Yi Xiang

A Young Writer in Search of His Voice

Kindle a light of meaning and hope

Raised and abused by a narcissist, I live most of my life in depression. For more than a decade, there is a constant gloom that refuses to leave me. It’s like There’s a voice in my head, telling me how bad I am, and how everything I do is wrong. I feel lonely and angry for most of my life, and honestly want to destroy myself, and everyone around me.

I feel dead, like a zombie buried under a pile of bones in the middle of a desert under a silent moon. Everything seems meaningless, and everything I do seems painful, helpless, and futile. Home is like hell, and I long for something that would make this life feel just a little bit more alive.

I eventually found my way out, and sometimes have to find a way out again when I’m careless and allow this narcissist to abuse me.

In these times of despair, the first thing to do is to not run. To allow the anger, hatred, and pain to overwhelm me, to feel it in its fullest. It’s not pleasant. I feel like a monster for feeling these terrible things. But I know it’s part of the process, and we are not responsible for what we feel.

Then the gloom and depression will stay, like forever.

Then it’s time to kindle a light of meaning and hope.

For someone who lives most of his life in depression, meaning and hope seems more alien and elusive than anything else. For years I don’t believe it, I believe the world is meaningless and cruel. In hindsight, it’s just a reflection of the deep depression that I am constantly in.

I sort of have already given up on living a happy life. Misery is all I know.

Then it turns out, I don’t actually have a choice here. I cannot choose to stay in this misery or not. There is some unexplainable mysterious inner force that drives me, and I am powerless against it.

There was one time that I was so depressed that I was possessed by this thought: there has to be a way out, I have to find a way out.

Then I remembered Jung’s words.

The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.

Carl Jung

Somehow this quote gave me strength. I read it every day, and I started to make positive changes, started working out, learning Japanese, and finished a book I started one year ago.

Or screw it. It’s not just this one time. For the entire decade of my depression, I never stopped looking for a way out. I read books on Tarot, on occult philosophy, on self-help, on anything that might help me get out of this, while I felt completely powerless and helpless.

So I have a theory, human beings are firstly animals, and animals adapt and survive. This is me adapting and surviving an inner condition. Just as the depression and despair is great and unstoppable, the survival instinct has to be even stronger and even more relentless.

I think the reason Jung’s quote inspires me so much is that it’s saying as if the act of kindling a light of meaning is not what we choose, but what we must. As if getting out of depression and becoming happier is what we have to do no matter what.

It’s similar to how religious people believe surely and firmly that God will help them through hardships. It’s an irrational conviction, but it works. And I suspect they feel the same thing, that some force beyond our control is helping us.

And I believe this force is real. Whether it’s divine, biological, or alien, doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s stronger than us, it’s stronger than our fragile and powerless egos, and it will help us through the most troubled times, surely and certainly. And we will survive, surely and certainly.

This belief is not rational at all, and it’s not about whether we all eventually go to heaven.

It’s about that, no matter how terrible you feel, how fucked up you are, how much pain and suffering you go through, there is a light of meaning and hope in you that is small yet invincible.

You need to bring that light out, and light up your life, and your entire world. Against all odds.