Chapter #12: Darkness


I will not go into detail about this chapter of my life, because it involves other people. I will say this: experiencing other people suffer can be more traumatic than suffering yourself. I still feel myself relapsing into PTSD-like experiences of anxiety and stress when people around me experience helplessness.

There is no worse feeling like knowing you have all the answers, or the right perspective, and being incapable of transmitting that to another, or helping them in any way.

One of the most miserable moments of my life: I have left the house and am trying to jog. Trying to run away from the misery that is my existence, but it stays right there with me. I am a terrible person, this is obvious, and that weighs down on me even more. Why am I even alive? What right do I have to cause others so much pain?

I cried and I ran and I cried some more, and I really just wanted all of realty to fold in on me and for everything to just cease being. This wasn’t a wish for suicide, because I did not have the courage to do that. Nor was it depression, because I was feeling too much. This was misery, the pain of existence and the suffering I cause others and myself by doing so. It was the wish for this to be no more, but not of my own doing.

Those years, most of my twenties, just appear like a gaping black hole, a sea of darkness, when I look back at them. So much helpless misery. So many situations that were way beyond my ability to even begin to cope with. It brought out my worst behaviors, my darkest sides, adding even more guilt to the mix.

I remember desperately grasping at straws, like a drowning man who’s mostly gone – more underwater than above it.

Looking for answers in the Torah and secular books. Seeking guidance from “experts”. Making phone calls to “resources”. Trudging through the streets to put up signs on neighborhood bus stops in an attempt at creating my own support network. I was willing to do anything, yet no one could suggest what that thing would be.

So much anger, so much resentment, so much helplessness. A complete victim, I then displaced as much of it as I could upon everything I could blame. I still feel the anger and pain burning in my chest when I write this. it’s been years of therapy, daily meditation, and growth, and yet the feelings are always there, right beneath the surface.

People sometimes ask me if I think life is worth living. People often say that life is a gift and we should enjoy it. When I look back on my life, the pleasure I have experienced from existing does not even come close to the pain I have endured. So it seems so unworthwhile.

Maybe one day, I’ll experience more joy than I have suffering and things will balance out. Maybe I’m just one choice away from doing so. It hasn’t happened yet.

Am I suicidal? Not at all. I have too much responsibility, and too much attachment to this world, to want to remove myself from it.

But do I wish I had never existed in the first place? Absolutely.

Full chapter list (Available in eBook Form)

  1. Kindergarten
  2. Cheder
  3. Mishna
  4. Good and Evil
  5. Gemara
  6. Yeshiva Gedola
  7. Ramat Shlomo
  8. Beitar
  9. More of That
  10. The IDF
  11. Mitzpeh
  12. Darkness
  13. Independence
  14. Shitting on the Parade
  15. Light
  16. Detox
  17. Spreading Wings
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