life, writing
Comments 14

Beautiful lazy days in Hawaii (on depression)

BalayageI’ve been feeling like a phony lately. I can’t think of a life that could be more perfect than mine right now; summer in Hawaii, no schedule, I am saturated in love that spans half the globe. Sun, sand, ocean. No real worries, only an uncertain future (along with almost everyone else.) I can finally spend all my time writing, creating, watching movies, eat amazing food, learn new skills. Truly getting to know the incredible people in my life. Endless summer, extended holiday. It really couldn’t get any better (well, maybe if someone dumped a million dollars in my lap so I could continue doing exactly this forever) so why is my brain choosing this time to get so goddamn sad about everything?

How I deal with depression. Depression and death are closely connected in my mind. I read that the thoughts you have on death and the inherent meaninglessness of life when you are depressed are false, but the cruel irony of depression is that those very thoughts will suddenly seem more genuine than any other thought you have had in your life. So at a time when everything seems so incredibly meaningless, when the act of talking or even smiling is soul-draining, you have to find the strength to realize that this is a false reality. Supposedly. Because this sounds like an exercise invented by brainless happy people who can’t come to terms with the fact that their existence is meaningless, right? But the majority has spoken; life is good and worth hanging on to.

lanikaishore3First I try to access if I really want to be dead, or if I just want a change in what I’m currently doing. Most of the time there are still things I want to do, like visit Rome and find out how Game of Thrones ends. So then I assume I just feel really sorry for myself. And I start to think about all the people who have more right to feel sorry for themselves than me, which is about 93% of the world’s population, so around 6,5 billion people. I have never been hungry, never experienced a day where I couldn’t pay for my living expenses. I have a family that love and support me unconditionally. I’m highly educated (although, depending on your state of mind, this can be both a curse and a blessing), I’m creative, I’ve traveled a large chunk of the world by age thirty. I have amazing friends whose company I enjoy and they seem to enjoy mine in return. I really, really love my soon-to-be husband and our life together.

Maybe what I call depression is really just laziness? Because there is so much work (not jobs, two separate things) to do in this world and I don’t know where to start.

Sometimes I think it is a stubborn desire for absolute truth. I want to live in a world where people are who they say and inflicting any sort of violence is absurd. I want normalcy to reflect basic, indisputable truths, such as humans need air, water and food to survive, and to compromise fair distribution of any of it is considered the worst of crimes. Right now we are living in an upside down world where the people committing these crimes are practically celebrated for their ‘accomplishments’ because we measure all value in ‘money‘. I think that’s why I have always been so adverse to religion, too. Even as a child the stories didn’t make logical sense to me so I dismissed them as just that – stories. It’s still really difficult for me to understand why people want to structure their life around such old and outdated stories. I also think I grasped upon sustainability so fast because to me it was finally a story, a worldview, that made sense. To use nature as a guide, to live in harmony with all things around us, that seemed logical and natural.
tumblr_mhzacu0xkl1reevg7o1_500Quote by J.D. Salinger (1951). I think this lingering sadness accompanying life is why Catcher in the Rye still speaks to so many, especially adolescents. We see the inherent phoniness of our lives yet the great majority succumb to it eventually, and happily so. Jobs, stress, mortgage, kids, debt, more stress, sickness, death. Do I believe there will ever be a utopia? No, not really. Humans have too many conflicting desires to ever truly be content 100% of the time. I know in myself that I desire a beautiful house, with a lush garden and lots of animals but at the same time I also desire to travel the world at a moment’s notice, like I have been doing for almost a decade. Will those two desires ever coincide?

sherwoodsEmerging from depression is like fog lifting and suddenly the world has vivid colors again, crisp, clear and in focus. I can’t stop taking pictures of it these days. I wonder how many times some variation of the same sentiments have been written? I understand why so many people hide their sadness and depression because these days in order to be successful you also have to be happy all. the. time. Being sad for no reason is the same as admitting failure, that you somehow are doing life wrong. I think sadness is just as big part of life as happiness. When you really think about it there are just as many reasons to be sad as there is to be happy. Life is fleeting, you will lose the people you love and no one will live the kind of life they want all of the time. That’s exactly why you should be grateful and happy when you have those things. They are precious, rare, and mostly importantly, real. But it is ok to be sad about it sometimes, too.

waimanaloI learned by reading surfer biographies (Saltwater Buddha, West of Jesus) that life comes in waves. Sometimes you will be up, sometimes the ocean goes flat, and they are both equally important. You need both to create the ride. Around the same time I also came to terms with the fact that the only thing that can truly hurt you is expectations. If you don’t expect anything, you will never be disappointed. This one is hard. It means never expect anyone to be there forever, because they won’t. Everyone dies. But the people who choose to stick around until the end, not because they have to but because they want to, those are the ones that make life worth living.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. If you can manage that I think you have unlocked the secret to life. (I’ll get there, too. Soon.)

14 Comments

  1. Terry says

    hi, this is good article I can definitely relate.
    I’ve had similar thoughts and I’m sure many have.
    I happen to live in beautiful Hawaii (Oahu) and live a decent standard of living.

