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Conflicting Thoughts Regarding the State of my Future


Pakhawaj
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I don't know if it is just because I haven't slept in a while and I am delirious, but I feel as if there is a slim chance of me having a good life. I feel awful for even typing that out. I know that I don't deserve to live and that the chances are if I tried to do anything I would feel dreadful about it but there's this wee bloody glimmer of hope and I hate it. Part of me is urging me to suppress it quickly before it develops but part of me is saying to just ignore it (possibly in the hope that it develops). I can predict what responses I am going to receive regarding this and I don't particularly want advice on how I should let this feeling flourish, I want advice about how I can deal with the conflict, it seems clear to me that there are opposing sides.

I don't know what to do, it scares me to think that I'm fooling myself into thinking I've a chance at life, it disgusts me that I'd entertain the idea that I'm worth living but at the same time I'm not making an active effort to suppress this thought and instead living with a dilemma.

I'm terribly sorry if this post is incomprehensible, I'm sorry that I'm whinging when my life is so trivial and I'm sorry that you know some of my thoughts.

Edit: I'm worried my recent indulgences have lead me to this state, I have allowed myself to do so much of late but I don't want to give myself such heavy punishments like I have done in the past even though I know it would be right. I suppose this battle is a battle of consciences.

Edited by Pakhawaj
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Well, since you've asked only for "advice about how I can deal with the conflict", let's look at it purely as a conflict.

How do people deal with conflict? Say, you have two neighboring countries that are in conflict over some resource that they share, like a lake along their border. Several things might happen.

One possibility is that they may go to war over it, and one of them wins completely. That sounds like what you've been doing in the past, with the self-hate consistently winning. And it's sort of a solution, if everyone is willing to live with the pain and the death it brings.

But in the modern world, most often the two countries will go to some outside authority, like the United Nations, and attempt to negotiate a solution. To do that, they have to put aside their hateful words, and find some way to work together.

Let's be honest: you wouldn't be here if you were truly "sorry that we know some of your thoughts". You simply wouldn't tell us. So, since we have repeatedly said that we do want to know them, how about proceeding to try to negotiate this issue with yourself, here in an open, neutral forum?

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I'm sorry; if we didn't "believe in" {or at least have} hope, none of us would be here. :-)

Denying that you have it might reduce the pain when something goes wrong, but it wouldn't keep you alive.

Something does. That thing is hope.

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But in the modern world, most often the two countries will go to some outside authority, like the United Nations, and attempt to negotiate a solution. To do that, they have to put aside their hateful words, and find some way to work together.

So then how do I find reconciliation between "You are worthless" and "You could have worth"? They seem fairly distinct to me.

Let's be honest: you wouldn't be here if you were truly "sorry that we know some of your thoughts". You simply wouldn't tell us. So, since we have repeatedly said that we do want to know them, how about proceeding to try to negotiate this issue with yourself, here in an open, neutral forum?

Please do not take words from me. Why would you presume I wouldn't do something I'm sorry for? I am sorry for everything I do, obviously I cannot fill my post with apologies so my few "sorry"s mean much more. I am absolutely sorry that you know some of my thoughts. If you meant to be offensive, I'm sorry; it is difficult to read intentions on the internet and I am not intelligent.

I wouldn't know how to begin a negotiation, I don't think it's something I can argue about logically since it is all conjecture... I do not know what to do.

I'm sorry; if we didn't "believe in" {or at least have} hope, none of us would be here.

Do you believe this? I've heard similar arguments before, but it is a difficult concept to grasp. I believe I posted here to relieve tension in a relatively painless manner, I don't know if this is because of naturalistic self-preservation or self-preservation in the hope of a future though.

Yeah, I try to avoid hope too. It is scary because you know it's not true, it's a trick, it never lasts. Better to believe the truth than hope for something better.

I don't know what the truth is though, do you think it is better I forget this ordeal?

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How do I find reconciliation between "You are worthless" and "You could have worth"?

Well, let's stick to the two-countries analogy I was using; making it personal too quickly might just put you back where you are. So, the two countries would probably start out with, "The lake is ours!", "No, it's ours!". It's very easy to state absolute opposites that seem completely correct, to the two parties in a dispute. However, that still just leaves the two options, fight or compromise.

