How to stop being a miserable wretch and start living
June 25, 2008 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I seriously need some inspiration here. I'm female, 32, single, miserable in my job, cannot seem to get it together, and don't seem to find enough hours in the day to simply HANDLE MY LIFE.

Ok, I know this question has been tackled in various forms over time, but I seriously need some inspiration here. I'm female, 32, single, miserable in my job, cannot seem to get it together, and don't seem to find enough hours in the day to simply HANDLE MY LIFE. I'm obsessing over the guy who just dumped me, my friends are all getting married and having babies, and I live alone in a wreck of an apartment, struggling to pay off mountains of student loans and sinking further into a depression. I've been seeing a psychologist, who has helped. I've been exercising tons, which has helped. But I just saw photos of myself that actually frightened me because over the past year I have declined so much physically that I barely recognize myself. I look old and tired and faded. I feel frustrated and alone and ugly and terrified.

I know: Boo-hoo. I understand that this is life, that these feelings and the experience of aging are not unique to me. But I feel like I need to make some radical changes and I do not even know where to begin. If it was as simple as getting a new job, I'd do it. If it meant getting a new apartment, great. If packing up my belongings and moving to Sri Lanka would help, I'd, y'know, give it some thought? I just don't know. I volunteer. I eat healthy. I socialize. I'm just not getting anywhere.

Any ideas on how to come back to life again?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't have the answer but just want to make sure you know you don't have to apologize for feeling this way or take to heart anybody's advice to rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. You feel how you feel. Boo hoo is OK. My only advice is keep having this conversation with your psychologist, keep exercising, keep socializing, find things you love to do, keep an eye out for opportunities, take them, and be patient. Patience sucks, btw, but there's nothing for it. It might take years but you won't always be where you are now. Good luck.
posted by Askr at 6:31 PM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


things that help me get my shit together include:

-a new haircut and color

-cleaning my apartment top to bottom, with some refreshing of decor, like hanging some new posters, getting a new comforter, and/or new curtains

-serious travel (i backpacked through mexico for 7 weeks. you might find that taking a leave of absence and doing a language immersion course for a month, or one of those 3-week volunteer abroad things might work. also, outward bound gets good reviews.)

-medication
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:32 PM on June 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


The apartment refresh stuff helps a lot, but can be intimidatingly expensive. Try some interesting DIY projects and see how that grabs you.
posted by sweetkid at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2008


You don't have to change your life overnight. Real change is gradual. You've made a good start by getting some therapy and exercising. Okay, so now you just need to figure out what you'll do next. Brainstorm and make a list of all the things you'd like to change about your life. Then pick one thing or maybe two, and just work on those things. And put the list away until you feel ready for the next step.
posted by orange swan at 6:40 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Flylady helped me more than I can even begin to express with this sort of thing. Sorry for the repetition, since I've said this in other threads, but check her out. Look past the cutesy-poo happy homemaker schtick and do what she says, and things will start to fall into place.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:41 PM on June 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was there (miserable job, obsessing over a dumper, overloaded, seriously disappointed at failing a life-goal dramatically) and stayed there for about five years, even though I ended up in grad school and got a MSc.

It wasn't until I finished the MSc and started a PhD program in an area that I'm actually interested in* that I managed to get out of my funk and start to get my life together.

Which is another problem altogether.

Sounds to me that you don't have a goal. Finding one is a lot harder than just waking up one day and choosing one, for sure.

I know you have tons of student debt, but is there any way to take a leave of absence from your job and just go AWOL and travel in a foreign land somewhere for a couple of months to figure out what your goal is?

As for friends getting married and popping out kids, yeah. Are you feeling like they're leaving you behind or that you're losing your friends to "life partners" (spouses/kids)? Harder done than said, but increasing your circle of friends to include some who are in a similar boat as you might help.

There's some research suggesting that someone's happiness is not a direct result of their achievement but their relative achievement. Make friends with people who have it even less together than you? Sounds cynical, ok, but maybe turn that around and volunteer time to help the homeless/addicted/sexually-assualted? Volunteer for a suicide preventation hotline?

*and surprisingly stumbled upon a teensy weensy bit of financial freedom just recently; I'm still a wreck but I can at least "fake it before I make it"
posted by porpoise at 6:42 PM on June 25, 2008


One thing to do would be to excise things from your life. To me, "life" is basically three things: laundry, work and everything else. (Laundry, in this case, is a stand in for all that stuff you HAVE to do- shower, eat, laundry, dishes, oil changes, haircuts). If you can't get the laundry and the work done, you aren't going to be good at or enjoy the "everything else".

