Venturing into my mind I came across reason. I’ll start a few steps before the revelation. I experience bouts of depression from time to time, an unwieldy feeling. A feeling that cannot be shook by anyone telling you to feel better or how well life might be at the moment. The thoughts come, “I shouldn’t feel this way,” “life’s fine,” “you should be happy.” Depression don’t care about your life situation. So, there’s that. Then there’s my enjoyment of the post apocalyptic genre. Think an ancient junkyard in the desert backed by an industrial metal soundtrack. Or simply zombies. There are many ways an apocalypse happens, nature reclaims what is hers, a life ending meteor collides with the planet, mythical beasts, mythical gods. So many. As much as I would like I didn’t start writing this to talk about different apocalyptic scenarios. I came here to talk about why I enjoy them. I think it has something to do with survival and the few options I would have to survive.
Depression as a post-apocalyptic landscape
No matter your world changing event the theme of surviving runs through them all. There might be a break from time to time but life in the apocalypse focuses on the basic needs to continue. Every day the plan is to survive to the next one. Or not, the choice to stop is an option. Losing your mind and persisting through sheer luck, I guess, could happen. Sometimes that what this life feels like. I’ll stick with trying to live for this essay. Each day is set up for me in my changed world. Last night’s raid from the Broker Clan left me with a leaky canteen and the can of beans I’ve had since the beginning. Great! Guess I know what I’ll have to do today. Survive. Maybe I’ll find food. Maybe shelter. Maybe those assholes that stole my stuff.
I’m not thinking about if I’m in the correct job. If I’m managing my time correctly to some idealized way of living a fulfilling life. I want water, food, shelter and if I have to fight every day for it all the better. My days are occupied. I don’t have to think about if what I’m doing is what I should be doing. I must live. No marauders, zombies, or mutants will stand in my way. I have to navigate the wind swept wilds, the aggressive vegetation, the now haunted cities. I have the basic daily routine laid out for me every day. The method to get through the day may change from encounter to encounter. That goal, though, is always survive. Not failing at marketing myself because I’m self-employed.
Ashtanga as support in times of depression
I like routine. It provides focus. It helps me to think less. It helps me continue and feel I have a purpose. Without a bit of discipline I would curl into a little ball and suffer through my never ending thoughts of how I should be better. Please, occupy me routine. This is a large reason I took so quickly to Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. It requires discipline to advance. It requires routine to stay consistent and advance. There are more selfish reasons why I liked ashtanga also but that can be in a different essay. Practice became one of the things in my life that I can fall into and feel the feels of doing something that requires attention. That occupies my mind. That levels out the fluctuations of thought. Much like my wasteland routine would.
Check for danger, check the supplies, drink, eat, find supplies, sleep safely. You know the things you would do. Maybe a practice when I can. I’ll meet people that the sun hasn’t burnt their mind to madness and we could become a community. Who am I kidding? Maybe I meet two others and the three of us try to survive together. Maybe an unravaged grocery store lurks a block down the road. The pickup parked in front of it maybe has gas. Maybe there are as many questions as ever. The world as we know it dies and maybe I’m the same? Even if we think this is a place to start over from zero. Maybe falling into a routine gives me the time to think about other things because the routine becomes mundane. It becomes automatic and unthinking. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. Maybe these are the ramblings of a mad man. What’s this waste world doing to me! Every day’s a fight for survival. Every day I kid myself. Telling myself, “I know what I have to do.” It’s exactly like the old life. I’m just trying to survive. It’s exactly like the old world. Nothings better just by thinking about how it could be.
Depression as a zombie apocalypse
Some days in the “real” world are hard. Too many options. Is my job good for me? If I quit it am I a failure? Am I failing others and myself? Should I just start over? What’s this all for!? Survival? Sure doesn’t feel like it but I guess that’s what we’re all doing. Everyday just working towards life. Some kind of life. Is it what we make of it? Why doesn’t it feel like it? If I’m bitten by the living dead let me wonder for a day or so then put one in my head. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day by eating them or their loved ones.
Wait a minute. Being a zombie does have its appeals now that I’m thinking about it. Don’t have to sleep; breath; drive; occupy myself with entertainment, thoughts, faith, others. Just rot away and seek the flesh of the living. Travel and eat. Sounds alright. Don’t shoot me. Let me bite you. We can all be zombies and just rot away nicely all congregated in places that left such deep impressions on us in our living time that we return to them till a warm food walks by or time returns us to the soil.
Alas. As most things end up upon discussing them and writing about them clarity happens. Everything in the end turns out to be so similar it makes me angry. Seeking a better time by thinking “if this, then happy” is bullshit. Going to work or rummaging through a half burnt house to find supplies are both things we do to survive. Wandering around in search of human flesh to satiate some “need” that I don’t even need to survive. Turns out it’s just a want. All this is just a want. That grass seems greener on the other side of the electric fence baring entrance into that company building I’m sure hides treasures.
It seems so much more fulfilling when there’s bombastic adventure. Mundane tasks become monumental events. And, in the end I do the same things as before. Tasks become tasks. Their mundaneness depends on the situation. In that other dimension where I’m surviving after the catastrophe, am I thinking about how much better it would be to get food from a store and drive to work? To garden and not worry about the killer robots matching through the sweet potato bed to remove my limbs from my body? To have the time to think about these things and know that can make popcorn at any point. That I’m not being present in my current life and when I’m not present I can’t spot the constant joys around me. Maybe? I don’t really like old sayings because they end up ruining my self-wallowing. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, give me a break. I’m only human. I don’t want to be depressed, but maybe I do.