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The "Mr Micawber" Reason for Living

OrphanBlack

OrphanBlack

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So I've been mulling over issues relating to depression/suicide for a while, and the more I think about it, the more the very idea of sticking around because things "might get better" really gets on my wick. (For the uninitiated: Mr Micawber is a character in a Dickens novel who is always "waiting for something to turn up"). The problem is of course, that there's no guarantee that things will get better. Of course, they might get better - but there's a bazillion things that might happen - the earth might get wrenched out of it's orbit tomorrow and go hurtling towards the sun, if we're going to list all the things that might happen. As a reason to keep going on, it's patently insufficient.


So why do people always parrot it? For lack of anything better I suppose. Which ironically, is in itself not a great reason to do something.
 
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barmcake

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Things might not get better Mr Micawber, in fact, suffering is guaranteed in this life. It's about how you deal with it. Just say Bah Humbug to the bad and celebrate the good.
With fondest wishes
Mr Scrooge
 
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Lucky Luke

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I'd say start trying every sound methods on the internet, beginning with the most popular one. I suggest start with aerobic exercise. And surprisingly soda pops helped me improve my mood too.
 
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barmcake

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That gave me a laugh Lucky Luke. I do understand where OrphanBlack is coming from and his frustration. Am not trying to make light of it. I'm often at a loss to know what to say and end up with 'things will get better'. Platitudes don't cure depression and 'happiness is a choice', 'there are people worse off than you' can make it so much worse. I am wishing you well OrphanBlack but do get a nice hobby like Plane Spotting and have friends round for dinner parties at the weekend. 'Cheer up, it'll never happen'!
 
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barmcake

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OrphanBlack, please allow me to apologise. It's just that the irony and your natural wit came through in your post. I think everyone on here will appreciate your post. I am just a silly old fool. Please feel free to abuse me.
 
OrphanBlack

OrphanBlack

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So I'm not going to quote or name the poster, but I've just seen the Micawber argument in another post. ARGGH. Fallacious reasoning of the worse kind. I'm not saying you should put the boot in replying to posts, but I fail to see how this argument does anyone any good.
 
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Marianda

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Things might not get better Mr Micawber, in fact, suffering is guaranteed in this life. It's about how you deal with it. Just say Bah Humbug to the bad and celebrate the good.
With fondest wishes
Mr Scrooge
Thank you barmcake. True, suffering is guaranteed in this life and it's about how you deal with it. Perhaps we (the depressed people) dont have the skills to deal with that suffering. I have learned so much from the members in this forum and I am so happy to be able to share all these thoughts.
 
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JamFRUK

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Well why, you ask ?
( 2 Disclaimers to put my comment into context :
- I have never read this novel from Dickens, apologies for my ignorance, I'm basing my comment on your description
- I suffer from self harm, bulimia and severe depression - diagnosed - with recurring suicidal ideation, have attempted recently and still on the brink to be honest).

The answer is that there is a bit of a flaw in the reasoning of "things never get better".

You Mr Mc something is *waiting* for things to get better or "turn up". A lot of people are equally *hoping* or *waiting* for things to improve.

When the fact of the matter is, things won't magically "turn up" or improve. There is no divine intervention that will come down to change lives for the better. It is a matter of proactivity and hard work, and harder for those of us folks not blessed with healthy coping mechanism and cursed with various mental illnesses.

Things can always improve and get better, though, life has proven it time and time again, even in the face of the worst kind of adversity - and this is why people say it. It is not a general statement but a reality for people who do not suffer from the effects of the dark veil of depression. I noticed that mentally healthy people generally tend to be automatically positive. I have a theory that their brains process their emotions in a healthy, balanced way whereas depressed brains tend to be processing emotions in a more acute way.

In summary, I am now convinced that healthy people do not feel their negative emotions as roughly as I do for instance. I noticed that most my colleagues would tend to take stressful things in their stride whereas stress literally destroyed me physically and mentally.

And this why, I think, some people say this : because they truly experience life as being positive. I believe unhealthy brains just process things in a completely different way that healthy brains and therefore experience life as being mostly negative since this is what they mainly feel.

I recently read the story of a morbidly obese woman who became massively fat after an accident and developing a binge eating disorder to cope. She was diagnosed with a rare tongue cancer. Doctors told her she would most likely die even after an operation.

She got her tongue entirely removed and had to be tube fed, deprived of her only coping mechanism and even the ability to speak.
Instead of despairing, even when faced with a death sentence, she decided to fight back. She used the opportunity to lose several stones. She continued to fight the disease and got some more tissues removed and a piece of skin to replace her tongue to speak.