Not really a good answer, but you have to find a way to get good at the first two so that you'll have time for the other stuff.
posted by gjc at 6:43 PM on June 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh, girl. I empathize with you so hard.

Here's the first thing you need to do: No more beating yourself up. Listen to how hard you are on yourself. You just got dumped -- that's painful. You hate your job -- that is intensely unpleasant to experience day in and day out. You need some support, a shoulder, something to bolster your confidence. Maybe you don't have that right now.

I promise you this: You ain't gonna get it by yelling at yourself. "I've let myself go" "I shouldn't be so upset about this" "I have to stop pitying myself" -- when you say these things to yourself? Soothe yourself and recognize that you don't need to kick yourself when you're down. Acknowledge the feelings, and hold your head high for it, for being kind to yourself.

I've been thinking about this alot lately. I realize that I live in terror of being a sad sack. I am horrified at the idea that when I have a bad day, when I hate my job, when I feel lonely or I go through a bad breakup, that it reduces me to the archetype of the sad, single, desperate woman that the whole world seems to loathe or pity. I am so much more than that, and so are you!

Also, realize that depression distorts your view of yourself and the world. I've experienced it myself. When I get really depressed, people's faces look meaner and sharper. What I see in the mirror looks... not good. You can look at pictures of yourself and see every flaw, everything that could be construed as old and tired and faded, because that's how you feel in that moment. I bet you some good, hard earned money that when you're feeling better (because you will) and you look back on those pictures again, what you'll see will be entirely different.

If everything seems wrong, and you're depressed on top of it, you'll get overwhelmed if you try to HANDLE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE all at once. But you could probably do well with a sea change.

I'd suggest putting all of your energy into trying to get a new job. Can you get out? How bad is your depression? Are you getting worse or better? You might consider stress leave. Doctor mandated stress leave.

Another thing that can helpis to think of what your "outs" are. Sometimes just knowing - okay, if it gets that bad, I can do _____ as a last resort, it puts things into perspective and helps you to spur yourself forward.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:50 PM on June 25, 2008 [14 favorites]


You're 32, you are very young. You have plenty of time to get yourself together. Don't even worry about the getting married and having babies thing. I bet your friends that are married with babies are wishing they had your life. Just relax. It's all good. Come back to life by realizing that you are still young and you can do anything you want. I wish you the best of luck. I totally understand the looking in the mirror and feeling old, tired and ugly, but believe me, you are harder on yourself than other people that look at you are. And, so what. If you want to feel good about yourself, go to Wal-Mart and people watch. You'll be fine. I'm rooting for ya.
posted by wv kay in ga at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2008


Sorry you're having a tough time. I'll second Askr in saying that it's OK to have these feelings and give voice to them. Personally, I learned through counseling that I will suppress emotions and dismiss thoughts without giving myself a chance to recognize how I feel or what's bugging me. Part of that (for me, anyway) is that the minutiae of life can overwhelm my thoughts, leaving me no time for getting satisfaction out of life. I found relief with a few tools that have given my brain more "bandwidth" for mindfulness:

¤ Getting Things Done
¤ Flylady
¤ The Artist's Way exercise, Daily Pages

Good on you for taking care of your body, seeing a professional, helping others, and reaching out. Feel free to contact me if you want someone to talk to.
posted by bonobo at 7:07 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The two things that have consistently made the biggest difference for me are making a list of what I absolutely need to get done today, then being happy if I do half of it and walking.
posted by QIbHom at 7:21 PM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


wow, i feel like i was reading a post about myself earlier this year (and to some extent, still so). i spent over a year in a depressive episode which caused me to not be able to work (i'm a freelancer), ran through my savings, got into huge debt, realized that i didn't want to freelance anymore, met a guy i thought i was going to spend my life with and then got dumped by him resulting in the most painful break-up i have ever had to deal with, etc. so i feel you.

the thing is, sometimes, things just need time to work themselves out. for me, a year and a half later, i'm no longer depressed, but i'm still dealing with the fall out of the episode. finding a good therapist and really working on my shit has helped. finding a wonderful new guy (when i definitely wasn't looking) has helped immensely.

