Emotional sobriety

Life is a real struggle and there is a part of me that is unable to handle certain emotions. I have emotional trouble with disappointment, boredom and nothingness. This existential void and having no purpose in life makes me feel I am dying inside. This nothingness makes me feel rejection and my body is in isolation. Because of this nothingness I have no tools in a toolbox. I realize my emotional sobriety is a certain serenity and a peace, yet my nothingness makes me feel alienated. If family or other people communicate nothingness and I am nothing of value I become obsessed defending myself, which usually causes me to withdraw. More isolation, more nothingness, and then nothing true or valuable in which I can believe. So in my mild crackpot ways, this paradox of my nothingness and possibly this place of everything is just raw. I have no sense of humor here, yet something very human about this. My emotions do not get it, even though I recognize a double vision here of the devil and the angel, death and life, nothingness and everything. These opposites should be funny and deeply touching, yet I feel like toast. Does anyone have any butter for this absurdity and emotional sobriety for the toast?

Hey Syd, I ‘try’ not to go there. I know that I can go there and for me it’s an awful spiral DOWN, very down. To prevent myself getting too far down I need variety, just small things to occupy my mind. If I just sit and think of my predicament, ohh hell, the ‘devil’ as you put it, overtakes my every thought. I am my own worst critic and I can be harder on myself than any outsider. I have read many of your posts and I can see so much of myself in your posts. But I have come to the reality that my predicament is not my choice. I have tried, I have attempted, I have forced myself to move on as much as I physically can and my body and my mind/brain have collapsed in a screaming heap telling me enough is enough.
The variety I need just breaks up my day and occupies my over active mind. I have 2 mutts, they need walking. I own my house with a decent sized yard, it needs to be maintained. Obviously I have the computer, searching other interests diverts me from over analysing things. I have a shed full of tools that I can use of to make(or destroy) things and all of these things make my variety.
Many years ago (20+) before all this ‘brainstuff’ was identified, I was in a stagnant place and for me a stagnant mind turned very self destructive. Drugs and alcohol and anything else to fog the mind. I identified this with some help from a psych. I had some very similar thoughts to you. My youth had not been a very nice time and for many years I had used it as a burden to life. The psych suggested rather than using it as a burden, using it as a positive and this got me to thinking. How?? I started volunteering with a local youth group. When young I hated being told ‘don’t’ or ‘you can’t’. No reason was given of why I couldn’t, so I did things and got myself in all sorts of trouble and strife. But I, eventually learned, often the hard way but I did learn. So rather than using it as a negative I could use it as a positive "Yea, don’t do that because… …I did and the results can be…"
Even today I have meet people from the youth group 20 years ago, people I honestly thought I had no impact on and they thank me. All those little things, they all add up. From that simple act of volunteering I replaced that ‘nothingness’ with a meaning, with a use. I progressed further and did some study, got myself a qualification. And again using where I had been and what I had done, I started working and teaching people with disabilities. Never dreaming I, personally, would need those skills but… …well, here we are.
I now look back at my former clients and think “…hell, they taught me more than I ever taught them. They taught me resilience, persistence, determination and (Damn it) acceptance”. For me that is the most sobering fact, me, the teacher, learnt more from them than them from me. Many of us are in nothing short of a hellish situation, but I know, as bad as things are, there are people in a much worse situation than I. For what little ability I still possess, I can still use it as a positive for someone less fortunate. And that “butters my toast”.


I was in hopes you would write, and this meaning you have discovered with others is a place I need to go. I have had many people thank me for helping them create an opening to their hidden depths and as you are saying I need to back off trying to filter this raw material. It is also unique how nothing is lost for you and you want to make it so nothing is lost for us. Acceptance, as you express, seems to be the key for understanding the whole and if it cannot be understood I do not need to attempt to understand the impossible. So if I may, I shake my head in amusement of you, laugh at these human incongruities and sure enough butters my toast also. Thanks for being here Merl.

Hey Syd, you say “nothing is lost for you…” now there’s a wish. I have lost my physical ability, my stamina and although I have not lost my self reflection, it seems to be more intense, which for me is another negative. When looking within I see my shortcomings and tend to ‘bash’ (metaphorically) or berate myself silly for these. This is part of the ‘acceptance’ I have not accepted.
A big/huge/massive part of all of this and part of the reason I am here is that I do, despite my shortcomings, still have something to offer. I formally used my skills to assist others in my job. I have accepted that my former employment has gone, but that need to assist others is simply part of ‘me’. I can still utilise those skills here. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days of “F$%& the world and every C%^& in it”, but if today I’ve assisted one person, then today has not been wasted. I am VERY annoyed with myself that often my physical ability and my stamina prevents me from assisting others and my acceptance of this fact is a mammoth obstacle for me. This site has allowed me to partially fill that void and for that I am grateful.


You express, “I am VERY annoyed with myself that often my physical ability and my stamina prevents me from assisting others and my acceptance of this fact is a mammoth obstacle for me. This site has allowed me to partially fill that void and for that I am grateful.” I can relate to you feeling annoyed at yourself for your lack of physical ability and stamina. My body becomes fatigued and exhausted with simple walking and sometimes I cannot eat as my digestive track is overwhelmed with exhaustion. My cells have deteriorated into old age right at 61 years old. Before I lost my cell energy, before age 50, I use to drive myself in hard physical agriculture work. Now I realize my work was my way of running away from myself, away from my nothingness, and it was my denial. I can tell now that my work denied my hurting inside, my neediness and kept me from acknowledging my suffering within. I now can no longer deny my nothingness within and yet I still deny I am lost.

