The most dangerous mental state is one of apathy. For when you lose the ability to care about any single thing that’s happening to you, then you lose what it means to be human. Some would claim that without a single feeling or care, that you cease to be a human being at all. The things that make us human; emotions, thoughts, desires, and goals, these all go out the window when a state of apathy sets in, and no matter how sad something is, or how joyful something is supposed to make you feel, there appears to be a wall between you and it.
I’ve felt this. Just last week, I was struck by a few days of apathy that have been as bad as any that I ever felt when in the lowest places of depression. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want write, and I didn’t want to drink coffee. I fucking love coffee, so when I stared a venti Americano that my Mom had bought me like it was a cockroach living inside of a used condom, I knew that something was up, and I knew that I didn’t care anymore.
Behind all the setting in of apathy though, a new feeling nuzzled in; fear. It is the only thing that I have found that can fight its way into a place where a person feels absolutely nothing; the fear of realizing that you’re feeling absolutely nothing. I tried to think of a written way to express both this apathy and this fear, but I was waylaid by the thinking that anything I wrote would be pointless, and even if what I did write was some transcendent ninth symphony of meta-fiction, it would still be doomed to one day sit as some kind of pamphlet on an unseen shelf in a used bookstore in a small town where nobody reads. Such is how I think when things get bad, such is how I think when I’m in a toxic mental space and go into bookstores and see all of the books that people spent years writing that nobody is ever going to read; all the books that someone dedicated time and effort to, that now sit with a $1.00 sticker on them at the bottom of a discount bin. Hopefully, they wrote them for some kind of personal victory, because the financial victory, or the victory achieved by becoming recognized by one’s peers, is long fucking gone.
I’m better now though. I fought off the apathy again, and I did it through a combination of good sleep, family, and dog cuddles. Sometimes it’s the simple things that work the best. I’m not all the way out of the woods when it comes to the current darkness that I’m in, but I’d rather be working on something in a grinding, desperate, workmanlike depression, then doing nothing and not caring about a single thing.
What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, meta-fiction.
Here is what apathy looks like as a piece of fiction:
, jkbds, … lknsdkjn liii kbds,dss.
Apathy is a sentence where the words and the punctuation don’t matter. There is no desire to fix or change anything. There is no desire to have proper spacing. There is no desire to have any language that inspires feelings of beauty or feeling so lust, or hate, because there is no desire for language at all. There is just the drumming of useless keys, and even the effort to highlight and delete something as useless as the passage above, is too much effort. Nothing will ever be added to it, and nothing will ever be subtracted. It is dead weight as anything but garbage that you don’t even have the willpower to remove from existence.
Apathy is dangerous. It is cancerous to a writer, and to anyone who enjoys life in general. I have staved it off again, and I wrote this piece as evidence. Even if it is the most terrible piece of writing, even if it doomed to a second hand bookstore, or a useless corner of the Internet, at least it was not written apathetically.
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