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Pretend Meaning. Tuesday August 9, 2016

Something I've noticed over the years is that questions like "what's the point?" and "what does it all mean?" are questions that belong to depression. When my mood is more stable I don't ask these questions because I'm living my meaning. I'm engaged in satisfying activities, enjoying my friendships, helping people, and working towards goals that give me a sense of purpose. My life isn't problem-free, but I'm walking the path I've chosen.

When depression overtakes me things change. Life is hard. Getting out of bed to fetch a drink might need an hour of self persuasion. All those satisfying activities are beyond me, I don't have the energy or self worth to see friends. My goals are at best on hold, probably they were always unattainable. I can't help myself, let alone anyone else.

It's at these times that the questions resurface. What's the point? Why am I even trying? And I am trying, even when from the outside my output must seem so minimal. I ask myself, where is the meaning in any of this? What is this suffering, and the whole world's suffering, for?

This is when I need to implement Pretend Meaning. Maybe there is some meaning to it all, maybe not. But I need to proceed on the assumption that meaning exists, even when this feels like a huge lie. Acting as if there's meaning, somewhere hidden just beyond view, helps me to commit to life, to put the energy I've been using to plan my death into picking up the threads of my life. While I'm pretending there's a point, there's a reason to keep going.

And as I keep making these steps towards life, tiny as they may be, they lead me to a place of more fulfillment. Once again the questions of meaning, of the point of it all, recede into the background as I live my life, and the need for Pretend Meaning quietly slips away.

Becky
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Duma Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 1:23am

An old essay I wrote on my blog - Ask Duma! Back in '03.

In answer to the question " "What is the purpose of life?"

I replied:

Actually quite an easy question.

Here I'm going to go with a personal definition of what 'the species' that we belong to is.

The species is a simple code made up of a four letter 'alphabet' of A,T,C & G. Y'know - DNA.

That may sound like an odd statement to make, but all of the outward expression of that code (cells, arms, fingers, lungs, brains, our ability to create technology, Wayne Newton songs, etc) is merely very advanced strategies that that code uses to ensure that it will survive via the passing on of it's code to the next generation.

To digress for a second, what is the purpose of a motorbike?

Any answer to that question is going to go on at some length about the rider's needs, wants and desires, but say almost nothing about the bike itself.

And why should it? Its just a means of transport after all!

Which brings me back to my point - that that's all we are - a means of transport for code, from one generation to the next.

We are riding beasts, no more, no less.

"But Duma!" I hear you exclaim, "What about art, love, altruism and puppies?"

"Simple", I answer, each individual expression of the code also has it in its interest to safeguard other, related expressions of the code which are similar in sequence to it's own. So that would be where familial love and altruism come in.

'Good' can be best defined as - "In the best interest of the species", you see.

Art falls into this category by relieving stress and (dare I say it) helping people cope with the incredibly heavy task that even the most advantaged life, in fact, is.

Thought I'd forgotten about the puppies? Not a bit of it, quite apart from the fact that dogs are good for defending our 'pack' and that they're most easily trained if raised from a young age - there is an advantage to our code of liking puppies.

You see all species that actaually rear their young are pre-programmed by their code to find 'neo-nate' characteristics cute. Y'know big eyes, big head, chubby body, affectionate & wobbly on their feet.

This helps us take care of our code's biological investment, sorry I mean 'our kids'. But these characteristics are common across the board in almost all higher animals - so we find puppies cute.

Back to the point, where I am nihilistically desribing us as 'riding beasts'.

We are slaves to this code, there is nothing we want to do that isn't at some level driven by either a 'straight-forward' or 'subverted' need, want or desire of that code.

So there is literally no point fighting it, it is written IN FULL in every cell in our bodies. (Except Red Blood Cells, but they're not calling any shots.) We are what we are, slaves to the brutish and reproductively driven code that hasn't changed in any significant way since before we invented anything.

Bleak, you say? Well here comes the uplifting part.

Recognising the above facts and translating them into a modern context allows a person to come to terms with the brutish drives they are subjected to from within.

Not 'overcome' or 'improve', but ACCEPT them.

This is important, if you were playing poker, you'd want to know what was in your hand, right?

Its just like that - 'know yourself' and you wont be perplexed and troubled by your drives and instincts, instead you will see that it is good advice from an organism (the code again) from the dawn of time.

