Don’t be too quick to respond in the affirmative because some persons might not even have a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response at all. For some others, the mere sight of the question alone makes them feel even more empty or slightly sparked up like a twitch maybe. Whichever side you belong, I need you to know that you are not alone.
Reading through Mark Manson’s ‘Everything Is Fucked’, he describes ‘The Paradox of Progress’ which explains that the better things get, the more we seem to despair. Infact, the wealthier and safer the place you live, the more likely you are to commit suicide. Or let’s put it this way…studies have shown that the wealthier a country becomes, the more its population struggles with feelings of meaning and purpose. “Residents of Poor Nations Have a Greater Sense of Meaning in Life than Residents of Wealthy Nations”. Does this even make sense to you at all? That’s why I’m here to break down all this research talk.
Have you ever felt isolated- not the lockdown type, but even among friends, family and in a company of people? Have you ever felt left out from what goes on in the lives of the people close and afar of or even felt left out in your immediate community and perhaps the society at large- that you either don’t fit in, feel qualified, don’t have what it takes to be among the go-getters and high flyers? Do you ever feel so alone- like you don’t belong or you’re not needed, loved or maybe loved enough? You’re still not alone… Yes, I’ve felt isolated, left out, alone, depressed, sad, hopeless, purposeless and attempted suicide all because I just don’t know and I was tired of not knowing.
A lot of people out there experience one form of depression or anxiety because they don’t feel needed, loved, appreciated and can’t seem to figure out how to belong afterall. Personally, I’ve felt a lot less satisfied about things, situations and all because I feel like I don’t have control over my life- it’s back and forth movement is either controlled by someone else’s actions, decisions, communal rules or the government and society’s manual to live by.
In school, it’s more like the lecturers and student government or institutional bodies control what day and time you show up and how or basically if you’re gonna have a good or bad day. At work, it’s either your bosses, supervisors or colleagues control the flow of work you have in a day or your clients control how glad or fulfilled you’ll be in a day- i.e if you even have a job due to the high demand in skills, competencies, qualifications and possibly connections. Sometimes, you’re not even sure if you’ll have a job the next day because one person controls your being ‘relevant’ or not. Then there’s the issue of you having goals you can’t achieve because you don’t have the means to the end and all. For some others, we’re so stressed out and facing both internal and external pressures that our mental, physical, psychological, emotional and even social health gets hit with a panic attack or we just move from the 50% energy or feel good level we’re trying to boost to 1% battery level on almost off mode without a source of refill. Have I said anything about religion and how it’s become an extremist thing to either get counted among or not? In places of worship, rather than try to make you feel hopeful and reassure or realign you with your sense of belonging and appreciation or purpose, you’re made to feel compelled to have faith, live a certain way, do a certain thing now or get reminded about the many sins in the world or the coming of Christ and how much of a righteous or maybe ‘self-righteous’ person you should be- when your problem is simply how to leave the House of God feeling energized, strengthened, needed, loved, accepted, hopeful and in alignment with who you are and how best you can fulfil your purpose on Earth in your own little way (which could be as simple as putting smiles on the faces of your neighbors both on the left and right and not running an NGO at age 19, 23, 30 or 55)…take a chill pill please.
These days, people keep their problems to themselves because it’s either there’s no one to talk to or no one who could help out or no one they could trust. There’s a lot of social trust issues and I won’t tell you I trust the government or media or even the next passenger on a bus or an older sibling because one too many things have wiped away that trust. People have turned to addictions which are more or less go-to things to fill up our hopelessness, hunger for peace, joy, fulfilment, comfort, this and that- do I even blame or judge anyone? Hell no! They’re doing what’s best for them and even if it could sometimes be to the detriment of their health, I don’t have another solution to their problems and I can only wish them the best or pray for them in my quiet space while trying to find solace and strength on my own.
Back to the paradox of progress… The more knowledge, graduates, jobs, wealth, peace, prosperity, this and that a society gets, the more it loses it’s people to hopelessness, depression, suicide and chasing highs. To restore hope as a sense of purpose, belonging and happiness; we need to feel we are in control of even the slightest things in our lives like time, money, emotions and all. We need to feel that through the things we’re able to control, we can add value to ourselves and the people around us and by adding value, we begin to feel a sense of purpose and happiness, giving others hope in the long run. When we are in control and can add value, we’ll definitely belong to a community of people who need us, appreciate us, make us feel needed and loved and then, we’ll be fulfilled we brought hope to the hopeless and made someone smile, feeling special all the way. Since this is a long shot, I’ll suggest we start by controlling the little things we can, so we can find out ways to add value and belong to a community.
Yeah, I also believe ‘Everything Is Fucked’, but I also believe there is hope and this isn’t about me trying to be optimistic, but about me lighting a candle for you in the dark tunnel so you can see, know that you’re loved and walk with you through the dark- as this is what I can control and the value I can add. Don’t worry, someone else is making plans to put smiles on your face. So, there is hope!
I love you, I care about you and no matter what goes on around you or how unbearable life gets, please remember that there’s always light inside to guide you and at the end of every tunnel- I don’t know how long you’ve been in that tunnel searching, hoping that maybe you’ll find the light- and I know you’ll definitely find it. Hang in there… Cheers!!!