You are here:
>>
>>
>>
How Imagined Realities Create Dissatisfaction with Life

How Imagined Realities Create Dissatisfaction with Life

The topic at one glance

It Shouldn’t Be Like This

The best word I could use to describe my mental state prior to discovering alcohol at age 15 would be ‘awkward’. I tried my best to fit in with the world around me, but the harder I tried, the more uncomfortable I felt. The cause of this uneasy relationship with reality was the persistent feeling that ‘it shouldn’t be like this’ or ‘I shouldn’t be like this’.

Hope Rehab Dual Diagnosis Depression

As a teenager, I mistakenly decided this feeling of ‘it shouldn’t be like this’ was unique to me. It turns out this sense of awkwardness is common – it may even be universal. I suspect there are varying degrees in how we experience this disconnection, and those of us who are at the more severe end of the spectrum are more likely to turn to drugs, obsessions, or develop mental health problems.

So, what is the source of this alienation? Why do some of us feel so uncomfortable in our own skins that we need to be chemically anesthetized to cope? I’m convinced this discomfort arises due to the difference between how we perceive reality and our ideas about how reality should be.

Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world..

R.D. Laing

Imagined Realities

I recently came across the book ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s a fantastic read that is packed with insightful ideas about how humans have made it this far. The part of the book that particularly stood out for me was his claim that most of the important things in our world only exist in our imagination.

The ability to work with ‘imagined realities’ is what has allowed humans to become the dominant species on the planet. Our modern world is based on things that only exist in our imagination such as money (e.g. the value of paper money is purely subjective and gold is not that practically useful as a metal), honor, culture, and laws. It is our ability to move between subjective left-brain reality (fantasy) to objective right-brain reality (what our senses is picking up) that differentiates us from other animals.

Yuval Noah Harari’s description of ‘imagined realities’ fits in nicely with my own realizations about why I felt so disconnection with life as a teenager. The problem wasn’t that reality was wrong, or I was wrong, but that my ideas about how things were meant to be were based on fantasy. There is a downside in having this ability to function in two realities because it can become a source of conflict in our minds.

The imagined realities that governed my life meant my family appeared dysfunctional because it didn’t match some ideal family that most probably never existed, my friends seemed second-rate because people could never match my expectations of what real friends are meant to be like, and my life felt dissatisfying because it didn’t match my picture of how life ‘should be’.

So Why Are Some of Us More Affected by Imagined Realities Than Others?

I guess for many of us, the gulf between actual life and what we have been conditioned to expect from life becomes too obvious to ignore. This sense of disconnection may begin as a painful clash with reality such as childhood trauma or it may be that some of us are just less able to be comfortably conditioned into our societies. When it happens, it is unlikely we would even consider that it is our expectations of reality that is the problem, so we blame ourselves, other people, or our society and look for a way to ease our pain.

If you found value in this post, please feel free to share it on social media. 

Other Topics That Might Interest You

Hope Rehab TukTuk

Summertime Blues – Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction Issues

A lack of love for the summertime may just be down to personal preference, but it can also be due to an underlying disorder or because we’ve had bad experiences at this time of year. Summer can bring out the worst in us, and this is particularly the case if we have some kind of addiction issue.

Hope Rehab TukTuk

Ibogaine Rehab in Thailand

There are people who have found ibogaine treatment to be useful in overcoming drug addiction, but it certainly does not appear to work for everyone. There are also potential dangers associated with it that anyone considering it needs to take into account.

Hope Rehab Bridge Garden

Recovery from Covid Anxiety, Depression, and Addiction

Covid 19 has been like a massive storm that has passed through our lives and, at least for some of us, left behind lasting damage. Anxiety issues, depression, and substance abuse may be another obstacle that some of us will need to face.

Easter – A Time for Redemption

Easter is when Christians around the globe celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Recovery offers the chance of a new life following addiction. It is a type of resurrection.

GET IN TOUCH TODAY AND HEAR BACK FROM US WITHIN 12 HOURS