How can I stop being constantly unhappy?
April 23, 2012 9:02 AM Subscribe
Badly burnt out student - with wider questions on how to stop my ‘missing-out’ syndrome.
posted by pikeandshield to health & fitness (9 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
22 years old, female, enrolled on a health policy-related masters programme in the UK after a science undergrad. My course is astonishingly badly organised and taught (but with massively long contact time), such that I’m now just completely burnt out: anything that might have spurred any interest before I now can’t bring myself to have any other reaction than active bitterness or passive ‘I can’t give a shit’. Before, I had envisaged myself building a long-term career in the field - now I don’t know whether I just hate my course, or whether I hate the discipline altogether, and am having a crisis over my future career as well.
This uncertainty and the feeling that I’m wasting my year (especially compared to my contemporaries), have thrown me into a state of constant unhappiness. I can’t remember what it means to truly have fun with friends/activities etc (rather than the momentarily enjoyable diversions they have become now). I just feel tired, ALL the time, without motivation to do anything (like even clean my room); I know I should be going to all the seminars/career events etc, but the mere thought of ‘networking’ makes me want to be sick. I have exams in about a month I can't take seriously, and a thesis to write that I have little more than indifference to. Diligence and work ethic are almost conditioned in me since I was young, so my grades aren’t falling (yet, anyway) - but I feel steadily more awful as I study. Sometimes I feel that the walls are closing in around me, with no way out - or even if I find a way out, it won’t make a difference because there’s nothing worth it waiting on the other side anyway.
I know I should just slow down, and realise it’s okay for me to have meandered this year, or not to have found my career calling from this masters. But this is part of my problem: I have an almost pathologic ‘missing-out-on-opportunity’ anxiety. I’m always worrying about the future, and that if I’m not always ‘on’, I will miss out on the opportunities that will come by and somehow miss out on ‘life’. Objectively, I might appear to be living life to the full (wide hobbies, academics, life experiences abroad, internships etc) - but it’s never enough, and I've never stopped feeling inferior to others. If I’m not constantly on the most efficient possible trajectory towards some ideal, I feel anxious; my current uncertain situation fills me with dread. I *know* this fixation on success and opportunity is unhealthy for my long-term wellbeing, but I can't seem to get myself out of it.
[If it helps - I generally behave as a MBTI INTJ, but am deep down an INFJ - an utter idealist and romantic at heart. Things of humanitarian nature or that display the richness of life (literature, culture, history etc) fill me with inspiration; on the other hand, moral wrongs fill me with indignation and I have little patience for something I feel does not have intrinsic value. Looking back, I always enjoyed the humanities at school: although I liked the puzzle-solving aspect of science in how concepts linked together, I’ve always been naturally drawn to the study of words, history, people, and thoughts. I went down the science route because I was good at it. Maybe this is the root of all of my problems - because I can't find intrinsic inspiration or value in what I'm doing.]
So, a few questions:
1) How do I salvage my current situation, in terms of bringing back motivation towards my immediate tasks and rekindling enjoyment in my life?
2) How do I deal with my ‘missing-out-on-life’ syndrome, so that I’ll be able to become a happier person in the long-run?
I'm sorry if that was an incoherent mess. Thank you all in advance!