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Depression Over Lack Of Belief?


Artiss
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I have been feeling a little blue lately. I know part of it is the fact its almost been a year since my dad passed away, and its getting harder to just sort of put it aside like he's on a trip. I've gone months without seeing him before but never this long, so it really is starting to hit home that his life is over and I will never see him again. But I feel like something else is bothering me, and I can't seem to put my finger on it. Today I was talking with my best friend about it, a particularly liberal "Xtian" (I use the term for her lightly, she says she believes but to most would be considered terribly backslid). She has never forced her beliefs on me and excepts me for what I hold true no matter what, and we are actually able to have long conversations about our beliefs without fighting or mudslinging, which I am truly grateful for. However, she did suggest to me that it was possible some of my feelings of depression could be coming from a lack of belief in anything. She was not talking about Jebus, she meant believing in anything, fate, a greater being, a specific purpose, an afterlife. These are things I just can't see as being possible and she can't see how she could go on with nothing like that to ease the struggles in life. I've been Agnostic leaning toward Atheism for about 2 years now, and I really never thought it bothered me to miss out on these things as much as it would bother me to be leaning on the obviously impossible and improbable for support. I guess my question is can this be part of my depression and I don't know it, or am unwilling to admit it to myself for wanting to be so strong and rational? Has she just got me all wrong even though I know she means well? I tend to listen to her, she's known me for 10 years so she has seen me change and may have picked up on changes that I really didn't notice until lately. Has anyone else ever felt this way, and if so, how did you deal with it?

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Sounds like existential depression. Bit of a different beast, that, than situational depression or medical depression. It's that sort of aimlessness, this weird ennui where you don't quite know what to do with yourself anymore, what your purpose is, what your purpose in life is, what you even want to do...

 

Yeah, I get it from time to time. Having it now, in fact. The ground has shifted under me and I no longer know what I want to focus on anymore.

 

But I don't think it has anything to do with not believing in something greater than myself, or in an afterlife, or whatever. It has more to do with just sort of being directionless for awhile. In the past I've dealt with it by getting busy about some project or other; this time I'm just going with the lack of direction for awhile to see where it takes me.

 

I'd bet a good bit of it is your dad though. I mean it's only been a year. Some losses just stay with you. 12 years on I'm still gutwrenched by losing my dad's mother. It's less acute, well-tempered by good memories, but it'll always ache. By now I'm fine with that, for a lot of very vague emotional reasons I probably can't explain well. Losses like that, they pop up when you least expect it...

 

I don't know. I don't have any particularly good wisdom, just yeah, I've been there.

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Oh, everyone needs to believe in something. That doesn't mean it has to be an omniscient unprovable supernatural force or whatever. Maybe you just need a cause or charity. Could be political, or artistical. Some long term way you'd like to help the human race. Lately I've been trying to get involved in the separation of church and state movement, for example. Atheists are probably the most disrespected minority and need all the numbers they can get to show politicians it's not ok to ignore them.

 

So find a cause that doesn't involve religion whether it's cleaning the environment, helping orphans, or even starting with your own physical fitness.

 

Believe in a better future world for you and those around you.

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Depression has many sources. Christians get depressed too, so I it may have nothing to do with not having anything to believe it. But it might. Who am I to say?

 

I get it now and then, and when I do I just remember:

 

- Get out into the sun a bit more (if possible)

- Exercise

- Eat well (and right)

- Do stuff that you like

 

Other than that, just keep fighting it, and exploring your own feelings to try and find the source. It's different for different people. If it's severe, you should talk to a counsellor.

 

Take care!

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