Have I figured out the meaning of life?

Have I figured out the meaning of life? When I’m battling major depression, this is what keeps me going.

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As humans, it is in our nature to question our own existence. I mean, really, why are we here? I suspect that the answer is a difficult one for many to uncover. However, I also have my suspicions that there’s more than one answer to this question. Perhaps it’s as individual as humans themselves.

From my perspective. the answer has somewhat come to light over the course of my lifetime. With that said, my answer may not correspond with other people’s definition. Regardless, it bears thinking about. And I thought it might be helpful to share.

The meaning of life, or at least as I understand it, has come to me after continuously battling mental illness. When coupled with my brain’s tendency to be in overdrive nearly every moment of every day, I was bound to reach a conclusion at some point.

How, you ask? Interestingly, I have decided on its meaning, not through a dictionary definition, but rather, the instability that comes with a horrible dread of a depressive episode. Likewise, I posed this question during the more peaceful moments in between.

How to manage a depressive episode

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Truth is, if I had not contemplated the meaning of life both in my darkest hours and at my happiest times, I believe the answer would have eluded me, quite possibly for the remainder of my life.

Firstly, as most people with depression can attest, one is often stuck ruminating over why they are even here in the first place. Similarly, they can often question the point to it all. I know I do; frustratingly so, it occupies my neurocircuitry whenever I suffer a bout of major depression.

Negative self-talk and depression.

The beauty of this darkness? I actively seek to answer the question: what’s life’s purpose?

This question often crosses my mind organically, no matter my mental state and thankfully, I’ve come up with a conclusion that I think many may agree with.

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So, without further ado, here goes nothing: Have I figured out the meaning of life?

Humans have a beautiful ability to connect to one another in a very significant form of kindness.

At its core is a little thing called Love. This emotion, with the strength of gravity, pulls us towards those whom we have a “Humans have a beautiful ability to connect to one another in a very significant form of kindness, and deep affinity for.

But connection and love are more than just mere feelings. They are natural survival mechanisms that have allowed humanity to form families and social networks. Because of it, we have survived for thousands of years.

Because its strength is so strong, so undeniable, it is the very essence for life itself.”

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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I believe that this is the formula for the meaning of life. Love, connection and unity equal stronger, longer and more robust relationships. In my view, this is a beautiful gift.

Think of it: when we have this formula going for us, we are much less likely to feel lonely and isolated. Personally, I find that when I do a gratefulness inventory, my episodes of depression seem to be shorter.

Finally, while I know firsthand that major depression can feel really lonely and isolating, I also know that I do have many strong connections and thus many reasons to ride the wave of mental illness. The people I have in my life are truly amazing! So, have I figured out the meaning of life? You decide.

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Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

2 thoughts on “Have I figured out the meaning of life?

  1. Are you trained (other than personal experience) in the mental health field? Why do you think you are an authority? If it’s all by personal experience than I would be a winner at what you do.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I have a background in addictions counseling and spent nearly 20 years working with people with severe mental illness, cognitive delay and behavioral difficulties.

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