I'm now into week 3 of the general emotional malaise (yeah Malaise Club! malaise: n. A general sense of depression or unease. -- American Heritage Dictionary) which has been making my life not all that terrific lately. It's not real traumatic depression, heart-wrenching unhappiness, or anying like that. I'm not in the state where I can't feel happy; I'm perfectly able to enjoy myself playing euchre with my friends or doing something else distracting and fun. But when I'm alone with my thoughts... oh, then I can feel quite miserable indeed.
This whole wonderful episode kicked off about two and a half weeks ago, when I more or less went on emotional overload after crying my eyes out at this really horribly sad documentary on animal rights, which had some really awful footage of animals caught in traps dying and being electrocuted and circling in tiny cages and all sorts of terrible stuff. It just felt like way too much for me. I couldn't not care after seeing it-- but it just felt like this tremendous burden on me. It's really, really, really hard just to try to not ignore but face and care about all the horrendous things that happen to people in this world. And to add the entire animal kingdom-- this just felt like it broke my back.
I'm really not sure whether if, that night, I had not had an absolutely delightful time playing in the snow, having snowball fights and singing and challenging other dorms and making interesting snow sculptures, I would have felt the emotional crash I did after coming back to the dorm and realizing how unhappy I had been a few hours before. But I did. It felt like I had fallen down about 100 stories emotionally. And I really haven't recovered much at all.
I've just not been able to shake this unhappy feeling that I get whenever I'm alone with my thoughts, thinking about all the horrors there are in this world and my powerlessness to change them all, wondering what the point is of my being on this planet when there will inevitably be so much pain that I can't touch. If I was being reasonable, I'd pay attention to Dostoyevsky and find the meaning of life in the small, everyday good things that make people's lives better. It frustrates me immensely that I can't grab hold of such a simple concept that could soothe my soul. Instead, I try to figure out how big I can go, how many people's lives I can affect at once, and feel horribly disappointed when I realize that I can't fix it all.
I'm glad that this hasn't totally sunk me. If this was real depression, I'd never be able to enjoy myself with my friends the way I do, which is what keeps me sane and keeps me going. But it's just hard to have it always draining me. I tell myself that because I can't do it all, I don't want to do anything. I'm frustrated with how quickly I can let go of something like this Lagoon/campus democracy thing. The reason I did the tail end of the last Protest issue and will do more of what I can on this one is because I feel like Mischa and Chris and Jenny will be disappointed in me if I don't. Hopefully that will keep me going until I "get better" again and start caring for my own sake.
All I can hope for now is for the malaise to dissipate. I don't really know what I can do to fix it. Just try to spend as little time alone with myself as possible...
27 December, 2002
Intellectual Property Rights denounced by Britt Gordon-McKeon, 2002