So, how would the countries try to compromise? One might offer to split the lake on some line down the middle, even though it thinks it deserves the whole thing. The other might suggest a different line, or maybe a different way to "share". One country, for instance, might use the lake mostly for fish to feed its people. The other might use it more as a water source. Maybe they could work out a way that they can both use it, in other words.

So, here's a question: why is it important to part of you that you be worthless? Could you have a worth that this part just hasn't noticed, yet?

I'm sorry that my words cast doubt on whether you were sorry. I did not say it to offend you. All I meant was that it was another sign of the conflict you're talking about.

I believe that hope is something that arises naturally in us. One could look at it as part of self-preservation, if one were intent on dying, or as a part of the beauty of life, if one were intent on living. Aren't we back to conjecture again?

Maybe there is not one "truth", so that both parts can be "right". Your job is to figure out how to live with them both.

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I'm very sorry but I don't think I fully understood the analogy, though I definitely appreciate your point regarding the use of it.

I can see the countries are representing conflicting sides but what does the lake represent? Dominion over the mind? If this is the case, how can its use be shared? I won't believe two conflicting things simultaneously and I don't think you mean for me to believe one thing and then the other, I can't see these things being compatible. I'm afraid I didn't understand what the fish and drinking water represented at all, unless this is not necessary. I'm sorry if I missed the point.

So, here's a question: why is it important to part of you that you be worthless? Could you have a worth that this part just hasn't noticed, yet?

The part of me which has me worthless once viewed me as having worth as a dead person, in dying I'd be saving those who I loved and saving those who'd receive my organs. I don't really attach much worth to my death now though, or not as much anyway. I think any worth I could attach to myself from this perspective would be a mechanical usefulness for others rather than a spiritual one, if you understand what I mean. And like I said, I don't perceive much mechanical usefulness any more.

I'm sorry that my words cast doubt on whether you were sorry. I did not say it to offend you. All I meant was that it was another sign of the conflict you're talking about.

I think I must have misunderstood you then, I'm sorry for insinuating any aggression.

I can't see how there can ever be two truths, obviously people have perspectives and opinions but one thing is always correct and that is what the truth is. I cannot be worthless and have worth nor can I have worth and be worthless.

I'm sorry for being so boring or pedantic.

Edit: It's easier to suppress, so I'm doing that. Thank you for your advice.

Edited by Pakhawaj
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I like where this analogy is going. It’s a bit like the push and pull of opposing sides. You cannot have the good without the bad; but you cannot have the bad without the good either.

Two truly opposing sides will never surrender. They will always attack, looking for weaknesses in the other. A good defense is a good offense - and vice versa.

So, you can’t expect to be always down on yourself without a response. You live somewhere in the carnage between the side that has no hope and the side that does. Each coming at you with their own responses, you choose the best options among them. Sometimes you choose one side over the other. Alternatively, you compromise between the two sides.

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The analogy does not work.

Apparently my decision to stop thinking about it entirely did not work. Does anyone know of any true stories about people who have lost a lot becoming happy? I know enough stories where people do not.

I'm sorry for posting so frequently. If you find my posting bothersome could you please tell me? I don't want to ruin anyone's day and I would much, much rather hear the truth than ponder about this so often. Thank you very much.

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You are not annoying us, pakhawaj. I'm sorry your thoughts are troubling you :D

I think it is quite possible to have opposing thoughts.

I cannot be worthless and have worth nor can I have worth and be worthless.

People suffer from all kinds of confusions and inconsistencies and paradoxical notions.

Have you found what soothes you? It might not be about thinking at all.

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What do you mean by soothes? I'm capable of negating strong emotions and sometimes I can exist without horrible thoughts.

I read a bit about paradoxes but I'm still unsure about them, and believing in two opposing things brings new conflicts, if I believe I have worth for a minute and decide to become educated then decide I am worthless, why should I carry on the task? In the end, I am stuck doing nothing, which is where I already stand.

I'm relieved to hear that my presence does not diminish your life much Finding My Way.

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Imagine a place where your pain has lessened and you feel comforted, relaxed and peaceful. What was it that led you to this place? This is what soothes you.

