Mistrusting My Brain

The last couple of days haven’t been too bad tendonitis-wise. I’ve been choosing which particular aspects of my work project to work on a little bit more intelligently, and I think that may be making a difference. Yesterday and today I’ve been feeling rather blah, and attributing it to feeling stagnant in general. I’ve been feeling like my life isn’t really going anywhere, and have been experiencing a certain amount of existential angst over it. I’m starting to be a little bit suspicious of this existential angst, though.

A while ago, I wrote about how depression makes you look for causes. I wrote about how, when you feel depressed, your brain becomes very good at finding reasons why you’re feeling depressed, even though those reasons may or may not have anything to do with why you actually feel depressed. It strikes me that this existential angst thing, while not wholly unfounded, doesn’t seem very causative. That is, my suspicion is that the angst largely follows the depression, rather than the depression following the angst. I may not so much be depressed because of the existential angst so much as I’m experiencing existential angst because I’m depressed.

A little less stagnancy would certainly help with both the angst and the depression, overall, but also at the end of the day, the existential angst tends to go away when I end up cheered up by things that in no way solve the root of the angst. For example, making out with cute people. Very little existential angst happens around that. In fact I can focus on the same existential questions around something like being affectionate with people I like, and they just don’t bother me at those times. The issues are still the same, but my perspective is different, and from all appearances for reasons that have nothing to do with anything really being solved.

This is why I’m giving the angst a certain amount of side-eye. I’ve learned over the years that my brain is a lot less honest with me than I used to think, and this is one of those times where I’m starting to suspect that its insistence that I focus on existentially troubling stagnancy may not have a very significant relationship to what I ought to be focusing on in order to genuinely get out of this funk. Working toward a life that feels less stagnant is certainly a goal that I will keep in mind, but I’m also going to be trying to keep in mind that it’s far from the only thing I can do to feel better, and that in the grand scheme of things, it may not be a sufficient, or even necessary fix for how I’m feeling.

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One comment on “Mistrusting My Brain

  1. Well said! I believe also that our perspective is everything and the angst is most often a byproduct of depression not necessarily a precursor.

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