life's meaning when we are in pain. As soon as they improve, most people forget about it entirely. Why is that?

    Contentment does not point anywhere. It satisfies itself. Notice that I'm not using the word "happiness". I don't believe in it. But a relative degree of satisfaction is possible. The despaired want a way out, and "the meaning of life" is a common direction. An ultimate purpose might, at least, make the pain worth it.

    When I write to you, I have a purpose.

    When I care for my son, I have a purpose.

    Many of the things I do have a purpose. I don't have a purpose because, if I had a single ultimate purpose that structured the entirety of my being, everything else would be empty and lifeless. The fact that my life has no purpose allows me to have purposes in life.

    Thank you for giving me purpose when I write you something with the intention of being useful.

    8 votes
    1. vczf
      Link Parent
      I needed this perspective and I think it will help me with my own existence. Thank you for the wisdom.

      The despaired want a way out, and "the meaning of life" is a common direction. An ultimate purpose might, at least, make the pain worth it.

      When I write to you, I have a purpose.

      When I care for my son, I have a purpose.

      Many of the things I do have a purpose. I don't have a purpose because, if I had a single ultimate purpose that structured the entirety of my being, everything else would be empty and lifeless. The fact that my life has no purpose allows me to have purposes in life.

      I needed this perspective and I think it will help me with my own existence. Thank you for the wisdom.

      2 votes
  4. [3]
    R3qn65
    Link
    You might enjoy reading Man's Search for Meaning by victor frankl. It's written by a psychologist who survived Auschwitz and concluded that those who had a sense of purpose or meaning were the...

    You might enjoy reading Man's Search for Meaning by victor frankl. It's written by a psychologist who survived Auschwitz and concluded that those who had a sense of purpose or meaning were the ones who best survived the concentration camps. In short, that Nietzsche was right when he wrote that the man who has a why can suffer nearly any how.

    The book is not proscriptive in that it will not tell you what your meaning is or even a great discussion of how to find it, but I very much feel you would get a lot out of reading it regardless.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      tuftedcheek
      Link Parent
      I agree wholeheartedly. Man's Search for Meaning is like a prism for the soul - reading it helps bring your own values into focus. It's short, succinct, and beautiful. It doesn't proscribe some...

      I agree wholeheartedly. Man's Search for Meaning is like a prism for the soul - reading it helps bring your own values into focus. It's short, succinct, and beautiful. It doesn't proscribe some self-help path toward meaning, but it does allow for some meaningful introspection. Everyone should read it at least once.

      2 votes
  5. [3]
    vord
    (edited )
    Link
    Hello fellow nutjob (Bipolar II, psychosis, 3 times hospitalized, just-barely-below-threshold for official ADHD diagnosis)! I am a bit of an unusual case, my manic episodes fire up like a rocket...

    Hello fellow nutjob (Bipolar II, psychosis, 3 times hospitalized, just-barely-below-threshold for official ADHD diagnosis)! I am a bit of an unusual case, my manic episodes fire up like a rocket then coast like a glider once treated, much better than the typical roller coaster suicide risks. I count my blessings.

    Had my first series of reality breaks starting around 22, circa 2006. About 5 years later, I started actually taking my meds with some regularity and didn't need hospitalization as much. Had a prolonged hypomanic episode 'just shy of hospitalization' just before and bleeding into COVID. Awesome and terrible. Especially since I'm pushing 40 and have 2 kids.

    Anyway, here's my take on your situation. Bear in mind I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist....just someone whose seen a lot of them:

    • Your feelings are normal. All of them.
    • Your meds may be making you feel worse. Keep taking them, but work with a doctor to try something else. I had better luck with Lamotrigine than Abilify, your mileage will definitely vary. Mental health meds, especially for bipolar, are a crapshoot. However, you may want to look into Guafacine. Its sometimes used off-label to treat ADHD in children when stimulants would be bad. That may help a bit.
    • If you have nothing in particular tying you down and you're feeling overly trapped by your pitiful meaningless existence, stockpile as many meds as you can in case you can't get insurance, then move at least 500 miles away to a different state. If you have a car and live in the suburbs or city, go rural. If you are rural, go to the city. Get a cheap shitty apartment in a shittiest part of town you're willing to risk (the floor is low, but its often lower in some places than others), and apply to a temp agency to pull in some cash. Do every job they throw at you at least once. Meet some people you probably othereise wouldn't have ever met.
    • Walk around late at night when you find yourself pondering the nature of existence. Phone off in your pocket, no headphones allowed. You'll be amazed at what you discover around the 2 miles around you that you never knew existed if you're not wandering around at night at 3AM.
    6 votes
    1. elight
      Link Parent
      I also take Lamotrogine for ADHD. It seems to take a bit more of the edge off; it makes depression harder for me to achieve but not impossible (sadly). It helps. Can't speak to BPD. I've wondered,...

