Here is Part Two of Fiona’s contribution to the blog and the subject of depression. As before, you can find Fiona online here.
Outside of therapy and taking a lot of medication; I practice death meditation—Maraṇasati for those that are Buddhist—as outlined in the Hagakure but the practice exists in Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism. Every morning I concentrate on all the ways I could die; I imagine being eaten by dogs, stabbed, bludgeoned, immolated, flayed, expiring from starvation or disease, being hit by a car and so on. This enhances my capacity to accept that I am going to die; this is not an abstraction but a concrete part of how I carry on living.
A straw nihilist—of the sort Nietzsche spat upon—will say that without transcendental values there is no purpose: therefore, trying is stupid. Contemporary Nihilism takes on a strong element of anti-natalism: willingly subjecting someone to this world is an unimaginable cruelty and we should simply stop. I cannot have children so I cannot weigh in on this—I imagine if I could I would not.
Death Meditation is a skill that those that brave the depression dungeon; it trades some of the capacity to make saving throws or be effected by divine magical healing or resurrection for an inability to fail a morale check, experience supernatural fear effects or be subject to illusions or save against temptation: this is a scorched earth campaign against being a person in many ways. For every skill rank in Death Meditation: reduce all saving throws against dying by 1 and gain one from each list:
Cannot fail a morale check
Cannot be subjected to illusions
Cannot be Charmed (as spell) or tempted (anything that requires a test of willpower)
Cannot be afflicted with supernatural fear
Enemies standing against you must roll a morale check every round because of your unnerving disinterest in them
Retainers cannot be hired
Take charisma checks with disadvantage
+1 to hit & damage against you
Cannot be resurrected
Cannot be healed by divine magic