Some thoughts on holding on.
This year I’ve started many ramble and rants posts that I either haven’t finished or have decided not to publish because I decided that maybe I was treating a sensitive subject too clumsily. Most recently I started one I’d entitled ‘When “completely normal” is not OK’ which was in reaction to the outgoing head of the Housing Agency describing the housing crisis as “completely normal”. I ended up touching on a lot of topics and I was laying it on pretty thick and I realised how preachy and judgemental I sounded – I’m in no position to be preaching to anyone and I don’t like to hear myself being that way. So I left it and focused instead on getting all the old recipes updated and added, and to be honest I’m so glad I did because this change of focus has really improved my mood.
I have a lot of opinions on things but I don’t want to preach, I want to explore and work through things. I don’t have definite answers I just have ideas about how to go about things. You have to have definite answers to preach. I don’t want to preach. I want to explore and discover.
I would definitely like to explore different approaches to ensuring the long term stability of the housing market in this country, and ending homelessness. Those issues are related but only up to point.
That isn’t what I wanted to say here. Why I started writing this was to pass on one simple message; if you are finding life really difficult, if – for whatever reason – you feel hopeless about life and your future, forget about trying to fix anything and just hold on. If that’s all you can do, that’s plenty – just hold on.
Yesterday I read a report about an 11 year old in Dublin who killed herself. I’m so sorry for her family. I don’t know them at all. My condolences – I’m sorry I don’t know what else to say.
The article went on to quote a psychiatrist Dr Antoinette D’Alton who spoke at the inquest, saying “Years ago this would have been unimaginable. Now suicidal ideation is increasing in children as young as seven. There is a care pathway but it is under resourced.”
I find it so hard to wrap my head around how a child could be suicidal. I have been depressed at different times in my life and I have had thoughts of suicide. But life was so different as a child. The world was so open, life was something that was ahead of me and I really can’t understand how things have changed so much for some children. Is it that somehow our culture is sending out the wrong message about what life is, what matters, what life is worth? I don’t know. I can’t understand this but something is wrong – more than just with our mental health services – but with our society as a whole – if serious suicidal thoughts are being reported by children.
I don’t think telling a child to “hold on” is going to be any use. I don’t think as a child I would have understood what that phrase meant – to hold on to the thread of life.
I’m going to share with you some thoughts I’ve had which helped me through dark times. Maybe they’ll be of some use to you if you’re feeling down. And if they are and, by some miracle you found this page when you were looking for some comfort, you should take that as a big sign that the universe wants you to remain in this life. Even if you don’t find what I’m about to share comforting still take this as a sign that universe wants you to stick around.
I fell into depression when I was 16. I felt pretty shaky about everything. Including existence itself. I was depressed for a few years and over that time I developed this way of looking at life and existence that I find reassuring. There’s nothing particularly new about this way of looking at things, some of the stuff I came to through my own musings but a lot of it is found in different religions and philosophies – and possibly on the odd greeting card or motivational poster…
So I’ve said before that I have a pantheistic conception of God – that I believe everyone and everything is part of God. This is because I believe that we have all grown from the one thing – the whole universe has evolved from one thing. I believe that everything that exists has a consciousness of sorts – I’m not saying that everything thinks. Your brain thinks. For me your consciousness is your soul and your soul decides. At a certain level in certain sense everything in this universe decides. And I believe that we are because we decided to be. For me the answer to the big question is simply that it’s a rhetorical question. Exist? It’s both the means and end to itself.
So I believe the universe has a soul and I believe that there are different levels of soul. I believe there’s a collective soul for our planet, for our species and I’ve my own soul. But my liver has a “soul” of sorts and a cell in my liver has it’s own conscious and on it goes… It sounds daft but I actually believe this and I also suspect that acts of the “soul” are evidenced by a “missing link” in the chain of events.
Why do I find this comforting? Well, I believe we have grown from the original desire to be, the very soul of this universe. Our souls have come from something larger – and I believe they can return to the larger collective human soul. This, I think, is similar to how Hindus view existence – according to one short description I read somewhere once.
By the way I still do consider myself Christian because I see Jesus as being the pure soul of humanity in human form. And I believe Buddha also reached that state. I don’t believe in one true religion. I believe them all to an extent. But I don’t think it matters if someone believes in God or not. It just matters how we treat ourselves and each other.
But why I find this comforting is because it reminds me of how huge life is and how I’m just a small part of it. And just for while. Life goes on. I existed before this life and I will exist after it. Also, as I said, I believe we are because we decided to be. So I believe we did have some purpose in mind (in soul ;-) before we decided to experience existence as an individual, it’s a promise we make before we are born. This might be something important we must do or it might be something as simple as being in a certain place at a certain time so that something can happen. It might involve having to do something. It might not. I think we are unburdened by the memory of this promise so that we can live our lives. We are supposed to live our lives. Lives in which pain and suffering are inevitable but so too are pleasure and joy.
If existence is the end goal of existence then life is surely set up to make this life something worth living. Thinking even about something as simple as food, we need food to live but eating good food – a ripe mango or fig or anything tasty – is such a joyous experience if you allow yourself feel it. It’s amazing. – OK I’ll stop this before I sound completely daft. Too late? Oh dear.
Anyway one thing I am certain of is that embarrassment isn’t fatal. It’s OK to take things too seriously. It’s OK to mess up. It’s OK to climb up on some tower and make some crazy pronouncement and then say to yourself “hmm, think I’ll climb down from this risky position and have a cup of tea instead.”
I do believe we make a promise to this life to do something before we are born. And in order to be certain you’ve done everything you can to fulfill that promise you just have to see life through to its natural end. So do hold on. And if you see anyone else who is thinking of letting go – tell them to hold on too.