i’ve always lived slowly. in fact, i’ve constantly felt that i was walking behind everyone else. may it be the actual act of walking or in life. everyone always seems to be ahead of me. & now i find myself once again in depression, a couple of weeks before my 26th birthday. why? i don’t feel ready. there are still many times i feel like the 18-year old me; being unhappy, hating myself, and being afraid of life and the world.
when i was a kid, my motto was ‘power lies in the calm’ (a quote from the Lion King, I think? Roughly translated from the German version). i’ve always hated stress. but i’ve come to realise that i have actually never really embraced ‘slow living’ as so many people who follow that philosophy nowadays do. for a long time, i haven’t enjoyed living slowly due to anxiety and depression. ever since i was bullied in elementary school i felt the need to prove my worth; so that i’ll never be bullied again because they admire me. even though i’ve seen several therapists and have mostly ‘dealt’ with my past, i can’t get any closure because this ‘need’ out of self-protectiveness still hasn’t left me. now, how can i enjoy living slowly if i’m still in that mindset of constant fear? i can’t.
furthermore, social media is exacerbating my recrudescing depression. i’ve been using it for over +10 years now and it has done more damage and harm than good. whenever i fall back into depression i also use social media obsessively. i scroll down feeds, watch stories, and look at other people’s lives while mine is on hold. the pandemic has made me even more anti-social and i’m as withdrawn as i’ve never been before. what adds to the negativity is the fact that i actually have a good life. i’ve got enough money, food, accommodation, and soon i’m going to fulfil yet another dream. still, i can’t be happy. my ego is constantly telling me ‘nobody cares’ and i think that whatever i’ll do it’s all a futile endeavour and it would be easier if i were dead. sure. everything is easier when you’re dead. but then nothing’s possible. and i’d hate to leave this world without trying. and that’s why i’m still here. ‘Dum spiro spero’, as long as i breathe, i hope.
and that’s why i’m writing a blogpost once again. this will be a new series of my journey to live a simpler life. i want to finally free myself from anxiety and depression, become a minimalist, and enjoy life. i could just write diary but there is this hope inside me (as, i am sure, there is in every writer) that perhaps i can help some people. there are so many people suffering from depression, and it is a most isolating illness. you already feel like you’re not good enough and everything sucks, but you also don’t want to burden others and anyway, they couldn’t understand you. so you stay silent and suffer alone. as a result, you feel even worse, even lonelier, even more depressed, and eventually everything seem hopeless. i know this feeling all too well. i used to be in that mindset for years; and crying every day, wishing you were dead, that is something you don’t wish anyone to go through. and now, as these thoughts are coming back to me, i will try my best to stop them before it’s too late. perhaps it is all a futile endeavour. perhaps no one will read this, no one will care. i don’t know. nobody does. but it is worth a try.
trying is everything. as long as you have hope you’ve got a chance for a better life. ‘if i take my life today, i take away the chance of a better tomorrow.’ these words have always kept me going. you can die every day, but you can only live this life once. when it’s gone it’s gone forever. so keep going. it will get better. if not? you know what…this may sound bleak, but i don’t like to sugarcoat things. people who have never suffered from depression probably won’t understand this, but everyone who does, well, they will.
it is people like him that give me new hope. David Bowie said ‘religion is for people who fear hell, spirituality is for people who have been there.’ I couldn’t agree more. Spirituality is the cure. Spirituality is about enjoying life, not fearing being punished when you misbehave, acting a certain way so that a presumed maker will love you. Spirituality is love itself. It’s loving everyone (of course, including yourself), complete acceptance, and living in the present. When I was a kid, the priest in church used to say that rich people have their hands full of money and can’t go to heaven, whereas poor people can. even as a child that never sat right with me. surely, there are rich people who are good, and there are poor people who are bad. it is not the amount of money you have on your account or the things you own (or else all the priests etc. will go to hell with their golden toilets and other pricey goods), but your attachment to them. if you are attached to your things, they become a prison and you can’t focus on what’s really important in life. we are becoming more and more obsessed with material things; we love them and use people. this is all wrong. we should love people and use things. but as society we grow further apart, now everything’s black-and-white. either you love or you hate other people. ‘Us vs.’ Them’ 24/7. There’s barely any forgiveness, but people are quick to ‘cancel’ others. we’re all connected now, but not really to each other; only to our web personas. You can’t meet the real person on the internet, yet we act as if we do.
