Why is it that some people can go to work five days a week, have weekends off and a four-week holiday each year and be content, when some of us struggle to keep our panic under control at the thought of continuing this lifestyle until the day we die?
It’s not the action of monotonously going to and from work forever that causes a near panic attack, it is the idea that causes so much distress. The idea of being stuck inside a specific framework of existence until we cease to exist is the idea that I struggle with. And struggle might not even be the best way to describe the experience. It is more like the idea surfaces, followed by increased heart rate, followed by tunnel vision and panic and finally followed by the logical conclusion that the only way to end this “struggle” is to take my own life.
I just can’t accept that this is how it must be indefinitely. There has to be another way to exist in the world, another way to pay ones bills and provide for oneself while not having to adhere to the box of full time work for somebody else and progressing somebody else’s goals and not your own.
I envy the normal man. The one who has never thought about another way of existing in the world, the one who has never felt the total relief that drugs and alcohol can provide. And it is not that drugs and alcohol take away the emptiness, anxiousness or sadness; it is that they allow you to forget. You find yourself thinking, “I can’t even remember what it feels like to be empty, anxious or sad.” And not remembering what it feels like to be these things is a huge step from just alleviating them for brief periods of time.
The people I know who suffer the most from mental illness are the same people I know who think way more about how they exist in this world. We wonder what’s the point of it all, we wonder why we should waste forty to fifty unhappy hours at work a week instead of being with our friends and family, and we suffer these thoughts because there is nothing we can do about it.
And then there is the normal man. The man who goes to work and happily works his fifty hours because, “it’s a respectable job with good pay.” And he happily drives home every day in traffic with only the occasional complaint. And he comes home, lets his wife make him dinner and sits on the couch and watches his shows until he falls asleep, right where he is. He never questions the process and he is a happy man, a content man, he is a man who has never thought of death.
The normal man thinks being angry and acting on those feelings is just a part of being human. Those who suffer in the ways that I have described are usually deeply afflicted people. They may act out their emotions but then they realise they could have acted differently, and punish themselves deeply for not doing so. This punishment is usually in the form of self-harm or self-inflicted mental punishment for not having acted better.
I have, in the past, made fun of the normal man. But no, there is nothing wrong with the normal man. The normal man is free from a kind of suffering only one who has experienced it can understand. He is not afflicted in existential ways and therefor does not suffer in this particular way.
Sometimes I wish I were the normal man. And then I realise that I already live life like the normal man, I just can’t accept it the way he does.