On Depression

The past six months for me have pretty much been a constant lesson in the true power of depression. I began the year dealing with the death of a woman who raised me. My grandmother. Following almost immediately after this, I moved. The move was particularly hard, since I found out I was moving on the day that the funeral took place, as well as having to move only days later. Being separated from my family at this time was also difficult This certainly was an interesting time in my life to be sure.

For the first time in years, I sought out psychiatric help. This proved fruitless and did nothing lessen the pain of depression. I was doing something that I had been so excited to have the chance to do, and yet there was no joy in it. Every moment of every day was a hardship. There was very little sleep to be had and the sleep I did manage was nightmarish.

In the past two months I have managed to move past much of this feeling of depression and hopelessness. Experiences of community certainly helped. Experiences of making objects, shelters, food, and the like from things found on the ground helped. If I stayed focused on the future and the hope that might exist there, depression, while still there, was lessened.

Civilization makes us sick. Sick of the mind and of the body. We struggle to pay bills, to find and keep friends, make ends meet, find jobs, and even to be happy. I struggle in my daily life to figure out how exactly I am going to pay my rent for living in a structure with a roof for the coming month. Just weeks ago I had the experience of building a shelter with just sticks and leaves. It wasn’t a hard thing to do and since it was a group effort, it was actually fun to do. I still think to myself, “Okay, what food can I afford to buy this month?” At the same time I can go outside and immediately recognize the edible and medicinal plants staring me in the face. While foraging for these items occur, they are thus far supplementary. Daniel Quinn told us the food is locked up. This is true, in our minds. Apple trees dot the landscaping here, and I for one am looking forward to the fruit they bear. Yet, still, I am so incredibly locked in to civilization. The hold is lessening, and as time goes by I feel it less.

My goals are simple in life. Most large decisions from now and until my goals are met will largely be because of these goals. This includes the very classes that I may take, which trips I go on, gatherings attended, to whether I live in a house or an apartment. I have noticed something when I made this decision. The depression lessened. Sure, there is plenty of stress, particularly recently due to a variety of reasons. The depression, though, is in hiding. My feelings on this is that having a goal and knowing you are actively working towards it gives hope.

In many primitive societies groups work together to bring about a goal. While it is work, it does not often feel as such. Building a hut, cooking dinner, gathering or hunting food, or the making of items is done with laughter, talking, and discussions. During our recent trip to learn many needed skills we discovered this. We built shelters, we made weapons, we tracked, we foraged, we made fire. Much of it was exhausting, true, but it was also fun. What many would call work was enjoyable. It was enjoyable because it was part of a community.

Many with depression either do not have hope for much or do not feel they are part of a community. Or perhaps both. It has been recently that I felt the hope and the power of community. My hope is that others will feel the same as I have.

There is always hope.

– Miranda Vivian

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7 Comments

  1. sara said,

    July 17, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve also moved and lost someone close recently, and have since felt lost. I think it’s true that community changes everything. And that the more responsibility you take for your survival, including creating community, the weaker civilization’s hold.

  2. Aftermath said,

    July 18, 2006 at 12:50 am

    Absolutely! Being self-sufficient certainly lessens the hold civilization has upon people. I have found that the more self-sufficient I happen to be, in turn, the happier I am. I do not believe that to be a coincidence. Of course, being around people regulary that feel as I do, and forming these new communities, helps a great deal.

    – Miranda Vivian

  3. Mark said,

    July 20, 2006 at 11:09 am

    Hey how’s it going? Where are you? I am in Norfolk, VA-love your blog-share alot of the same interest and am on http://www.peakoil.com everyday…and many of the ones you visit. Not a fan of Norfolk-not very sustainable-would not want to be here when TSHTF. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Mark

  4. Aftermath said,

    July 21, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    We are located in Western Maryland. Very mountainous, very woodsy, very beautiful. Very glad to hear you like us!
    Where we are is close to where we would want to be when things hit hard, but not quite. Still too close to cities for our peace of mind.

    – Miranda Vivian

  5. sushil_yadav said,

    September 23, 2006 at 12:36 am

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
    Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

    FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

    SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

    A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

    A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.

    To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

    PlanetSave

    EarthNewsWire

    sushil_yadav

  6. mory von werner said,

    January 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t think there is hope if we die and that’s it…. I think depression is born out of hopelessness and meaninglessness. Community offers us a respite from the inevitable; a swift conclusion to a very brief life.
    The death of loved one triggers the reality of our own end and even “community” cannot console. We shuffle through this life looking, always searching; we glom onto intellectual ideas and pursue a better society…. In the end we are nothing more than star dust in the highest order of Higgs Boson and the reality of that should send us all into the abyss of dark hopelessness. But we’ve been lied to! We are not a cosmic miracle of chance! Darwin’s theories are IMPOSSIBLE! No one is talking about it. The press and our educators are all in the tank for this incredible lie. If there are a few scientist that see the insanity they are marginalized as nuts and cooks and religious fanatics. Take God out of the equation —- let’s say He doesn’t exist? Laws of chance and probability completely preclude an original cell having formed. The laws of thermodynamics also do not allow for Darwin’s theories, but all these things are ignored and we suffer in our hopelessness. I’m Sorry…, God does exist! Jesus is real, He died on cross for our sins and offers us LIFE. If you turn to Him, He will enter in and give you a full an abundant life here and forever.

  7. Aftermath said,

    January 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    The argument of thermodynamics would only hold if Earth was a closed system, but it is not. We are the constant recipients of energy from the sun. When the sun and the Earth are included in the calculations we can see that the second law of thermodynamics, sometimes called entropy, does in fact hold true despite the increasing complexity.

    The creation of an original cell has been experimentally demonstrated in laboratory settings. Indeed, we have found three separate possible ways the original DNA, RNA, and cells could have formed over billions of years. The laws of probability only show the likelihood of an event at any given time. They may say that something is very unlikely, but they will never say an event is impossible. Actually, quite the opposite, the laws of probability say that anything that can happen may happen, even if it is very improbable. The very fact that these experiments show how could have happened, means however unlikely it very well could have happened. The fact we are now having this conversation seems to indicate that it in fact did happen.

    Darwin’s theory itself is typically misunderstood, even by its proponents. Its actually incredibly elegant and beautiful. What he said was if you have diversity of traits (which he spent a hundred or so pages demonstrating), and you have heredity (which he spent a hundred or so pages demonstrating), and you have a process of selection (which he spent a hundred or so pages demonstrating), design occurs spontaneously. When this theory of “descent by natural selection” is applied to living organisms you get the modern theory of evolution. If you apply it to ideas you get the modern theory of memetics.

    With the sole exception of protestant Americans and some select groups in Australia no substantial group of people in the entire world still disagrees with this theory. Pope John Paul II viewed it as obvious, not in conflict with Catholicism, and declared the question long closed.

    The theory is an elegant and simple solution the problem. And personally, I find a God capable of creating a universe of such elegant simplicity, capable of change, and development far more appealing than a God who could only create a stagnant and unchanging world.

    – Benjamin Shender


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