so i think what you are missing here is—like another poster stated above—a goal. i've got a couple. one is trying to find a full-time job in my field. in this economic environment, it kind of sucks. but it keeps me going. doing the work to make sure my new relationship is healthy and successful is another one. it really keeps me working hard on dealing with my emotional issues. another is to learn how to handle my finances better (and eventually restore my credit rating).

if you hate your job, maybe you should make a goal of looking for a new one—one that you will like.

if your apartment is a mess, then set up small goals to get it cleaned up (believe me, i know what this is—when i was absolutely at my most miserable, it took me months to get my apartment to the state that i considered acceptable. but this was a matter of doing one task at a time: i.e. clean the bathroom, sweep the floors, vacuum the rugs, etc).

if you're obsessing about the guy who dumped you, go out on dates. i know you may not feel like meeting anyone new or feel like you're up to handling a new relationship now and that's fine. you don't need to get into a new relationship (and maybe shouldn't) just now. but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go out on dates, either. they're just dates. about three months after my boyfriend dumped me, i was still feeling really raw and weepy and in no way wanted to deal with the monumental effort of meeting someone new. but i went out on a date anyway (after much encouragement from friends). which also helped in terms of forcing me to make an effort with my appearance. i was upfront with him about not wanting to get into another serious relationship any time soon. three months later, we are still together and he's just a really special person to me.

if you're struggling with your student loan payments, think about maybe taking out a forebearance (which will allow you to not make payments for a specific number of months) until you have a better handle on your finances.

recovering from my bout has been a gradual process whereby i have re-found my joy in things again. each new thing that i used to do that made me feel good that i started doing again was a big deal for me and it was a signal that i was on the path to recovery. you are seeing a therapist and you are exercising; you volunteer, you socialize, you are taking care of your health. these are all excellent things. just give yourself time and give yourself goals (and don't beat yourself up if it takes longer than you anticipate to meet them).
posted by violetk at 7:23 PM on June 25, 2008


I was in a similar pickle at age 30 and this is what I did:

1. I sold everything I owned (well, almost - I left a few boxes of stuff valuable only to me at a friend's house).

2. I planned a trip abroad that would cost as little money as possible and still feel safe and interesting.

3. I took my bike on a plane to Europe (Greece, specifically) with the idea of touring on my own, camping in olive groves and sleeping in hostels when I needed a shower or the weather was really bad.

4. I ultimately made my way to Rome, where I stayed with friends of friends for awhile. I had planned on continuing my trip, but while I was cooling my heels there - feeling pretty darn good I might say, freer than I'd ever felt before - I sort of figured out what to do with my life.

The decisions I made were ones I never would have imagined, and the trajectory my life has taken has been truly wonderful since - not every day, of course, but in general. I was able to elevate my life to a place of deeper love and courage and confidence. And this has stayed with me ever since.

There's something so amazing about travel, especially solo - you throw yourself on the mercy of the world. And the world, mostly, just seems to smile back. You can ride a long way on that energy. Best of luck.
posted by pammo at 7:30 PM on June 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Thank you to everyone, really. These are all really good starts.

I agree with porpoise that part of the problem is lacking a true goal.

pazazygeek, my job is boring and unfulfilling but I'm so prone to abandoning jobs and projects and goals in an effort to seek something seemingly more gratifying. It's a cycle that has not worked out well. It's true that I need to switch jobs, but I'm sitting around waiting for some golden opportunity that will be the "right move" and afraid to make additional wrong moves. Of course, there isn't necessarily such a thing as the right m ove, is there?

gjc, I agree--I need to get the laundry and all the other yuck done in order to create breathing room so that I can assess my situation and make change. Let's just say that I haven't been very good at doing the work. Or rather, I feel like I'm always doing the work, and the work is never getting done.

I haven't tried medication for the depression yet, but it's beginning to sound very, very tempting.
posted by grateram at 7:33 PM on June 25, 2008


I second the serious travel idea. I think what you need is to take a break from your current life and explore beyond your comfort zone. Exposures to different cultures / modes of living will also let you see that things are not as gloomy as you thought there were.

I'm living a pretty comfy live in Singapore now, but I was born and raised in Indonesia. Believe me that a lot of people would view your current position now as their life goal (educated, have house, have a steady income, ...)

