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  #16  
Old 03-07-12, 04:41 PM
Lillianmay Lillianmay is offline
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Living in the moment is a good way to say, ďDonít have regrets about a past you canít change or be over anxious about an unknown future.Ē But what if the moment you are living in is pretty painful and you know the next bunch of moments you are about to be living in are going to be pretty painful too? (For example, you wake up in a hospital with half a leg blown off from a roadside bomb, the doctor just said the word ďterminalĒ, the person who has your heart just walked out the door and is not coming back.)

When that happens, a person needs a philosophy, belief system, faith, or whatever that is going to hold together. Otherwise you end up drinking away the pain (remember Lt. Dan) or taking a header off a bridge or just becoming numb to life. So, your belief system has to be founded on something that can handle the pain.

I am not out to convert the OP because thatís not my job. My job is not to be a stumbling block to people searching. Since the OP is an atheist, her search will start there. I donít know where it will end Ė again, thatís not my job. It is her search.
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  #17  
Old 03-08-12, 10:06 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Not necessarily. Some people might turn to a philosophy or belief system for emotional support or sustenance, and that's fine for them. However, it's simply not the case for everyone. I'm one of millions of happy atheists, and you may have met a bunch of us and just never knew. It may be difficult for people with a belief system to conceive of, but a lack of belief has its own kind of comfort and happiness as well. The OP's anxiety is not coming from a lack of belief, but a fear of the unknown factors that are part and parcel of belief. In a case like that, believing more is counterproductive.
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Old 03-08-12, 02:11 PM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

[quote=EllaRio;1266533]lately I've been dwelling on the idea that there really is no point in our existence. There is no point to my existence, and the moment I die, everything I am will be gone forever. I have a sense of loss at losing myself. I will lose myself and become nothing someday. And that is the truth. That is not something I can change.[quote]

been there/done that --

i think most people have similar thoughts and feelings from time to time. however, if you're dwelling on the subject constantly, to the point where life is no longer enjoyable, you've got depression. stimulants are notorious for causing depression in some individuals...the higher the dose, the greater the risk. i'd talk to your doctor about it asap.
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  #19  
Old 03-08-12, 03:02 PM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Amtram, I never suggested you or other atheists arenít happy. When I say ďbelief systemĒ, I am including atheism. I said so in my first post. It is a system of what you believe, which in your case, you believe there is no God. This thread isnít about you. Itís about the OP who is worried about depression and mentioning her atheism and uses the words ďPlease helpĒ and ďIím pretty desperateĒ.

I didnít tell her to go get religion. She likes science and logic, so I said start there and read what scientist, atheist scientist have to say. If she still feels lost, then maybe she would want to read something by scientist who believe. Itís her choice and just a suggested next step. I am sure she is a big girl and can throw out crappy advice.

She does seem to be in pain, and her atheism isnít sustaining her right now. That is not to say it canít. It sustains you, but maybe her pain is about something that wouldnít bother you.

Amtram, your experience with spirituality was one that made you anxious about your behavior and if it would pass the bar. For me it is the opposite. I am an ADHDer whose days are filled with mistakes - from ADHD and from just being human. My ďbehaviorĒ fortunately is not what being a believer is about Ė except maybe in the belief that I am loved and have value no matter how much I mess up.

Right now I am not in school and canít manage a job. I use resources, but contribute nothing scientifically proven or measurable to society. I donít even want to think about what that says about my value as a person from a purely logical point of view.
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  #20  
Old 03-09-12, 09:44 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EllaRio View Post
But lately I've been dwelling on the idea that there really is no point in our existence. There is no point to my existence, and the moment I die, everything I am will be gone forever. I have a sense of loss at losing myself. I will lose myself and become nothing someday. And that is the truth. That is not something I can change.
This very thought is the one I use to remain sane.

It's comforting.

I can describe why in more detail, if you like.

To really understand why, though - you need to have reached the stage where you're filled with moral outrage at pretty much every action you see human beings make.

