How can i be happy and stay happy?
January 10, 2009 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Looking for happiness. Need advice, thoughts on what i am doing wrong, how to get this girl out of my mind.

There are many different things going on in my life right now. Things are just making me feel more and more depressed each day. Every day, every week, it’s on and off. Some days are great and I feel on top of the world, other days are just horrible and I can’t think or concentrate on anything and end up crying myself to sleep or changing my mentality that someday in the future I will be happy but not today. And the process goes on and on where in a few days I feel better again but then back to miserable. I am a college student graduating in about 2 years. For instance, When I feel depressed I start to think maybe when I turn 21 I can go out and party, buy alcohol help me upgrade my social status, other days I find myself waiting till I get my student loan so I don’t have to work as much and am able to do something like start a new hobby (I love to work on computers and cars, just don’t have the money to truly experiment, I go pay check to pay check to pay bills). I want to be happy tomorrow (the future) but I want to be happy now, days start to feel more and more like there may never be a tomorrow.

I find a lot of it has something to do with this girl, in that there is this girl I’ve liked for a few years, the girl of my dreams type of girl. Long story short I’ve liked for a long time she has a boyfriend, and even if her boyfriend breaks up with her (which they currently are apart) there is nothing I can really do as I live over an hour drive away. I’ve pretty much have learned, forced myself to forget about it. I find that I really don’t need a girlfriend right now that she is probably not the one for me and if she is well it will happen somehow. The only thing is time and time again as I get depressed, as I start to think about anything it starts to pop into my head and irritate the crap out of me making me dig deeper into depression. I find that this happens whenever I think. I find that this happens as I really have no good friends. No one to hang out with, no one to really talk to. I know tons of people, coworkers, classmates, old friends. But time and time again I find myself alone, just thinking as there is nothing else for me to do. I find that the cause was I missed out on so much, not having a car first 2 years of college, working nights every weekend when there was a party I was invited to. Slowly the invitations disappeared and I just became no one really it’s like I’m there, but everything would go on perfectly without me, like my existence is meaningless. it seems like that for everything even with my family at times, luckily family turns out to be one thing that sometimes brings me out it.

With all this I have been working toward self improvement, fixing my health as it can be DRASTICALLY improved, working on my style (the way I present myself to the world), learning to let me thoughts out. It has helped me and it makes me feel better, but I’m still waiting for the future, that one girl still pops into my mind as she is the only real since of hope I can think of that somehow makes me everything seem like it could be amazing in life and yet I get the after effects of the worst feelings in the world and destroys all that hard work I go through for a day or so. I want to meet new people good people, create some kind of real social life. I just find it hard to do in this college environment, where majority of people just wish to get drunk and wasted every single day, where just about everyone I see has their parents paying for everything while I must work whenever I can get the chance to. Would like to meet good people. I mean I am living with 3 roommates, who have known each other since elementary school, and yet they don’t spend one minute wanting to get to anything about me, they are nice people and we have interacted a bit but aside from that what can I really do. I am a shy person, not quiet just shy, takes a little bit to get out of my shell but when I do I am fine. I would try things like volunteering, to make myself feel better but really don’t have the time this semester (literally 7am to 11 pm, 3 days a week with school and work). I wish there could be a quick solution but I know it’s not easy. Just want to find what’s missing? A way to make new friends, and stop going back to the one sense of real hope (that girl).
posted by loser8008 to Human Relations (17 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
You need a hobby. Seriously. Something to throw yourself into with your whole heart and being. It could be anything: a sport, a craft, a time-intensive game (Go or Chess). Make yourself more interesting to yourself and others by doing things you love. Don't try to copy someone.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:12 PM on January 10, 2009