And travelling to the South-East Asia (or the whole Asia) in general can be done on a shoestring budget :P
posted by joewandy at 7:34 PM on June 25, 2008


You could try reading I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
posted by joewandy at 7:40 PM on June 25, 2008


orange swan is right, real change is gradual.
porpoise is right, you need a goal.
But obviously, you can't wait. You want it all NOW...
You're doing the right self-nourishing practices (therapy, exercise) that will gradually get you to a better place. Diet is incredibly important in this regard, too. But since you want something now, do some superficial stuff, like a hair cut, pedicure, or a new necklace. If your student loans prevent you from spending money on this kind of stuff, then have a spa day at home (or, because your apartment is cluttered, do it at a friend's place). Make your own facial masks and the like. There are a gazillion recipes available on the 'net. Uncork a special bottle of somethin', chill out with your friend, watch an addictive TV series. Un-fucking-wind. You're only 32. Your apartment can be cleaned (by yourself or a maid). You can get over your ex. You can find love again. But you must learn how to love yourself again. You need to start feeling glamorous about yourself again. Not for a new partner. If you're recently single then you may not be ready to jump back into romance, but you should feel glamorous for yourself, for the person you are around your friends and family. Slowly but surely, self-nourishment will get you there. And if there's any way you can afford taking a trip--a short one to anywhere in the world that you've never been to before--then by all means, do it. It will jump-start your system so you can start smelling the roses again.
Good luck! You can do this. You will do this. It's only a matter of time before you get out of your funk.

Also... I find it's times like these when I shut myself off from new experiences... Push yourself to do them anyway (e.g. if you're planning a trip and can afford to leave the country, go somewhere where they don't speak English).
posted by Menomena at 7:50 PM on June 25, 2008


What bothers me is that if you thought moving to Sri Lanka would help you would "y'know, give it some thought?".

I'm not telling you to join the tamil tigers or nothing...but your attitude about improving sucks.

If your life sucks, and you see something that could make it better...or even POSSIBLY make it better...why not?

Seriously, if you're life does suck that bad...and you see something that could possibly change it...do it.

You have nothing to lose.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:01 PM on June 25, 2008


grateram, I've felt the way you feel many times myself. And I've also taken medication for depression many times, too. I'm no psychiatrist, but I'll tell you that the meds can really, really help for a while. I found that they helped me get up out of a rut and onto my feet. Then, from there, I was able to apply a lot of the other non-medical (and very valuable) suggestions that other Mefites have shared.

I find that while exercise does help, and travel does help, and all these things help, sometimes they don't seem possible because the fog is too thick. I found Prozac to be very effective at cutting the fog -- sort of helping me get to where I could help myself.

One doctor told me the condition was chronic, like diabetes. I ultimately disagreed but for a good year or so, the brain pills really gave me the elevated stability I needed to handle the ups and downs of resume rejection, missed flights, bad workouts -- all the normal disappointments that come on the road to getting healthy.

Best of luck, and I really hope all this helps.
posted by chinese_fashion at 8:03 PM on June 25, 2008


Talk to your doc about the meds. Toss some money at a cleaning service to reduce the mess from "oh God, what have I done" to something you can manage on a regular basis. Start looking for another job, but don't pile on too much at once.

Remember, it's really OK for "I made a sandwich *and* remembered to wash my plate afterwards" to be your Big Achievement For The Day. When you're wandering around upset and grieving and feeling unsupported, you take your victories where you find them. After a while, the sandwich and the plate will lead to "an entire load of dishes" or "meals planned out for a couple days and stashed in advance" or "washed the kitchen floor" or "did that mountain of laundry that was threatening to entomb the cat."

Little steps. And throwing money at things that need to be reduced to smaller steps, even if you think you can't afford it. You need a better environment and achievable goals before you can work on the big stuff.

And, yeah, speaking from experience-- I spent a very similar "oh my god what" year. I'm OK now. You'll be OK too.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:05 PM on June 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


What about Homelessness?
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 8:17 PM on June 25, 2008


I don't want to trade my family in, but I can confirm that married people look on the freedom of single people with wistfulness from time to time.
posted by mecran01 at 8:19 PM on June 25, 2008


Have something to look forward to. I'm of the belief that the whole idea behind Christmas is so you forget that while you're counting down the days to the holiday, January is just around the corner. Plan a trip, even a modest one, as a reward for some easily achieved milestone. Or a purchase you want, from a new graphics driver to new shoes, to a meal out.

About looking unhealthy: You can actually end up prettier after a stint with depression. After I did mine (age 18, 19), at first I was haggard and thin looking, with ravaged skin. I still haven't completely recovered, but I think the maturity I got means I've grown into my features, and I like how I look more than I did at 16.

