Life really sucks

Now before I go into this, I wouldn’t classify myself as having any sort of mental ailment (that I know of).

Also, while this post may include some background info on politics/religion, this isn’t a P&R post.

And with that out of the way…

I’m fucking depressed. This isn’t about self-esteem issues or an identity crisis or lack of money or any such thing. Let me explain.

This summer I did some internship work for a news agency here in Dubai. By virtue of being in the Middle East, I had to keep track of breaking news stories in the region because they were relevant to our bureau. We would often have to do opinion analyses of news sources here or other support work that could aid the other bureaus in their budding stories, and if there was any Dubai angle that needed covering, we would pursue it.

Now if you recall at the time the Middle East was, as usual, explosive. There was the new-born conflict in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas militants. The Lebanese had started fighting with the al-Qaeda terrorists in the Nahr al-Bared camp. Iraq’s bloodbath intensified with the bombing of major holy Shiite shrines and hundreds dead daily. A large number of Oman’s coastal cities were flooded in a cyclone. These were obviously exacerbated by other miscellanious tragedies around the world, such as hundreds dead in China and India due to floods.

And I started feeling more down every single day. And I started hating getting up in the morning to go to work. What was the point anyway, when it was easy to predict where people were going to kill other people pointlessly during the course of the day? You could count on the endless cycle of senseless violence and hollow rhetoric to continue unabated every single day. And get this: I wasn’t even living inside one of those hotspots. I’m living in a completely peaceful city, in a completely peaceful country (knock on wood!) that doesn’t even feel like its part of this ridiculously violent region. All that had to happen was for me to get bombarded by up to the minute accounts of the violence.

Yes, even after 3 years it STILL IS depressing to hear about another 150 deaths in a random bomb explosion.

Now the violence gripping this region isn’t the sole issue. As part of feeling down everyday the bullshit of everyday life tends to hit hard. I started feeling a lot more cynical of everyone, consistently aware of how much bullshit is on display on TV for instance by everyone - politicians, law enforcement people, businessmen, celebrities, etc. You start to feel like everyone has ulterior motives, that few people are genuinely compassionate in today’s world.

Maybe that’s the problem - there just isn’t that much good left around in the world. From the senseless violence everyday in the news, to the ulterior motives of politicians and religious personnel who want to whip the mob into a frenzy or simply play on the average pollster’s key issues to the commercialization of EVERYTHING.


Incoming TL;DR comments notwithstanding, it is my firm belief that every forum member is entitled to a single embarrassing post that will cause him/her unfettered ridicule. This is mine.

I’m thinking I should maybe watch more Paris Hilton news or something?

I think you should force yourself to spend time with an old friend you haven’t spent time with.

I know some people shut themselves in and play hermit when they start feeling bad, and decline invitations to go out. Also, don’t drink alone. If you’re gonna get shit-faced, do it with some friends. I hate to admit it but it really makes me feel better.

If you need to analyze I guess it forces you to go to a new enviroment and think differently - jostle you from your fugue.

As trite as it sounds, some sort of physical hobby is good too. Doesn’t necessarily mean running. Maybe you liked to paint as a kid. Carve wood. Anything to make the brain do something else.

That kind of news depresses me when I hear it, too. If I was forced to confront it every day, I think I would find it overwhelming.

There’s plenty of good left in the world. It’s just not carried by the media because the sensationalist standard of the day dictates that an act of good that’s newsworthy is much farther outside the norm than an act of violence. Part of this probably stems from the idea that people are “inherently good” that most of us carry around: Petty acts of kindness are expected; petty acts of violence are still reported.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that the media is giving you an accurate view of the cross section of humanity. Nothing does that but getting out amongst humanity and seeing it for yourself. The media gives you a view of what’s most newsworthy; almost by definition that means that it’s whatever is farthest skewed from the norm of humanity. (“Oh look, what a cute puppy, I think I’ll pet it!” isn’t particularly newsworthy but it’s pretty human.)

Whatever you do, don’t read this book.

I thought yours was when you Tranq’d the Vampire game?

