Still Can’t See a Point to Being Alive for People Who Don’t Get to Feel Alive

I can pet cats. That’s nice.

I can watch youtube videos of animals or babies. That’s nice.

It’s okay, really. It’s okay. It’s comforting when you’re sick or in pain or your nervous system won’t behave.

So, you’re comforted. Now what? Sleep is also comforting. The absence of living, waking life is comforting. So what? If anything, it’s all more like a drug that gives you a reprieve, a drug you need all the time to help deal with pain, sickness and discomfort. But is that what cute animals are put on this earth for?

This post is about more than just that. But it’s my attempt at providing an illustration of this concept: What’s the point in being alive if you can’t feel alive? You can try to think of all the nice things and try to offer them as answers, but they don’t really answer the question.

Maybe this is something only people with depersonalization or chronic dissociation understand. Or people who are living in poverty, isolation, housebound, etc can understand.

You can’t do much with your life, so what? You can celebrate your small achievements, but so what? It gets tiring after a while.

Day 1: Yay, I brushed my teeth.

Day 2: Yay, I did it again.

Day 3: I just don’t care anymore.

Okay, I accomplish bigger things than brushing my teeth, but that’s just an example of how boring and pointless things get to be. Even the bigger things I accomplish don’t seem to get me anywhere and land me back at this same place. And I’ll forget them all, anyway.

And maybe I just don’t know because I’ve had depersonalization for such a long time, I can’t at all remember what “normal” feels like.

The point is, are we supposed to philosophize meaning? I mean, to try to create meaning out of nothing when we can’t feel anything?

It just gets to be a joke to try to think that way after a while. And really just makes the dissociation worse trying to intellectualize meaning because it’s not how you really feel.

What I really feel, is that I’m just sitting here waiting for something to come along in my life, that will give me some spark and make it all worthwhile. I’m waiting for something fun to happen. I’m waiting to really feel alive. I’ve tried pursuing it, but learned that it just doesn’t work that way. It’s really not worth it. The best things happen when you least expect it, not when you’re looking for it.

So I’m just sitting here waiting.

I get antsy. I just try to hold onto okay. Things are okay. I can handle this. Things are okay. I can handle this… Day after day.

I’m just barely existing. I’m just barely a person.

I used to have more brain fog, and things have gotten better. I am more aware of things and more clear-headed. But that just makes me more aware of the nothingness. It’s almost like brain fog was fun compared to this. It kept me preoccupied, albeit in a painful and unpleasant way.

I have a million ideas in my head of things I can do. I can’t do all of them. I can do some of them, but none of them feels like much of anything. Just more things to do. More drivel. Maybe one of them will lead me somewhere. Do I google ____? Do I go on this forum? Should I try ___?

I guess that’s why it’s so hard for me to do physical therapy exercises that I’m supposed to do. It just all feels like it’s leading nowhere. Deep down inside, I can’t get any feeling of satisfaction from doing it.

So here I am writing on my blog. It’s a little fun. But it really just feels like procrastination, like I’m not accomplishing anything.

Who Would I Be If It Weren’t for Illness

I feel like there is so much I wish I could do with my life if I had the time, energy and resources. (Time, energy and resources that have been consumed by illness.)


I say things to myself sometimes like, illness made me who I am. Illness taught me a lot of valuable lessons. I’m proud of the knowledge I have now. But in reality, it all makes me depressed, as much as those may sound like positive statements, I don’t feel especially great about them.

I’d rather be saying something like, that failed relationship taught me a lot and it had both its ups and downs.

Or, that trip to Europe had its mishaps but there was both beauty and failure during it.

Instead, I just have a lot of dry, empty years of life that were painful, numb, or missing. And everything I’ve gained from it is pretty dry albeit exciting in a dry way. Exciting the way an encyclopedia is exciting, without the pretty pictures.
Which, really, might be some people’s cup of tea. It just isn’t mine. It’s not my identity. It’s not who I’d be or how I’d live if I had the choice.

Who would I be without illness?

Well, this is all hypothetical. I feel that without illness, I’d still have responsibilities and social pressures holding me back from being who I really want to be, realistically. So let’s keep it hypothetical.


But let’s start with hair. I’d have a lot of fun with my hair.

And clothes.