Borrow a baby. If your friends really are all spawning, and you regret that you're not spawning, a little time as a sitter will either A) Give you yummy baby cuteness feelings or B) Make you cease hating the lack of kids in your life. You’ll also be the darling of all your friends when they get time off from their bundles of joy through you, and if you do have your own babies later, you’ll have more experience.
posted by Phalene at 8:37 PM on June 25, 2008


Hi grateram. You asked about inspiration. This may seem absurd at first, especially if we've been raised on ego consciousness to look out for number one, or get what you can. But when we transform ourselves to sharing persons, the question of inspiration becomes understood.

To better understand our purpose, to heed the call of inspiration, we become more focused on sharing and less on receiving. The more we shift focus from our desires to wanting more for others, the richer we become emotionally. When we find ourselves wanting more out of life, the solution is to do more for society, for other humans, or for the environment. It just plain feels good to do something for someone else.

There is a transformation that occurs when we extend love outwardly. This can take the form of wishing the best for someone we perhaps previously judged, a smiling friendly greeting, a kind remark, or just a thoughtful card that tells someone special you are thinking of them. As simple as this may sound, it is the ultimate in becoming inspired.

When we feel confused about what we should do to feel inspired, it's time to go to a quiet place. It could be in your room at home, or down on the beach, or in the woods. It just needs to be a place where we can be alone with our thoughts. Meditate about your frustrations and your stress. Meditate about your work and career. It isn't about getting the right job, whatever we are doing at the moment provides us with a unique opportunity to bring inspiration into the workplace. We can do this be becoming a sharing individual and extending our heart and compassion to anyone we encounter, particularly those who seem to be the most annoying, or those we tend to blame for our absence of inspiration.

We have two choices for handling problems that block us from inspiration. The first is to just give up. We assure ourselves that we are incapable. This choice leads to frustration, fear, grief, and tears. We attempt to cure a wrong with another wrong. The second choice is to look within, beyond any physical factors, and connect with our inner well being. There we find the desire and willingness to share and be inspired.

Practice sharing anonymously. More will flow back to you when you least expect it. Give yourself the time and quiet space to meditate regularly. Keep an open mind about what it takes to be inspired. Try to say yes more. By saying yes to life as it happens, inspiration will take care of itself. Remove thoughts of what you don't want. Instead of thinking I won't be sick, think about how well you are, and plan to always be. Live in a continual stream of well being.

Bless you grateram. You inspired me to spend the time to do this.
posted by netbros at 9:17 PM on June 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


Is there something new you'd like to learn? An instrument, painting, ballroom dancing, pottery? I find that doing something totally new and challenging keeps me going.

I have also found meditation to be VERY helpful...but the way I learn best is by really jumping in, so I started with a week long retreat.
posted by hazel at 9:25 PM on June 25, 2008


Try and take care of the small stuff - do your dishes, dust your furniture, make a small sanctuary in your home that is clean and free of clutter. Spend time in this sanctuary, and just be. Try not to focus on what you don't have, but what you do have. Make a list of everything that you are grateful for. It can be completely stupid - if you have a brand of fruit juice you particularly like - put it on there. Make this list EVERY DAY. It will grow. Take some time to do things just for you - get a facial, get your nails done (yes, you can afford it), do something nice for yourself.

It can take a while to get out of this funk, but if you spend some time looking at what you DO have versus what you DON'T, you might be surprised.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:33 PM on June 25, 2008


There's lots of good advice here, I can only add one other bit - don't compare yourself to other people, and don't think that your life is "less" than someone else's, because you don't know their circumstances that intimately. Don't worry that "your friends are all getting married and having babies" - for all you know, they could be as unhappy with their lots in life as you are.

All you can do is take the best care of yourself that you possibly can, and the rest will start to fall into place.

One other thing that I can offer - set small goals and achieve them. And when I mean small goals I mean SMALL goals. Like, "today I will do my dishes before I watch TV" or "today I will dust my bookshelves". Do one or two of these small-goaled things every day, and the accomplishments will start to seem routine, so that you can set a slightly bigger goal (like going on a mile walk, or starting a new book, or something).

Good luck - it's a hard road, but it's also a road that you can conquer if you give yourself time.
posted by pdb at 9:43 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Depression is a gradual slope. Please don't see medication as some sort of giving-in; it can be just the kick in the pants that makes all this stuff surmountable. Forget climbing a mountain when you're depressed; when you're in the hole, you can't even see what's appealing about the peak anyhow, let alone make the effort to ascend to it.