Listen to people on the bus - life appears, for the many, to be an exercise in worship of anti-social goals -
an exercise in uncovering that next fix -

- to buy that red jumper in the expensive designer shop, for one's favoured football team to win their next match, for Jim to be at the pub tomorrow night ... ... ...

It really wears you out.

Perhaps we're the generation lost in the transition of the species from its current worthless aspirations to something worthwhile.

The route to something worthwhile is encoded in religion - though, with all of the various false prophets out there seeking to bask in the reflected glory, gain credibility from religion -

you'll have your job cut out - discovering exactly what that message is.

'Back to the garden'
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  #21  
Old 03-12-12, 11:56 PM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Dear,

I have spent 12 years in this hell -me depressed & fighting my devoutly religious family. Finally came to these conclusions based on years of research & toiling:

1. Existential angst(searching for a meaning) is the deadliest virus
While asking the question was your job & is the right thing, needing an answer is not.
"sea squirt that hatches with a rudimentary spinal cord and 300 brain cells. It has only hours to find a spot of coral on which to put down roots or die. When it does put down roots, it eats its brain."
Negative people put a mental block on you all the time by constricting you in the cage of no-answer questions. Even philosophers & scientists admit that the biggest questions about the universe may never be solved. Why should everything in the universe have a meaning? Does it owe a meaning to anyone? why? Thats what we scientists ask you. Philosophy's branch Existentialism- The meaning of the universe was for you to exist.

2. Thinking about the meaning of life will not solve or produce anything.
Good scientists will tell you, discoveries & inventions are never achieved by people driven by meaning of life question but rather by love for job.

3. As an extremist atheist, you don't have to discard religion altogether.
Atheism version 2.0. Religion is merely -1.Self help literature 2.Political representation. The difference between successful & unsuccessful religious person is that they know & use this secret while a religious nut is someone who thinks of it as true. Religion is successful because of these two things are actually good for you. If you treat religion as just literature & your political representation & just let others be, you will live happily. My Atheism extreme although should not be a source of anxiety. Harmonize with religion & realize the 2% goodness & use it to be happy. Be happy with religious folk, don't lose touch. You cannot convert people to atheism one on one. Atheism never happened one on one. (Its not religious business, doesnt offer & sell you anything. join & you get this...) Its a world view learning process, so be kind & dont dump your knowledge truck on people who werent able to afford this learning. This will bring happiness to you & the world.

4. Loving arguments with people is a sign of lack of control over your life which you are trying to compensate.
You suffer from low self confidence & arguing satisfies for a second. So gain more & more control in your life & get more achievements to give you confidence to do more.

5. Love what is.
Stop seeking approval & instead start judging people. Get more friends. Get involved.

6. Growth is the meaning of life.
The whole body is constantly regrowing its cells or it will die of having more of its cells dead than regrown. My parents destroyed their lives searching for it in religion & now when they are old they regret that their materialist peers have happier lives.

7. Anxiety is increased by ADHD medications.
Maybe your problem is an anxiety disorder like O.C.P.D or perfectionism where people dont perform due to need for perfection rather than laziness. read book - 'Too perfect'

8. Afraid of being happy.
Was so comfortable in that hurtful state. Get out of your comfort zone.

9. Exercise rigorously.
It magically solved all my chemical imbalances. Latest research shows brain plasticity. It changes all the time.

10. It looks you have pattern of intrusive thoughts.
Some people get a short circuit in the fear centre of the brain, so they start fearing useless things. Change mental state by watching inspiring videos on youtube or watch action movies.

11. Narcisstic Personality Disorder -at least a little!
NPD people are obsessed with self meaning. Stop being detached from the world in the name of having superior meaning than them. Nothing that you know or own has been invented by you. You are merely standing on the shoulders of others. You are worried about not doing anything because it will be erased. So lets suppose you did create the biggest thing on the planet & became the biggest in history. The sun will eventually engulf earth & no records left. Stop feeding the ego which you learnt & dont be like me & other losers who achieved nothing in life just because that's all they thought & did. The biggest movers & shakers in the world were people who did it for others.