For me, it's beautiful things...listening to soft music, writing poetry, watching scenic videos...

In order to find what soothes you, Pakhawaj, you have to get in touch with yourself and know what eases your pain. Can you think of one thing that might offer you some relief?

Edited by IrmaJean
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Soothes

I can't do that, I'm sorry.

My therapist wants me to go outside (something I have not done in almost a year), I'm a bit worried about this. I keep thinking that this sort of action could lead to horrible events and irrevocably destroy the unsatisfying life I'm living and turn it into something the could result in my suicide. I'm scared that I'm going outside because I have a sort of hope for the future, I don't think this is the case, but if it is it means that I might, in the future, attempt to have a satisfying life which will fail dramatically and make everyone upset. I don't know whether I should do it, but I've already given my word.

What if I meet someone while I am out? What if my meeting them ruins their life? I don't know, there are so many possibilities I cannot keep up with myself.

What if I become dependant on this sort of thing and my source of pleasure comes from fucking walks in the park, it's hardly bearable even thinking about it.

I don't want to kill myself, the only way I can think to avoid doing that is becoming a source of constant disappointment and pity, this makes me miserable.

I'm sorry this makes so little sense to people who aren't me.

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I would really like it if someone were to reply to my above post, it is very distressing waiting for a response and I only have a few hours left.

I'm sorry I don't understand forum etiquette, but I know people don't like posting twice in succession so I am sorry for this too. I don't know if my posts are rude and that is why people do not respond, if this is the case please tell me so I can learn.

I'm sorry if this post is distressing or selfish but I am getting desperate and I don't know what to do in this situation.

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I'm scared that I'm going outside because I have a sort of hope for the future, I don't think this is the case, but if it is it means that I might, in the future, attempt to have a satisfying life which will fail dramatically and make everyone upset.
If you're not attempting to have a satisfying life, why would you care if it fails? What if it succeeds dramatically? Would everyone still be upset?
What if I meet someone while I am out? What if my meeting them ruins their life?

What if your meeting them enriches their life in some way?

You can't control others, Pakhawaj, for better or for worse.

What if I become dependant on this sort of thing and my source of pleasure comes from walks in the park, it's hardly bearable even thinking about it.

What makes that unbearable? Isn't some source of pleasure preferable to none? Who would you be harming, if you were allowed to have pleasure? What would you prefer as a source of pleasure?

You'll note that I have fewer questions than answers. Perhaps, in fact, you'll go completely unnoticed on your walk today. Would that be better or worse?

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Thank you so much for replying, I'm sorry I had to go to such an extent to get my post noticed. I think I need help mulling this over and a conversation, even one on the internet can help.

If you're not attempting to have a satisfying life, why would you care if it fails? What if it succeeds dramatically? Would everyone still be upset?

This is a good question, I've never thought about the possibility that people could be happy because of a success... I will think about this, I think it is unlikely though. I care if it fails because I don't want other people to suffer because of me.

What if your meeting them enriches their life in some way?

You can't control others, Pakhawaj, for better or for worse.

This is very logical and true, for some reason it is difficult for me to apply this logic to my life though and though I cannot directly control other people, I feel as if if I wanted something I could receive it. In my past, I have always got what I wanted, which is an incredibly distressing thought.

What makes that unbearable? Isn't some source of pleasure preferable to none? Who would you be harming, if you were allowed to have pleasure? What would you prefer as a source of pleasure?

I'm not sure if it is and I would certainly belittle myself for it, I'm not sure to what extent but I have done much damage to myself for less. I'm not sure who I'd be harming, it has a lot of potential to harm.

I'm not sure what I would want as a source of pleasure. Anything that relies upon me not feeling pressured or critical of myself, a walk in the park would make me incredibly critical because it is so mundane.

You'll note that I have fewer questions than answers. Perhaps, in fact, you'll go completely unnoticed on your walk today. Would that be better or worse?

I don't know whether more or less questions or answers is good but I appreciate any response, thank you for taking your time away for my sake.

My fear is far too great to rationally contemplate going unnoticed, I'm sorry.

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Pakhawaj,

You mentioned once that your mother went along on one of your therapy visits. I'm wondering if she is the particular person that you're afraid of hurting? How does she feel about your quest for a satisfying life?

