Dec 1, 2009

Depression 3; See also: Existential Crisis

Need to write this while I'm on my exercise high.

This morning when I woke up early in my funk, I started working and also looking at some more articles about depression and stuff. I googled 'personal mortality crisis' and got back Existential crisis. (I can already feel the sting of the realization hitting me again, but not quite as strongly or hopelessly now.) It looked appropriate because in its "See also" section it listed Dark Night of the Soul which Saint mentioned in a comment, and Alan mentioned in a personal message.

One of the things that struck me from the wikipedia article was the bit that an existential crisis may result from "a new found grasp or appreciation of one's mortality." Uh, yes!! That's me! I think some of that comes from the birth of Clover. Something odd about seeing new life come into the world that makes you appreciate the flip-side, I guess. The article went on "... it provokes the sufferer's introspection about personal mortality, thus revealing the psychological repression of said awareness." Uh, yes again! Whoa.

Now maybe it's arrogance, but the first "External articles" link that I clicked on was Existential depression in gifted individuals. Since I've already got that much arrogance, I may as well note that I grew up in the "gifted" track all thru school, and people do often make comments about my "smarts" or "intelligence" or whatever. In any case, knowing that this is a common deal stemming from the mind and intellect is comforting; more on that later. On my run this morning, I considered it could be important for me to be dealing with this, since gifted children can experience it as young as 12! If Clover were to go thru this before I did, it would be terrible.

The other great link I clicked was on handling existential crisis. It seems like a good post-modern approach for coping with the mind's anxiety and the body's emotional depression. Just being able to think in those terms helps me, as I've attached to the idea that "faith is not the absence of doubt, but the perseverance of the will thru doubt." I don't know if I got that from Lewis or somewhere else, but it's helping.

Like I said, this whole thing has blown away whatever misconceptions I ever had about a strong distinction of body, mind, and soul. My morning run invigorated my body, which got my mind out of its funk. I kept that idea of "perseverance of the will" with me and towards the end of my run my will just had to impose itself. I imagine the scenario something like my mind and emotions are going childishly insane in the living room, and my will finally wakes up, walks calmly into the room and just gives a stern "Alright, that's enough now kids. Just shut the fuck up, alright?" ;)

I don't know if it's "over" or whatever or if it ever will be completely. But I feel like I'm coping now and can at least get back to some normalcy of life. Need to keep at the running though, that's for sure.


Saint said...

Smart maybe, but were you a National Merit Semifinalist?

luke said...

Hah. No I guess I wasn't. But Clover might be!

Matt said...

Luke never needed titles to define his smarts. A self-assured genius, he is, if there ever was one.

I'm very happy to hear that you have found tangible ways to cope with your current feelings.

Coming from the husband of a psychologist (in training), if the feelings persist, please don't hesitate to talk to someone with a bit more expertise in the matter.

However, it sounds like you are taking care of yourself and that's great.

luke said...

yeah, I read some of that stuff and am going with lots of it. just had another walk with the dogs outside.

talking to you all here on my blog, and pastors and family and stuff. I think I'm coming thru the worst of it. though things get worse at night for some reason, so I may need some indoor coping - push-ups or something?

Saint said...

Your wyf can give you better curative exercise!

Though as a loner, I fined pushups and pullups work well for the indoors. Have you got a pullup bar? Also Tai Chi is a great stress reliever.

And remember, you've got a lot love for you in this world. I know I can speak for Hed in this, that though we might not be there physically, we're always there with you in heart.