Most days I wake up with a sense of fatigue, dread and a profound sadness. If you were to ask me why, I don’t really know. I feel like I was born burnt out. Sometimes when I am in a better state, I think I am simply in a vicious loop where my chronic fatigue and depression causes me to make unhealthy decisions for myself, spiralling me deeper. I also think that existing in a perpetual state of existential despair traps me in a state where I am unable to elevate myself above my own thinking. I cannot see beyond the narrow corners of my mind.
I don’t cope very well with my existential anxiety and dread, so I numb myself with food and seeking new experiences. They come back when the novelty of my experiences wear off, or I am in a situation where novelty is difficult to come by. But I’m growing to be increasingly aware that I am avoiding my existential feelings, instead of just being blindly driven by an unconscious urge.
Plenty of times, the intellectual knowledge that I have doesn’t match up with the way I act and live. But it helps. Reading zen books has given me this foundation of knowing that I need to learn to sit with my anxiety. To be friends with it. To be okay with not seeking an out. I wish to be capable of inquiring into it. Why am I feeling this way? Maybe it is like a zen koan, if I keep sitting with the question over and over again, perhaps the answer will come to me in a flash of insight.
But even as I know this I continue to avoid myself. I go on social media or try to discover new things to do. Delivering food was such a good distraction. Sometimes I give up, so I just mope. I curl up in bed immersed in my profound sadness. Yet the sadness too, is a distraction. The sadness is too overwhelming for me to sit quietly with my ball of feelings to try to be with them instead of despairing over them.
I do think I am getting slightly closer to these feelings, and to myself. I feel increasingly comfortable with being lonely in my path in my search for some existential equilibrium. It feels hard and I crave to be soothed, and yet I know so much of life is all about being capable of co-existing with chaos and discomfort.
Somehow, humanity is this giant narrative of doing things together. It is always about society, community, togetherness. But that is not my life. Throughout history, solitary people meditating on life has always been in the minority. That sudden realisation gave me some comfort: that maybe I am alone in my social circles, but I am definitely not alone in the course of history.
For a long time I’ve contemplated being a nun. But I don’t believe in religions, and I did feel like my previous motivation was one of escapism. Now I feel like I am finally able to be in a position where I am questioning the need for categories and labels, as well as the idea of forging my own way forward. I would like to go deeper into life, and I think one of the blessings of the modern world is that we no longer have to choose something to believe in or to belong to. I can be guided by a diverse blend of everything beautiful in the wide spectrum of human practice and thought.