The one component of my mental illness I dread the most is my crippling depression. I would rather deal with my psychotic episodes (thoughts) than my depressive episodes (feelings.) This depression can get so intense I feel as if I am lost in a forest of darkness with no glimmer of hope ahead. The longer I stay entrenched in this darkness the direr the situation can become. Like my other symptoms my depression has gotten worse as I have aged, as a result my suicidal thoughts have increased when I am walking in the fog of obscurity. One of the things which keep me from following through with this act is my atheist beliefs. I fear death on so many levels, and as a result I have never had the courage to set myself free. Perhaps this is a blessing, but I sometimes view this as a curse.       

I think my belief in nothing compounded with my fear of nothing has saved my life many times. The actual concept of death doesn’t scare me and at times I welcome it. I believe once you are dead then you are dead end of story. You cease to exist, and you are either buried or burned. These beliefs bring me such comfort, yet at the same time bring me a great deal of anxiety. My primary fear is centered on the absence of thought. The reality that once I die I will no longer be able to think is mind bending and terrifying. Right now I am able to sit here and think about what I think death will be like, but once I die I will not be able to think to myself “oh this is what death is like.” There has been one never faltering aspect in my life, and that is the presence of my thoughts. The reality of losing this haunts me.

I do not think us as humans can fully grasp the concept of infinity, nor can we grasp the real concept of nothingness. Can you sit there and honestly say your mind can understand that the universe never comes to an end? If your knee jerk reaction is a confident “yes” than you have not spent enough time truly challenging this concept; everything we know comes to an end eventually. The same can be said about nothingness, everything we know is something. Even the void of space still encompasses something. Now try and sit there and wonder what it would be like if you were to never have another thought or feeling again.  I am 100% okay with the concept of never feeling again, but not okay with never thinking.

This brings me to the conundrum of what it will be like if I ever find faith. I wonder where my mind will be when I hit a deep depression if I fully believe I will go somewhere better when I die. Will I have just lost my primary motivation from keeping me from following through with it?

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Comments
  1. Atheism HELPED me too.
    People tend to think it’s very negative and empty, but I found peace when I came to my realization. It was a huge release.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Purple,

      Welcome to the community. I look forward hearing your opinions. For me atheism has been the only thing my logical mind can believe in. I have had rough patches to where I thought “whats the point” but then I hit a stage of acceptance. For me finally embracing it cured my unhealthy thirst for faith.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your crippling depression. Honestly, that doesn’t sound like peace at all. I’ve never known an atheist who has truly had peace. It seems to be that there are still lingering questions. Questions that cannot be answered. It’s more an absence of searching for the answers. The only peace I’ve ever found is in God. I would love to converse back and forth. What are some of your objections? What led you to this belief that there is no God? Help me understand how you came to where you are at! Maybe I can help you find that peace you are looking for. I really don’t think anyone should have to live a life in depression, wondering if the next day will be their final day, and never having a sense of peace. You deserve more than that! Let me know if you are interested!

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Sarah,
      Welcome to the community. I look forward to your input. Until just recently I was content with being an atheist, it wasnt until my friend died in November 09 I started to seek out faith. I had found contentment through Taoism which I study frequently, even though I have chosen this as my path I still read the Bible. I wrote a post awhile back on why I turned my back on God. To sum it up I turned my back on God because he/she turned his/her back on me in my greatest time of need. I remember as a child crying curled up in my bed begging for God to save me, to deliver me out of my suffering but it never happened and in some cases I was only led to more suffering. I am also angry at God (if there is one) because of the way I was created. Why would God create a a broken man on purpose? Why would he/she create me knowing I would go through life with great suffering. These are my main concerns on a personal level, but I harber issues towards an all knowing creater allowing our world to fall apart and be okay with so much suffering. I suppose there is a lot more I didnt touch on and the ones I did were very short answers

      • Sarah says:

