One of the things I know to do when I get depressed is watch the news. The connection to the outside world helps me feel less lonely — less disconnected from activity. I’ve grown to ache from this emotion that I’ve been unable to completely define and describe. Perhaps it’s sort of extreme loneliness — something akin to feeling alone in a crowd.
But there’s also an embarrassment, a shame involved. It’s like being the lone single woman at a marriage conference — not only do you not belong there, but you also feel like you’re not good enough to participate. That brings such shame.
And then, because you’re the odd one out, it feels like the spotlight’s on you, amplifying and highlighting your inadequacy. Such solitude. Deep sorrow and disconnection.
It seeps into the cracks that are already there, leaving an emptiness like a vacuum.
Disconnection + Loneliness + Inadequacy = “ this feeling.”
I’m calling it “the void.”
A kid’s movie describes the term “void” very well. The Neverending Story refers to it as “The Nothing,” and it sucks up happiness, peace and joy, and in its wake leaves a sludge of sorrow.
In the movie, a boy hero named Atreyu goes on a quest to stop “The Nothing” from taking over the land of “Fantasia.” This place is shaped by the dreams of humans, but as humans have stopped dreaming, the land is being swept by “The Nothing” and is near its own extinction.
The sadness that is drowning Fantasia is so thick that it even overtakes Atreyu’s horse Artax, who is unable to escape his sorrow. He begins to sink into the bog of sadness, even as Atreyu frantically tries to pull him free. But the horse gets sucked into the intolerable travail and cannot escape.
At one point, Atreyu meets an ancient tortoise named Morla, who is unable to advance the boy’s quest.
“If you don’t tell me, and The Nothing keeps coming, you will die too…,” Atreyu tells Morla.
The tortoise replies: “Die? Now that, at least, would be ‘something.’”
In order to save Fantasia, Atreyu must find the boundaries of the land. However, he is told the place has none.
Does this “Nothing” sound familiar to you? To me, it sounds a whole lot like my as yet unnamed emotion.