Tag Archives: Pessimism

So Lonely

Amazing that I am surrounded by people and feel so alone sometimes. Just not feeling connected, particularly after ending a long-term relationship about six months ago. I know the relationship wasn’t good for me, and I was lonely in the relationship, but I still miss that human touch. Probably more than anything else.

So, what is one to do? I am supposed to be more social, spend time with friends, etc. I just feel like someone should call me once in a while and see how I’m doing for a change. Only fair in a friendship, right? It is really hard to push myself to call friends.

So Lonely…



Post-Holiday Let Down

Now it’s time for the post-holiday blues. All the great expectations we had have passed, all the excitement is over for another year. A time of hope and joy is now a time of reflection on the past year that is coming to a close. Bummer. Yeah, that describes the past few years. Maybe decades ( I exaggerate, perhaps just the past 15 years). I like to frame things in a slightly more positive manner and say I don’t have regrets, because I have gained something from every experience. Problem is, some of the experiences have been quite emotionally painful. Why am I destined to learn the hard way? I just have to conclude I have some bad karma or something that I have to make up for through this penance. Ugh.

So what can I do with this “here I am the holidays are over disappointment now what feeling?” Right now the usual platitudes are running through my head…exercise, eat right, treat yourself to a new hairstyle/manicure/massage. Sounds great if someone else is going to foot the bill. Up to my eyeballs in those too. Just another reason to feel blue. I just don’t feel like I get enough accomplished day-to-day and its soooo hard to be motivated.

 Don’t want to build up great expectations for the New Year either, and be monumentally disappointed. The new job is going well, so I look forward to planning a real vacation as soon as I can scrape some moolah together. Might be tough since I’m preparing to send my son to college in the fall. At least he is accepted to the school of his choice. Some things seem to work out well. I should be searching for scholarship money for him instead of blogging for me. Oh well. If I start now I might accomplish something and not be so “let down.”

Optimism vs. Pessimism

Excerpt from the essay “One Cheer for Melancholy” by Susanna Kaysen

A couple of my friends are chronic optimists. They are often disappointed because things didn’t work out as well as they have expected. I have never had such a feeling because I’m a pessimist. I get my disappointment over with beforehand. If things don’t work out, I’m smug because I predicted it. If they do, I’m pleasantly surprised. Any psychiatrist can tell you this is a standard defense mechanism against disappointment and loss. But so is optimism—and optimism is a lousy defense mechanism because more than half the time it leaves you feeling bad.

My main objection to optimism is that it’s incorrect. Things are somewhat more likely to turn out badly. Taking the long view, things are definitely going to turn out badly, since we all die at the end. I once read a study of “depressives” and “normal people” predicting outcomes in real-life situations. The depressives’ predictions were more often right. The pessimistic outlook is actually the realistic one.

If the price of being happier is an occluded worldview, I don’t want to pay it. I’d rather see things clearly. Seeing things clearly, for me, is a sort of happiness, even if what I see is banal or sad. Does one of my friends turn on me every time I get depressed? Does another get pleasure from putting me down? Do the idiotic events of history continue to repeat themselves, with tragic consequences? Yes, yes, and yes—but at least I know what I’m up against.

I also know that I am supposed to say that there are serious drawbacks to the melancholic temperament. Deep depression is debilitating. As doctors and drug manufacturers like to remind us, depression can be fatal. Public health officials talk about all the time “wasted” by being depressed. And yet, it’s not an uncommon activity, wasting time in this way. If the depressive and manic-depressive constitutions are such a liability, why are they rather prevalent in the human population? One answer may be balance. Together we make a complete picture.

So, I guess that’s why my nursing career has led me to the cheery field of hospice. Suits my melancholy personality just fine, no one expects me to be Sally Sunshine, and everybody knows what to expect at the end. The goal is always the same, a peaceful death. What more can you ask for? That’s pretty optimistic, isn’t it?