        I first want to say that I think your in a good place. You are in a place of searching and that’s good. It’s okay to not have all the answers. I did look back at the post you are talking about and I read it. It hurts me to think that you would ever feel God would leave you in your greatest hour. He never left you. He will never forsake you. He will never fail you. But often our timing isn’t God’s timing. We want things now! We want to have things work out the way we want them too. God sees things from a different perspective. He sees how we will grow from our experience. He sees what we will become through our experience. He never promised that life would be easy, but He always promised He would be there. I just wrote a devotional about this yesterday. Please stop by and read it. Even David and Moses expressed their tough times while they went through it, but at the end they could look back and see how God was faithful. I know it’s tough to see the good when we are going through something. I’ve been through a lot of tough things, but looking back I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s made me who I am. I have more compassion for people, it’s enhanced my writing, it has smoothed away my rough edges, and developed character in me I never saw before. Every bump in the road develops another part of my character. Just like I can tell through everything that you are writing there is an abundance of character that has been developed in you. Evil is not something to be feared. It is simply the absence of something good. But that good is not absent forever. It’s like a tooth decay, it can only last if there is a tooth. But often we take care of the tooth. We get a filling or a root canal. We don’t let the tooth keep decaying. God has given us the answers. He has not abandoned us!

        I want to share a few stories with you of people who have it pretty bad, but have found a way to succeed in life. Please examine how God brought good out of the pain in their lives!

        Joni Eareckson Tada ~ a Quadrapalegic

        Gianna Jessen ~ abortion survivor

        Nick Vujicic ~ No arms or legs!

        Maybe it’s time to stop asking God why your body is broken and start asking Him how he wants to use this in your life. I see that He is already using it to develop your writing skills. Do you think that your your writing skills would be this developed without the struggles in life? Do you think you would be able to connect with people as well you as you do? Do you think you have a little more compassion, empathy, and maybe even a little more drive because of what you have been through? Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is character! Your character is being developed by everything you go through!

        I will be praying that God gives you the answers you seek for! May He reveal Himself to you and show you that He has been there all along! Even when you could not see Him!

        ~Sarah

  3. Nancy widrew says:

    Very interesting post. I often have similiar thoughts. I think everyone, even those folks with deeply religeous convictions, fear death to a degree; it’s innate. My own personal belief is as such: we return to where we came from. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s what I believe. I also believe that if someone came to Earth and explained the whole megillah, we humans wouldn’t have the capacity to understand it. Therefore I don’t worry about it or think of myself as religeous or not. I’ll wait until I’m dead and then either know or won’t. I’m comfortable with either.

  4. Two things. First off, I certainly wouldn’t consider you an atheist. You’ve written before that you are angry at god. An atheist doesn’t believe in god or, more correctly, that there is no convincing evidence of a god. Consequently, the very fact that you are angry at some supernatural entity means that you believe it exists.

    I wouldn’t even classify your beliefs as agnostic for the same reason. From what I’ve read, I would refer to you as a disillusioned Christian who has been unable to take the next logical step to jettison the concept of god altogether.

    While you might fear losing your sense of self with death, I do not. In fact, I welcome it! To me, it would be just like dreamless sleep. No worries. No anxieties. No mental confusion. Complete peace.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rambling,
      Complete peace sounds like a wonderful thing. I considered myself a complete atheist until my friend died. I believe and still do to a point that the existence of a God is an illogical belief. I suppose when I am saying I am angry at God it comes as a general sense. If I were to believe in a God I would be angry at him. I must say that since my friends passing I have fallen into the trap of wishing he was in a better place, then wishing I would go to a better place. The very same thing I have always said which led people towards religion was pusing me towrads this same thing. I suppose I do not know what I am an atheist, Taoist or a disillusioned Christian (which sounds kind of harsh and scary.)

      • shinxyblog says:

        I don’t think you’re a disillusioned Christian. I think being angry at things we don’t believe exist is common. For example, just because I get annoyed sometimes that I’m not the star sign to complement my boyfriend’s star sign when things go awry, doesn’t mean I believe in astrology. It’s just…well we’re human. We feel we have to blame something, whether we believe in it or not. That’s always been a part of human nature. Being on the Schizotypal side of things personally, sometimes if I had an uneven number of pasta on my plate and I have a bad day the next day, I’ll blame that.

        I know what you mean about friends passing. My friend passed five and a half years ago, of suicide. She was suffering and in constant agony because of her issues, which I can empathise with, so I don’t blame her in the slightest. I take solace in my belief that nothing happens after death, and that she is now in ‘nothingness’ because at least she isn’t suffering anymore, therefore she IS in a better place. However, I don’t know if this applies to your situation.

