When I lose purpose, I have a tendency toward paranoid speculation. Peoples' presence unnerves me, in all forms, I have difficulty even just meeting a passerby's eyes or the jocular banter of a simple muffin transaction. I feel washed away by the interaction, as if the weight of the other ploughs right through me: I become invisible and feel highly impressionable by anothers' judgement. So I avoid the planet. It's a knee-jerk reaction, to reduce all my relationships, the ones I should by rights be depending on and using to inform my good health and sense of self. I just shut them down and mope. It's sheer selfishness to do so, and severs myself from people I really respect and love. I just don't feel 'up to it'. This also manifests in my avoidance of taking practical steps to right my listing ship: I try and go back to some kind of first principle, I don't write, answer the phone, but read and mither to myself in my room. It's completely backwards and solely a learned emotional response. For one who's closely inspected the minutae of depressive thoughts, mapped and charted every lonely inlet of the desert island, I'm always so surprised to find how protracted the effort to get out of the isolation chamber is. Instead of creating or reasserting meaning, I ask it to prove itself. It's pretty stupid, and antithetical to my eventual aims, but I maroon myself there.
Here's a brief list of the steps I usually take if I'm left there for any length of time:
1) write with the other hand, at least the sensation of something new'll wake the sleeper (youcan actually feel your brain itch after a period of some time). variations include, using a different hand for the mouse, switching knife/fork sides, brushing your teeth with the other hand, petting the dog etc.
2) force laughter. this is a curious catch, as while it helps project the voice and presence, its basically absurd. I'd usually do this in the shower, not only because naked is funny, but also because it's something to do. it is surprising how quickly forced laughter becomes genuine. laughter is like immersive yoga.
3) read out loud to myself. studies've shown that the pedestrian act of talking also massages and increases bloodflow to parts of the frontal lobe commonly associated with depression.
4) guided visualization: if you look at what you want from life, you're obviously more likely to direct yourself toward it.
5) we are unequipped to really appraise ourselves (let's assume we don't like our life, then how can we truly trust ourselves to say we don't like it? even positive appraisal is regressive.) so leave that up to other people.
6) impact your life more fully, not less. i am a meaning miser, paring down connections rather than expanding. we need constant expansion. we need to confront. we need to crash against others. we need to string necklaces of meaning. that's all life is! craters left behind by people and events. that's not to say it doesn't vary, but we become stagnant always before we notice it, because we all seek stasis, involuntarily or not. that's why i believe we put such a priority upon achieving happiness and marriage and other contemporary abstractions... because we view it as a static platform where all'll be ok.