Pills for spiritual crises
I just came across this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Finslippy. My heart goes out to her because I know exactly how she feels. Exactly. I dealt with the feelings she describes in that post -- the sleepless nights, looking around at everyone else thinking, "How can you act like you don't know!", the total despair -- for seven years. Eventually intellectual laziness and getting a crazy job pulled me out of it, but I still fight those feelings occasionally. In fact, having a recurrence of these feelings is what threw me into an urgent search for religion.
Reading her post now, it strikes me as a good old fashioned spiritual crisis. It's bound to happen to smart people who aren't particularly religious. It says a lot about our culture that she was encouraged to see a psychiatric professional who diagnosed her with a syndrome and put her on medication to make her feel better. There was a time when she would have been encouraged to see a priest, which surely would have been a better call. Even if you're not Christian, what people in those situations need to do is have deep, intense discussions about the meanings of life and, most importantly, death. Taking a pill may make you forget for a while, but it doesn't change the facts of the situation, and the feelings will bubble up again sooner or later.
The heavy, heart-sinking feeling that Finslippy describes is what keeps me going in this little spiritual quest of mine, even when it seems hopeless. Because even if I never end up believing anything, I must find something that I can raise my son to believe. Even if I'm not sure it's true, it's better than the alternative. I never want him to feel that way.