Saturday, October 10, 2009

How Do You Cope?

Have you ever had a friend come to a point in their life where they feel there is nothing left to live for, that if they are not living for someone else, there is nothing to keep them going? There are two separate people in my life going through this very thing right now.

Over the years I have had many friends who have lost their will to live. I have even had a few friends, one a close friend, end his life. Usually it is a relationship breakup which causes my friends to lose desires and wish for an instant end to their unbearable pain. As a friend, the only thing I have ever known how to do is to try to keep them distracted and inspired while letting time do its healing thing.

Several years ago, a close friend of mine just gave up on life. He called me at 4am hoping to make some kind of connection. I talked him down. Brought him some peace with my words and hopeful optimism. I will never forget his voice when he said:

"Gina, I am 31 years old, I will never find love like this again."

He promised to call me if he ever got so low again as to consider ending his life. Three months or so later I got an email from his brother inviting me to my friends memorial. My friend, his name is/was Dave by the way, had called me a few times that month. I was busy with a new relationship myself and had not returned his calls. Imagine if you dare, how I felt when I heard the news.

Yes, I know it wasn't my fault. No, I will never get over it or forgive myself for not being there for him. He needed someone to save him as we all do from time to time. I know it is unhealthy and co-dependent to rely on our friends to be a life line but... Humans need humans. And we need love. Take that essential away and we lose touch with reality. We lose touch in general.

I will blog more on reality, my concepts of it, dreams and also about loneliness and hope. Sometimes I think it is our illusions that keep us going. Sure, if life is the game, staying alive would be one way to win it. I decided a lifetime ago that my ultimate goal in life was to enjoy myself and be happy. Ignorance may be bliss but it is an arduous task to forget all that you have learned to find that bliss. I might even say impossible.

For instance, first love. Most of us do not marry and stay forever with our first love. How do we recover from this? How do we go on? We trick ourselves. We tell ourselves that the new love somehow replaces or is better than the first love. That this time things will be different. Love is love is love is love. Is it the tricks we play on ourselves that keep us going? Is love anything more than a culmination of chemicals in our blood stream that continually motivate us?

Right now teenagers (really people of all ages) are so wrapped up in the story of  "Twilight". Seriously, that book,the first one at least, causes people to remember what falling in love felt like. It feels like love! And those characters don't do anything but talk about their love for each other. We, the readers, don't have a clue what that love is based on. This silly children's book pleads the case that love (especially if you can feel like you are falling for it from reading a book) is nothing more than timing and chemicals. That it has very little to do with some greater truth. And yet it kills a million hearts every moment. Is love just a chemical to keep us procreating and continuing our species and nothing more?

I want to know your thoughts, even if they don't seem totally on topic with this blog.

Reality, such an easy word to throw around but not a simple word to define. Readers, that is if I have any left after not blogging for so long and after this mostly non-cohesive post. Please answer a few questions for me.

What keeps you going. When you wake up in the morning, what is it that gets you out of bed? Why?
Have you ever lost everything? What kept you from ending your life? Was it a friend, a family member, your faith, your pet or was it something else?

I value input from anyone who comes across this blog. I believe we are all fellow travelers on this often confusing adventure of life.



  1. Gina-

    Thought provoking and powerful post you got here. It's almost the 10 year anniversary(if you could call it that)of the suicide of someone who I grew up and went to school with. I saw him across the way the day it happened and never thought anything of it but it is something that is with me to this day. You always wonder why or what went wrong.

    Looks like you have plenty of this sort of thing in your past so this topic is probably more personal to you then to me but this issue of deep despair, meaning, and meaninglessness is something that I think everyone shares or struggles with if they are honest.

    What you say about love and chemicals + timing is, in my opinion at least, just a reflection of the prevailing ideas of materialism/nihilism/determinism that are the major philosophies that darken our culture. It doesn't mean there isn'ta grain of truth to the whole chemical thing but I like to think that there is something higher then just matter, genetics and chemistry.

    Strangely enough, I think that this deep sense of hopelessness that drives one to suicide is actually fostered in a culture that believes that God is dead and that we are nothing but matter headed for oblivion. I have been pretty down before but what has always saved me from really thinking "suicide" is the fact that I have always believed in more the the soul deadening materialism that is taught as truth these days. It kills people because it gives no hope.

    Even if there weren't a God or a transcendence then I'd still rather live like there was rather then live my life based on the idea that there is nothing but chemicals and genetics and a hole in the ground when all is said and done. In short, it's a deep feeling of the meaningfulness of existence that has and still does keep me sane and alive.

    Well, these are a few things I have to share. Thanks for the thoughtful post. May you be well.

  2. Justin,

    I appreciate your comment. I hear you when you say " is a deep feeling of the meaningfulness of existence..." that has and does keep you alive. I wonder though, how to offer that feeling to someone who doesn't already have it?

  3. Gina-

    That's a tough one. This culture of ours doesn't really offer up any real source of meaning or a reason for it outside the idea that "you make your own meaning." Maybe that is valid to a point, but if it were really the truth then why do peoples hearts seem more and more empty now that the whole issue of God or a meaning to existence has been swept under the rug and buried?

    We all need faith in something even if that faith is in Darwins theory, the law of karma in Buddhism or the Christian Revalation; without any kind of faith then life becomes meaningless and we can fall pretty deep into darkness and despair.

    Maybe we have to actually try to live out our faith in ways that people start to see that there may be truth to it. Even an atheist seems to spend a lot of time thinking about God even if it is only to try and dethrone Him. I don't think this really answers what you were asking, but then again, I don't really have an answer. Thanks for the great post Gina.

  4. Justin,

    I do understand what you are saying here. It is so hard to help people who are feeling really low. I only know to remind them that they DO have friends and to be available for them if they want to talk.