I haven't commented on HN for a long time, but this hit far too close to home not to respond to.
I have had exactly the same kind of existential anxiety from a very young age (I remember discussing this extensively with my parents at ~7 year old). It used to be something that only happened late at night when I was alone - until the first time it hit me in a completely normal situation. I was literally mid conversation and suddenly all I could think about was my inevitable mortality. I can not describe the feeling of shock and helplessness. The floor disappeared beneath me.
I walk out of the house every morning and look at the people in the street, and I just don't understand how they can function normally in the face of certain death. Terminally ill people are often anxious because they're going to die. But everyone is going to die. We are all terminally ill with this fatal disease called "life".
It's nothing to do with wanting to accomplish more before I die. It's the very idea of not existing that I can't comprehend. I'm sure anyone would agree that the world ending would be a fairly grim prospect. When you die, the world ends. Game over, even if everyone else continues.
Alcohol is a wonderful escape from an over-active mind, but guzzling a substance that's likely to screw with your health long term... isn't exactly ideal for an existentialist and hypochondriac. SSRIs seem to help regulate things until - months in - you realise they are actually pretty nasty drugs with too many observable side effects to count on both hands.
Maybe shrooms are the answer, indeed, though having never dared touch them from - strangely enough, fear of their inducing a panic attack - I've yet to be able to comment on that.
My experience is similar to yours. All I can suggest is that you do thorough research, and make your own informed decision about whether to do psychedelics—and if so, pay close attention to set, setting, and dosage. I am not an experienced user of psychedelics, so I cannot make any recommendations, only describe my own experience.
To those who don’t know what it’s like to have existential anxiety, here’s an exercise. Think of being a character in a horror movie who comes to the realisation that they are “not getting out of here”. An existential panic attack is the feeling that life itself is such a situation.
A) Myself. I've had many experiences with such substances, and I used to suffer from that dread (without the anxiety). Generally happened at night as well. I would say that I'm pretty much not worried about death anymore. I don't really think about it anymore because it just doesn't seem relevant. It's hard to explain without babbling, but the way I think about the world and living has definitely been warped to the positive / accepting because of my experiences and my ensuing reflections about them.
B) My friend was (is?) suffering from panic attacks, and she had no problem with it when we did it together one time. She had a wonderful time, and said during it that she couldn't even understand how she could have one, like it was outside the realm of possibility.
Just anecdotes though. I don't think that everyone should do it, and I think it should be done with caution. I certainly didn't use caution when I started, and for a lot of people that wouldn't be a good idea.
Few more notes if you choose to try it:
1) Do it with people you trust, in a setting you feel comfortable, whether it be outdoors or in.
2) Don't do very much for your first time. I did too much (not shrooms) my first time and it was the most intense psychological experience of my life. It's pretty easy to dose shrooms though.
3) You might end up confronting your anxiety. I certainly have before. It always worked well for me. Mind you, it's not necessarily the most comfortable thing, but after I came to terms with whatever was bothering me, I felt much more peaceful and enjoyed the rest of the experience.
This is where good friends are key - it's wonderul being able to talk with people you completely trust in an entirely weird and different and empathetic setting. Judgment always seemed to just.. Disappear.
Anecdote here. I have existential anxiety too. I have the same fear of shrooms as you.
Salvia Divinorum "salva" when smoked has historically provided me with relief - it's great for someone who wants to stay in control because the high from it only lasts a few seconds (when smoked). If you don't like it, it will be over really quickly. A single session with it should set you right for a few months. Also, unlike most popular substances it is an "upper" - making you excited and happy instead of chilled.
Marijuana has the same effect as alchohol, during a high I'm typically free from ego (sometimes it extends to the next day). Good chronic provides a very powerful experience that I can only describe as the opposite of existential anxiety: I've had moments where I've found my temporary nature beautiful. If you haven't tried chronic before treat it with respect, take 1 hit and don't be impatient for the high. It's safer than alchohol so you might try that instead.
Although I'm really considering doing shrooms once after so many have said that they have helped.
> guzzling a substance that's likely to screw with your health long term...
Low-to-moderate alcohol use has been shown to have significant health benefits over the long-term.
For me, three beers is enough to have a strong enough stress-reduction effect, two if they're strong. My mind just unwinds and I relax. I used to think I'd develop a tolerance and start needing more and more to get the same effect, I no longer think so after many years of roughly the same level of consumption.
Alcohol is generally not a problem unless you start really young or had the kind of abusive childhood that leads to addictive behaviors.
> Low-to-moderate alcohol use has been shown to have significant health benefits over the long-term.
There is a well publicised study that claims that, but it's been pretty heavily criticised. It turns out that only women over 65 get benefits from moderate drinking. Everyone else needs to restrict themselves to light drinking to get the benefits.
That's an important distinction because few people know how much they actually drink. People tend to under-estimate the number of glasses they have, and under-estimate the size of the glasses, and under estimate the amount of alcohol in each glass.
You've said that 3 beers produces a de-stress result. It's not clear what you mean by "strong" - 5%? 8%? 10%? Three pints of beer at 5% ABV are 2.8 units each, about 8.5 units for all three. This is no where near risky drinking (unless you do it more than twice a week) but it is wrong to suggest that it is a healthy activity.