      • Tim Lundmark says:

        Shinxy,

        Welcome to the community. I look forward to reading your insights. To hear I was a disillusioned Christian was a bit of a shocker. The comment carries a ton of weight considering it comes from a wise man. I do not believe in God, but I am mad at him. I know it sounds oxymoronic to say, but I am glad someone can relate. I have gotten to the point where nothingness sounds peaceful to me, but even in nothingness I still think I would have thought, but then knowing that is not the case I get anxiety. For some reason the thought of no thought is terrifying. I have thought my entire life this is all I know. The only thing I can count on in life is my ability to think

  5. brendamarroy says:

    Hi Tim,
    Have you thought about taking a deep breath and just being present? Obsessing on the past can create huge amounts of guilt and obsessing on the future can create huge amounts of fear. Just being present is peaceful. It sounds like you’re spending a lot of time in the future.What do you think?

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Brenda,
      One of my greatest faults is not being able to live in the moment. I am either lost in the pain of my past sins, or worrying about the uncertanty of the future. I know I am missing out on so much in life, but I always seem to get stuck in either of these places

  6. To counterbalance Sarah, I won’t be praying on your behalf to the nonexistent entity in the sky. Yes, it might be nice to think that some otherworldly entity could make sense of the jumble people like you and I struggle with, but why waste the energy?

    We simply have to muddle along as best we can. If there are answers, we alone must find them. If there aren’t any true answers, we alone must accept that and figure out a way to navigate through this life nonetheless.

    • Sarah says:

      Hello Rambling Taoist, I completely agree with you on a couple things.

      One it is great to know that someone exists who cares about someone like me. Someone who is bigger than my problems. Someone who is personal.

      Two, yes every person should go about finding the answers on their own. We should all seek to discover every answer we can in life. Life is not about wondering around in a bucket full of questions.

      Three, life is a struggle. It’s not easy! Sometimes there aren’t answers. Not the ones we are looking for!

      Okay, now here are some things that I respect regarding the Taoist faith. Taoism does tend to provide wisdom. There is a lot of philosophy that can be provided for life. Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu wrestled with issues and circumstances that we wrestle with today in our society. They wrestled with the meaning of life and what happens after death. I can totally relate to that.

      The second thing that I can relate to and I see it in your post is that Taoism really believes in not imposing your view on someone. I don’t feel that anyone should ever feel that they have to change their belief just to suit another. I thoroughly enjoy talking about how faithful God has been to me and my experience with Him because I don’t want anyone to live in despair, depression, or without hope. I feel the only true hope offered on earth is through Jesus Christ, He is the only personal, true answer to all the questions we ask. The only One who gives us an answer for the chaos we face in our lives and the outcome we face after life. I’m not pushing my own agenda, I’m simply sharing my experience. Your welcome to agree or disagree! That’s your right!

      The third thing that I really recognize from Taoism is the emphasis on uniqueness. Every person is created to be unique. I see this through God’s eyes too. This is something we have in common. Our uniqueness is to be celebrated, not fought over. I have no desire to get in an argument, but I do feel as adults we should be able to discuss back and forth our beliefs. I will take the time to look at yours and understand where you are coming from. If you just take a small amount of time to engage in this conversation. I’m not looking to win a battle or a discussion. Honestly, I’m just here to help Tim find hope.

      I don’t feel anyone should have to muddle around in life without answers.

      I would love to further discuss this. Let me know if you are up for it!

      • I used the term “muddling” because the answers to most of the basic questions in life are unknowable. How did life originate? What is the purpose of life? What happens when we die? The honest answer to these 3 questions and so many more is “I don’t know and I most likely will never know.”

        Of course, a person can have faith in a belief system that provides speculative answers. A person can decide to moor their boat to God, Allah, Brahman, Zeus, or The Great Spaghetti Monster. Faith, however, is nothing more than conjecture. It’s a guess that substitutes a mythic depiction for that which is unknowable.

        Some of us have chosen simply to say “I don’t know” and to leave it at that. And some of us contend that it is possible that, even after death, that answer may not change. While the consciousness of self MAY live on, it also may NOT. Like everything else, we have no way of knowing until we reach that part of the journey, and as indicated above, when we do reach that part of the journey, we still may not know.

