Nerian

What if living is too painful to make it worth it?

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Imagine someone were convinced of Objectivist ethics and went about their self interest. What if they found the whole enterprise painful and not at all fulfilling? What would be the point?

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Nerian, It's accurate to say the painfulness is an excellent indicator that something is out of whack, and all one's premises have to be re-visited and re-checked - in this case, with how one has approached and understood the entire business of ethics. A rational-selfish one, at that, which does not promise instant bliss, but whose total purpose is one's good for a total life. "Fulfilling" can be a complex and at times, loaded concept. *What* should be fulfilled, and *how* does one know when it isn't or is fulfilling? Who's measure  of "fulfilling" is one using, one's own or the prevailing, social 'opinion'? A passing thought: only consider what someone, who is not renowned highly to Objectivists, said: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony". (Mahatma Gandhi). A nice intersection with " ... a state of non-contradictory joy" - I think! Those - thinking, saying and doing - to add, feeling - are an alignment which is really possible.

You will kn?ow, what makes the Objectivist morality "rational" is that's its proponents acknowledge that only one, oneself, can perceive and identify reality and judge the good and what actions to take - as independent, volitional, autonomous beings - evidently an exercise no one else can undergo for one, nor should. Having said this, these convictions and actions are not and should not be mutually exclusive to "Objectivists", but apply to all men, by virtue of man's nature. If more could recognise that fact.

However, another quotation: "Seldom are men blessed with times in which they may think what they like, and say what they think". (Tacitus). Written about 100 AD, you can see how things might change but don't change, my point being that you and I are living through a period of history which is in a particularly bad slump, against freedom, reason and, consequently, is anti-individualist. This is not a great climate in which to be a free, rational egoist, and you might have found your relationships with the bulk of others, who are completely influenced by (broadly) altruism-collectivism, suffer as a result, and the fulfillment one expects to find in 'special others' is harder to come by.

But then the upside:  1. self-responsible, rational and thoughtful individuals still exist and one has to be aware enough to see them, sometimes in unexpected places and times, and to treasure them. Importantly - just how many fine people do we need in our lives? Not many, I believe. 2. and, primarily, who is better equipped to see out/live through, and gain clarity in these uncertain times and find happiness *than* a rational individualist with his/her reason, convictions, character?

Heh, your question set me off on several things I have been thinking about myself, I hope this perspective is useful.

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On 12/27/2017 at 12:44 AM, anthony said:

Nerian, It's accurate to say the painfulness is an excellent indicator that something is out of whack, and all one's premises have to be re-visited and re-checked - in this case, with how one has approached and understood the entire business of ethics. A rational-selfish one, at that, which does not promise instant bliss, but whose total purpose is one's good for a total life. "Fulfilling" can be a complex and at times, loaded concept. *What* should be fulfilled, and *how* does one know when it isn't or is fulfilling? Who's measure  of "fulfilling" is one using, one's own or the prevailing, social 'opinion'? A passing thought: only consider what someone, who is not renowned highly to Objectivists, said: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony". (Mahatma Gandhi). A nice intersection with " ... a state of non-contradictory joy" - I think! Those - thinking, saying and doing - to add, feeling - are an alignment which is really possible.

You will kn?ow, what makes the Objectivist morality "rational" is that's its proponents acknowledge that only one, oneself, can perceive and identify reality and judge the good and what actions to take - as independent, volitional, autonomous beings - evidently an exercise no one else can undergo for one, nor should. Having said this, these convictions and actions are not and should not be mutually exclusive to "Objectivists", but apply to all men, by virtue of man's nature. If more could recognise that fact.

However, another quotation: "Seldom are men blessed with times in which they may think what they like, and say what they think". (Tacitus). Written about 100 AD, you can see how things might change but don't change, my point being that you and I are living through a period of history which is in a particularly bad slump, against freedom, reason and, consequently, is anti-individualist. This is not a great climate in which to be a free, rational egoist, and you might have found your relationships with the bulk of others, who are completely influenced by (broadly) altruism-collectivism, suffer as a result, and the fulfillment one expects to find in 'special others' is harder to come by.

But then the upside:  1. self-responsible, rational and thoughtful individuals still exist and one has to be aware enough to see them, sometimes in unexpected places and times, and to treasure them. Importantly - just how many fine people do we need in our lives? Not many, I believe. 2. and, primarily, who is better equipped to see out/live through, and gain clarity in these uncertain times and find happiness *than* a rational individualist with his/her reason, convictions, character?

