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Thread: *SU* Treatise on the steppenwolf

  1. #1

    *SU* Treatise on the steppenwolf


    This post contains mentions of suicide.

    I haven't been to one of these forums in many many years; my depression back then was serious, getting better for a number of years, and returning now.

    I often suggest people who wish to know me to read Herman Hesse's "Steppenwolf", particularly the Treatise on the steppenwolf chapter, where the main character reads a booklet about themselves. What they read applies also to me, with frighting accuracy. And it was from this book that "a happy and not unhumorous idea came" - the character, being forty-five years old, "appointed his fiftieth birthday as the day on which he might allow himself to take his own life". I selected the end of my education as that day.
    Since then I've finished a BA, a Master's, and am currently on a PhD. In my endless privilege, I'm prolonging my education solely as a way to delay that "fiftieth birthday", and I derive no pleasure from my studies and my work. This delay cannot last forever, and I find myself one year away of my deadline, with the same lack of envisioned future as I suffered from seven years ago.
    When finishing an education, healthy people often look excitedly towards the future, they make plans, prepare themselves for whatever jobs and homes and lives they want to have when they're "in the real world", yet I see nothing but an endless void. I don't know what job I'd like to have - jobs are scarce, even more so in my field, and there is no realistic way I'd ever get a stable income and live a life of relative dignity and independence; I don't even know what life I'd like to have. In truth, I've gotten so used to the idea that my end was coming that I never considered what could come after that day, I never truly believed I'd ever get rid of this depression.
    Like the Steppenwolf character, "his ego, rightly or wrongly, is felt to be an extremely dangerous, dubious, and doomed germ of nature; he is always in his own eyes exposed to an extraordinary risk, as though he stood with the slightest foothold on the peak of a crag whence a slight push from without or an instant's weakness from within suffices to precipitate him into the void. The line of fate in the case of these men is marked by the belief they have that suicide is their most probable manner of death."
    Adding to these troubles, I've come to understand that a PhD is way beyond my skills and level of commitment. My thesis supervisor regularly informs me that my project is not good enough, I've had teachers say I shouldn't be in a PhD, I've been denied scholarship time and time again, every attempt at publishing a paper or speaking at a conference has been denied. I am therefore finding it difficult to continue working - when everyone around you tells you that your work is worthless, it is hard to continue with it.
    I've been accompanied by a psychologist for three years now, and have been on anti-depressants for a year. Sometimes I feel better, more hopeful, and other times I feel such efforts to better my chances are just a deception, a distraction.

    I'm not sure what I'm asking for here. Depression often leads to isolation, and I guess this post is an attempt at reaching out to others. I don't expect a fix from this forum, but at best a distraction.

  2. #2
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Jane Austen country
    Hi and welcome. Given that, recently, you’ve been seeing a psychologist, started antidepressants and have found us here, you’re obviously reaching out for help. That seems much more than deception and distraction, that seems to me to be a real wish to survive this illness. Trouble is, there is no quick fix for depression, especially when you’ve been so ill for so long. I believe there is a way through for you and I hope we can help with that. When was the last time you had a meds review and are you being 100% honest with your psychologist? Have you talked about your deadline?
    The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

  3. #3
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Surrey. UK
    Hi and welcome.. Stupid question - but why keep that deadline? Why not just forget it and move forward to do something that you might actually enjoy? There are so many other things for you to try.... What about travel? What about just having fun? What about seeing bands/concerts/plays/shows etc? What about friends? Family? Do they know about this deadline?

    Why let something you decided at 15 rule your life? I know I was a very different person at 15 than I am today....
    Please always remember that I am always right. I have a framed certificate to prove it.

    When in doubt, stop and think... WWSS? (What Would Suzi Say?)
    For more info please see
    THIS thread

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