Alcohol is not just a problem for those who start yumg or who've had abusive childhoods. Alcohol is a causal factor in many deaths and accidental injuries; alcohol is involved in many suicide attempts; alcohol is involved in a lot of violence. It is wrong to suggest that all those people started drinking young or had abusive backgrounds.
> Alcohol is not just a problem for those who start yumg or who've had abusive childhoods. Alcohol is a causal factor in many deaths and accidental injuries; alcohol is involved in many suicide attempts; alcohol is involved in a lot of violence. It is wrong to suggest that all those people started drinking young or had abusive backgrounds.
Alcohol is involved in a lot of things because it's the only legal consciousness-altering drug available in many countries. If you're going to start making statements for or against alcohol, you need to account for this cultural fact.
> People tend to under-estimate the number of glasses they have, and under-estimate the size of the glasses, and under estimate the amount of alcohol in each glass.
They do because they have a reason to, nobody wants to be seen as a drunk. If they didn't they'd self-report more accurately. Studies on the social effects of alcohol probably don't account for this, considering the difficulty of doing so.
> You've said that 3 beers produces a de-stress result.
The beer I typically drink is 3.2%. At my bar they serve 14 oz pints. Strong beers can be anywhere from 5-10%. I know roughly how much I've been drinking both because I keep track of my intake and because different amounts feel very different.
For me, the line between "comfortable buzz" and "achey, dizzy, ready to throw up" is a skinny one. So in order to keep my nights and weekends fun, I have to moderate pretty strictly. On weekends, I've learned to have a few beers during the day, go home for a few hours, then go back out for the evening. At bars there's pressure to drink more, I mostly manage to avoid that pressure simply because it can ruin my night fast.
> it is wrong to suggest that it is a healthy activity.
I honestly don't know whether it's healthy or not, I personally have a tough time understanding what is meant exactly by "healthy", but there's some recent archaeological results that suggest that our evolutionary history with ethanol is long, meaning our brains and bodies would have had ample time to adapt to it.
Personally, I'm convinced that stress, both self-induced and external, has a far worse effect on a person's quality of life over time than any of the physiological effects of moderate drinking. So to compare the effects of drinking alcohol to not drinking alcohol, you also have to understand the effects of the stress that's being relieved. Of course, there are social costs that one can incur as well, the most dramatic of which seems to be DUIs or worse, alcohol-induced accidents, but again, I suspect that on the whole, especially if one can avoid getting those, a stressed person is better off drinking moderately and letting it go than he is holding it in. Of course, there are other ways of relieving stress, but they may not be as effective or as cheap. Alcohol is incredibly reliable at doing this, that should count for a lot.
More than poetic, it's very real. It's called PCD, programmed cell death, and it affects most life on earth. But not all life. It is terminal, and it is an affliction which will kill you. So, yes, we're all terminally ill. Make the most of your time. We are all dying.
Life has proved fatal to all but 6-7% of us humans so far. And there isn't any indication that the current remaining will escape it's touch.
They are giving commands to possibly hundreds of people that might not speak english as a native language. In addition sometimes there is more than one voice talking at the same time and their mic might not exactly be clear. Also, many times they are calling a persons name out and then people have to remember the name and search for it through a list of hundreds of other names. It's repeated so they don't have to remember the name.
People are also drunk / sleep deprived / have an attention span of a goldfish, or doing several things at once so you might miss who to shoot, where to point your spaceship et c unless it's repeated. I don't know if this is normal for Black Legion's voice chat, but when killing high-value targets the commander can sometimes get riled up over potentially missing the kill.
I played EVE for a few months, just to try it out, and I noticed this too. I played EVE for a few months, just to try it out, and I noticed this too. I played EVE for a few months, just to try it out, and I noticed this too. The endless repeating was one of the things that put me off eventually. The endless repeating was one of the things that put me off eventually. The endless repeating was one of the things that put me off eventually. I also play WoW and we use mumble there too, and we seem to get pretty good along without repeating everything three times. I also play WoW and we use mumble there too, and we seem to get pretty good along without repeating everything three times. I also play WoW and we use mumble there too, and we seem to get pretty good along without repeating everything three times. Maybe it's part of the EVE culture. Maybe it's part of the EVE culture. Maybe it's part of the EVE culture.
having done 40 man raiding in wow, you need to repeat a helluva lot of commands constantly to keep people on their toes. similarly so with pvp, but that's more about making sure your partners are always on top of what's going on. things get insanely hectic.
No it's still not ok to stand in the fire. DONT STAND IN THE FIRE!
Literally the only channel I ever watch on television. It's pretty sad that the interesting documentaries have to be relegated to a separate channel so as not to confuse anyone watching BBC 1 or 2 (and BBC 1 and 2 get the HD versions, damn it.)
London is do-able for me (Newcastle), but the problem with evening events like this is getting back - having to stay in a hotel somewhere on top of the train journey makes it a pretty expensive trip. A daytime event would be much better for those of us who have to travel a long distance.
On that note, is there anyone else up in the North East interested in organizing some kind of meetup here?