***!!!!****!!!! Anxiety. Depression. Self loathing. This is an exceptionally dark period in my life and one which is upsetting to talk to you about, though it is important to talk about it nonetheless. Untreated mental illness and irrational metaphysical views are awful things to go through and can lead to behaviors which are destructive both to relationships and to one’s self. I know this, because during the months I lived in South Beach, thinking I was living my dream as some starving artist, what I was really doing was destroying my life and hurting others. If someone you know is suffering from a feeling that life is all bleakness, I hope you will care to brighten up their day some how, if you can, or try to challenge their assumptions somehow. ****!!!!****!!!!
*The horribleness of my time spent in South Beach must be understood in the context of my nihilism which must be understood in the context of certain psychological challenges and prior philosophical assumptions
*My nihilism: aimlessness and purposelessness (I wonder, is this a cause for suicide for some?)
*Suggested supplementary literature: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground.
*This was a uniquely complex time in my life mentally which I believe all starts with the intensity of anxiety I felt & which had been exasperated by a year of smoking a lot of pot
*Where did my anxiety come from? I hypothesize that it’s chemical– too little serotonin, since increasing it via Effexor has made my life significantly better: more calmness & self-esteem
*As a kid I was convinced that virtually everyone hated me; it was like a fundamental philosophical assumption which caused me to fear most people and experience further social anxiety
*Depression runs in my family. My grandmother (on my father’s side) for example, received multiple shock therapy treatments and was hospitalized for her depression.
*My esophoria (eye condition) also induces panic attacks, vertigo, sweating, shaking, etc, and I believe may explain why I couldn’t/didn’t color in the lines when I was in pre-school, as well as why I walked awkwardly, struggled with depth perception, posture, and consequentially viewed myself as incompetent.
*School in general made me anxious due to my view of myself as incompetent which led to more anxiety and depression as well. The twin psychological struggles became fundamental philosophical principles for me and smoking marijuana made it worse.
*Panic attacks– by the time I was living in South Beach– were interfering with the romantic relationship I was in. Though I had previously been prescribed Zoloft I felt too afraid of taking it and thus lingered on, untreated.
*One major symptom of the depression I experienced was a lot of sobbing.
*My fear that I would die young like Rimbaud or Jim Morrison also worsened my anxiety, depression, sense of doom and gloom.
*On the other hand (and maybe ironic, some of you might think?) my atheism, which was my ultimate gateway into poetry and philosophy, gave me relief from anxiety and depression. IT have me a sense of intellectualism and self esteem, but because I viewed most of society as brainwashed by Christianity I disliked and distrusted most people, and fancied myself uniquely free-thinking.
*On top of all of this, I had no real education in ethics (by that I mean I never learned about ethics as an official, academic, philosophical subject with a wide variety of essays about it) and so one of the only things I managed to value was my own notion of romantic love and that certain couples are just “meant to be” even if they lack chemistry and don’t get along.
Hi, I'm Sean O'Connor, a poet and writer pursuing my MFA in Creative and Professional Writing at William Paterson University, where I also work as a learning generalist and where I received my BA in Liberal Studies.
Currently. I also work as a writing tutor at Raritan Valley Community College and Mercer County Community College.
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