You’re correct regarding the media’s penchant for sensationalism, but I think it also has to do with there not being much good to counter the evil. For instance, there are no acts of kindness that rival the impact of a car bombing that kills 200 people. Such great acts of good probably do occur but not with the frequency in which evil recurs in today’s world. And if they did occur often and were as influential as the random violence today they would be newsworthy.

I’m probably talking gibberish at this point, but it’s getting late here.

A different username at the time!

Edit: Hindsight being 20/20, I was in fact an asshole. Sorry, Kareem.

Rather than a suggestion, can I make a request? Please don’t attend any American universities, particularly not Virginia Tech.


Oh man, we get one per username? I think I’d better get my next half-dozen name-change requests into the queue right away, then.

Very sensitive guys. Kareem, what you are going through isn’t surprising considering your job at the time and nothing since then to balance things out. Have you thought about volunteering to help people? Sometimes doing good yourself and helping others who really ARE doing good can remind you of the decent side of humanity.

Kareem doesn’t sound anything like the VTech shooter and his feelings are very understandable and reasonable. That’s a horrible thing to imply about him. The world is shitty for many people and that can begin to weigh on someone, whether they experience directly or not.

I agree. Doing good, and being good, can counterbalance the feeling that nothing can be changed. You can change yourself.

It’s a hard time to be a citizen of the world: we have the consciousness to see what’s happening in the world, but not the power to change it. Hell, I can’t even get a Presidential candidate in office (or one out of office) for the last fifteen years, and that’s in the country I live in…

Hey, glad to see the jerks come out in force. You guys are a fucking laugh riot. Hoo hoo.

Kareem, the volunteer and physical hobby suggestions are both aces. Either one of those will get you out of your own head and into a different kind of place than you’d normally find yourself.

There have been some good threads on starting an exercise regimen, if that’s something you don’t already do. Something simple but consistent can make a huge difference to your mood after just a week or so.

Here’s another tip: I’m not sure how old you are or what your cultural background is, but try going back and reading some of the books that made a big impact on you when you were younger. That’s a great way to rediscover through older eyes the way you used to think about the world. Of course, it can also make you realize what a dumbass you were when you were younger (Atlas Shrugged? Siddhartha?), but at least you’ll have a good laugh.


Was it a summer or three years? Luuuuuucy! You got some splainin to do!

Maybe I’m a callous bastard (okay, not maybe), but I don’t get how the deaths of people you don’t really know so much can bother you so hardcore. Sure, it sucks, but if you spend all your time worrying about sucky stuff you never get to have any fun. And, hell, you only get one try, so you might as well make it a good one. You’re (presumably) done with your internship. Stop watchin CNN and Al Jazeera and kick back with a 5$ bottle of wine (Sutter Home is an excellent choice!), possibly with a porno or three to keep you company. Nothing like plastic tits and 80s style porn electronika for getting past all those feelings of angst and depression.

Ohh! Ohh! Especially the one with the dude who looks like a Viking and ends up breaking the damn bed because he’s going at it too hard! There’s even a cut right after the bed breaks where they obviously try to fix it, and then they go back to doing it! Hard core!

If that doesn’t restore your faith in humanity, I don’t know what will. It worked for me!

Nothing like porn, alcohol, and a good old fashioned ‘what do you care? snap out of it!’ The only thing left is a gentle chuck to the chin.


Could you provide the latter two? I’ve got the first two covered.

But seriously, the world is shit. People are unjustly killed every minute (note: statistics originated in anus) and if you feel bad for all of them, it’ll dominate your life. Your only choice is to accept it and move on, or make it the focus of your existence and dedicate your life to trying to change things. Which would probably involve more than taking note of the deaths from your safe job in your safe country. So, what’ll it be?

I’m not a big fan of the false dilemma–I’d like to think you’ve got more choices than “accept it and get the porn” and “become Mother Theresa.” There are varying degrees of activism, and all of them can make a difference–both for the world and the way you feel about the world. But looking at the biggest of the big pictures and challenging yourself to change it on that scope is a pretty good way to steer yourself into either apathy or depression.

I chose apathetic depression.