And I’d go somewhere warm on occasion. I’d have the energy and I’d afford to.

I wouldn’t hold onto anything that made me feel bogged down, including friends. I’d have friends that brought out the free spirit in me or, if I had no one like that, I wouldn’t hang out with any friends at all. I’d let myself be my only influence so that people wouldn’t bring me down. Becauseā€¦that stuff makes me feel depressed. That’s just how I am. (Or is that a sign that something’s wrong with me? Either way, I don’t care. I just want to be me. It’s the only way I know to find something worth living for.)

I’d go to Europe, either temporarily and permanently. Even though, right now, the thought of travel seems exhausting, I can imagine that without illness it would be stress-free and enjoyable. Fun.

I wouldn’t have to worry so much about cold, callous people anymore because I wouldn’t need them.

I would surround myself with beauty and cleanliness.

I wouldn’t be desperate.

I could be myself, uncensored, in public. (Illness has taught me that it’s not okay to be honest about what you feel, what you believe in, or what is going on in your life.) I wouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing. It would be okay if I did, not the end of the world.

I would avoid the people who make me feel miserable or who I clash with. I would minimize my time with them and only spend time around people who are pleasant. I would stick with my clan, my people. People who understand me and share similar values and enjoy life in the same way as I do.

I would feel free to move, to breath. I would be able to do the things I need to do to get where I want to be without it hurting too much.

I would forget about all the people who hurt me or were cold-hearted to me as if they never existed. I would quit hearing their unpleasant voices and the unpleasant memories with them.

I would be free. Free of everything that shackles me. Free of people that drag me down. Free of environments that I feel chained to. Free to move. Free to live. No regret. I could pursue beauty and happiness without needing to drag an unpleasant person to help me get there.

We’re Not Allowed to Feel

But we are allowed to be distracted.

I couldn’t stay awake any longer. My body collapsed and I fell into a deep long sleep. I unfortunately woke up to the him coming home, paying no heed to me and exiting the room. A feeling of dread like a dark cloud came over me and enveloped the whole room. And it didn’t leave even after he was gone. It stuck around. It was like him showing up with a reminder, “I’m still around. This is your life. You can’t escape.” It seems I only find peace when I forget.

I felt a need to have somewhere I could rest my head in peace. And someone who could be caring towards me. To ease away the pain in my throat that comes when I’m reminded of him.

I wish I could ship myself off somewhere, somewhere safe.

I wish I could be loved. I know love is only reserved for the select few.

I’m so ready to give up on my situation because I can feel now. He doesn’t like it when I feel. He likes a girl who doesn’t feel.

Everyone likes a girl who doesn’t feel.

I think of contacting my so-called mother but a feeling of dread comes over me. Yes, more dread. Where are the kind people in the world who don’t make you feel dread? Where is the compassion, the love, the kindness? It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t benefit people to be kind. Why would they do it?

What people want to do is treat you bad.

You’re not allowed to feel these overpowering feelings that you feel. These feelings that won’t go away, not in the situation you’re in, but your situation isn’t going to change.

Heaven.

You always dream of a heaven. A place that’s pleasant to be. Where all these bad things are minimized.

He is hell.

It’s weird because you’re not allowed to feel. Your feelings were always considered illegitimate. That’s what depression is for. It’s a word that explains that your feelings are illegitimate. Have feelings? Ignore them. No one likes them. And no one’s going to help you. No one’s going to offer you comfort or aid. So, why feel? It never ends. The heavy shadow of dread will always follow him and settle on you and your possessions. There’s always things you can do to stress yourself out so you don’t feel. So do those.

That’s what he wants.

Because you’re such a nuisance.

You should consider yourself lucky. Everyone says you’re lucky. That you’re so ungrateful. That you should stop complaining.

Stop feeling.

Because there’s something wrong with you if you feel.

Well, there’s an easy fix for that.

It’s something you can dread only if you can still feel. Once you stop feeling, you’ll stop dreading, see?

He saw you, unloved and cold. And he knew that being used was the closest thing you’d ever feel to love. So he proceeded to use you. No guilt. No shame. Because he couldn’t feel either. And you were supposed to be grateful for being used. After all, isn’t being used the closest you’d ever feel to love? So aren’t you lucky. You lucky, lucky girl! Someone like you should be so lucky for this!