When I feel lost my denial still refuses to deal with this problem, whereas before I use to work hard and I could refuse to see I had a problem. Back in my working days, my denial gave me illusions about my work abilities and when I was in denial I could be penny-wise and a pound-foolish. I could deny my extremely poor judgment. Now my denial, for some reason, creates this defensiveness against changing anything essential about myself and I want to idealize the impossible. My physical fatigue and low energy wars off life rather than dealing with it. So my acceptance of this feels like accepting what I lost and my pride is still trying to get something out of life.

I also can get caught in my emotional reactions and beliefs about my deficiency. Then I construct and identity out of it, which you are communicating is not a good place to go or into my emotional storminess. So it seems this acceptance needs an opening within where I do not desperately cling to my illusions and where I feel my world is falling apart. Denial, as my friend, use to make me think I was not fired, a divorce from life, or this is not really happening. But I also feel my denial is pathetic, as it feels like flight from life. I can only say this is very edgy material, perverse and dark, and I wish I could accept without falling into denial.

Denial use to work and now these unconscious roots of denial no longer work. Maybe the healthy part of denial is acceptance and maybe “nothing” is lost within this acceptance. Maybe acceptance is simply resting in and is real life. I just feel certain horror here, like a beast pounding on the door of my unconscious and the question is how to keep it out? This seems serious and funny, because the beast could still be my denial or pride pounding on the door and there is no keeping it out, maybe?

Thanks again Merl for your insight.

PS: Boy, after I wrote this I can feel my addiction really boiling up inside me. The beast is really pounding on the door and I feel like I am coming to terms with it despite the overwhelming sense of it being beyond me. It seems right now I just need silence, as my acceptance, and the beast can yield himself to it. “Silent my beast, as you no longer belong to me and I no longer belong to you.”

Ohh Syd… …do I go this deep within me or not??? Why not? OK then here’s a little bit of me.
So I was involved in an mva as a 4yr old. The driver, my mother is very much a god fearing catholic and all answers came from Dr’s or the church. So ‘all is ok’ (Dr) and ‘God will take care of everything’(Church). The F$%^*&^ dr’s were wrong and the idea of a god is a figment of someone’s imagination.(P.S. If you can’t tell I have little to no faith in either). So I put my faith in medications. Drugs of every sort, I’ve done ‘em all. From popping pills to snorting powders, washing them all down with a decent swig of whatever bottle was handy. In turn eventually lead me to a rehab and this forced me to look at me, an ugly sight I can assure you. This gave me an insight of me and others around me. I was sent to shrinks of all kinds. I learnt (and quickly) to control my emotional reactions, hiding them, internalising them, but there is only so far you can fill a cup and internalising them filled my cup to overfloweth and one day that cup simply exploded. I was officially labelled crazy ‘…Here take these tablets, they’ll help…’ and those things were wicked bad. Like I said popping pills was a hobby, but those psych meds. WOW, they really screwed me over. I got the ‘poor me’s’ and drowned them. Then thought "wait a minute, I’ve done this before. Look where that lead me…’. I needed change, but I needed help with that change and I got help.
But with all of this crap I learnt from it, I learnt about me. My tolerances, both chemically and psychologically. I’ve used it to assist others for many years, but I still haven’t mastered using it to assist me. I have my stumbling points where I question what I know. Often I have to prove to myself that I was right in my initial estimation, like a child “don’t touch that, it’s hot” “OUCH, that burnt”. Only the ‘burns’ now have bigger consequences.
It seems after my last episode of surgeries I have become much more circumspect, thinking of the consequences and acknowledging them. But then to simply ignore them and continue on, thinking “I can beat this.” When I know I simply can’t. So is that lack of acceptance or a desire to overcome or a wish to punish self or just plain old ignorance. As someone once told me "It’s much easier to look at others, find a fault and find a solution to that fault. We can easily find fault with self, but finding a solution for self, that takes resolve and determination to change"
Change is hard.

OH HELL that was a bit deeper than I thought, apologies :slight_smile:

Thanks Merl, I like your depth and I like your strong feelings. We both may lose the forest for the trees, yet it is fascinating to me how you can sustain your concentration and your intellectual depth for what you have been through. I believe touching the hot stove or not is also fascinating and necessary. It is like the known and the unknown, the dangerous and the safe, the inner world and the outer world, subjects and objects, and so forth. My mind makes a sharp split between touching the the hot stove or not, between me the subject and the rest of the world as object. This split seems to be what burns me and has had tremendous ramifications in my life. So changing this mental way is hard, as you express.

Thanks for keeping an open mind Merl and allowing us and me to observe reality. Also thanks for allowing me to write and allowing my addiction to come to the surface yesterday, as I did not act on this crushing negative self-consciousness. I may feel defeated by life, “burned” as you might say, yet there seems to be an opening rather than a splitting my life into many parts. Besides an effective leader is someone who knows what it is like to feel insecure and to look for someone else to help. It creates genuine security for us and allows me to be direct and authentic. There is no deception here, uncomfortable at times, but it is very human and the authentic thing to do. Thanks again!!!