One of my best friends (I’ll call him William) is going through serious emotional trouble. He has dropped out of college and had briefly gone to visit his parents in Michigan - during which time he was sent to an outpatient mental health center. He was put on heavy medication (can’t remember what kind) but it has not seemed to help him control his rambling thoughts.
Let me give some background: in high school, he was a talented athlete and an excellent student, although something of a loner. He also was obsessed with the economy and used to trade stocks all the time (as early as sophomore year.) I remember I once asked him what he was doing on his computer one day at the library and he told me that he had just made 2,000 dollars on the market trading online. In other words, he has an incredibly gifted analytical mind.
Late in high school he got into Buddhist philosophy, which he remains committed to. He does a lot of religious reading and meditation - but it doesn’t seem to ease his trouble.
What is his trouble? Well, simply put, he won’t shut up about negativity and evil in the world. He rants non-stop about the evils of the American government, about how we are being controlled by a Fascist state, about how Western consumer-based society is hell, and about how guilty he feels being part of it. And I mean the most obsessive, non-stop ranting about this - to the point of not being able to think about anything else. When he’s not talking about politics he goes off on weird metaphysical tangents about how “we’re flying through outer space” and about how “nothing exists and nothing matters” and that “we’re all destroying ourselves.”
This is beyond any kind of normal philosophical curiosity. He can talk about NOTHING ELSE besides this non-stop ranting. He is incapable about talking about girls, life, school, or anything else that normal conversations might be based around. Furthermore, he goes through episodes where he will sit there, shaking and looking terrified, and obviously filled with fear and anxiety, and when we ask him what’s wrong he’ll say “we’re all destroying ourselves” or “life is meaningless” or some other such highly negative statement.
So his parents put him in the treatment program, but it did not seem to have helped much. Nor does his Buddhist meditation help him very much.
In a conversation with one of my other friends, it was revealed that William is very troubled by the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend and that he has never been with a girl before (he’s now about 20.) He lacks any of the social confidence that someone interested in the opposite sex will need to have, but my friends and I are convinced that his life would be improved by finally realizing his desire for female companionship - in addition, he would be well served by a trip far away from our small suburban hometown, to somewhere like Europe where he would be able to experience a different kind of perspective (and where he would be able to get away from the America that he seems to hate so much.)
William has every resource imagineable at his disposal. He is RICH. I literally mean that he comes from one of those rare families of American aristocracy - his parents own four houses around the country. He is handsome and when he chooses to be, is very personable and can be engaging in conversation. Instead of feeling guilty and obsessive over his position in the upper class, we’ve decided, he needs to finally come to terms with it, embrace it, and use these resources that he was blessed with to reinvent himself. He needs to get a nice wardrobe (he dresses sloppily,) cut his hair (he looks like a lunatic right now,) get his shit together, travel around, and meet some girls and have a good time. I know he’s capable of doing it. It would improve his life immeasurably to just HAVE A GOOD TIME and shut up about all this negative bullshit.
So we’re determined to help him. We’re going to try as hard as we can to get him to get his shit together, stop dwelling on the negativity in life, and enjoy himself for once.