He has no shame.

And no one else cares about you.

He tosses out your possessions, but other times shows he cares as if he’s a born-again Christian.

But you know him by now.

Can’t be bothered. He can’t be bothered. And he can’t be erased. Memories of him can’t be erased.

Oh, it’s just her depression.

Paralyzed by the coldness and lack of compassion in the world. Paralyzed so that I don’t know where to cold. Go out into the cold or inhale the fumes of the toxic coal stove?

We’re not supposed to feel. And we’re not supposed to be tired. You bad, bad girl. Bad, bad bad bad. How selfish are you? People are a myth, anyway. No one’s going to love you. So what’s the point?

You’re not allowed to feel. You have to learn to feel less. Tame yourself.

Where are you going to go?

You can’t escape this.

Too Empty to Go to Sleep

My mind is a blank slate.

Okay, it’ just blank.

Empty.

Life is empty.

I borderline can’t see the point of writing this, but I’ve felt a little rewarded from writing in the past, so I still feel encouraged to write right now.

Anyway, the point of this is that I feel empty.

And this leads to cravings to feel something nice.

I don’t want to go to sleep. That blank, empty feeling is still there. There’s no warmth.

There’s also no future. Just more of this nothingness.

And I can’t go to bed because I know if I go to bed with this nothingness, I’ll wake up with the nothingness.

I keep thinking of things I’ll write to explain this all better, but my thoughts keep fading away and I keep forgetting what I was going to write. So I just ramble more than I want to. That’s the blankness. That’s my mind being blank. In the end, it’s almost like I had no thoughts at all.

Yes, everything feel so hard because of this.

I want to feel something. Some sensation. Something here in the real world around me.

My brain does feel like it’s a balloon. Air-head.

And I want to bring it back down.

This world around me, I can’t connect with it. I just float past it.

So I have to find something that draws me in. That pulls me by my balloon string. Otherwise, I just float by everything around me.

It’s just hard. It’s so hard because I don’t care about anything around me.

I’m writing this, but I’m still floating. There’s a good chance I won’t remember any of this.

The thing about things when they feel “real”, when the derealization goes away, is that you remember it all. It feels significant. It doesn’t all just feel like a thought that you had. It feels more like something that really unfolded before your eyes.

That’s so different from things more just feeling like a thought, like a philosophy, like a figment of your imagination, like just a belief, like some existential idea. When everything is just a thought, isn’t it almost like it’s just your opinion, just a perception and not anything real? Like it’s all just in your head? So, does anyone really matter? Does life itself matter? Isn’t it all in our heads?

It’s interesting that having narcissists or abusive people in our live makes some people end up feeling this way. It’s interesting because they rewrite reality so that reality isn’t real anymore. Everything is in your head. Everything is a figment of your imagination. And the abusive person treats you like you are just an idea. You are nothing more than an idea. Something that they can easily dump and forget about. You have no significance. There is nothing special about you that they’ll miss.

I’ll admit something. I’m not happy and it’s something that I think goes beyond derealization and my ill health.

I want something to prove to me that I am more than just an idea. That I am real. Somehow I feel like I’ll never really come out of derealization and stay that way without it.

I want something real.

Nothing, nothing, nothing has ever been real for me for as long as I can remember.

Okay, I shouldn’t say nothing. I should say nothing that’s lasted very long. Nothing that’s lasted long enough to feel significant. Not long enough to convince me I am real. (I mean, on a deeper level. I know I am real, but it doesn’t feel that way and I can’t imagine it. All I can imagine is my insignificance and the way I wander the earth like a ghost.

Aside: There’s something eerie about the people I’ve known in my life who are depersonalized. The way that they seem cold, in a sense. The way they don’t seem alive.

Is life a myth? Is being alive a myth? I know the answer is “no”, but it feels like “yes”.

It’s interesting that people with depersonalization hate their existential thoughts. I enjoy these thoughts and it almost seems like it’s all I’ve got to live for. I envy people who have something better to live for. That sounds amazing.

All I have to live for is sitting here, trying to feel nice. Physically, I mean. Trying to have nice physical sensations (while reducing numbnes and pain).