How exactly (other than self-punishment, which I understand you might feel you need, though I don't) would your pleasure cause harm for others? Do you think it's possible for people to have fun together, such as children playing together, or two people playing a sport, like tennis? It's possible that pleasure could be mutually beneficial.

What can you criticize about a walk? I walked for three hours on wooded mountainsides just yesterday. It's only as mundane as you make it.

Well, great fear or not, going unnoticed is by far the likeliest outcome.

One reason I prefer to ask questions is that your current state of mind has a tendency to tell us that our suggestions "don't work". That's partly because we're not the ones who have to make them work. ;-) I would rather help you reach your own decisions, rather than suggest what works for me, if you can understand that.

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You mentioned once that your mother went along on one of your therapy visits. I'm wondering if she is the particular person that you're afraid of hurting? How does she feel about your quest for a satisfying life?

I am of course, more afraid of hurting those whom I love, for typical selfish reasons. I have no idea how she feels about me, I don't want to know.

How exactly (other than self-punishment, which I understand you might feel you need, though I don't) would your pleasure cause harm for others? Do you think it's possible for people to have fun together, such as children playing together, or two people playing a sport, like tennis? It's possible that pleasure could be mutually beneficial.

If I were to visibly take pleasure in doing something, people would be elated for my sake, when I then begin having horrible thoughts again they will feel more sad than had I not taken pleasure. If I meet someone whilst content, they may get to know me and thus increase the list of people who I will upset. It is not that I don't believe pleasure can be mutually exclusive but more that it tends to make people like each other more in groups which can lead to disaster when something bad happens. If you understand what I am saying, sorry.

What can you criticize about a walk? I walked for three hours on wooded mountainsides just yesterday. It's only as mundane as you make it.

I won't think of every insult I can, but if I were to take a walk (in happiness or in the pursuit of happiness) my thoughts would be something like:

"You are fucking pathetic, you have accomplished nothing, you are doing this when you should be doing something good, you are wasting your life, this is the extent of your capabilities, you should give up". Unless you meant how could I criticise the action of taking a walk, in which case it is only because someone as awful as me is having it.

One reason I prefer to ask questions is that your current state of mind has a tendency to tell us that our suggestions "don't work". That's partly because we're not the ones who have to make them work. ;-) I would rather help you reach your own decisions, rather than suggest what works for me, if you can understand that.

I see what you are saying, I think you are doing the right thing certainly. Answers are not so bad though, if you treat them as speculation and not as truths. I think.

Thank you again.

Edited by Pakhawaj
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I find it difficult to believe that you don't know how your own mother feels about you, when you have contact with her enough to take her to therapy with you. She says nothing, either positive or negative, that would help you guess her feelings?

... people would be elated for my sake

Wow, you really haven't met many people, have you? ;-)

I'm pretty sure your pleasure or lack of it would not be of much concern to the average person. Which I hope is a freeing thought, rather than an insulting one. That disinterest is not because it's you; it's because people on the whole are fairly disinterested.

Okay, I can understand that you would be insulting yourself fairly continuously, if you took a walk. What isn't clear is why you'd be insulting yourself more than if you were just sitting on the sofa at home? After all, there you're accomplishing even less ...

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I find it difficult to believe that you don't know how your own mother feels about you, when you have contact with her enough to take her to therapy with you. She says nothing, either positive or negative, that would help you guess her feelings?

In regards to having a future, she has said herself she does not know what to expect or whether it is realistic that I can be happy. So I probably don't know because she doesn't

Wow, you really haven't met many people, have you? ;-)

I'm pretty sure your pleasure or lack of it would not be of much concern to the average person. Which I hope is a freeing thought, rather than an insulting one. That disinterest is not because it's you; it's because people on the whole are fairly disinterested.

In my experience, this hasn't been the case. When I was diagnosed with depression I was suddenly contacted by many people, many were friends who I hadn't spoken to in a long time, all seemed dismayed by my attempted suicide and once I was out of hospital, I was awkward socially much to many of these people's dissatisfaction surely. I may not have caused much bother in trying to kill myself, but in trying to rekindle old friendships I undoubtedly created awkward and unwanted situations leading to complicated feelings in my comrades. Even if people are not interested, they feel obliged to interfere, I'd rather people didn't have to do this so they can be happy. I think one's feelings rely a great deal on the actions of other people.