Heh, your question set me off on several things I have been thinking about myself, I hope this perspective is useful.

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

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57 minutes ago, Nerian said:

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

Talk to a doctor. Explore medication for chemical imbalances that cause anxiety and depression.

J

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54 minutes ago, Nerian said:

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

That is the way humanity was for thousands of years. Life was brutal, nasty, short. Then came Aristotle and Renaissance and Industrial Revolution and capitalism and Ayn Rand. If all goes well the future (a few hundred years) will be Star Trek and beyond.

 

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1 hour ago, Nerian said:

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

If you're not on your purpose then you won't find happiness.  Purpose, productivity, and productive work go together in a man's hierarchy of values so that happiness can be possible.  Working a crappy job might be necessary right now until you can find happiness, Rand certainly didn't start out happy, she had to work odd jobs and other crap jobs she didn't like until she was able to do a career that she liked.

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4 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Talk to a doctor. Explore medication for chemical imbalances that cause anxiety and depression.

J

Getting adequate sleep and sunshine and exercise and good diet and all that works better than antidepressants. Which is not saying much.

The chemical imbalance has not been identified according to interviews with psychiatrists. When psychiatrists make a diagnosis, it is usually not based on blood tests or any physical tests but on the DSM, which is mostly a work of fiction.

The way antidepressants work is by stopping or reducing ALL emotions, not just the negative ones.

And drugs are dangerous. Over time you tend to need more for the same effect. And then you tend to get into addiction.

Health is built, not bought.

 

 

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4 hours ago, jts said:

Getting adequate sleep and sunshine and exercise and good diet and all that works better than antidepressants. Which is not saying much.

The chemical imbalance has not been identified according to interviews with psychiatrists. When psychiatrists make a diagnosis, it is usually not based on blood tests or any physical tests but on the DSM, which is mostly a work of fiction.

The way antidepressants work is by stopping or reducing ALL emotions, not just the negative ones.

And drugs are dangerous. Over time you tend to need more for the same effect. And then you tend to get into addiction.

Health is built, not bought.

 

 

Nerian, talk to a doctor. The above from jts is stupidity.

If you're really feeling as down as it seems, please, talk to a doctor.

J

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16 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

If you're not on your purpose then you won't find happiness.  Purpose, productivity, and productive work go together in a man's hierarchy of values so that happiness can be possible.  Working a crappy job might be necessary right now until you can find happiness, Rand certainly didn't start out happy, she had to work odd jobs and other crap jobs she didn't like until she was able to do a career that she liked.

She also didn't end up happy. Her theories, and those of her followers, about happiness don't necessarily mesh with reality.

To anyone who is down, don't impose any guilt on yourself from having bought into her theories.

Talk to a doctor, a professional in the field, not to a novelist who dabbled in philosophy and made haphazard guesses about psychology, or her uneducated followers. Get real help.

J

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37 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Nerian, talk to a doctor. The above from its is stupidity.

If you're really feeling as down as it seems, please, talk to a doctor.

J

 

31 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

She also didn't end up happy. Her theories, and those of her followers, about happiness don't necessarily mesh with reality.

To anyone who is down, don't impose any guilt on yourself from having bought into her theories.

Talk to a doctor, a professional in the field, not to a novelist who dabbled in philosophy and made haphazard guesses about psychology, or her uneducated followers. Get real help.

J

Forget to take your bi-polar meds today, J?

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49 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

 

Forget to take your bi-polar meds today, J?

When someone's hurting, I want to encourage them to pursue what's best for them in reality, rather than listening to philosophical zealot's half-baked theories.

J

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

When someone's hurting, I want to encourage them to pursue what's best for them in reality, rather than listening to philosophical zealot's half-baked theories.

J

False alternative logical fallacy.  Might be a good time to mention Rand said man should hold reason as an absolute, J.

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34 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

False alternative logical fallacy.  Might be a good time to mention Rand said man should hold reason as an absolute, J.

No, it's a not a false alternative fallacy. Rand was not a trained professional in the field in question. Telling people to find solutions in her work is like advising people to find the same in the Lord. It's like telling them to turn to Rand when what they actually need is a surgeon, or an auto mechanic, or a tax accountant. Despite what you may need to believe, Rand isn't the answer to everything.

J

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4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

No, it's a not a false alternative fallacy.

It was a false alternative.

