The Value of Life: Logotherapy (from Meditations Whilst Manic)

The past week or so, I’ve been struggling mentally, emotionally, in terms of my mood, and thinking about my place in the world and what I’m doing. It’s basically been a huge overload. Keep that in mind as a background.

 

I’m going to tell a story about something that happened today. I was inside my apartment. I’ve gotten into this habit of turning off all the blinds and turning off all electronic items, and finding a way to meditate and observe my thoughts. It’s because I’ve had an overload lately, mentally, as well as in terms of stimuli from outside. It’s been a ton of energy, and hard to work through.

 

With that in mind, I had all of that going on, but I decided I was going to try to make the best of it. So, I went on a walk to the park to go write. I didn’t make it far before my mood changed and I started feeling suicidal. It was unfortunate and frustrating. My mood started to change as I started thinking of all of these images and ideas of what I’d been experiencing over the past week, evoked by people, by cars, by the city itself: The negative stimuli.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much consumerism runs rampant, I’ve been thinking in terms of the misery I see in people, the destitution, and of course thinking about my struggles, my internal struggles, as I generally thought about the state of the world. So in the end, I felt suicidal.

 

So I called my mother. I tried to be strong. I basically told her that I feel certain agents in society control me, and they suppress me, and I feel like they lash out at me. One of the agents I mentioned was my family. My mother took this personally, which made the conversation harder to have, because she asked how has family insulted me and made my life hard. I told her it was just the very fact that they created me, brought me into existence. My mother said I was the best thing that ever happened to her, that she didn’t regret it, but that made me feel worse. So, I started quoting Nietzsche, saying that we must be hard like a diamond, saying that essentially compassion has made us weak, that compassion is a form of weakness, which is in line with Nietzsche’s slave morality. I said I want to feed on the hate. That was not the best way to end the conversation, but that was how I ended it because then my mother was checked out and had to go. I don’t blame my mother for these things, because I don’t expect her to solve all of my problems. But it made me sad that she wasn’t more aware and present. That’s why I resorted to Nietzsche, because I was thinking that this was what keeps me going, thinking of Nietzsche’s strength, what he accomplished with his beautiful body of work.

 

In order to have self-control, they advise you to make if-then statements/commitments. I made an if-then statement that was basically the following: If I’m feeling down, I’m going to head home. I basically ended up writing a poem after this heated conversation with my mom through text. I was feeling down. So, if I was feeling down, I would head home. And I did head home. This was my resolve, to do this no matter what. I kept this in mind the entire time. If I feel this way, I head home. That was my resolve, that was my decision, no matter what the distractions.

 

There were a few distractions. One person almost ran over me, and I yelled at them to just fucking run over me already. It was suicidal but I was doing what I could to get through it. I struggled at home, but I promised I was going to battle it out. That was my resolve. I was going to figure it out, I had to figure it out, and that I had to get out of my mind and self-destructive pattern.

 

Lo and behold, my unconscious mind came up with the idea of reading something soothing. It came up with Viktor Frankl, who is perfect with his idea of the will to meaning. Part of what got me off my suicidal thoughts was when I thought of Frankl living in a concentration camp and doing great things. That was part of the reason why I wanted to read Frankl.

 

This came out of nowhere, as I was trying to work my way out of my thoughts. One of the most important ideas that I picked up out of his logotherapy segment was his emphasis on meaning: Man must be the completion of his own meaning and that is why he must not be suicidal. Man must be the completion of his own project, sort of like the existentialists, except it’s not a demand, it’s more of an essential quality: We all have a certain meaning we must find and that we must complete by living. That brought me away from devaluing my life, and devaluing who I am as a person, because of my feeling of invisibility and inferiority and the like, by the stimuli being hurled at me over the past week, as well as about the way in which I talk bad about myself. I try to avoid negative thoughts but they can be difficult to avoid.

 

Basically the reason why I’m describing this is because I wanted to express the way I rationalized my way out of suicide, the way in which I was able to realize the value of life, no matter how hard it was. It was a process but I was able to do it. This is what it’s like to live with a mental illness, but you find subtle ways of surviving. I wasn’t going to call any crisis line for my thoughts, because in the past they’ve made it worse for me. I definitely didn’t do that, another thing I had to battle. I literally had to do it alone. But I did do it alone, yet that fills me with hope, a newfound feeling of responsibility, and that makes me happy.

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