Oh, what’s the bloody point?

Famously, this was the last entry in Kenneth Williams’ diary (or at least the gist of it – I haven’t been able to track down the exact quote) from a couple of days before he killed himself/ took an accidental overdose.  (I know which I believe, but technically the coroner returned an open verdict.)

Don’t worry, I’m not suicidal, but I am questioning the point of doing – well, anything, really.  At the moment the whole business of daily life, the endless round of  getting up – shuffling vaguely around for a few hours feeling totally knackered – going to bed and failing to sleep – getting up – shuffling vaguely around – and on – and on – and on – and on – seems absolutely, supremely pointless.

Take the whole business of eating food.  Look at all the work it involves – first you have to buy it, then you have to put it away in the fridge and the cupboard.  Then you have to get it out of the cupboard and fridge, cook it, and put it on a plate.  Once you’ve pushed it around on the plate listlessly for a while, you scrape most of it into the bin, then wash up the plate, the cutlery, the pots and pans.

I mean, yes, I get hungry, but what’s the point of going to all the trouble buying and cooking something that I’ll just end up either scraping into a bin straight away or flushing down the toilet a few hours later?  I know that’s not what happens to all of it, some of it gets turned into me, but, really, what’s the point of that?

What actually do I contribute to the planet?  I’m basically nothing but a carbon footprint with no lifestyle attached.  I don’t work.  I don’t play.  To my family and friends I’m basically just a burden.  They’re too kind to put it like that of course, but still, all I am is something to worry vaguely about – “I wonder how Aethelread is – I really should send him an email/ make plans to go and visit him.”

If I was dead, they’d be spared that, at least.  Of course they’d be upset for a while, some of them quite badly.  For a few weeks they’d find themselves crying at odd moments, for a few months they’d feel a mixture of sadness and guilt when they thought about me, for a few years they’d feel vaguely wistful when they remembered to think about me.  But then it would be over.  Pretty soon they would have forgotten all about me, and that would be one less thing for them all to worry about.

As you might have gathered, I’m in one of those states of mind where I find myself wishing I was dead.  I’m not actively suicidal, but I am longing for death.  I worry about writing a sentence like that – partly because it sounds so pathetically overwrought, and partly because I’m worried all of you will start (continue?) to think of me as a self-indulgent drama queen who never bothered to grow up, even though he’s 20 years too old to be carrying on like a moody teenager.

But everything would just be so much easier if I was dead.  I feel guilty writing a sentence like that.  I feel guilty when I think of my mum, who lived the last few years of her life in the grip of a serious illness that left her a virtual prisoner in her own house, and towards the end a virtual prisoner in her own skull, but still woke up every morning, and looked through the window at the grass, and the trees, and the birds, and felt glad to be alive.  I feel guilty when I think of all those people for whom death really would be a release from intolerable physical pain.  I feel guilty for moaning about the hassle of cooking food when there are so many people around the world who work all the hours there are but still can’t afford to eat, while I lie around doing fuck-all and can still afford to eat pretty much whatever I want, pretty much whenever I want..

At the same time, I’m out of sorts and irritable.  I feel like picking a fight with someone, just so I can get angry, just so I can feel something, just so I can feel something.  There’s a glass on the table next to me, it’s empty, and I’m thirsty.  I want to pick it up and throw it against the wall because it isn’t instantly, supernaturally, full, and mainly just for the pleasure of watching and hearing it smash.

So why am I feeling like this?  Well I think it’s probably because, at the moment, every time I do something, it feels like a repeat.  It’s not exactly deja-vu, it doesn’t have that weird, someone’s-walking-over-your-grave shiver of oddness about it.  But every time I do anything it’s a repeat.  I think that’s partly why it’s so hard to bother to do anything, because it’s already been done before.  If I go and fill up this glass, drink the contents, there’s really no point, because it will be exactly the same drink that I had earlier, that I had a week ago, that I had last year.  I know that doesn’t make any sense – how can it possibly be the same drink? – but it is.

It’s not just that I’ve done the same thing before – sat writing a post for my blog, felt thirsty, found my glass is empty, gone to fill it up.  That would be a repeated action, but what I feel is that the whole thing is entirely a repeat, that it’s exactly the same drink I’ve already had.  The only way I can think to explain it is that it’s like watching your favourite tv programme.  If you sit down to watch every time there’s a new episode on, that’s a repeated action, but the content of the experience is new.  On the other hand, if you sit down to watch an episode you’ve already seen, that’s not only a repeated action, but a repeated experience too.  That’s what fetching a new drink would be like for me – not just going through the same motions, but drinking exactly the same drink.