Last edited by Kurian; 03-13-12 at 12:20 AM..
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  #22  
Old 03-13-12, 11:42 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Check out the book The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. It talks about exactly this. It's a pretty thin book too.
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  #23  
Old 03-15-12, 05:08 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EllaRio View Post
I'm an atheist, because I believe in science and things that can be tested and proven. I've been an educated atheist for a couple years now, and I really know my stuff.
The educated mind cannot see any evidence of God - and so atheism can beckon.

Religion though, is to be found, in the mechanism of transcending the mind.

What does that mean ?

It means arriving at a state in which the mind has no further questions which it demands that the individual answers - and grants the individual parole from its incessant chattering.

The connection to Transcendental Meditation.

The point is (in a sense) to kill off the mind, by identifying any logical inconsistencies within it and rationalising them away.

What does an individual with a mind which has been {rationalised, dissociated, killed off, dissociated from} do ?
Anything that an individual who hasn't.

It's the relationship to the mind which changes; the individual discards the label (I am an X, Y, Z) and switches to - X, Y, Z are necessary for group welfare and so should be applied.

The issue, though, is that we find that many of the labels which an individual carries - (for instance the need to be a supporter of a specific football team, to be associated with a religious group or political persuasion are lost)
- though that doesn't mean that the individual loses interest in the underlying social meaning to sport, religion and politics
- that is -
- of their need for reasons of aerobic fitness, as a collection of paths - which together define a beginning and an end to mind, and as a methodology for maximising species cohesion (Libertarian socialism), respectively.

The switch is in emphasis - on transcending the human mind - from a 'selfish' to a 'social' model of living.
The self (I support Manchester United, I am a Catholic, I am a Socialist) is discarded for a mind which takes the individual's perspective into a rational, social arena.

There is no benefit to the species in being a suporter of a particular football team, religion or political group
- especially where (as occurs) - ideology is thrown out the window for
- the simple desire for supremacy (victory in competition irregardless) over opposing ideologies.

To be on the winning side.

To be on the winning side (and not to do what's right for current and future generation's wellbeing) is the hole (original sin) which we're born into
- out of which we're required to climb, in order to make a 'go' of things down here.
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  #24  
Old 03-15-12, 06:25 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

SB, you never disappoint.
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Old 03-15-12, 09:47 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy4957 View Post
SB, you never disappoint.
Playing currently !

Quote:
Seagull, you fly across the horizon
Into the misty morning sun
Nobody asks you where you are going,
Nobody knows where you're from

Here is a man asking the question
Is this really the end of the world?
Seagull, you must have known for a long time
The shape of things to come

Now you fly, through the sky, never asking why,
And you fly all around till somebody shoots you down.
Quote:
Originally Posted by post above
The point is (in a sense) to kill off the mind
Never asking why -> Transcending the mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by post above
to have reached the stage where you're filled with moral outrage at pretty much every action you see human beings make.
Till somebody shoots you down -> Our task - to form into a properly social structure so ADDers 'in the moment' are freed from disorder (fear of 'being shot down').

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  #26  
Old 03-23-12, 02:55 PM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Hi guys. I'm really sorry that it has taken me this long to respond, but I've been reading all of your posts the whole time. Every single one has been astounding. You are all very intelligent, enlightened people. Some of the posts just took my breath away. I honestly didn't think there would be so many atheists on this site who would be interested in this topic, and it's been really helpful getting outside perspectives on a topic that most people would have no idea how to address.

Firstly, I feel better right now. It took a few weeks to try to make the intrusive thoughts go away. I mostly just tried to stop thinking about it for awhile. I wasn't trying to ignore them necessarily, but trying to admit that I didn't know what to do about them, and I needed time away from then.

I spent that time trying to get my life more organized (I'm in my last semester of college, and I work full-time, and am working on my first album) and the chaos surrounding me was making me miserable. I'm newly diagnosed with ADD so I'm figuring out how to make the medication work best for me. I found out that it doesn't do a whole lot when my life is a mess (my apartment, and my car, and my brain) so I put some serious effort into organization. Since then I've been able to make lists and get more stuff done focus on the slightly more on the down to earth stuff.

