The End of All Things

The End of All Things“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; to sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause…”
HAMLET [3/1]

I have often reluctantly concluded that my problems are here to force me to think about my life, re-evaluate my choices and motivate me to change the way I deal with my reality. Many times in the depths of depression I have been drawn to suicide as a credible option for change and release from this place where (cause and effect) rule the way my life plays out. Many of the stings and arrows that I have been forced to endure were of my own making. The choices I have made or avoided, that I have construed as negative, bad or painful are all part of my failure to come to one basic conclusion: I have created my own reality by screening what I have been subjected to through the interpretations of my personal neurosis and forgotten my own advice about trying to develop objectivity about my own experiences.

If I were to re-examine my experiences, follow my own counsel and learn to refrain from placing a good or bad verdict on their meaning, retaining some objectivity or view them as tests of character that force me to look at aspects of my life, would I be as fatalistic as I have been on many of them? I wonder. Although life is not easy, it does have a simplicity that offers itself up in every single choice that has been presented to me: listen and learn to trust my inner-self which has its own wisdom, follow the melody of my heart as it resonates what is real and what is illusion and construct my life through the eyes of the wisdom that I have gained from understanding why I have lived the life I have lived. Hopefully I can remember not to judge my mistakes or failures too harshly.

Even if life can be reduced to a few simple and clearly stated tenants, what appears easy is never quite as simple as it may initially seem. It may have seemed easy to others to watch Picasso create a drawing in less than 60 seconds then watch that same painting sell for several hundred thousand dollars, but it took him a lifetime to develop the skills and artistic control to have done it that fast and the notoriety to be able to sell it for as much as society might deem its artistic worth.

Very often I have viewed some obstacles that I have wrestled with as failures of my character which have led me to judge myself less than worthy. This has simply perpetuated those feelings by causing me to get so depressed that I don’t see the larger picture of what my experiences are trying to teach me. It’s a way to distract me from taking control of my own destiny by creating a diversion and taking me farther away from the truth that I need to reassert. I am not perfect and I should not expect myself to be .

Depression only serves the purpose of diverting us from being effective in finding a solution to whatever problem we may be dealing with at any given moment. I would argue that most habits of a physical nature (for example, the inability to give up a drug addiction) are not a weakness in our moral character. Simply saying that one should give it up because of the medical documentation illustrating its impact on the body ends up adding to the depression when results are not achieved simply based on that medical fact. Attacking our moral fiber only adds to that denigration.

A more productive way to effect a change would be to recognize it for what it is, an addiction that “all flesh is heir to”, study and plan (with help from others) more effective approaches to giving up the addiction in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the situation by creating an impossible goal, which when we fail will further damage our self-esteem by making us feel so negative about ourselves that it leads us to conclude that the addiction itself is interpreted as the deserving consequence of that moral failure. It would be more helpful to focus our attention on ways of eliminating the habitual patterns that led to the addiction in the first place. Suicide then becomes an option which – appearing initially as a light when our emotional self judgements are at their most negative – would be seen for what it really is: the end of all things we will experience in this life.

If we were put here to learn the lessons that this plane (cause and effect) has to teach us one lesson should be clear: We are not here to jump ship and end it because we feel our life has become too overwhelmed and beyond our individual capacity to effect.

If we can recognize that life’s struggle is worth grappling with and whose positive outcome lends support to the conviction that the struggle itself is of value to our evolutionary development, then suicide becomes less of an attractive choice when things get difficult.