It is interested in your well-being, your happiness and even how good looking your eventual mate is. It cares about you and the future of your children.

It cares about the whole human race and wants what is best for it.

I would say that the pupose of life is to listen to what that code is trying to tell you and doing what it says, because it literally made you and if you mess with it, it'll break you.

This process is what is known in the vernacular (slang) as "Walking with the Goddess", it's not religeous in any way, (in fact it may make you either more or less religeous, depending on the person) but it is a road to total contentment - being in your own paradise, innocent and good of heart, not because any diety told you to be so, but because 'Its the right thing to do'.

If the above is unclear, I will happily answer any and all supplimentary questions on this topic.

Because my code want me to. (Topic related joke. Geddit?)

================================

Cheers, Duma.

Hopeful One Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 7:01am

Hi Duma- My word! that's a lot to take in but I hope I have got the gist of it.

LillyPet Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 8:20am

Hi Duma, Yes, I agree that it's good to get back to the basics of human nature. What we have become capable of and how the body responds to stress in the environment is incredible. When it feels that society "puts too much pressure on me" Sometimes I try to remind myself that we are animals on this planet and we dont have to take those false pressures on board. The things that get me down are tiny in the context of our existence. I just wish that certain other individuals could see it that way too! Thanks, it was interesting to read your comment. LP

Duma Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 9:54am

Hopeful One & LillyPet. Thanks for the kind words. Becky - thanks for inspiring me to digthis one out. Cheers, Duma.

Nix Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:08pm

I like your thinking and logic Duma. And think you are right. And sometimes the human mind over-rides the code and wants the code to end. In the face of the misery the code and self-awareness brings when in human form ... next time I want to be self-preserving cat code instead

Nix Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:08pm

I like your thinking and logic Duma. And think you are right. And sometimes the human mind over-rides the code and wants the code to end. In the face of the misery the code and self-awareness brings when in human form ... next time I want to be self-preserving cat code instead

Hopeful One Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 7:00am

Hi Becky- Your strategy of pretend meaning is a good one. In essence what one is doing is bypassing the negative mindset that gets triggered in depression with thoughts like 'What's the meaning of..... for the simple answer is that there appears to be no overarching meaning .. the meaning of anything is the meaning one gives it.

What Confucius did not say....

Lady who goes camping with man must beware of evil intent.

Squirrel who runs up woman's leg will not find nuts.


LillyPet Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 7:59am

Ha ha! Love the squirrel one:))

Orangeblossom Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 7:34am

Hi Becky
Thanks for helping me to see when my mood is flattening out & I can't seem to become stimulated or motivated to find things to do. I have found that if I have one activity to look forrward to each day, it does take me out of the house. Today, tomorrow & Thursday are three days when I can go out of doors in a positive mind frame.

LillyPet Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 8:11am

Hi Becky,
I find 's quite a relief, when feeling low in anyway, to give up the angst the wresling the fretting and just accept. It's a bad day, or there's a reason for feeling low, even if I can't figure it out. It can be mentally draing and exhausting.
I like the idea of trusting the universe to rebalance things naturally, let it do what it's good at in it's own time and in the meantime relax.
I agree, all sounds great when I'm fine, not so simple when I'm not, so I like the simplicity of your blog. Thank you. Warm and sunny wishes to all. LP xx

Lifelong Learner Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 9:59am

Thank you Becky, your words were just what I needed today. I sometimes struggle with finding meaning and purpose to my life, even though I know in my heart that life is precious. I often follow the adage 'fake it 'till you make it!' Cloudy here today but I'll keep searching for the blue sky.

Leah Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 11:49am

Becky,
Love your blog. Well done. I can relate to this. I ask myself why must I struggle? why me? When will I feel better? Why is life so Hard? What did I do wrong in a previous life??
Take care Leah

Jul Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 12:07pm

Yes I like your blog too Becky. I sort of know why me..because of a fairly dysfunctional childhood and family. And also I have a huge imagination which causes anxiety and worry. But I am going to apply your pretend meaning to other areas of my life when I find I just do not understand what is happening. Thank you Becky for an original take on an issue which affects most of us I guess on Moodscope. Julxx

The Gardener Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 2:44pm

Finding a 'meaning of life' gets more difficult when you pass your biblical alloted span. The only positive thing I can really feel is that I can still do things for other people to enjoy. On a week's respite from Mr G I am indulging in pampering self, sleeping (body seems determined on it, even when mind says 'You should be doing all those other things' but in sun with book and it's bye-byes. (Good book, too). When awake and reasonable my mind is fixed on how on earth I can retain some positivity when Mr G returns - getting a wheel chair so we WILL go out, never mind the protests and how many blankets he demands. If people think I've gone bonkers and am wheeling an Egyptian Mummy about, so be it.Lillypet, acceptance is a big word with me just now, go for what you can do, and don't fret about what you can't.

