My Depression Story – Part 1

I once decided to try writing like Kurt Vonnegut. The experiment started and stopped with this piece. I learned something and moved on.

One thing you ought to know about me is that I’m a junkie for meaning. I even keep a list of places where meaning might be found. It has things on it like growth and beauty and purpose.

I lost all my meaning once when my childhood religion got smashed in college. I felt lied to and foolish.

For a while I was angry, till I realized that all the people I’d believed didn’t know any better. Someone they trusted had told them these things. I, in turn, had trusted them. And so on.

Now I was skeptical of everything. I vowed never to mistake fairy-tales for reality again.

To steer clear of all the hocus pocus I reduced reality to as few parts as possible leaving me with time, matter, and chance. With them, I could explain everything.

I could explain my existence like this: Some time after the beginning of the universe, the accidental rearrangement of matter by chance had burped up creatures with such intellectual surplus that after finding food, sex, and shelter they could comprehend the meaninglessness of their lives.

I was one of them. Evolution had mistakenly made me capable of thoughts so disturbing that they could threaten my survival. Evolution often made mistakes. It was a mindless phenomenon without goal or intention.

It felt good for a while to be one of the few animals who knew how reality really was. The world was so full of wishful thinking. Gods, spirits, afterlives, money, cars, houses, kids — everyone wanted it all to add up to something, but perceptive people could see: all human activity was an elaborate attempt to stave off life’s futility.

Then I stopped getting out of bed. I preferred sleep to thinking and feeling.

I was broken. People on my planet broke often. Our bodies break when things bump us too hard or when our cells get confused about what sort of shapes to make. And even if the body is ok you might still end up lying in bed with bad thoughts breaking your mind.

After breaking, some people manage to piece back something of their former lives. Some don’t and stay broken till they die. And the reason I’m writing now is to tell you that out of my pieces I was strangely remade. I came barreling out of that dark tunnel like a freight train, brimming and boiling with purpose.