I genuinely have nothing to live for. I don’t even know what that’s like. I don’t know what that means.
And it just make me more aware, more conscious of how cold I feel. The chill in my body.

Someone once told me that the reason I don’t remember people I meet or even the actual meeting itself had something to do with being disconnected from my family.

That was hard for me to believe since I’ve had that problem since I was a child, living with my family.

Yes, the psychologist was wrong yet again. They just make things up, don’t they?

I’m not sure that it might’ve gotten worse as I got older. How am I supposed to know if I don’t remember the times when it happened? Maybe that’s why my mom think she can get away with pretending things that happened never actually happened. Because she got away with it throughout my childhood.

Maybe she intentionally was screwing me up in the head.

I don’t know anything. That’s the problem.

I don’t know what life is, so I don’t know how to achieve it.

I know how to draw in abusive people who keep me feeling like I’m not real. But I want life. I want the people who are warm. I want a life that’s warm. Or else, I just want to eat a lot of food that make me feel warm and solid. All I know how to do is eat a lot of food. It’s like the only thing I know for sure.

When I get “depressed”

Turns out I’ve been using the word depressed wrong.

I say I’m depressed when I feel overpowered or overwhelmed. When things are unsettled in my life and I’m unsure of how they’ll turn out. Or when it feels like things are headed nowhere. Or when I’m just anxious for something of substance to happen. It’s that feeling that things aren’t running smoothly. When I feel these things, I’m not necessarily tired or having trouble getting out of bed, or feeling weak or even necessarily lethargic.

On the other hand, when I am tired, weak, etc, I don’t have these feelings. According to my doctor, that’s depression. When you’re tired, and it isn’t necessarily related to any emotion (I’ve heard many different definitions and descriptions of depression, but we’ll go with hers for today’s discussion). If that’s depression, then what is this feeling I have that I’m calling “depressed”? I don’t like it. I’m not happy when I feel that way. It really gets to me, maybe more than anything. Everything else I handle as long as I feel empowered. Even the days when I’m tired, weak, lethargic, etc. don’t get me down.

Having a lot on my plate makes me feel depressed (which is why I find it odd that people suggest having more hobbies or activities is helpful). I tend to need more time to just chill out and relax to help my depression. When I do go out and do more, I find that the chores and responsibilities add up, making my “depression” (my version) worse. If I overdo it, I become really exhausted, which, ironically, is the type of “derpession” my doctor was mentioning.

I’m so confused.

I get “depressed” (my version) if I don’t have enough fun in my life. Lack of self-expression also makes me depressed because other people’s thoughts overpower my own, and I have to become clear on what I’m feeling or thinking.

Must be nice to not have to work

The constant anxiety is the best part.

Not knowing what will happen to you because you don’t know if you’ll be able to afford things.

Not being able to afford the things you need.

Being hungry but not being able to get food.

Getting blank stares from people when you try to go on interviews, and, of course, never getting the job.

Getting judged by the whole world.

The loneliness, lack of love, lack of warmth, hunger, abuse and the inability to do much of anything about any of it is wonderful!! Who needs vacations when you’ve got all this!!! Who needs a king-sized bed when you’ve got such a wonderful life!!

To be fair, I am grateful for what I do have, but being told it’s wonderful to not work and have no income, no safe place to go, no support, etc. is purely psychopathic.

When someone says something like, “Must be great to not have to work,” my instinct is that they are miserable. They hate their jobs. They hate their lives. They wish they were poor and unemployed, but something is stopping them from choosing that path in their life. And whatever that block is, they’re jealous of people who they think don’t have that block. They would gladly trade their king-sized bed, vacations, friendships, social life, food, holidays, celebrations, safety, well-being, etc for ill-health and poverty.

To be fair, the last person that made the statement to me, “Must be great to not work,” was a strange person. He had flat emotions but satisfied with it. He didn’t seem like he could feel much and had very little response to things, little genuine enthusiasm, etc. I couldn’t understand why he was happy being that way as I hate being emotionally flat. But it must have been a way of life that he knew to adapt to. He used a lot of hard drugs recreationally. I can only imagine that those drugs added color and spark to his life where the color of emotions were missing. If not the drugs, then there must have been something that kept him going. He did tell me once that sex with strangers brought some zest and adventure to his life. I don’t know if he know how to adapt to a life of poverty. What would he do without drugs, sex, travel and all his luxuries?