Maybe you need to be the change you seek. You sound a little passive here, which may make it feel like the world is passing you by, others have everything, you have nothing. Instead of waiting for your roommates to knock on your door and get to know you or to have something to join in on, invite others to do something. Be the guy who knows everything cool that's going on by keeping tabs on what bands are in town, who is speaking/reading, etc. and invite a roommate or one of all those people you know or a new girl to go with you. If you're that short on cash, see about getting a job that interests you (as opposed to one that is totally about making cash) where you think you might meet new people. Two birds, one stone. Get an internship for credit somewhere that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. If you become the person you'd like to be friends with, lots of this other stuff will fall by the wayside. You'll be too busy enjoying your life to worry about this particular girl or what the trust-fund drunkards are up to.
posted by *s at 7:27 PM on January 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I know how you feel. It can be frustrating to have so much responsibility to make ends meet in college when everyone else spends their time not in class socializing. I found that when I chose a coffee shop to study in, a bar to hang out in to unwind, and the same couch in the student union between classes the people who were regulars in the same spots slowly entered my social circle. Then its only up to you to take the next step and ask one or two of them out to see a movie, or to grab a bite, maybe work on a project together. Lots of people feel lonely and are just waiting for someone to initiate an interaction.
posted by Unred at 7:48 PM on January 10, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The only thing is time and time again as I get depressed, as I start to think about anything it starts to pop into my head and irritate the crap out of me making me dig deeper into depression.

To fix your problem, think small. This is about what happens when you start experiencing bad feelings. Right now when you feel bad your mind starts to move towards thinking about an emotionally painful situation you can do nothing about. That is called obsession. We do it when we don't want to think about real problems right in front of us that make us feel bad. The way to break out of this is to feel bad. In other words, life is tough and we are going to feel bad. What screws us up is when we try to get away from feeling bad. the bad feeling dogs us for hours until we finally consent to feel it. Its my experience that feeling bad about the real problems, while sharp, is much shorter than running from thinking about things that are painful.

So, what is the practical way to deal with this? When you find yourself thinking about the girl, stop and ask yourself what you were thinking about the moment before you started thinking about her. Then think about that thing some more. You'll feel much better on the other end.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:06 PM on January 10, 2009 [5 favorites]

You should get counseling. Depression sometimes requires medication, and you should determine whether or not you need that.

All that being said; you are trying to base your happiness around acquiring affection. This will backfire. You need to find a way to base your self worth on aspects that won't change with people's feelings. This is why getting a hobby is good, this is why getting out and doing stuff is good, this is why fixating on one person is bad.

I don't believe your schedule is truly that busy; if it was, you wouldn't have all this time to ruminate. So find some things to do to fill up your remaining hours of the day that make your life more meaningful.
posted by Happydaz at 9:37 PM on January 10, 2009

About the girl... I myself knew a guy who I thought was perfect for me and I could never get him - and looking back on it a few years later I see that he was SO not perfect for me, it wouldn't have worked out. I know a LOT of my guy friends also had the same ideal girl they were in love with, some of them ended up even dating the girls for a while and also realizing that the girl wasn't what they needed.

So don't idealize and romanticize anyone or the idea of being with them.

Also, change your name from loser8008 to something positive.

Having roommates is a big advantage! If you've known your roommates for that long, even if you're not close to them, they definitely will not think it's weird if you say "hey guys wanna go see that movie this week?" And then after the movie say "hungry? lets go grab food" - and there you go! You're hanging out and being social and discracted from being depressed. And now that you've initiated that, next time any of them organizes anything they'll think of you. So force yourself to say yes to everything when people ask you to hang out - you'll also meet other people through your current acquantances.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 10:22 PM on January 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Good for you for asking these hard questions! Your willingness to honestly examine the causes of your own unhappiness is a great start. In the long run, it will serve you well. In fact, you're likely better off than those peers who are constantly distracting themselves with parties. Counseling is a great idea, especially if you find that your own efforts aren't having the desired effect. You might also try meditating. There is free material (written by a Buddhist but the technique is not religious) to get started with. Also, there are some great links/comments in this thread.
posted by blockhead at 11:27 PM on January 10, 2009

First up, that sounds really tough. Good for you for bringing it up here. Maybe you'll find that talking about it like this helps, even a little. Counselling may help also - particularly if you do suffer from depression, which sounds possible.

Your situation seems to come down to a combination of depression and feelings of social failure/loneliness. Deal with them separately. You will find that improving one of these issues will positively affect the other.

You're not alone. From experience, so many of us at college (and later in life, of course, but particularly back then) go through similar trials. It's a very real thing, particularly if you're not as social as everone else. Then you have to couple that with the quarter-life crisis of freaking out over what you're going to do with your life. It becomes a downward spiral.

