Note: This will likely be a long-form journal entry.
At the start of September 2019, I was one month futher into my adventure with sobriety, and one year older. I had also been told by a doctor that one of the biggest causes of my depression was something called ‘social isolation’. Upon researching this (probably too much), and realising that this had been the main cause of my suffering for over two years, I’d felt enlightenment over my past and my pain.
In an effort to chase further enlightenment, I audited my life, and all avenues that I deemed faux-connection (yes I made that up – it’s currently my favourite word), I axed.
The most recent severence has been the use of social media and my phone. Since implementing this, my screen time has reduced from an average of five hours a day to around 45 minutes – and that is mainly due to the use of music and emails. So it’s all positive.
This has been really tough, if I’m completely honest. For someone who already struggles dealing with their thoughts and solitude, to be thrown an extra four hours of it per day… I’m exhausted.
So, what have I discovered since looking inwards, and how do I feel about it?
1: I am not alone, but I am lonely. I am always surrounded by people, yet I feel abandoned.
2: I’m struggling to express, and I’m in pain because of this.
I have so much going on in my head. I am feeling and thinking so much. I know so much and I understand so much. I want to get it out and express it and I don’t know how.
It’s like a stream of water coming into a bucket and I don’t know how to get back out of the stream or for it to drain out. It just keeps filling and pushing the walls of the bucket. This process hurts.
Becoming sober and removing myself from digital platforms, in the aim of reconnecting through disconnecting, has left me in the realisation that I am extremely isolated. I’ve gone inward and I don’t know how to share what I’ve discovered.
Yes, I can draw, paint, write and talk. But what does it matter if no one will hear it or see it?
I feel like an emperor. A philosopher. Just sat on a raft floating in the ocean.
3: Everything is really easy and simple to me. Nihilism has filtered into simplicity.
The way I see it, when you are depressed, everything is either incredibly difficulty or way too easy. For me, nihilism, and the understanding that there isn’t really any point or great meaning, has led me to the path of simplicity and stoicism.
Everything, from general human observation to work that pays the bills, has become something of great ease that I could do unconscious. There is no challenge to me in my day-to-day, I have found myself seeking difficulty, no longer for the aim of growth, but for the feeling of something simply being difficult.
I look at people’s physical struggles, and hear people’s moaning conversation, and feel a sense of extreme pity that they don’t see everything as simply and granular as I do. I pity that people get caught up in meaningless struggles, perhaps because I’m consumed by my existential one, and really I’m jealous and longing for something small to bite me.
4: I’m beginning to understand that there is a reason for me to stay alive.
I should be dead, but I’m not.
There is no great purpose, yet I feel like there is one for me.
There is no man in the sky, yet someone is helping me.
There is no religion, yet I believe in something.
There is something still on this planet and in this universe for me, and I’m excited to find out what it is.