What the Hell Happened to Me?
posted by biglew909 to human relations (24 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Has anyone out there experienced this? Am I depressed? WTF is going on with me?
TL;DR doesn't exist here, right? 'Cause this is a LONG post...
As a teenager, I was a really great comic book artist (and an EPIC dork); in 1993 I was accepted for enrollment in the Joe Kubert Academy at the age of 17. I never made it, however, as my mother failed to submit the financial aid paperwork in time (I suspect she was flaunting tax laws and didn't want to bring it to light.)
I was also a very heavy kid; ballooning to 330 lbs. I was never athletic, since I spent most of my time inside either drawing or playing video games.
After the school debacle passed, I began working in retail, lost over 70 lbs. and met a girl I eventually moved in with. We spent several years living together before I decided to join the Army at 22 years old, ostensibly since it seemed to be the best way for us to "get ahead in our lives." We ended up marrying once I graduated from basic training.
Starting in 1997 I spent four years in the Infantry, deploying twice to combat zones overseas, and in the process began to discover a very athletic "type-A" personality within myself...which, honestly, delighted me to no end. I became a very cocky, mouthy and egotistical guy who easily made friends, went out alot, hung out with everyone, and had everyone asking me for advice...absolutely the Big Man on Campus. I was still very intelligent, but now using it in a more insidious fashion, to meet my own ends.
I also strained my relationship with my wife since when I wasn't deployed, I was training up in anticipation of deployment. All in all, I estimate that I lost two years of relationship-building time with my wife during my time in the service.
I ended my term of service in 2001 shortly after my wife told me "I love you, but if you deploy again, I don't think I can stay with you anymore." At that time, we had a 1 year old son, and shortly thereafter we had a daughter.
From 2001 on, I landed a few good retail management jobs, and also learned how to live very frugally while enjoying the "finer things" at a discount...but my weight started creeping up. I also became very depressed. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and began seeing a VA therapist.
My wife and I divorced in 2004 and in a very bitter series of court battles she eventually gained custody of our children. I was reduced to being a "weekend Dad."
With only one income, I lost my home, my car, and moved away to live with a girl I had met in my reserve unit. Six months later, that relationship fell apart (in part since she was totally insane.)
Anyhow, I met a girl in 2005 who is now my wife; her two boys aged 17 and 15 are now my stepsons, and I love them as my own.
My "type-A" asshole side has greatly receded, but can still rear its head on occasion; in the period of time since we've been together we've both earned college degrees (with me earning an associates-level RN degree and her earning an LPN certificate; she's now back in school to get her RN...and then she'll join the Air Force); we bought a home; became certified as foster parents (with one full-time placement, several "respites" who drop in for a few hours or a weekend at a time, and an adoption already pending); dragged both of her exes into Court to secure several thousand dollars of back support from them; had my bipolar determined to be 80% service-connected and netted a substantial monthly stipend and retroactive benefits, and we just formulated a solid plan to become millionaires within the next ten years.
I see my kids every other weekend, and I plan to go back to Court next year to petition to get them full-time (since things aren't too great at Mom's house anymore, and now that they're a little older they can speak for themselves.) Other than that, I spend most of my time hanging out with either the boys, our foster son, or any number of part-time respite children, doing every cool thing you can think of. I spent more time on the beach and mini golf courses this year than I ever have, and I loved every minute of it.
Any outsider could look at what I have and say that we have a GREAT life...and we really do.
I am a miserable sonofabitch.
From reading an older post here, I discovered I am a "scanner", in that I love to learn about new things and then move on...which is probably why I'm already unhappy at my telemetry Nursing job (in fact, I've been out on disability since February due to complications from panic attacks which sideswiped me out of the blue).
I'm due to go back to work at the end of the month, and I don't want to. I mean, why should I? I have a huge disability stipend, and money from foster care as well...honestly, if we have one more full-time foster placement (which is probably going to happen since we're one of the only homes in the county with any open beds,) that will mean another $1200 a month in our home.
But without that and as it stands right now according to the budget, we'll still end up a few hundred bucks a month short if I'm not eligible for long term disability...which I'll know more about within a week or so. Not to mention, my ex is waiting in the wings to pounce on me once I get off of disability, and has already filed a petition for a modification of child support since she got wind of my new job from the kids.
Frankly, I enjoy having my time spend as I see fit. I know that the extra money could be used to close that budget gap, buy shinier things or help with home improvements (and, of course, speed up the whole "millionaire in 10 years" thing)...but it STILL isn't enough to motivate me to get back into my old position. And shoveling cash into my ex's pocket is never a good thing...thanks to her atrocious fiscal mismanagement she has more tattoos now than my kids have decent clothes.
I enjoy Nursing as a "good enough job", and I'm searching for something more administrative as we speak, but I'm not motivated to do it for much longer. Plus, at 38, I don't want to become a serial student...but I am ALSO thinking of going back to get a Construction and Trades degree so I can build homes and fix the ones I buy for us.
Speaking of which...I have literally 6 or 7 great business ideas constantly swirling in my head that I could jump into and be very successful in, but my initial fervor for them has cooled over time...and nowadays my wife just shakes her head whenever I mention the words "daycare" or "garage". She told me pointedly: "Just do whatever you need to to make the money come in, and I'll go along with it." At this point she's a little sick of listening to my schemes, and I don't blame her.
Socially; I have NO friends, and DO NOT WANT THEM. I've discovered that the vast majority of people are superficial, self-serving douches who offer me nothing while constantly looking for an excuse to secure flattery for themselves, and I don't even bother taking the time to establish even casual relationships anymore. This is DEFINITELY NOT the solution to my problems...
So, here I am, wondering if this is all "normal." I certainly didn't envision that this is where I would be when I was growing up, but I just want to be CONTENT that I do have all of these great things. I feel like I missed something along the way...but WHAT?
As I write this today, I have plans to get back into Nursing (in some capacity), keep the extra bread rolling in while my wife finishes her degree, and then we'll buy a farm in the country and renovate it so that we have more room for foster kids (and, hopefully, my own two who will be with us for good.) I also plan to get back to my dork roots and buy a vacuform table so I can start cranking out molds of Boba Fett helmets to paint...
...But why the hell do I feel so unfulfilled?
Any insightful advice will be appreciated...there's a reason I didn't post this on Ask Yahoo. I'm looking for more of a "hey I've been in your shoes and here's what I discovered" rather than "GET THERAPY NOW DUDE" type responses. A mixture of the two is OK, though.