She can no longer taste food but said paradoxically, her disease saved her from another likely death. She no longer binges and is in remission.

I admired her immensely. Were it me I would have given up and not put up such a fight.

It just comes down to whether you (not you OP, but a general blanket you) have enough insights to recognize what part of your judgement on life outlook is clouded by depression, have enough drive to want to try and see what you can make of yourself, and enough self counscienceness to recognize what value you bring on the table as a human being.
But also, if your brains mechanisms and processes are equipping you with the right tools to do all of the above. As we know, with depression, it's not about willpower.

Much as I'd like to believe no one would care if I'd take my life, I know this is a lie and one of my friend would be traumatized (he lost a friend to suicide ), my siblings would be devastated, my parents would most likely not survive this.

In the depth of my despair, I can't think straight. Today I felt like ending it twice, and for reasons that in hindsight don't warrant it. I had a rather unpleasant experience going for a biopsy in hospital, then a botched job-related appointment and felt awful. My inner judge ripped me to pieces.

But then I realise, I'm not in such a bad place that really nothing could improve, and I'm not that awful of a person either. I had to make an effort wearing nice clothes and make up and caught a few appreciative looks. I'm living in a city I love, have had a good education and great work experience and could find a great opportunity any time soon. I'm not living in a country at war, live in a nice flat, have food on the table and despite my ED, am physically healthy enough and still young.

Objectively my life can be turned around.
If a morbidly obese woman can become an athletic healthy lady, I can change my prospects too. Only, it will require hard, hard work and fighting the voice inside me that poisons my soul and wants me dead. I have to fight twice as hard as a mentally healthy person. What is easy to them is an uphill battle to me.

I'm ready to fight though. I deserve to be happy and make others happy too. I cannot chose to be mentally healthy (I am clinically depressed and do have an eating disorder that is rather severe, and they won't magically be willed away), but I can chose whether I want to try and recover and give myself a chance.
 
OrphanBlack

OrphanBlack

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I didn't - or at least thought I didn't anyway - say that things never get better. The point I was making is that things don't necessarily get better. That is: you could put a whole heap of effort into trying to turn things around, and there is still no guarantee that things will get better. You say that life has proven that things can get better time and time again; I'm loathe to start quoting the problem of induction here, but suffice to say that I suspect there's enough empirical evidence to show that in a good number of instances, things didn't get better for people. (Off the top of my head - Alan Turing for instance).

I also take issue with the idea that depression 'clouds' the mind. This ties in with the assumption that thinking of or attempting suicide is necessarily a manifestation of some kind of mental illness: an assumption that is unwarranted. [How many times are you going use the word necessarily -Ed] There can, I think, be perfectly rational reasons for wanting take one's own life. If you're dissatisfied with the state of the world, both in it's current state and the way it has been, then logically there's nothing you can do to change. So why stick around in a world you have little time for?

Your point about having a home, access to food etc was interesting; as I remember looking at a homeless person the other day and thinking 'why do you still go on? I've got things much better than you, and I'm utterly miserable - things must be ten times worse for you. Why still stick around when life clearly hasn't worked out for you?' Please don't misunderstand me - I'm not suggesting homeless people should kill themselves or anything like that: what I'm saying is that if I were in that position, I'd use a foolproof method to do the job. Why do they carry on?

I feel like I've spent this post having a go at you, which wasn't the intention - I found your arguments interesting, just somewhat problematic.
 
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JamFRUK

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Hello

No no worries i enjoy the debate ! If there is one thing us french love is a good debate, especially bordering on philosophy :)

I did not think you said things don't get better but missed the "not necessarily" part. My reasoning remains unchanged though in that it's a bet on the future and some are willing to take it or don't even question it. I truly believe people who do not experience chemical imbalance and experience generally more positive feelings/have healthy coping mechanisms will also make the bet - probably unconsciously- that things will turn for the best.

I don't know about the link between suicide and mental illness. Is depression considered a mental illness ? Do non depressed people attempt at their lives ? I truly don't know. If you have some data on that I'd like to read about it.

We do have such a mechanism called self preservation which makes it extra hard to kill oneself. That might be an important argument to consider in your question.

I've recently read a piece from a professor/author describing his 10 years spent in and out of a psych ward and dozens of attempts, and what it was like to live with an urge to kill oneself. He said that he ended up realising, although serious, none of his attempts ever were so final and were always reversible (OD on pills or superficially wounds). One Doc joked with him that people rarely died from either. He said that he could easily use a different method yet never did.