Is there anything you like to do, or are interested so intensely in, that when you're engaged in it you hate having to stop doing it to sleep? That's what you ought to aim for. If not now, then when?

And yes, absolutely, have something to look forward to. Can you rearrange the budget for a monthly massage or equivalent treat? Sure it's an expense. But if it's something you see as a reward for accomplishments, it's well worth it. Anticipation is such a delicious feeling. It's wasteful to spend a day alive without it.

See if you can't de-clutter and downsize. I feel so liberated when I get rid of old stuff I never use; clothing, shoes, un-loved books, lids without pots, ugly coffee mugs, drifts of junk mail, gifts that I feel guilty for offloading. Our lives are so full of crap we don't need, it sneaks up on ya like dust. Good and liberating to shake it off every so often.
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:51 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


don't compare yourself to other people, and don't think that your life is "less" than someone else's

I agree with this. The most liberating 'aha' experience that ever happened to me was realizing that I move at my own pace in my life and there is absolutely no need to compare my own achievements with other people's.
posted by joewandy at 10:37 PM on June 25, 2008


I'm obsessing over the guy who just dumped me, my friends are all getting married and having babies...

Though I'm sure you have broader issues that I can sure as hell relate to (career confusion, debt), I suspect that this construction is a lot of it. Getting dumped sucks under any circumstances (hell, even having a relationship founder in a relatively amicable, mutual way sucks): when you add feelings of being left behind you describe that's plenty to leave anyone feeling like the crisis is upon them. You may need more time to deal with the regular old grief of loss before you're up to tackling the Big Life Questions.

I don't know if it would make you feel better or not but you might consider inviting some of your married kid-having friends to talk to you about what they envy about your life. Because seriously: no, I wouldn't trade my marriage and home and child for anything, but I could definitely wax rhapsodic about what aspects of your life I covet nonetheless. I'm sitting here answering unanswerable questions at quarter of two ayem central time because it is literally the only time of the day I have genuine autonomy as an individual. There are pros and cons of every phase of life, you've got to focus on the pros.

Lastly, for me personally cleanliness is truly next to sanity. I may be stupidly burning potential hours of sleep I've no hope of recovering, but there isn't a dirty dish in the house and the laundry is done. There is a just do it mentality I have cultivated with the chores. It's a pain and I savagely resent the time sometimes but it does help keep me sane. Stick with the therapy, it works but it takes time!
posted by nanojath at 11:52 PM on June 25, 2008


In terms of laundry, and I've suggested this before, look for a local laundromat that has drop-off/wash-and-fold service. Especially if you have several loads worth. It's a bit more expensive, usually based on weight, but the reduction in hassle is SO worth it, so that you can get on with other things. Drop it off when convenient, pick it up when convenient. Normally I do my own laundry, but the last few months have been rough, so using the laundromat service has been a great help in getting through things.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:14 AM on June 26, 2008


Oh, and it sounds like you're definitely depressed. If you're drinking, stop, it's a depressant. Go to a doctor and get an SSRI like Cipralex to help get the signals going where they're supposed to.

/not a doctor, just going through something similar
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:20 AM on June 26, 2008


get a schedule going and stick to it. I think predictability will help somewhat but overall the rest of the thread would be really helpful.
posted by radsqd at 11:36 AM on June 26, 2008


When life is boring, you need to disappear into art. Destroy all you are and become a work of art. For just 2 weeks, see how it feels. Be free because you are an object of art.
posted by ChabonJabon at 1:24 PM on June 26, 2008


This is like a broken record, but have you also ruled out the possibility of ADHD?

I ask because of this:
pazazygeek, my job is boring and unfulfilling but I'm so prone to abandoning jobs and projects and goals in an effort to seek something seemingly more gratifying.
The "look! a Bike!" joke is a bit hackneyed but I personally have a very hard time sticking with tasks but always get excited about new projects.

And also your mention of having a hard time organizing your life.

I realize these are things everyone struggles with but for people with ADHD it's like climbing a mountain during an avalanche. So unless you are certain you don't have it it might be worth looking into.