      I also take Lamotrogine for ADHD. It seems to take a bit more of the edge off; it makes depression harder for me to achieve but not impossible (sadly). It helps.

      Can't speak to BPD. I've wondered, at times, if that could also be me but so far no doctor has suggested it.

      2 votes
    2. gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      I also have BPII .... but Im not sure OP or any other person suffering from BP would particularly appreciate the label "nutjob", even if you did intend it to be funny and self deprecating. If...

      I also have BPII .... but Im not sure OP or any other person suffering from BP would particularly appreciate the label "nutjob", even if you did intend it to be funny and self deprecating. If anything, Ive realize lately, after reading multiple stories from BP sufferers and hearing stories from my daughter, a psychiatrist, that having BP and full blown psychosis is absolutely awful. People do so many things in their manic state that they regret when the depression hits that it can easily make life unbearable. A little grace is helpful.

      2 votes
  6. hydravion
    (edited )
    Link
    Hey there, I've experienced some of what you've described in the past, namely feeling unfulfilled with life and endlessly wondering about its meaning. I cannot really say that I have found a...

    Hey there,

    I've experienced some of what you've described in the past, namely feeling unfulfilled with life and endlessly wondering about its meaning.

    I cannot really say that I have found a satisfying answer to the meaning of life, but when it comes to feeling fulfilled, the following has helped me, and maybe it could help you too:

    Find goals that you want to achieve and get busy realizing them.

    First, the part about being busy helped me with the thoughts about the meaning of life and the negative feelings they can cause.
    If you're too busy working towards your goals, you simply will not have time to think about these things and ask yourself such questions. You may still think about them from time to time, maybe late at night, but you may also remain busy until you go to bed and not think about them at all.

    Second, I've found the act of working towards your goals very satisfying, and depending on how much you value your goals, very fulfilling.
    Every day, you get busy getting closer to reaching your goals, and it gives you, or your life, some sort of direction. And at the end of every day, if you've worked hard, you feel like you've been productive and have gotten farther in life. You're not standing still pondering its meaning, but you're moving forward building it.
    This very act of working towards your goals and being productive is very satisfying to me. It's almost like a drug, it's very addictive. When I wake up in the morning, I look forward to a good day's work, and every evening when I go to bed, I can't wait to wake up the following day to start again.

    When I started doing this, I didn't necessarily feel good, I may still have been somewhat depressed or felt hollow. And the goals I was working towards were not particularly exciting. I simply had a long to-do list of things that I needed to fix in my life, so I started working on that and ticking them off one by one.

    But over time, not only did my life get better simply because I was fixing these things on my to-do list, but I eventually found goals other than fixing things on that list. I found goals that were exciting and inspiring to me. Goals that were fulfilling, that made me content and happy. Goals that made me feel alive.

    Nowadays, I consider myself a happy person, most of the time. I may still suffer some bouts of depression here and there, or ponder the meaning of life. But most of the time, I'm just too busy working towards these exciting goals that matter to me to ask myself such questions, so I just bypass that problem entirely. I may not have solved it, which would have been better, but failing that, I just walk around it and keep moving.

    As a final note, if you struggle to be productive and make the most of your time, and tend to waste your time a lot like I used to, I would suggest trying to use a time-tracking app. This has helped me tremendously. I used to waste my days watching videos on YouTube, but once I started time-tracking, I had to consciously set a timer for that. So after I had wasted four hours watching random videos when I thought to myself that I would stop after 30 minutes, I had that timer, that number, that really reminded me of how I was spending my days: four hours simply gone, wasted. By the end of the day, I had a report on my phone that showed me how unproductive I had been. I already knew that I wasn't being very productive, but seeing that report really put me in front of that reality.

