I have been unemployed for close to a year. Lately, I have been withdrawing for social activities due to anxiety and a lack of self-esteem. I honestly feel like a different person than I was even a year ago (in a bad way), and it shows when I interact socially; I usually don’t even have very much fun due to the social anxiety and feeling that I'm being judged. Should I even do things with friends when I am not in the right frame of mind to have a good time?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
First, a little (okay, maybe a lot of) backstory:
I have been unemployed for almost a year now, after losing a job that I had been working at for years after college. I am staying at my parents’ house. I am pushing 30, and have no idea what to do job-wise from this point on, which is the main reason for my paralysis.
This has taken its toll on my self-esteem, which has never been super-high to begin with. I’ve always had anxiety since I was a little kid; I probably got it from my father, who tended to medicate with alcohol. I have a hard time committing myself to things, possibly due to my anxiety and a fear of failure. Who knows. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I lost my job due to this anxiety.
Since losing my job and coming home, my anxiety has become debilitating and has spiraled into depression. I want a job and I want a girlfriend, yet I can’t muster up the motivation to do anything of importance - I just sit at home and **** around. I am sexually frustrated, and masturbate often to take my mind off of my situation. I have been replaying memories of past mistakes, squandered opportunities and lost loves in the back of my head. I’m not suicidal or anything, but feel that I cannot change myself and am doomed to repeat my past mistakes. I know that attitude is everything and mine is currently set to "very shitty", but I don't know how to change it.
Besides my family, there is little for me where I am living - I certainly don’t want to work around here, as I despise the cold, sunless climate in the winters and can’t really identify with the culture (I was working out-of-country before, and although the job didn’t work out I feel like I really found my place niche-wise. I would like to go back eventually)
I had a talk with my GP yesterday, and he placed me on Wellbutrin. He said that it might help with my motivation, depression and apathy. (He first recommended Lexapro, but I was on it in college for anxiety and although it worked well for that, the sexual side effects were unbearable so I went off it some years back).
I made an appointment for talk therapy, but am on a months-long waiting list.
I am withdrawing from the outer world because of the crushing blow that unemployment has caused to my self-esteem. I have become someone that I don’t recognize. I used to be happy for other peoples’ successes, now all I feel is resentment. I can get really down on myself when I use Facebook and I see many of my acquaintances’ and even friends’ successes, so I try not to look very much. I’ve had some success up to this point before my losing my job, and could probably straighten myself out if I was able to muster up the motivation to pursue something, but this ceaseless negative mind chatter keeps me closed up in a shell.
Lately, I always feel like I am being judged, which I am sure is due to my depression and lack of self-esteem. The question “What have you been up to?” scares the hell out of me, since I haven’t been up to much of anything. When I run into people that I haven’t seen for a while, I experience social anxiety and am akin to a deer in the headlights. I usually lie about what I am doing, since I am ashamed to say that I am unemployed and my parents are helping me out. Lying makes me feel worse. In any case, it usually turns into an awkward conversation in which I am dying to get away before they ask a question that I cannot answer well (I believe that this desire to flee registers on my face).
I even avoid meeting friends that I haven’t seen for a while because I am scared to death of this type of question. When I do hang out with friends, I have a hard time being myself and don’t even have much fun due to my current state. I get asked why I’m so quiet (Back when I used to feel good about myself, I could be pretty funny). I am constantly thinking in the back of my head that I am wasting my time and should be at home figuring out a future career path so I can make something of myself and get out of this town - even though I don’t do so when I am home, since I have no fracking idea what I would like to do.
Now, to the question:
What it boils down to is that I derive little pleasure from social interaction due to my unemployment and subsequent depression/lack of self-esteem. Should I even make
the effort to catch up with old friends, go to social events, etc. when I don’t want to be there? I really don’t want people that I haven’t seen for a while to meet me while I’m in this negative place. Or should I really try to focus on finding a career first so that I can regain the self-confidence that enables me to enjoy being around people in the first place? Any other advice is appreciated as well. I really don't have too many people to talk with about this at the moment.