4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Rand was not a trained professional in the field in question. Telling people to find solutions in her work is like advising people to find the same in the Lord.

No it's not like advising people "to find the same in the Lord."  First Rand was a real person, and didn't want to be worshiped.  Second her philosophy is reality based and life-on-earth based, Christianity is largely myth, contradictory, and largely for life-after-death.

4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

It's like telling them to turn to Rand when what they actually need is a surgeon, or an auto mechanic, or a tax accountant.

Surgeons deal directly with reality, an auto mechanic, and a tax accountant.  Do you really lump psychologists and psychiatrists in the same category as them?

4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Despite what you may need to believe, Rand isn't the answer to everything.

"May need to believe"--vague language, baiting.  No, I don't think Rand is the answer to everything.  Your suggestion for Nerian to, "Explore medication for chemical imbalances that cause anxiety and depression," certainly was not the answer.  It was an answer, a suggestion.  Suggesting he talk to a doctor was much better.

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13 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

It was a false alternative.

You should try to quit parroting Rand. Try to think of some ploys that you didn't get from her.

 

13 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

First Rand was a real person, and didn't want to be worshiped. 

Hahaha! You're really that unaware of her personal history? Hahaha!

 

13 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

Second her philosophy is reality based and life-on-earth based, Christianity is largely myth, contradictory, and largely for life-after-death.

That's the sales pitch, but not the reality. Granted, I think she started out wanting to adhere to reality, but she eventually started deviating from it and bluffing. When she didn't know something, she usually went with her emotions instead if simply saying "I don't know."

 

13 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

Surgeons deal directly with reality, an auto mechanic, and a tax accountant.  Do you really lump psychologists and psychiatrists in the same category as them?

I said nothing about psychologists or psychiatrists. I advised talking to a doctor, which would mean a general practitioner to begin with, a "family doctor."

As for "lumping" (nice parroting of one of Rand's favorite poison words) psychologists and psychiatrists into the category of people who deal directly with reality, yes, I do. Their professional knowledge of their realm of reality far exceeds Rand's novice guesswork. Rand did make some intelligent, reasonable observations about people and their motives and mindsets, as has any layman on the subjects of psychology, psychiatry, etc., but she also gave some very stupid and harmful opinions, which, by the way, did not adhere to her philosophy's sales pitch of being "reality based and life-on-earth based."

Chemical changes affect the human body and mind. That is a fact of reality, even if someone wishes it not to be true so that he can continue to believe in a philosophical cure for whatever ails someone.

Your zealotry is showing.

 

13 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

"May need to believe"--vague language, baiting.  No, I don't think Rand is the answer to everything.  Your suggestion for Nerian to, "Explore medication for chemical imbalances that cause anxiety and depression," certainly was not the answer.  It was an answer, a suggestion.  Suggesting he talk to a doctor was much better.

I offered one suggestion which included talking to a doctor and exploring medical options. You artificially divided it into two exclusive statements, and apparently assumed that I believed that I was offering definitive "answers" to the problems described. You've done a lot of unwarranted and irrational assuming. It doesn't appear that you're adhering to the reality of the conversation, but importing your own subjective, hostile misinterpretations of it. Not very Objectivey!

And its odd that you're asserting that exploring medicinal options is "certainly not the answer." How do you imagine that you know that it's not the answer? By what objective means have you made that determination? Please, objectively demonstrate the method that you've used to completely eliminate chemistry as a potential solution.

J

 

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On 12/27/2017 at 7:16 PM, Nerian said:

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

The first, unmentioned but implicit, precept (as far as I'm concerned) of rational selfishness, is: take good care of yourself. That mustn't be lost in the grander scheme of virtues and principles. Nerian, you are in a more fragile position than I first thought. First response, btw, - you speak of drudgery, and it seems to me that what is plodding through life to some people, is to others, taking baby steps and later, strides, towards eventual fulfillment . Find your own pace (as well as direction). That's *only* a shift of mindset - not as easy as that, I admit. Because, first thing to acknowledge to oneself at such low times, is that nearly all of the problem is inside, not out there. (Despite what I said about these trying times, which stands). Existence is, and goes on, with or without one's approval since our existence is immaterial to existence. And there's mankind's eternal question: how to then find value and purpose? Definitely, it is not going to be conferred on one, automatically, by merely being born. Some start out young with a sense of their place in the world, confident in their rightness to live and with god-given meaning and purposefulness. (For this, I don't altogether disparage being born into an existing philosophy, of sorts, with preselected principles and customs and morals - and place). But rational secular individuals value reality, truth and independence above all, so they have already chosen a path which takes them off the well-beaten societal or religious route - meaning, each has to *think*, in his every step.