    This makes you feel uneasy, maybe even guilty, so you try to do better the next day, and eventually, you'll be spending most of the day working (if that's what you want to do), and barely waste any time. Then, when you look at that report, you feel content and happy with yourself. You've spent the day like you wanted.

    Time-tracking helps you see if you've worked that day as many hours as you thought you did, and how much time you've actually lost to some distraction. Having actual numbers helps you reach your goals better. You know exactly how much time you've spent working, being distracted, or doing other things. Then you can learn to maximize some numbers and minimize others depending on your priorities (whether it's working, doing some hobby, exercising etc.).

    I do not know if this piece of advice will help you or not. But for me, it was life-changing, so hopefully it can benefit you too. Regardless, I hope that you find something that works for you, no matter what it is.

    I hope that you will have a tremendously happy and fulfilling life, and that you'll get there as soon as possible. Let us know how it goes, if you find something that works for you. Keep us posted. Wishing you all the best and take care!

    6 votes
  7. sparksbet
    Link
    Other people have commented their advice, but I wanted to address this portion. What you describe feeling is absolutely textbook depression. If someone without mania went to their doctor...

    Some days are okay and I'm still functioning and taking care of myself (so it's not like a full-blown depression),

    Other people have commented their advice, but I wanted to address this portion. What you describe feeling is absolutely textbook depression. If someone without mania went to their doctor describing their experiences the way you do in portions of this post, they'd walk out with an SSRI. Don't hold yourself to some arbitrary standard of needing to be doing badly enough to call it depression.

    Be kind to yourself through this, and take what practical steps you can without judging yourself for it. Communicate with whoever's managing your treatment about how you're feeling so that they can take that into account. But as for the search for the meaning of life... I think you just need to take it a day at a time until your mood stabilizes before really digging into it. It's hard to find meaning when your depression is screaming "life is meaningless" in your ear.

    6 votes
  8. gil
    Link
    I'm not a professional, but I imagine it will be hard to try to find purpose when you can't enjoy things. For me, it's mostly having a comfortable life, spending time with my family and friends,...

    I'm not a professional, but I imagine it will be hard to try to find purpose when you can't enjoy things. For me, it's mostly having a comfortable life, spending time with my family and friends, and doing things that I enjoy (e.g. traveling, movies, games). I don't need much more than that, to be honest.

    Maybe you could try different professionals if the ones you're in contact with aren't helping much right now? Wish you all the best and speedy recovery.

    3 votes
  9. [4]
    Oslypsis
    Link
    I can't say I know what you're going through, but maybe giving these a look might help with the bigger picture of it all. Various purposes of life

    I can't say I know what you're going through, but maybe giving these a look might help with the bigger picture of it all.

    Various purposes of life

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      R3qn65
      Link Parent
      I know it's terribly douchy to nitpick an explainer illustration like this, but I would characterize some of these philosophies very differently. The purpose of life according to stoicism isn't to...

      I know it's terribly douchy to nitpick an explainer illustration like this, but I would characterize some of these philosophies very differently. The purpose of life according to stoicism isn't to avoid suffering, it's to live a virtuous life, engaged with the community. Similarly, Plato's point wasn't really about learning writ large, per se, it was about figuring out the nature of good.

      Still an interesting image though!

      5 votes
      1. Oslypsis
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I'm sure there are better explanations out there, but for some reason, no matter what I typed into the search bar, this was the only one that had a good handful of philosophies. I originally...

        Yeah, I'm sure there are better explanations out there, but for some reason, no matter what I typed into the search bar, this was the only one that had a good handful of philosophies. I originally intended to include a few images instead of just the one, since I also know not all philosophies are included in this image.

        1 vote
    2. updawg
      Link Parent
      Pragmatism: Go Plunge a Toilet™ Very interesting way to depict that concept.

      Pragmatism: Go Plunge a Toilet™

      Very interesting way to depict that concept.

      1 vote
  10. Randomise
    Link
    I feel like giving you my life story would be too long of a comment to be useful, but since I haven't seen my advice in the comments, I kinda want to chime in. What helped me was a combination of:...

    I feel like giving you my life story would be too long of a comment to be useful, but since I haven't seen my advice in the comments, I kinda want to chime in.