Except actually it’s more than that, because the repeated experience comes in the middle of a whole lot of other repeated experiences.  Like Groundhog Day, except that in that film Bill Murray can behave differently each time round, and his different actions change the world – like the boy he saves from falling out of the tree.  So I guess you’d have to say that it’s like a version of Groundhog Day where Bill Murray is aware of the fact that everything’s repeating, but he’s stuck repeating the same actions along with everyone else.

And that’s why I can’t be bothered doing anything, because, really, what’s the point?  If today’s meal is exactly the same as yesterday’s, then why bother going to the trouble of buying it, cooking it, and eating it?  If everything’s a repeat, then, really, there’s no point in doing anything.

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12 Responses to Oh, what’s the bloody point?

  1. Mariah says:

    If variety is the spice of life, life without variety is stale white bread.

  2. Chouette says:

    I thought about leaving a comment, then realised there was no point.

    Ah, yeah, not funny… I’ll get me coat *shuffles out of blog*

  3. Yep know the feeling.It’s just existance & no enjoyment for me either.

  4. cb says:

    I don’t really have anything to say that I think would help much. Except that by writing how you are feeling you are allowing people to understand more about what you are going through. And I am certainly very thankful for that. There is some quote from somewhere about never being able to walk into the same river twice, because the way you come at things can change – but i don’t want to move into ‘lecture’ mode. I suppose even watching the same episode of a soap opera a second time would be a different experience because you will be able to experience it in a different way, knowing what is happening. Anyway, take care.

  5. thenewrepublic says:

    It’s reading posts like this that make me realize I’d never make a mental nurse- just don’t know what to say. All the same, I can’t just walk [surf] away…So, erm…,ahh…, O Christ! What a crap mate I’d make… But I DO know how you feel. And I’ve had almost the same thoughts about friends and family. But! After losing my brother to, err, you know what, 8 years ago, I can say the pain doesn’t go away…See what I’m glum about at http://www.the-newrepublic.blogspot.com . Best wishes.

  6. J. Wibble says:

    I have been feeling exactly the same lately. I have no idea what the hell to do about it, unfortunately; I really wish I had some words of wisdom other than “you’re not alone in feeling like this” but all I have to offer right now is Welsh cider and cheap vodka and lemonade and the soundtrack to Rent. I’ll return when I’m not stuck in the same slump and can think of something useful to say. *shuffles off*

  7. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Hi, thanks for the comments, it really does help to get them, you know?

    Mariah – spot on – although, that said, there are loads of times when i’m really desperate for a quiet, undisturbed routine, which i guess you could call a craving for stale white bread…. I know, i know, i’m always moaning about something!

    Chouette – what a brilliant comment – it made me laugh out loud! :o)

    Seratonin – sorry to hear you’re having the same – hope it gets better soon.

    cb – don’t worry about ‘lecture mode’, i’m always interested in what people have to say. :o) You’re right to point out the holes in my tv-watching metaphor, but it was the closest analogy i could think of. It’s frustratingly hard to describe – but i’m pleased if you find what i did manage to put down interesting/useful.

    thenewrepublic – thanks for taking the trouble to stop and say something – it’s really appreciated. I’m really sorry to hear about your brother – thanks for reminding that the whole “no-one will remember me after i’m gone!” thing is probably not true. I have indeed seen what you’re glum about – it’s a great blog.

    J Wibble – (great name, btw). Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling the same, and hope it gets better soon. Your blog – http://toasterintheshower.blogspot.com/ – looks really interesting, i’m definitely going to check it out in more detail.

    Don’t worry about feeling you have nothing to offer – and this goes for everyone who took the time and trouble to comment – it’s just really useful to know you’re not alone.

    Thanks all,

    A.

  8. aethelreadtheunread says:

    btw – that last paragraph’s not meant to be a dig at people who read and didn’t comment. As i mentioned in the last post, i always tend to be in the reading-but-not-commenting category myself, so i’m really NOT having a go. :o) A.

  9. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Hey,

    Yeah, i’m ok, thanks. Sorry it’s been all quiet on the blogging front for a little while, and thanks for worrying. Er….dammit, that sounds wrong – i don’t mean i WANTED you to worry….oh, hell, you know what i mean, i hope. ;o)

    Sorry to read you’re having such a lousy time of it at the moment – hope you feel better soon.

    Cheers,

    A.

  10. Zoe says:

    Hi Aethelread, just letting you know I’m reading along and thanks for linking to me.

  11. Pingback: Mental Nurse / This Week in Mentalists (33)

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