I've found it's difficult -to impossible, to "teach" an adult his own value and purpose. I can say: Life can't be separated from value, nor value from life and one ought to choose life -- which you know -- but these are just words to anyone who is caught in a dis-value spiral. What I think, debatable to Objectivists, is that one's choice(s) for a valued existence has its counter and opposite, not in 'non-existence', but in a 'non-optimal existence' - for man; which is a kind of spiritual death - for man.  I think all value and values, from - well, food and sustenance - on up - are all predicated upon "spiritual" value . As there's no dichotomy between mind and body, so there's none between material things and spirit. Food, and satisfying every physical need ensures the survival of one's body-mind - so one's conceptual knowledge, virtues, values and pleasures of life.

So finding value and purpose has be undertaken by oneself, induced from many observations, experiences and ultimately from thinking and self-knowledge.

Probably very important too, imo, is to take oneself back to acute, direct contact with reality - literally. To consciously re-learn how to breathe properly, feel the air, touch things anew, hear the sounds you've habitually blocked out, smell, taste, like you've never before, and of course, to *see* all things around you in a fresh light, for what they are. This further awakens the senses which I am sure brings freshly conscious consideration and thinking. I feel too much time is spent by people soaking up ready-made opinions and packaged information, coming at us thick and fast. Some of the noise is anti-value to the point of nihilistic, I think. To counter-act the deluge of data, for a while maybe contact with other people should be kept more personal, up close. Altogether, I suggest you need to go back to "baby steps" and recommence finding the *small* purposes and *small* values which aggregate into and support that supreme value and purpose. I suggest not ever to take anything for granted - as 'given' - beginning with your life. Experience has shown me that building the sure and certain basis in one's life, has more solid, lasting value in the long run. Don't beat yourself up, but, equally, be rigorously *honest* with yourself, it's possible that you've not always applied your mind sufficiently and been physically energetic enough.

Here's one of my favorite quotes.

"Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. Security is a superstition. It does not exist in nature." From a woman who didn't have the benefits of all the senses we have - and presume upon - Helen Keller. Hell, how could she know this? how could she find such gutsy conviction?!

Find your daring adventure. 

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I haven't read this thread (I will later), but this seems like the appropriate place.

I'm finally going to the oral surgeon in a few minutes. I hope the result doesn't make life "too painful to make it worth it." It probably will for a while.

Wish me luck.

:)

Michael

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

[...]

And its odd that you're asserting that exploring medicinal options is "certainly not the answer." How do you imagine that you know that it's not the answer? By what objective means have you made that determination? Please, objectively demonstrate the method that you've used to completely eliminate chemistry as a potential solution.

J

You suggested earlier that Nerian, "Talk to a doctor. "  Your suggestion for him to talk to a doctor was a good one.  Your suggestion to, "Explore medication for chemical imbalances that cause anxiety and depression," was not.  There's no way you can know that to suggest it.

3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Chemical changes affect the human body and mind. That is a fact of reality, even if someone wishes it not to be true so that he can continue to believe in a philosophical cure for whatever ails someone.

Your zealotry is showing.

Strawman argument, I haven't said this.  And no, I haven't "completely eliminate(d) chemistry as a potential solution."  The fact you went to it first is what I had objection with.

J, I've seen you argue before on this forum and it bores me, honestly.  You won't be getting another response from me.

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1 hour ago, KorbenDallas said:

You suggested earlier that Nerian, "Talk to a doctor. "  Your suggestion for him to talk to a doctor was a good one.  Your suggestion to, "Explore medication for chemical imbalances that cause anxiety and depression," was not.  There's no way you can know that to suggest it.

 

Really? There's no way that I could know it? Are you sure? Is it not possible that I've picked up on certain indicators based on knowledge of which you're unaware?

You seem to be kind of a sloppy thinker, so let me point something out to you: Notice that my suggestion was to "explore" the idea of medication and chemical imbalances. Do you understand what "explore" means in this context? It just means to look into or investigate the idea, and weight its potential applicability.

Who could object to such an idea, let alone as passionately as you have? You're behaving as if I suggested that the only solution to the problem is to immediately start experimenting with self-medication willy nilly. Your reaction is emotional, irrational, and completely out of proportion. It's the sort of reaction that zealots tend to have.