    What helped me was a combination of: started to make friends, made myself likeable, started to climb (rock climbing), started to drink and smoke (socially), sought discomfort and new experiences.

    I also find a lot of solace in bettering myself - at least once every month, I look at how I improved at X thing and am happy with my progress. Perhaps I'm a better listener, I cooked a new meal, gave up on negative thoughts, took time to be grateful towards someone, etc.

    Still, I'd be lying if I underplayed weed and mush in that equation. Weed really helped me with social anxiety, which is ironic because it can make you paranoid, but that's the thing, once you get over that paranoia, you're really unafraid to just "be yourself".

    Mush also REALLY helped to undo all the negative thoughts about myself. I was lucky enough to do a couple trips with friends and it always made me a better person afterwards. Permanent change that came from mush would be a new sense of community? I'm waaay more capable of loving others and loving myself after all those experiences. I feel like we're all connected to everyone, that we all have bad thoughts, problems, and that's okay. Love is what really makes you enjoy life.

    I hope you find your purpose. It can be as simple as "be happy and seek experiences" - that would be mine.

    2 votes
  11. Akir
    Link
    I consider myself to be fairly philosophical. Not academic in any way, but I constantly think about the whys of what people do. I think that I have come to the conclusion that life has no purpose....

    I consider myself to be fairly philosophical. Not academic in any way, but I constantly think about the whys of what people do.

    I think that I have come to the conclusion that life has no purpose.

    You have all the limitations of a human being. Your primary limitation is that you are only capable of experiencing the world as yourself. Others cannot experience things as you do, therefore things relating to you are entirely within your purview. In other words, the things you find to be true about yourself are true. So in other words, any reason or purpose in your life is entirely up to you to construct.

    This is actually a pretty popular idea called existentialism, and others have mentioned it already. You could read the works of Camus, Sartre, and the like, but I don't particularly recommend it unless you're having a particularly bad time. Their works aren't terribly useful for people who feel they need help. I find it's more useful to read about them to understand the concepts in broad strokes.

    From a different angle, though, I would like to point out that the thing you are asking about is categorically large in scale; you're talking about something that essentially covers the entirety of your being. So I think it would be a mistake to tell you to focus on one specific thing in your life. Sure, you'll want to do that in order to accomplish things, but what I wanted to recommend to you is to always keep in mind the whole. When you consider your steps going forward, consider it a goal to work on you as a complete person. Human psychology is complex; your goal may be happiness, but happiness is impeded when a person is out of balance - and there are many ways to be out of balance.

    Try to fix the stuff that causes you the most pain and discomfort first, then when you find you cannot fix anything more (keeping in mind that there are going to be parts that you cannot completely fix), work on improving yourself. The more you work on yourself, the more you understand yourself, and that is what leads to a sense of purpose.

    2 votes
  12. [4]
    nul
    Link
    As someone who gave up religious faith back in January, I have thought of two things for the purpose of life: Leave things/people/the world better than I found them. Help people, clean things,...

    As someone who gave up religious faith back in January, I have thought of two things for the purpose of life:

    1. Leave things/people/the world better than I found them. Help people, clean things, progress the world in a way that it benefits everyone.
    2. Love someone

    I got #2 from.... somewhere. It said, "What is the purpose of life?" to which someone (unknown) responds, "To love her." For me, #1 is what I try to do or hope to do. That's just me.

    2 votes
    1. 16bitclaudes
      Link Parent
      This part so much! Things feel good when you put yourself in the role of the earth's caretaker.

      Leave things/people/the world better than I found them. Help people, clean things, progress the world in a way that it benefits everyone.

      This part so much! Things feel good when you put yourself in the role of the earth's caretaker.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      vczf
      Link Parent
      Number one is love, too.

      Number one is love, too.

      1 vote
      1. nul
        Link Parent
        True, but I mean #2 as more loving a single person or your family. I could live my life loving a dog or a cat that truly was my soulmate in a sense. I could live my life loving the person I end up...

        True, but I mean #2 as more loving a single person or your family. I could live my life loving a dog or a cat that truly was my soulmate in a sense. I could live my life loving the person I end up marrying and then our children. #1, for me, is more focusing on being a good person so that I can say I made things better in life, not worse.

        1 vote