In the past few days I've returned to this topic. I think it's safe right now, my brain has returned to a more healthy default and the slightest provocation hopefully won't sent me into a downward spiral.

RedJosh said, "What atheism really gave me is an appreciation of who I am. I belong here. I came off this planet. This is home. When I die, I'll just mix back into the same soil. My existence will help spawn more life."

That helped me so much. A sense of 'home' as an atheist and a naturalist has been really good for my state of mind. I thought of Neil deGrasse Tyson (brilliant atheist, astrophysicist) saying that he wants to be buried instead of cremated, so that the flora and fauna which he has fed upon his whole life can feed on him. It's still a little bit sad to me, but as long as I remind myself with VIGOR that I will not be experiencing 'being dead' and I will not miss this life because I will be DEAD, I feel okay. It's good to give back.

RedJosh also said, "I'd like to think our descendants will leave this planet and colonize other planets. They, too, will in the end have to all die in trillions of years when our universe reaches a state of maximum entropy. Then, it might get engulfed by a larger universe and the material in it get reused? Who knows." Yeah, I hope so too! I've been believing that we don't have the capability to do so, but given the huge time frame, I guess it's possible.

Where RedJosh really got me was in this phrase, "motivation to not look at my life as selfish jerk, but as a conduit through which things could be improved for others." It is here that I see the void that is in my life. I had gone to church my whole life, where people remind you to be good and to be improving yourself (theoretically) and as an atheist, I'm missing that community reinforcement. I do hope to make the world a better place, and I want to start volunteering when I graduate this semester, but it's so easy to forget that it takes effort to be positive and kind and loving. I do believe that the best morality is a morality that makes other people happy. RedJosh said, "I'm going to go out and smoke a cigarette right now and gaze at the stars and appreciate the beauty of the tree that is growing outside my house while feeling slightly content that I spent 20 minutes of my life trying to help another being in distress." You really did help me, thank you.

Sandy 4957, you really helped with the more practical side of shaking off depression. I tried to hang out with my girl friends a little more, and it actually made me feel worlds different while I was with them. And your follow up about what you really meant by fake it 'til you make it was the motivation behind the strategy I used to get through this. Something that you said that really, really resonated with me was the description of anger as a trigger for depression. I think I've been very angry at some things in my past, and it seems to be the foundation on which every little bout of depression is built. Maybe forgiveness is important? I think forgiveness is hard for me, because it's not exactly logical. Why forgive someone who never apologized? But I need to, and I need to stop assuming the worst in others. Maybe the person I'm mad at has apologized to me a million times in their head, but never knew how to actually say it to me. Regardless, I know I can be more in control of my emotions if I let some things go.

Lillianmay, I took your advice and I've returned to some readings of my favorite scientists and atheists, particularly Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Carrier. These two guys are scientists and philosophers with worldviews that make a lot of sense to me (in terms of atheism) but also have very positive views on how to live and how to love and how to come to terms with the question of meaning.

Amtram said, "And THAT being said, you will not appreciate your here and now if you're overwhelmed with depression. Depression is highly comorbid with ADD, so it wouldn't be surprising if you needed antidepressants to go with your stimulant." You're right about appreciating here and now, and that's been another great mantra to help me. I even wrote "appreciate your here and now" on a post-it note in my bathroom. Ha I guess that's a sort of cheesy thing to do, but it's helped.

