I don’t believe in trigger warnings.
Frankly, I think they’re stupid. “Oh no, reading about something will push me over the edge of my past trauma, please, censor them, censor them all! Lock them away so I never have to face my pain and fear!”
You can’t hide away from the things that hurt in life. It doesn’t do you any good.
Long ago, or at least it feels that way, I started reading Nietzsche. I first got into him in a philosophy 101 class. It was a class I’d enjoyed up until that point, but I hadn’t been introduced to anything new. Kant, existentialism, every school of philosophy was something that I had worked my way through. Not by reading them, hell, I didn’t even know those philosophers existed until that class. But all their revelations were something I had already created, worked through, and then discarded by the time I got to learning about the people who had first presented them to history.
It’s amazing what you can do in a few years in a dark room, with no friends, listening to rock music and dreaming of killing worlds. When you’re so filled with rage that you’ve mastered your anger and turned it into raw power. When you can hold three separate conversations in your head at the same time as you try to understand a world you never new existed.
But then came Nietzsche. The only man who had managed to out think me philosophically, and I drank him in. All the answers to questions I had, and even questions I never even knew I had. And with it…came an understanding of him that surpassed even professors who focused on him.
One of his big things was an idea called Eternal Recurrence. He held it as one of his most important ideas, though most philosophers and others dismiss it completely. The short version is that everything that you experience in your life will happen over and over without end. The universe starts with a big bang, flows through history, ends, and with that end comes the big bang again. History repeated itself over and over and over and over.
Now, most toss this away because present science says that it is physically impossible (although Futurama did it as part of an episode towards the end of the series, and they were pretty up on their theoretical science). The thing is though, I don’t believe Nietzsche really intended to say “this is how the world works.” The idea for him was that you look over your life, and you had to embrace all the good with the bad. You had to affirm every moment of your life, regardless of how painful. And if you couldn’t do that, and couldn’t do that with the idea that none of it was ever going to change…that well, you should kill yourself so your suffering would at least be lessened.
Dark, I know.
But it’s an idea that stuck with me. To affirm life, no matter what. To look at my life and say “I will live each day, again and again, and I will embrace it.” It’s a lesson we actually see a lot in Heathenism, with wyrd and Ragnarok, and how the Gods and we should meet our fate, no matter how grim, with strength and the courage to meet our destinies.
It used to be easy.
The thing I’ve found is that, for me at least. It’s easy to affirm my choices. Even when bad things, or disappointing things have happened because of it, I can still affirm every choice I have made and where that has led me in my life.
I’ve discovered however, it’s not so easy to affirm the things others do to you.
I think, in a lot of ways that’s why we have an image of Odin as a depressed god. He can stand by everything he’s done, he will affirm all his choices, but when it comes to Ragnarok, he tries to stop it, because that is wreck and ruin brought about by other people’s choices more so than his own. And that’s something hard to deal with. When you ruin your world, you can stand up and say “I will fix this.” But when others ruin it, that’s a lot harder to do.
I can’t say I’ve made it a secret I suffer from depression. Bad depression. At one point I even had a suicide note ready to go for this blog because, well, I know most of those who pass through this blog don’t give a shit about me. There’s probably a few though, and I wanted them to know it was over.
Sometimes it’s better than others. Lately it’s been better. Though I did just finish reading the first volume of a complete manga series called Orange by Ichigo Takano. It’s really good. Part of what makes it really good is how accurate the depressed character is with how he feels, how he acts, and how he tries to hide it and carry on even as he thinks about ending it. And…it’s something I can really relate to.
I hate being one of these people, but if you ever think you know someone with depression…I might recommend that book. Because depression is something really hard to understand. People like to use pretty words like “brain chemistry” and “imbalances” and things like that. And you know, maybe for some people that might be true.
The truth is though, there’s always something in life that drives that chemistry. For me, it was simply getting close to my dream and then having in explode. I mean, I can’t say it was all that impressive a dream. But for a pseudo-buddhist like me it was something. I a home of my own, a job where I didn’t need anyone’s financial support, a woman who loved me (yeah, as a pansexual it could have been anything, but I picked a woman). And for a while, I had it. And then…because of the choices of others, choices I decided to respect, that I didn’t know about, and so forth…it imploded.
Even though that was a couple years ago now, it’s stuck with me. Hell, sometimes it seems as time wears on it gets worse. At least up until a few months ago, when if it hadn’t been for a lucky visit by my dad, well. You all wouldn’t have gotten to read that post.
So what am I rambling on about? What’s the point of this post? I don’t know that there is one. Except I read that manga, and it reminded me so much of how I felt. How I still feel sometimes. And I guess to ask those of you who read this to do me a favor.
Orange is about a group of friends who get together to try and save their friend from his depression. And it’s got me wanting to ask a favor from those who read this. I don’t really have friends, in fact the closest people I had, and my only friends are kinds of responsible for my present state. And I’m not going to ask you to be my friend. Frankly, I’ve been leery of making new friends because of it. But I want you all, if you have a friend who seems okay, who always smiles and jokes, but something seems even a little off, to look just a little bit closer. And then..really be their friend. Get with them, often. Give them happy memories, hell, get a bunch of people to come together and be their friend.
At the end of the day…it might not change anything. If it gets that bad, well, sometimes luck is involved. But if you give someone the knowledge that they can turn to you no matter what…you might save their life one of those times.
And you won’t ever regret that.