Dear Badger, 

Depression has been a good, abusive friend of mine for the last four years. As with any friend, proximity was the greatest predictor of a sustained relationship. An immersion in the void. Indulging a reductionist and eliminative materialist perspective robbed anything of any value and brought a beautiful simplicity to the world; a case for abstaining.

Why ever should I metabolise drugs or entertain a counsellor to shut out a friend who had illuminated me to what I believed to be true regardless of my condition?

Why deal with suicidal feelings when those delivered a kind of ‘spiritual reprieve for the faithless?’ It felt less a condition and more a fact of life and even useful tool, which happened to constantly berate you.

For those depressively minded, I think a case stronger than regaining a now lagging position in the pursuit of happiness, is needed. For me that was but a superficial stimulation of the reward system. The life of a biological machine is the life of a drug addict, be that through activity or extraneous drugs after all. No one was going to convince me participation in this thresher held any value. I was out of the rat race for both happiness and societal progression. It didn’t matter if I wasn’t good enough for that job, in my studies, in talking to people… you’re not going to get much fascination for a supernova out of a person whose life is a black hole.

How does one escape that kind of abusive relationship of the mind? Distractions are important; limiting the content of consciousness. Something I used to just sleep during the day to achieve. Instead of simply tuning out, though, filling life with people to contextualise existence. Confidence through emptiness. Talk to people, what does it matter? Activity in societies and exercise to give a rush of hormones and dose of meaning. Both contributing to at least an illusion of identity. That’s a framework you can at least build on. More than the nothing you had before.

Routines filled with people who actually care for you when you can’t. Those people things can also contradict your pseudo philosophical pessimistic drivel, in response to which you can give them a hearty handshake to hold on for dear life as your worldview shatters around you.

What I really needed was a shift of perspective. Performing stand up was the real saviour. It provided a stage to talk. A form of counselling that I needed at the time. One that made me feel I was doing something I could talk about rather than labouring on a dearth of things happening.

To quote Rashi, “receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.” Stand up taught me to accept everything with good (or bad) humour. These things are funny. Yes, we write ourselves into corners, tell ourselves the corners mean something and get extinguished. Like the shittest game of Monopoly, an already awful game. But that’s funny. That was a bit funny at least?

Henry Ewins 

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The Badger

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