Struggling (existential crisis)

I'm too ashamed to tell you how much time I spent trying to figure out what being -21 years old meant. I thought you were predicting your death or something.

The real problem, I think, is expecting those feelings to go away. The species evolved over a long period of time to be relatively successful, and the success was due, among other things, to increased self-consciousness. It's not going away unless you lobotomize yourself, literally or (more likely) otherwise. Plenty of people take this route and numb the parts of themselves responsible for this fear - it's a valid strategy and if nothing else works, you may want to investigate the things that distract you.

But I've found, regardless of my internal state, that I can always do the next action on my list. I say this as someone who's been institutionalized, for whom fear et al. were actually getting in the way of daily life. "You are disgusting and everyone you pass on the street knows it." Left foot. "You should probably go back home." Right foot. "Just kill yourself, let all these decent people get on with their lives." Left foot. And so on.

If there's something wrong with your brain, you may not be able to fix it. It may continue torturing you until the day you die. In the meanwhile, however, you can actually choose to do the next thing on your list. Yes, it's true that my face is disgusting and that all who see it are embarrassed for the both of us, and it's all pointless and meaningless and I'm just hurting everyone by even trying, but nevertheless I'll walk to the coffee shop. Yes, fascinating, I am the scum of the earth, but I'm choosing to put this formula into B2 of my Excel spreadsheet. Awful, horrible, wicked. Nevertheless, =sum(a1:a17).

It's not the best of all lives, but I've achieved a surprising amount and occasionally can even enjoy it. The key has been not to insist that my brain be other than what it is.

/r/atheism Thread