        I am at peace with not knowing.

      • Tim Lundmark says:

        Rambling, Joanna, Sarah and others.

        I am trying to stay out of this discussion because I find myself becoming confused as of late. Everything you just said Rambling are all things I am thinking, except I have grown to not be okay with these things anymore. I have grown weak willed and filled with such crippling fear I do not know what to do with myself. I am grabbing at straws here just trying to find some relief to my constant panic and anxiety. I feel like I need to latch onto the concept of something bigger than myself. For the most part I have found those answers in Taoism. Taoism answeres so many of my unanswered questions, but I have been slacking on my studying and meditation on the subject. I just feel so lost and blowing in the wind

  7. everevie says:

    Hey Tim…thanks for all your kind comments on my blog. You truly do have the gift of compassion. And I say “gift” b/c I AM a believer and I believe God gifted you with a compassionate nature.

    It’s so interesting that you wrote this post today and that you responded to Sarah the way you did. I just wrote a post, day before yesterday entitled “For Michelle”…I don’t know if you read it. Basically, I outlined my journey of faith. Some of the things you mentioned about feeling that God turned His back on you when you needed Him most…struck a chord in me. I’ve felt the same way myself.

    Anyhow…I’m not about to challenge your beliefs…or non-beliefs. I just thought we have some similar thoughts. It turns out though, that I maintained my faith throughout.

    I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past…and my faith instructs me that my eternity is already sealed with my Father in Heaven. I cannot undo this…even by taking my own life. Now, you would think that would seal my fate in those dark moments…since I believe I’m going on to an amazing place. However, it’s the Earthly things that keep me bound here: My inability to destroy the people in my life that care about me. Which my suicide would effect.

    THAT is God’s nature in me…B/C of Him, I am unable to commit such a selfish act.

    A lot of my posts since the “fall-out” concerning the Wildebeest…include blaming God for not protecting me. I begged for His protection b/c I, like you, suffer from serious depression and anxiety. I felt completely ill-equipped to protect myself against my own emotions…and asked for God’s intervention…to no avail.

    I still question Him: “What have I done in life to deserve to be so unloved?” And I’ve yet to get any answer that satisfies. However, my FAITH holds out that I will have an answer…sometime soon.

    Okay…that’s all. I appreciate all your advice, and your kindness. I hope I can offer some to you along the way myself.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Everevie,

      Welcome to the community. I look forward to your opinions. I have received many kind responses from the Christian community. I must say I am used to getting the oposite response from people because I believe differntly then they do. I can offend many people because of my strong views against religion. I try to go out there and give people sound advice when I come across them. I remember the first day the Rambling Taoist came across my blog. He has filled me with such wise advice which has opened my eyes to so many different things. I figure I would try to strive to make such an impact on others

      • everevie says:

        There is one thing I will never do…and that is engage in an “argument” about beliefs. It’s not my style…and it changes nothing. I’m glad to know you are open to hearing what other people think and believe. 🙂

  8. Johanna says:

    I love Sarah’s post. I hope you take it to heart.

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you Johanna! I really enjoy these types of conversations! I think this is what the Christian life is all about. It makes me sad to hear that Tim hasn’t always experienced this from other Christians. I’m glad to hear you have been there for him!

  9. jennirey says:

    I want to say.. thanks for the comments on my blog. I want you to know your views atheist or believer.. are your own and you own them fully. HooRah to you for spouting about them..

    I get the whole distraught feeling…I have felt great pain in my life.. I have tremendous guilt for what I had to walk away from.

    My first husband.. was an alcoholic and hit me.. and we share a charming little girl together.. He could not outrun the alcohol selfishly took his own life. He left me to heal his daughter after this and she may never be healed.

    So I am not going to comment or question your religious beliefs or the lack there of them.. but I will say that to comment about.. means you have probably been very serious in the past or still are about taking your own life.. and it might solve all of what you think is wrong.. but it will totally break your survivors..

    Your writing is very good. you have a lot to share and a lot to celebrate.. I hope this gets better for you soon.. I am glad something has kept you from completion..