Both you and Sandy4957 have suggested anti-depressants. I don't think I want them. Firstly, because I can't afford it. Vyvanse is unbelievably expensive. I really can't add another medication. Second, I'm brand new to Vyvanse, so I want to give myself a good year or so of just this drug so I can get used to ..brain drugs. Third, I think that Vyvanse is currently acting like an anti-depressant (that somehow wasn't working for a few weeks, I guess) because when it wears off, which is normally around midnight, I get pretty out of it. I get intrusive thoughts again and I get sort of weepy and emotional. But for instance, last night I had a little nervous breakdown about really stupid stuff and stayed up until 4am obsessively googling wisdom teeth (mine are KILLING me right now) and debating this crazy pastor named Tom the Preacher on facebook, and thinking about stupid little relationship problems with my boyfriend, and then I woke up this morning, felt extremely groggy, took my Vyvanse, and within 30 minutes, I felt totally normal. My boyfriend says that since I've been taking Vyvanse he thinks I've been way more emotionally stable. Anyway, I need more time to really figure out what's going on. Since I was 13 or 14 yrs old I've gone through phases of depression. That has continued throughout college. Meaning, I get really depressed for a month or two months, and then I slowly pull out of it, and feel good for another couple months. But then...and mostly without reason, I fall back into a depressed state. This time, my depression lasted 3-4 weeks. That's really good for me.

I guess I'm wondering if you can have depression if you are only depressed half of the time? Maybe this is just regular life stuff? Or maybe it's related to ADD? Maybe when my life gets chaotic because I'm so unfocused and unorganized and forgetful and lazy and I get depressed in ways that manifest themselves through actual emotional problems, like my childhood, and my search for meaning? I'm still unsure. But I'm feeling positive that that horrible feeling only last 3-4 weeks.

So this post is impossibly long, and I totally understand if no one reads this mess. But I want to say a very sincere thank you to all of you for your input, it really helped me get through this.
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Old 04-15-12, 04:25 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

oh wow, why did I only just see this thread??? I've been struggling with this for years, but only recently in the past 12 months or so has it become a pretty intensive existential crisis for me that keeps threatening to suck the joy and meaning out of my daily activities. I just keep thinking like the OP...we're all just dust anyway, this is it. What's the point? This SHOULD compel me to go out and enjoy but instead it makes me feel kinda hopeless
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Old 04-15-12, 07:00 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

This thread looks like a really good place right now to recommend this movie.

THE SUNSET LIMITED

Quote:
Written back in 2006, THE SUNSET LIMITED takes place in a single location, a rundown apartment in the slums, where Black has taken White after saving him from an attempted suicide. The title of the play/movie refers to a particular subway train in Brooklyn, a route known as The Sunset Limited, the train in front of which White intended to leap, sending him into silent, peaceful darkness.

Merely by chance, or perhaps by divine intervention, Black is there on the deck to save White from his untimely demise. This becomes the basis of this dialogue-driven film, a philosophical inquiry into the nature of faith, God and the purpose of life. Written with a fervent dialect, precise and calculated yet uncompromisingly organic, I was fully drawn into this intimate conversation.

stars Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones

http://wearemoviegeeks.com/2011/02/t...ed-the-review/


Quote:
White: And brotherhood, justice, eternal life? Good God man... Show me a religion that prepares one for nothingness, for death. That's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life, for dreams and illusions and lies. Banish the fear of death from men's hearts and they wouldn't live a day. Who would want this nightmare but for fear of the next. The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death, every friendship, every love. Torment, lost, betrayal, pain, suffering, age, indignity, hideous lingering illness... and all of it with a single conclusion. For you and everyone and everything you have ever chosen to care for.
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Old 04-15-12, 07:04 AM
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

1) Sorry, I can't help myself

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Originally Posted by RedJosh View Post
Just look at the Middle East and then look at the West. If you are as well-informed as you sound, I don't need to explain further.
This statement is ignorant.

2) I agree with most of the things people have said on here and find that reading books about religion explained by people with a similar mindset always help. There are lots of books both for and against religion by those who are very well known in academia. A bunch of physicists have written books about the possibility of a higher power. Most recently I've read a little about physicists now thinking that nothingness may be the norm and that existence might be the abnormal thing. Try to wrap you're head around that! Watch "Religulous" by Bill Maher too.
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Old 04-15-12, 07:12 AM
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Bluerose Bluerose is offline
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Re: Atheism and Depression. Please Help.

Even atheists can experience a crisis of faith. You donít have to be a religious person to be torn by all you read and all you hear. Listen to yourself. Trust your instincts and intuition. Do your own research, gather information, and simply pay attention to what speaks to the deepest part of you - thatís who you are.
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