Also, I wouldn't stress too much about your appearance. You feel terrible so it will show on your face. I'm assuming you felt sexy when you were with your last boyfriend (and if you didn't, you should have dumped him) and I know a lot of my self perceived attractiveness waxes and wanes according to how many people find me attractive. And I'm a dude!
posted by Deathalicious at 4:42 PM on June 26, 2008


We are in VERY similar circumstances. VERY. I'm about your age, also a woman, single, needing a new career trajectory, etc. I only recently have been able to escape a funk of about a year, following a major breakup and professional failure. One of the things that has helped the most is just taking some time off of work. Not liking your job (and this is a point I wasn't clear on - do you not like it or are you not good at it?) is a major source of stress and depression. And it is hard to see alternatives when you're entire psyche is focused on just making it through another day. I realize that suggesting this may seem just totally impossible. I thought that for a very long time too. But I finally realized that personal happiness, in and of itself, is a goal and something you need to work to foster. It's not just going to happen to you.

Start by taking care of yourself and understanding that it will take some time to change your life. Maybe, if you're anything like me, considering a happiness reformation of your life like any other project you would tackle would help. Brainstorm what you really, honestly want your life to look like. (I'm drawing on The Secret a little bit here. I think the general idea of having a clear concept of where you're going will help you get there.) Create a game plan for getting there. And take the plunge. Once you start, it shouldn't take too long for your brain to start seeing possibilities instead of walls. But you've got to believe in your own power to effect change in your life. You are in the driver's seat. You are the only one who can make it happen.

And re: some of your specific concerns, which I understand all too well, I think a lot of women use the single in your 30s when your friends are all marrying and procreating thing as a crutch. (Which is NOT to say I'm above doing that myself.) It's a convenient, seemingly sympathetic reason to explain why they're unsatisfied with their life. But it's actually more of a circumstance than a cause. I think it may be a result of the larger issue of being unhappy. Relationships tend to work better when you're happy and fulfilled. People are just more drawn to you and you've got more to give. Before you get there, you've got to get yourself to a happier place. It's possible and what I'm finding is that it's mostly an issue of perspective. (Which simultaneously infuriates me - it's this easy and I've wasted this much time being unhappy? - and comforts me).

And the debt, yeah, it totally sucks. There's no way around it. But that's the point - there is ZERO you can do about it but just try to pay it back. So why sweat it? Why beat yourself up about it? A lot of people are in your situation and it's nothing to be all that embarrassed about. But again, I think that is kind of a crutch - it's a big picture thing that can really effect your mood but that you really have very little control over right now. So you tell yourself that's why you're unhappy and take comfort in knowing that you can't fix it so you can just stay unhappy. It's kind of like saying you don't want to do the work - to take the leap of faith and declare that _actually_ you may be up to your eyeballs in debt, but it's under control and you're paying it back. And that's fine.

I'd focus on the small things, on your day to day. Really try to do things that make you happy as much as possible. Just say f*ck it, I'm going to take control here and start getting to my happy place. That's what you can control and work on. Your day to day happiness. And once that starts improving, your desire to keep your apartment clean will probably pick up as well. And hey, maybe you'll meet an awesome guy. (I know - ha HA!! :)

Good luck! And I should also add that I didn't suggest anti-depressants because I don't have experience with them, not because I don't think they'd also be a good idea to explore. Also, like you, I exercised before. But I just recently started adding yoga and an eensy bit of meditation to the mix and it is doing *wonders*. There's just something about yoga. Seriously.
posted by smallstatic at 6:40 PM on June 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hi! First of all, know that the way you feel is very common. It seems thirty is the new crisis age for women.

When you say that you're "not getting anywhere", where is it that you're trying to get? Do you want to be married and have kids? Or do you just see your friends (who SEEM happy) doing those things and wonder if you would be happier in their circumstances?

The same goes for your job. What exactly don't you like about it? What type of work would you like to do?

I know these are big questions. Some simpler things that offer instant gratification:

1. Gather old items in your apartment and sell them on Ebay. Seriously. Ebay is fun and you'll feel like you've accomplished something when you get rid of old clutter AND earn money in the process.

2. Don't go to the gym alone and run on a treadmill; join an exercise class. Exercising with friends is more uplifting.

3. Clean ONE room in your apartment and decorate it beautifully (NOT expensive, go to Target or Homegoods). This is where you go to take a deep breath when you feel you cannot handle anything.

4. Go to a department store and have a professional beauty consultation at the make-up counter. Even if you only buy one or two items, you'll walk away feeling much better. Plus you might learn a few tips or tricks. Make-up is constantly evolving and upgrading.
posted by The Fashionopolist at 8:25 PM on June 26, 2008


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