and yet, we try to find happiness in all this mess. & then we get depressed when we don’t get it. i could punch myself when i think of how messed up i am to think that more followers, more likes will make me happy. that if i just had better hair my life would be better. if i were skinnier more people would like me. if i were cooler, i had more friends. the list goes on and on. i’ve been in a complete denial and refusal of myself, and now i don’t even know who i am anymore. all i see is other people; how i’d like to be and how i’d not like to be (which also changes over time). seeing all these faces of people i don’t know, it has a weird effect on me. sometimes i find people strange; our bodies and everything. and how we’re all running around like ants nuzzling for the next kick (yes, this is a strange image but moving on-). there are so many people on this world that we no longer see the soul but just the appearance and the things people own. we value each other’s worth with the quality of things they possess and followers they have on social media. and what is the result? depression and suicide on the rise, isolation, miscommunication, over-indulgence and intemperance, and many more detrimental effects. i think i am not alone when i say that i feel a void that i’m constantly trying to fill. i, like many other people, try to fill it with food. for others it may be booze or drugs, sitcoms, cuts,…but nothing really fills it, does it? it’s all distractions. a temporary relief. it’s not the answer.
the answer is: slowing down. practising gratefulness. when you start being grateful for what you have you will feel happier; instantly! what a magical trick, yet barely anyone talks about it. sure, ‘cuz when you see what you’ve already got, you see that nothing is lacking. companies etc. can’t make a profit with gratefulness. it’s anti-capitalistic. and people, even though most don’t want to acknowledge, look for the solutions in our capitalistic world. and they provide. buy this, buy that, then you’ll feel better. then you’re complete, whole, enough. but you’ll never feel complete with the next purchase or next boyfriend/girlfriend, a million followers or thousands of likes. it’s all inside us. we have to put in the work. we have to fill this void, nobody and nothing else can do it.
so that’s what i am trying to do. get better. feel complete. One of my favourite authors said:
I would go even further. Living a simple life is the only way to live a happy life. If you have a complicated, busy life, where do you find the time to practise gratitude? Life gets more and more complicated and people become sadder and more depressed. It is the curse of the 21st century. We’re all competing with each other, trying to impress others so we feel some kind of worth. We look for acknowledgment from other people instead of acknowledging ourselves. A simple life, a slow life gives you the opportunity to pause and see the beauty in the world. for there is so much beauty in this world! when i am sick and tired of society i think of sunsets, forests, the sea, animals, plants. nature is so beautiful and we get to enjoy it every day! but we rarely make time for that and when we’re outside our heads are filled with so many thoughts that we can’t even enjoy it. we see a tree and think ‘oh a tree’ and that’s that, we’re not really looking at the tree itself. we spent more time antagonising our past and worrying about the future that we forget all about the present moment; the only moment we have.
and with ‘we’ of course i also mean me. this is my journey, and i hope i’ll get out of this tunnel and find the light again. and i hope, that this may also help others. let’s be there for each other! i know, i can’t live like this much longer. i’ve always thought of myself as the lone wolf – and i love being alone!- but i feel lonelier with each passing day. a community; people who are there for each other, that is what we/i need. we don’t need millions of followers, i don’t need millions of followers, just a few good people who are there for us. it’s the simple things in life that make it enjoyable. and only if we’re in company can we share or even create the good moments. so, where shall we start? i know, i have to tackle my social media problem. i’ve already tried it but failed after +1 week so now i want to try it again: a 30 day social media detox. i will post on friday (tomorrow) my last (quite depressing) poem on instagram and then delete all my social media apps from my ipad (i have already deleted almost all of them from my phone, but it doesn’t really help when you’ve got instagram on your tablet and youtube on your laptop). i really want to live thirty days with no social media so i can be more productive again and stop comparing myself to others while feeling ignored by the world. i want to throw away (donate) everything i don’t need so that everything i own has a purpose and i only own what’s necessary in my life. and last but not least, i want to mediate again. i’ve just meditated a couple of minutes and already felt the power of it. meditation is necessary to quieten the mind. it makes you calmer and also helps you realise many things; about yourself and the way you see the world. i want to live a simple and slow life; and if you are still reading – first of all, thank you! please drop me a comment so i know that some people do read my stuff – & i invite you to join my journey. let’s live better lives!