  10. Tim,
    Your statement “Taoism answeres so many of my unanswered questions” worries me a bit because Taoism isn’t a philosophy of definitive answers. Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu ask many of the same questions that we do today. However, like most such doctrines, they don’t provide rigid and concrete answers.

    At best, they provide sign posts or beacons to help each of us maintain our bearings on our own journeys.

    If Taoism speaks to you and provides some semblance of meaning, then you need to give yourself far more credit than you do. Any purpose found or observations observed are the result of your own introspection AND wisdom. In other words, you are more of your own guru than you realize.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      I guess the questions it answers for me is the hope that I will return into the Tao after I pass. The Tao speaks to me in how to act and how to find peace. I find frustration because I am not always able to follow the Taos teachings. I get frustrated with myself wondering why I can not live a Tao centered life. I am only on verse 25 so I know I have a long way to go and I also think I may be moving to fast. I should stay on one verse and not move on to the next one until I have mastered it.

      • You can’t master any verse in a vacuum. You can ONLY master life by living it!! Wisdom is born by living in each moment and learning from the missteps we take. Sometimes we have to take the same missteps again and again and again before the lesson sticks.

        Besides, the TTC isn’t a set of directions nor a recipe book. It isn’t even a map. You have to write your own recipe and draw up your own map.

        It’s best to use a pencil as we each spend a lot of time utilizing our erasers!!

      • Tim Lundmark says:

        Rambling,
        As always the wise sage drops more wisdom. I know there are two schools of thought religious Taoism and Philosophical Taoism. I always figured you to be a philosophical Taoist, but I wonder if there are any books on Taoism which gives more direction.

      • Sarah says:

        Tim,

        I wanted to reply to your comment above, but there is no reply button. I’m sorry to hear about your confusion and the fear you are going through. I really do hope you find the answers you are seeking. This one comment you said stuck out to me.

        “I feel like I need to latch onto the concept of something bigger than myself.” This goes back to the question that Rambling shared above. Everyone wants to know “How did life originate?” “Why are we here?” “And how will this end?” Unfortunately, Taoism still leaves you guessing.

        Now contrary to the belief of Rambling. There is evidence for the origin of life. There is historical evidence, scientific evidence, astrological evidence – yes even the stars declare there is a God, and so much more. If you want to look at this a little closer. Here is a simple link…

        http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html

        (Let me know if you want another link!)

        This is someone who had some of the very same questions you did! It’s not wrong to have questions. Questions are great! Now just take time to find the answers! If you really don’t think God exists, then it shouldn’t be a problem to prove that.

        I have questions every day, but I don’t allow myself to stay mystified. I search for the answers. In fact, the other day my car wouldn’t start… So I did whatever I could to find out why. That’s just a simple question, I’ve had some pretty complicated questions. I just keep searching for the answers. Life really doesn’t have to be about questions. There are answers out there! You don’t have to be confused for life!

  11. Vanessa says:

    I don’t know what I believe anymore… I believe in prayer… the laws of attraction… meditation… I feel very connected to nature…and feel as if I am in the presence of something larger than us whenever I stare out into the ocean…but the bible…and the big man upstairs…the firey depths of hell… and the scary red dude with horns…no I just can’t wrap my intelligent brain around that whole shpeel. I am too scared of the unknown…and too much of a control freak… to lose control and take my own life… but to say that I haven’t thought about it…and the liberating notion of it would be a lie… =/ thank you for sharing such personal thoughts!

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Vanessa,
      Welcom to the community. I look forward to hearing your opinions. I think what more and more people are doing today is discovering their own concept of God and what will happen when we pass. I think there are many who want to believe in something, but they do not find a home in one of the major religions. I have heard some very interesting concepts of faith over my years. I am to scared of the unknown to follow through with it. The intense fear counteracts my desire to leave this world.

  12. FYI: I’ve written two posts (one yesterday, one today) as an offshoot of part of this comment thread. It has to do with praying for another person and then feeling compelled to announce it to them.

    As one of my readers just pointed out, Matthew 6:6 states: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

    So why is it that modern-day Christians ignore this teaching? If any of you desire to pray for Tim (or me), go right ahead. However, when you then turn around to tell us you have/will pray, you seem not to be following your own savior’s lead in the matter.

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