 

1 hour ago, KorbenDallas said:

Strawman argument, I haven't said this.  And no, I haven't "completely eliminate(d) chemistry as a potential solution."

Actually, you DID say it. Heh. Are you not paying attention to what you say, or are you just dishonest? Fortunately, there's a record of it right here on this thread. You said that exploring medication for chemical imbalances "certainly was not the answer." Do you not understand what those words mean? They mean that you were asserting that exploring medication for chemical imbalances is certainly not the answer, which means that it should be ruled out.

 

1 hour ago, KorbenDallas said:

J, I've seen you argue before on this forum and it bores me, honestly.  You won't be getting another response from me.

Heh. Yeah, that's a pretty common response that Rand's little followers use when they discover that they've bitten off much more than they can chew, that their authority poses aren't working, and that they've been caught out saying really foolish crap.

Buh-bye, fragile small fry. Run along to your safe space!

J

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I'm finally going to the oral surgeon in a few minutes. I hope the result doesn't make life "too painful to make it worth it." It probably will for a while.

For those interested, I had a tooth extracted and stitches sewn. (This oral surgeon was marvelous and super-competent as the extraction was complicated, but he made it look easy.)

I'm still not feeling pain, but in a little while comes the fun part.

It's like an asteroid with my name written on it headed right at me and there is nothing I can do to get out of the way.

Dayaamm!

:)

Michael

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48 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

For those interested, I had a tooth extracted and stitches sewn. (This oral surgeon was marvelous and super-competent as the extraction was complicated, but he made it look easy.)

I'm still not feeling pain, but in a little while comes the fun part.

It's like an asteroid with my name written on it headed right at me and there is nothing I can do to get out of the way.

Dayaamm!

:)

Michael

Whatever you do, don't use medication! That's certainly not the answer to pain. Instead, study philosophy and learn what virtues you can believe in and practice in order to earn the avoidance of pain the reward of pleasure.

J

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On 12/27/2017 at 9:16 AM, Nerian said:

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

 

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Whatever you do, don't use medication! That's certainly not the answer to pain. Instead, study philosophy and learn what virtues you can believe in and practice in order to earn the avoidance of pain the reward of pleasure.

Jonathan,

Nah... I'm a wuss.

I'm using high doses of ibuprofen (800 mg every 6 hours) right now as I heal and an antibiotic (amoxicillin for 2 or 3 days or so) for the inflammation that was there before the oral surgeon took the tooth out. The pain is much less than I thought it would be. I will lower the ibuprofen doses as I go along, first to 600, then 400, then 200 then stop. I will also try to extend the time intervals.

I'll let my body tell me how intense the pain is as I go along. After all, A is A. :) 

They want me to do saltwater mouthwashes after I eat as I heal and, for the life of me, I can't fit that one into this debate.

After all, salt is salt.

:) 

Michael

 

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On 12/27/2017 at 11:16 AM, Nerian said:

What if the daily grind of living just doesn't bring you any sort of happiness? What if life just isn't worth the struggle? All the work? To me, as of the last year, life seems like nothing but drudgery with tiny moments of relief. These tiny blips seem hardly worth the mountain of pain required to get them. I cannot understand why people are keen to be alive. The best time of my life is between falling asleep and waking up.

I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty.

Why choose to live? I'm over it.

Nerian,

You sound like you are in a stage of clinical depression. And that is caused by chemical and/or hormonal imbalances. I agree you should talk to a doctor--as soon as possible. And make sure they make tests (blood tests and so on) before prescribing any medication. And if you are taking some drugs with side effects that produce this depression, raise that issue with the doctor, too.

Regardless of whatever you may think, your brain is out of whack if you feel deep inside that life is not worth living. Life is the standard, not the goal. A standard is not a goal. It helps you achieve goals. (That's a thought you should ponder when you feel you need to be complicated. :) )  

The real danger is when you think you are competent, in that state, to "fix the problem" so to speak. That leads to suicidal thoughts and that is not a fix. That is killing yourself. That is creating a different problem. You are not God. You are a human being and you deserve to feel everything humans normally feel. The default nature of humans is to want to live. Achieving that state is the goal when one is ill, just like getting well is the goal during any illness.

At least give the doctor a shot before you do anything rash.

Even at this distance, I care about you and I am sure many here on OL care about you, too.

You matter...

Michael

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