Okay, I can understand that you would be insulting yourself fairly continuously, if you took a walk. What isn't clear is why you'd be insulting yourself more than if you were just sitting on the sofa at home? After all, there you're accomplishing even less ...

If I am accomplishing nothing, at least I am not accomplishing little. If I sit on a sofa, doing nothing then I have in some respects, acknowledged and respected that part of me which says I am useless, it doesn't threaten the status-quo or any views I may hold for myself. Accomplishing nothing is better than accomplishing little I think.

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But it's two different things: your mother knowing whether you can have happiness, and her wanting you to have happiness. Of course no one knows, but most of us hope.

And all of the times you mention where people noticed you, they wanted to help! They care, the same as you would care about someone else who had troubles. You know, though, that we're all responsible for our own feelings. You don't "create" feelings in others; that's just one power that no human has. They feel what they feel, whether you like it or not.

Now, it's different when they then try to interfere. You have a right to request that they not do that.

Okay, doing nothing is better than doing little. So, when do you give yourself credit for doing more than a little? Where's the break-even point, where the status quo is worth disturbing? And, do you require that you immediately go from doing nothing to doing enough? Would it be okay to practice, for a while, with the goal of doing enough, eventually?

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But it's two different things: your mother knowing whether you can have happiness, and her wanting you to have happiness. Of course no one knows, but most of us hope.

I think I must have misunderstood your question then. I think that she would prefer if I were happy, it's not something I hope for.

And all of the times you mention where people noticed you, they wanted to help! They care, the same as you would care about someone else who had troubles. You know, though, that we're all responsible for our own feelings. You don't "create" feelings in others; that's just one power that no human has. They feel what they feel, whether you like it or not.

You can certainly be responsible for how people feel, if you show your disdain towards someone, it is likely they will be sad; likewise, if I am upset around people they will feel upset. Or maybe they will feel responsible which will make them feel worse, and perhaps this line of thought could lead them into thinking very nasty things about themselves and turn a happy person into a sad one.

Now, it's different when they then try to interfere. You have a right to request that they not do that.

Okay, doing nothing is better than doing little. So, when do you give yourself credit for doing more than a little? Where's the break-even point, where the status quo is worth disturbing? And, do you require that you immediately go from doing nothing to doing enough? Would it be okay to practice, for a while, with the goal of doing enough, eventually?

I really don't know, I think I require that I immediately go from doing nothing to doing enough. I don't know. I don't know anything, I'm sorry I'm so stupid. I don't know if I should do anything, I feel so ridiculous. I am almost 20 and yet I am so inexperienced at life any action I take could be perceived as clownish or idiotic or it could lead to many people becoming miserable or perhaps pitiful, I don't know. I'm so sorry.

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Well, I'm certainly not trying to make you feel worse. I hope you would tell me if that is happening.

It's very difficult, because of course there is some relationship between how a person behaves and how people might feel about them. But there is not a responsibility for how those people feel. For instance, if a person acts angry and yells in public, there are still quite a few different possible reactions. Some people might get angry in return. Some might feel sorry for a person with so little self-control. Some might hurry away in fear. Some might genuinely want to help that person calm themselves and feel better. You see? The reaction, the feeling the other people get, depends not on the original person's actions, but on who the people are who experience those actions. The reaction belongs to the person who feels it, not to the person they're reacting to.

Or maybe they will feel responsible which will make them feel worse, and perhaps this line of thought could lead them into thinking very nasty things about themselves and turn a happy person into a sad one.

Is this possibly a description of how you react to other people?

How do you know (prove or disprove) that you actually are responsible? Maybe you're just assuming that you have the power to influence others so strongly.

It is very possible that actions that you take might be perceived as "clownish or idiotic". It's also possible that they would be perceived as genuine and innocent. So why do you grant so much more importance to people who might perceive you badly? Maybe it's people who make fun of others, that way, who should be looked down upon?

Basically, I seriously doubt that you have the power to make "many people become miserable". That would almost be a superpower ...

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