The Ineffable Essay: Why We Keep On Living When Life Gets Hard
1. What is your gender: Please specify male/female/transgender/choose not to reply
2. What age group do you fall into: Type age or general decade you fall into (examples: 24 or 20s):
3. As detailed (or simply) as you want, please describe what you believe happens after you die. Take as much or as little space as you want.
4. Does this belief differ substantially from what you were taught as a child?
5. Many people use self-talk to rejuvenate and reinforce positive mental attitude. If you are a person who uses self-talk, what self-talk do you use to urge yourself to "keep on" when times are hard? (Examples to get you started include "Things will get better." "This too shall pass." "Tomorrow will be a better day.") Please list as many as you wish. If you don't "self-talk," do you consider it an effective or helpful tool?
6. What other coping mechanisms do you utilize to encourage yourself and inspire you to "keep on"? Include talking with friends, loved ones, chatting online, prayer, exercise, comforting activities such as eating, sleeping, intimacy with a partner or self, hobbies or creative activities, mind-altering substance use, anything that helps you. Please list as many as you wish.
7. Think of a time when you felt hopeless (if you have experienced such a time). Were you most inspired to "keep on" because of: (a) Someone else (child, loved one, parent, etc.) (b) Potential that things would improve (c) I felt had no choice (d) that's just what you do, you keep going (e) I didn't "keep on," I passively survived and things improved (f) I knew I had my whole life in front of me (g) I involved myself in helping others or other-centered activity (h) someone encouraged me (i) please describe as many reasons as you wish. Take as much space as you want.
8. Do you live with a chronic illness, mental, physical, emotional, any combination? If so, how do you think living with a chronic illness affects the way you "keep on"?
9. Do you feel you have become more or less resilient (able to deal with hopelessness) as you've gotten older?
10. And finally, list at least one joy in Life you look forward to experiencing again. Some examples include: a brilliant bouquet of balloons, melted butter dripping on a piping hot biscuit, the rich scent of a beautiful blossom, the sound of a baby's laughter, the exquisite smoothness of a lover's secret places, the sensation of a warm gentle wind rustling your hair, the taste and texture of a favorite food on your tongue.