“Someone needs to be watching you closely”

Ask Polly: Why Should I Keep Going?

Oof, this was a tough one to read. Not just because I have been where this person is, but because I’ve known so many people other who have as well. What can you say to someone who has discovered that life is long, terrible, and meaningless? Because well, I mean, they’re not wrong. How do you deal with an existential crisis?

Self-delusion protects us. The truth is fine, but the truth is that nothing matters really, even the stuff we are compelled to do. It is very difficult to go on if this knowledge is sitting in your head, occupying your entire brain. Lying to ourselves is what makes life livable. This is the core of human existence. But once you can’t lie to yourself anymore, once the delusion falls away, how do you get it back?

Polly’s right, this person needs a therapist, and soon. Their current course leads nowhere good. I mean, sometimes, self-delusion can naturally re-assert itself, but it’s too risky to rely on that possibility. It’s not just self-harm you need to watch out for, it’s the grasping for a sense of meaning that can get you, too. You can throw yourself into something really harmful just because whatever it is happens to ease the pain, you know? Then you’re stuck with it because, you tell yourself, “It’s the only thing that works/It’s the only thing that keeps me going.”

I really, really hope the LW comes out okay.

“Someone needs to be watching you closely”

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