fear and self-loathing in medium-sized city USA
September 26, 2013 8:39 AM Subscribe
New(ish) city, new jobs, still at home, mental health issues: I'm at a very transitional place right now, and can't seem to get any traction. I recognize the value in stability for stability's sake, but feel like I'm doing it for somebody else (my family, an idea of what I should do) versus what I want. How do I go forward without sputtering out?
posted by elephantsvanish to human relations (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Where I'm at: I have been working hard to re-establish myself after I decided to forego professional grad school plans due to the trifecta of uncertainty about the profession, lack of funds, and a sudden hospitalization for depression/bipolar. That was all 3 months ago. Since then, I've found two jobs (newish field and similar field), started reaching out to the few people I know in the area, got myself a couple of hobbies and volunteer shifts and other things to take me out into the world, and am working very hard to find a place to live (sleeping in a futon in essentially a large closet at my mom's apartment for now).
The trouble right now is that my mood is so unstable, and my satisfaction and confidence and self-respect is so completely ready to give out at a moment's notice, that I haven't felt the sense of "well, this is all okay because I'm working towards goals I believe in!" Part of that is that I didn't really "pick" this plan, but it all sort of happened out of medical and financial necessity (read: broke, valuing being near doctor's right now, etc.) If I had my choice, I'd be either 1,500 miles away back with my community of friends, or on some kind of adventure to a new city, a new country..
What I'd really like is some help for how to keep things together. Or even a suggestion of "just let it all fall apart" would be nice, ha, but I don't think I'm going to hear that. It's very hard for me not to just start skipping out of responsibilities, make an impulsive decision such as leaving town, or just falling and staying in that dark place. I've gone down the suicidality path before and, while I'm not at a point of action or anything, it's becoming a prominent part of my thoughts.
I think the single hardest part about this isn't the practical aspects of the situation. It's the knowledge that, while I can like sit here and pet my sister's dog and feel content and present in the world, I know that I can lose access to that at a moment's notice too, that it feels like all my windows are open and any breeze can come in and mess with all of the papers and blow them everywhere, and a kind of fatalistic understanding of this is who I am is seeping in. Social anxiety is especially relentless, though at this point I'm "functionally" extroverted and well(ish)-adjusted. My therapist is trying to "get to the root of my self-hatred" and that's also exposing a lot of aspects of my emotional life, repression and anger and sadness, that are very welcome but also emphasize the me-as-shell thing.
Okay, almost done with snowflake details: this theme of self-hatrad versus self confidence and restlessness/rejection of stability has been dogging me since middle school, and stem from a lot of situations and dynamics I didn't choose (moving a lot, abuse), but has moved on to patterns I actively create in my life. I guess it's not too different from themes many folks experience growing up. I just am getting nervous about the intensity of the self-loathing and my inability to find contentment/accept things settling in and not letting go. Oof. My apologies for self-seriousness and I appreciate any thoughts as always.