It's not as easy to kill yourself. As one Harvard professor remarked in his lecture on suicidality, it does take an extraordinary strength to get to a place where you override your self preservation mechanisms. Not everyone manages to get there, hence the link I made between depression and suicide.

I do believe that in the end, the difference between people who even consider suicide as an option and those who don't stems from coping mechanisms and healthiness of your brains chemical. Around me are people that have been depressed too yet never attempted (including my sibling - severe depression too). Around ne ate also people that despite having faced the worst in life effectively keep fighting. They may have things to look forward to we wouldn't consider good enough.

I remember a long time ago meeting this homeless man in a sunny country. He would always greet my mom and I. He seemed the happiest man on earth. One day mum mom asked him how he always managed to smile despite his situation. He looked at us up and down, lit a cigarette and burst out laughing saying "you know, I'm a simple person. I have the sun and a beautiful sky to enjoy in a beautiful country. I don't need more !".

As for depression clouding the mind, I'm talking about my own experience here. I know myself with and without, and the few people around me suffering from it too, and we all seem to describe it the same way. I do feel like i have a dark wail constantly in front of my mind, I'm not the same person I am without and it is clouding my judgement. Even when I felt I had legit reason to want to end it, I know the me without depression would not resort to that. Or would it ? It's a confusing state to be in.
 
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JamFRUK

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Sorry for the few typos, Samsung keyboards are the worst thing, probably designed by an engineer from the 9th circle of hell.
 
OrphanBlack

OrphanBlack

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Off the top of my head: depression is classed as a mood disorder, and I assume disorder implies illness?

I assume the self-preservation thing is a biological imperative, which would make sense. It would also explain why people in general are convinced that life is a 'good thing' - such a conviction stems from biology, as opposed to any kind of rational reasoning.

Fair play to the homeless guy I guess; he's entitled to his view just like any of us are. It's not a view I could subscribe to myself though.

I have to say I'm not a huge fan of French philosophy :D. I recently argued that the reason Derrida and Deleuze's influence on mainstream philosophy is minimal is because no-one can understand them 👌
 
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Marianda

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Hi guys,I am going to jump into this debate to share my point of view.You may agree or not. I respect your opinion.
1. Depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain.. People who suffer from depression may have it all but they are still unhappy. Depresion affectS our mind and body. The feeling of that constant fatigue is unbearable. We must recognize we are fighting with an illness and stop feeling guilty about our feelings.
2. Life does not get better" by magic". One needs to fight, be proactive. However, fighting and being proactive is more difficult for depressed people, but we still must try . At least I try although i recognize it is ripping me apart.
3. There is also the" luck factor" in life. There are people who are tremendously lucky. Others are not. I believe that this has to do with your field of energy. Positive people attract good things. Depressed people are pesimistic and i think this affect their magnetic energy field in a negative way. IT is undeniable that we are energy and there is some weird connection between our state of mind and the material world. This is a very personal opinion
4. In my case, i should say i always suffered from anxiety and depression. I come from a very disfunctional family. We had a good life, we studied in the best schools, and had a nice house. But my parents were crazy. As children me and my siblings went through horrible things. I took refuge in the intelectual world, studied Law , got a great job when i graduated. I also was able to get a masters degree in Usa
5. I lived 20 years in the usa, managed to get a good job and a nice appartment. Always fighting with depressiion, but i had a nice life.
6. My father dies without a will and my brother starts stealing all the properties. He did terrible things to my mother and she finally got alzheimer. My older sister is in a wheel chair due to a car accident. BINGO, I had to cut abruptly my life in usa to come to this country where i was born but I dont feel anymore i belong to. I went through 6 lawsuits and still i am unable to recover what my brother stole. Mom is in a nursing home and we have to pay for everything because my brother stole her properties and money.
7. Since i came here I have gone through the worst misadventures. I cant get used to this place, i think differently, i cant stand the corruption, lies and people tryiing to take advantage .
8. I feel trapped here, i dont belong here anymore. I am profoundly depressed. I have to take care of everything related to the legal part of my fathers estate. I can no longer go through this. Today i am unemployed and feeling urgently the need to get out of here. I cant stand it anymore. I sent thousands of resumes and cant get a job.
9 Although horrendously depressed i am fighting to have a better life because as I said, things dont come by magic.
 
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