But when he says something like, “Must be great not to work,” it suggests that he isn’t happy. Something isn’t right about the system that he’s set up for himself. He says he likes his job but acts really stressed out about it. In fact, it looks like he’s raging when he comes home from work. He makes a big deal about how tough a job it is. Well, it seems like there is no happy place for him. I don’t think he’d like a life of poverty and unemployment as much as he claims to love it. It doesn’t seem like he likes his chosen career path, either, as much as he claims to love it.

He told me he was diagnosed bipolar and put on a lot of medications. Yet, he still has that extreme flat affect. Somehow, a part of me thinks medications should help you feel more, not less. Maybe because I want to feel more, not less. I get the sense that he wants to feel less, not more. Regardless, he’s happy with the medications, although he still uses a lot of marijuana alongside his medication.

He was someone I allowed into my life because he kept talking to me. We had little in common and little to talk about. Nonetheless, I talked to him. Conversations went nowhere. I felt like I was talking to no one. To this day, I can tell you very little about what’s going on in his head. There was a richness that was missing. It wasn’t just because of his lack of emotions. I had to make up the bulk of conversations. When there was nothing to talk about, I had to come up with something to talk about. He’d contribute very little. He was mostly just listening, which is actually very creepy. Was there nothing in his head? It seems like it.

If talking to him was that boring, that I can’t imagine what his life is like, considering conversation is supposed to be enjoyable and one of the fun parts of life. You’re not getting paid to talk, so what do you get out of it? Why does he do it? It seems like the rest of his life would be even more boring and unenjoyable than having a conversation with him.

Truth is, he probably was getting something out of the conversation, but not in the way you’d think. This is a typical pattern with cluster B personalities.

Happiness, from an exhausted person’s perspective

Right now, I feel even too exhausted to write this. Feels like I’m at the last stretch of a marathon and having to use a lot of energy to put one foot in front of the other. But really, I’m trying so hard to use my brain to think of words and to hold my body up in order to type. My body and mind say, “No”. I’m telling it, “Come on, try a little harder. You can’t live your life like this.”

I can’t say I’m miserable or depressed in the normal sense. Just exhausted. And being exhausted is a special kind of unhappiness.

I feel alone. I feel like I just need someone to give me that boost so that everything doesn’t feel so difficult. Truth is, I’ve accomplished something today and I’ve learned to pat myself on the back for every baby step I make. I’ve learned not to beat myself up over the things I wished I was doing. But I still feel exhausted.

Some people live their lives dragging themselves all the time and are okay with it. They stay up all night, take a lot of pills and go through their work like zhombies. I haven’t been able to be okay with it. What rewards them to continue living their lives like that? I don’t know. I don’t have it. For me, I fluctuate between being in a persistent state of low-grade but tolerable misery or just being semi-dead and feeling nothing. Even when I feel like a zhombie and feel “okay”, it eventually catches up with me. Low-grade but tolerable misery becomes a little less tolerable.

I want to be happy. What do I mean by “happy” in this context? I want the lack of this tightness and discomfort in my body. I want my body to be lighter. (I do have some sort of cold or flu right now, so the tightness in my body is worse than usual.) I also want to be up and doing things without everything hurting. When you’re exhausted, everything “hurts” more. Everything feels more stressful. Some tasks in life are always going to be unpleasant, but exhaustion amps up the unpleasantness. Dragging, dragging, dragging, and your body’s always saying no.

I wish life was simpler.

I fantasize about a simple life.

A relaxed environment. No more strain. Very little strain.

I’m always straining.

I want things slowed down.

Less information. Less to think about. Less noise. Less clutter.

I think maybe this has partly to do with my sensory sensitivities and partly because my brain doesn’t filter out mental clutter in the same way it doesn’t filter sensory clutter.

Someone down the hall is playing some South-American music. I have to admit, it’s killing me a little. South-American music is some of the hardest music for me to listen to. It adds to sensory clutter.

Mental strain and noise is just as bad for me. I don’t want to think and organize my thoughts. Don’t want to look at a bunch of words on a cell phone screen.

I do it because I have to, but the misery builds up.