Nicco Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 2:45pm

Thank you, Becky, for this. I now understand why, when in the depths of depression, I think I'm seeing the world and the people in it (those around me) as it truly is (all negative, out to get me, and no point for anything), and that the 'other me' (when I'm doing ok, finding fulfillment and thinking that actually the world isn't such a bad place and neither are the people in it) is 'the lie'. When I'm doing ok it's the other way around (I hope that makes sense!)

I do try to draw strength when doing ok - telling myself that this is actually the truth of things, and that the 'other me' when in negative mode is actually the lie so that when I'm down again I can draw on that strength to help get me out of the negativity. But it's oh so hard when I'm in the thick of it. I like your description of it 'being there but is just out of view' because I think that will help me when in the negative depressed state.

I was able to help my daughter through her depression because of having experienced it myself for 42 yrs but, strangely (or maybe not so strangely), it's so hard to help myself out of it and believe all I've told her. Depression is a strange beast, and the M.E. and Fibromyalgia I suffer doesn't help it any either.

Lifelong Learner's 'fake it til you make it' adage rings true for me and it's cloudy here, too, but a rare good day for me so I don't mind those today.

Duma's entry was a lot of info to take in but v.enjoyable and interesting to read so, thank you too, Duma.

DAVE Tue, Aug 9th 2016 @ 6:54pm

Hi Becky,
I really do appreciate your blog, it reflects the life I lead and it keeps depression in check.

Your first paragraph holds the key in my opinion to the path of the extrovert.

Couple those activities especially helping others, keeping occupied and communicating with family and friends, taking our minds off OURSELVES, is exactly how we reverse the introvert hidden within.

It is in these periods of stability, you mention, that they can be the most productive as we are able to gain ground against periods of depression.

What do I mean, well if our thoughts are turned into action in a positive orderly manner such as you do.

If we extend that to all facets of our lives, by getting ALL things in order, finance, health, employment, transport maintanence, and especially personal relationships, not allowing ourselves to become offended, and not offending others.....

In so doing we can gradually become self motivated, giving us the desire to train ourselves to by-pass procrastination.
We've heard the expression 'Procrastination is the thief of time', because procrastination means 'putting off' that which we know, we have to confront sooner or later.

Therefore when everything is up to date and in order......when these 'down times' crop up, the effect does NOT cause such dramatic division between 'Stability and deep depression.

Both psychologically and sub-consciously, we start down the path of consistent 'Wellness'.

I hope I've explained what I mean, and hope it helps.

Dave.

Becky Wed, Aug 10th 2016 @ 8:24pm

Wow thank you everyone for your comments. I've been mostly offline for a few days and just came back to all your messages of encouragement and wisdom. I do agree that acceptance is key. If nothing else it stops us getting depressed about being depressed, anxious about being anxious.

I don't think that either aspect of us - when we are low or when we're not - is a lie. We are much more interesting and complex than that. To ebb and flow is the way of things, for some the distance between ebb and flow is greater than it is for there. But it's all part of our experience that needs to be honoured and accepte

I find meaning in the struggle Lin that it draws me closer to their struggling people, that whether by accident or design suffering is written into the blueprint of our world, and when we share our experience we growi in compassion be hope

Just as everything in the world now has been here in some form from the beginning, none of our experience is wasted. We have a choice in how we choose to weave our exerience into what it is becoming next.

Duma Thu, Aug 11th 2016 @ 8:17am

Very well, and thoughtfully put Becky. Once again a huge "Thank you!" for this blog! Cheers, Duma.

Nurse Tilda Mon, Aug 29th 2016 @ 2:19pm

Carol-Anne - congratulations and thank you for this brilliant post. I hope we hear more from you on Moodscope.

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