    In my own experience I found that when I have the “luxury of free time”, that is when depression creeps in. All my life my main goal was to get to obtain free time (from work). Now that I’ve obtained it, I find depression tries to get me. How ironic!

    Yet when I am busy or have something pressing to do, responsibility or some sort of short or long term purpose, my depression seems to melt away. Or if I am around company.

    I realize to avoid depression it is good to be involved, to be fully engaged with activities and people. Not so much as a distraction (which it is) but to “participate” in life.

    It seems that when there is too much free time, the mind is left to it’s own devices. Naughty mind!

    yes life is fleeting, and don’t let unfilled expectations get you down.
    just go with the cards are you dealt, count your blessing, and continue on. I’m in my 50’s now and and learned that you simply have to steer the boat in the direction you think is right. You can’t control the weather of events that play out.

    I know there are a lot of injustices and problems in this world. I too feel there is so much to be done. But I feel the world IS becoming a better place over time. I’ve witnesses gradual but steady improvements in both human and animal welfare on an international scale. People do care. When you look at today’s news it may be hard to believe. But look back 30, 40, 50+ years.

    Take care.

    • Hi Terry. Thanks for all your insight. Yes, I agree with you a lot. Too much free time is definitely not very healthy. But I wish we had more choice in how to spend our precious time. I think I would feel a lot more at peace if I could get more hands-on with the things that really matter – such as keeping a garden and growing the majority of my own fruit and vegetables. It’s a nice goal to have and it keeps me striving to get there. Thanks again for your perspective. Much aloha :)

  2. A large part of the reason I try to write is down to a single question. “Do other people feel the same way as me?” This post tells me that yes, other feel the same. The same doubts. the same questions and the same fears.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you :) This is such a sweet comment. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to connect with someone through their writing, and I’m always touched when someone connects to mine. I hope you are not currently struggling with depression! <3

  3. LucianToma says

    I love reading your posts and finding that we all have so much in common and experience our spiritual being in human life form. Nature is such a great entity to show us that all we have to do is enjoy and know and feel that “it” will be here for us to come back and back again – so let’s just make sure it is here on our return.

    • Hi Toma, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I have to say, I miss being surrounded by like-minded GLSDers a lot. I can’t decide if the program changed me completely, or if it was just a natural evolution and I would found myself on this path regardless. Either way, sustainability and using nature as a guide is the closest thing I have ever found to ‘religion’.

  4. sandhya says

    And i dont know how you can pen down so many things whicn can easily be missed by our subconcious mind as well, love your work, keep on writing.
    Your fan from India ..

  5. sandhya says

    It would sound personal question, but am so happy that you are living the life you wanted, i guess a dream…
    but want to know how can you earn and pay for the expenses of moving across the globe wihtout a serious job?
    Would like to travel like you , hence asking :)

    • Hi Sandhya,
      It’s so nice to hear from you again! Thank you for your comments. I don’t mind answering this question but it could get a little long :)

      I was very fortunate that I was born in Norway to a solid family. After I graduated high school and before I started university five years later, I worked part time jobs and traveled when I had saved up enough money. I never got an apartment or a car so I had no other expenses and didn’t mind living with my parents. I am lucky because minimum wage in Norway is almost $20 an hour so you don’t have to work very long to save up a lot of money if you don’t have any other living expenses. I would work until I had around $5000 and then I would travel for a few months.

      When I started university I was able to receive government funded student loans, and I also chose to study abroad for a semester. After meeting my American boyfriend, I moved back to Hawaii to pursue my masters degree, also supported by the Norwegian government. So I have been very lucky.

      My advise for those who wish to travel is to make it their number one priority. Save everything you can from your salary (except of course for housing and food). Stop buying clothes, household objects you don’t need, movies and entertainment. If you have a steady internet connection, you’ll have all the entertainment you need for free! Maybe sell objects from your house you no longer need. Simplify your life – it’s hard at first but eventually it feels good to not be held back by possessions!

      Second, use the internet for all it is worth. It can be so easy to make friends from all over the world, really good friends, and after communicating for several years, they might feel comfortable letting you stay at their house when you visit the country. I have done this several times in the past ten years and it has enriched my life a lot. Today I call some of them my closest friends in the world.

      Right now I am living in my boyfriend’s apartment and I can’t work until I receive my work visa, but eventually I have to get a serious job, too. But unless you truly love your job and it is your passion, you life has to come before any job you just do for money. Don’t put off traveling too long because life is short and precious!

      EDIT: I also wanted to add that never go into debt for school unless you feel confident you can manage paying it back comfortably afterward. Being trapped by debt is one of the most limiting things that can happen to your inherent freedom to explore this planet.

      • sandhya says

        i just loved your advice on how to save money,
        you know what i go crazy on home decors and clothing , when i get bored i give it away to mom or aunts and buy new..
        i need to reduce that ..
        going to save up on my travel expense for sure, thanks for sharing your story

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