I want to relax. I want that magic key that fixes everything. I want life to be pleasant. I think it’s b.s. that people believe that life is supposed to be miserable with a dash of a drunken weekend or occasional vacation to make up for it.

I want to be somewhere where I can “relax”. Where my body can let go but still have energy to feel alive.

Goals in Life

  1. Feel Okay (no nagging pains and discomfort that keep me from being able to focus on accomplishing much)
  2. Feel Good (not just okay, but able to actually feeling something positive beyond just lacking the bad things)
  3. Be Able to Handle a Job (without being miserable or finding it impossible to maintain any sense of well-being.

Beyond that, I don’t know. What the point of life? What’s the point of being alive? This is all that it’s about. There’s nothing else to it. But if you can feel good, I guess that’s good enough.

Review of Unrest Documentary

I feel most would agree that the film was good and worth watching for anyone whose lives have been affected by chronic illness. And it is inspiring for those of us who are lost and don’t know what to do about this life that we have because of chronic illness.

I personally have been more affected by the cognitive side of things than the physical. The film highlights the physical aspects. It reminded me of how different things are for me. I am usually able to walk unlike many of the people in the film, but I am more impaired by the mental confusion and mind-numbness than by physical factors. It makes my illness even more “invisible” in some sense.

There was a point in the movie where she said something akin to that her mind would go blank. This sounds similar to what I experience. I also experience numbness to sensations and emotional blankness. I find that my energy seems to divert towards either being physically functional or mentally functional but not both at the same time. My mind works better when I’m not exerting myself physically. I am usually capable of physical exertion, but my mind tends to go dull when I do.

The movie made me think of the possibilities when it comes to documenting these things people which chronic illness experience. It made me wish there was a similar film but with a focus on the cognitive aspects. It also made me wish there was a movie that focused on depersonalization and derealization.

Can we be happy while disabled by chronic illness? It seemed that many in the movie where still mourning the lives they lost and the lives they couldn’t have because of chronic illness. I cried and despaired a lot about these things over the years myself. But there’s something funny about all that to me. For me, personally, I look at people whose lives are “normal” and everything they do looks simple. Their lives look so simple. Then I look at the complexity of my life. Every day has highs and lows. Every day has excitement and tragedy. Many people my age don’t seem to have any sense of purpose or know what they’re living for. For us, there’s always a purpose. There’s always a goal.

I guess I struggle emotionally in a different way than what was shown in the movie. I’m very lonely. Life is cold and empty. There is no one in my life to make me feel safe, warm and loved. And there is very little “life” to my life. I really have just one friend, who often makes me feel more cold and lonely when he’s around than when he’s not around. I have no birthdays to celebrate, or at least I don’t have people to celebrate with. No friends or family in any traditional sense. Sometimes it feels like therapists and doctors are my only friends. People expect me to be able to afford things financially despite not having much help. They somehow expect me to find a kind, loving boyfriend or a husband even. They expect me to do all kinds of things with my life. It’s messed up.

I can spend my days living in my own little room, by myself, to some extent. After all, we have the wonders of the internet to keep us busy. But the loneliness hits me sometimes. Sometimes, it hits me especially hard. I really want to avoid all the pseudo-friends and all the people who make me feel more desperate and alone. They make it hit much worse. I accept my isolation more than I can accept the people who wave the carrot of false love or friendship in front of my head expecting me to chase after it endlessly. Or the people who lift me up just to drop me down from a high place of hope or pseudo-love.

I’m hoping I can at least get the doctors to understand and care about me. They may not celebrate birthdays with me, but at least they can understand that I have little to live for and that will help me feel a little better. Well, I guess my story isn’t that different from the stories of the people in the film, in some sense. The difference is that it seemed like the film focused on the sadness that comes from not being able to go out and do things like climb a mountain or go to a school reunion. That’s something I don’t miss that much or feel sad about anymore. I feel like I’m climbing mountains every day, metaphorically. But the question, “Why am I even alive if no one loves me and I can’t afford anything?” is a bigger source of pain for me personally. And honestly, I find it the loneliness to be less of a source of pain when I’m alone then when I’m around people who make me feel desperate and lonely. There’s something strange about how that works. Maybe I just don’t like to be reminded of how worthless I and how pointless my life is. I don’t usually have to think about these things.

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