The only why I've learned to stop the downward spiral takes a bit of effort. First, you've got to understand what's happening. That when you start to feel low for some reason (blood-sugar, something happening, bad memories), this triggers bad thoughts (hopelessness, worthlessness, thoughts about the girl etc). It just escalates from there to where there's no way out for you. If you can work out your triggers and identify the spiralling at an early stage, that's half the battle. You sound like you're already quite good at self-analysing (which you don't want to obsess over) and self-improvement

The other half seems to be what other people are suggesting - some sort of (preferably, but not necessarily, social) distraction.

For example, I have a nasty problem when I get to Sunday afternoon and start to get depressed, thinking about where the weekend's gone and whether I've wasted it. It's best for me to work out that there is a pattern here, and to just go out and do something, talk to someone, pray, read or just sit outside and think.

Although I can't think of any now, there are plenty of answers on AskMe about how to be more social. It involves being proactive and positive, and takes work.

That leaves the girl. I think you'll find that once you feel better about yourself, holding on to her as your hope will fade away. Alternatively, you may find that you need to make a conscious choice to let it go. The hope of impossible love is no basis for living, as you have discovered. You need to find another reason to keep living, to get up in the morning. Be it religion, or self-improvement, or even just to finish your degree and take it from there. Find it and believe in it. Don't just wait for it to hit you on the head.

Oh, one more tip - don't be afraid to make mistakes.
posted by The bat in the hat at 1:28 AM on January 11, 2009

This sounds so familiar to me. I was both quiet and very shy, socially inept, plagued with the existential 'everything would go on without me' sorts of crises, the resentment of people who seem to have it easy, and, yes, the idealization of particular girls. I'm sorry you're soaking in it right now, but it's also reassuring to see that I'm not the only one to have ever felt that way. So, (weirdly, I know) thanks.

I'm not sure whether to credit myself for actively, intentionally getting out of that rut, or to credit time, neurochemical changes and involuntary experience. I don't really know what you should do, but I can see that you're looking for happiness in the wrong ways and places.

Student loans are not escape hatches from depression. I realize you're thinking that money will buy you some "free" time, but you will never find yourself with more than 24 hours in a day, the same amount of time you have now. The influx of cash can certainly make life easier, but it won't make it happier.

You will not suddenly be popular (with anyone worth being liked by) when you are able to legally buy alcohol. People who are no fun now will only be more disappointing when you buy their booze for them and they're still jerks. The difference will be that you will be useful to the jerks. And you will feel used by them.

That Girl is not all she seems, to your sad-addled brain, to be. Girls are just other people, lovely, wonderful and screwed up as you are. A relationship with a girl you like might very well be a good thing -- not an easy thing, mind you, and not the thing that allows you to say 'Now I have arrived and am okay,' but a challenging, boundary-pushing, growth-inspiring good thing nonetheless.

I know how seductive these ideas are, that contain both hope for change and a sense of sad safety that that change is off in the future and not really up to you right now. But they are crap. Happiness does not hang on these things outside of you, and it is not off in the future where you can effortlessly get it by simply waiting for it. Change is up to you, and is available whenever you're ready for it, but you have to go to it. Spend some of your time doing things you enjoy, even if the budget is tight. Be open to kernels of goodness in less-pleasant but necessary activities. Spend time with people you like, even if you're not sure your worthy. Say hello to nice, interesting, available girls. You're standing on the end of the diving board. The water will never rise to meet you. You've got to jump.
posted by jon1270 at 3:44 AM on January 11, 2009

Here's a minor point, but I think things like this send us important messages about ourselves: do not pick user names like "loser8008."

How happy can you feel logging in as that, self-identifying that way?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:50 AM on January 11, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments.

The user name was picked over 6 months ago as i was new to metafilter and was trying to pick something anonymous, and was at a point in time where i wasn't all to happy. i had to wait 7 days to post so i never got around to post anything, but I learned from that mistake at the time. which ironically had to do with that same girl.

I feel i am one for making excuses, but... after writing this i do realize that i haven't been at work for over a week since being back from winter break and i do feel like this week i have had a lot of extra free time particularly the last 4 days where most of these feelings have arised. but i do realize that one of my biggest problems is being social, and am continually working to be the person i would like to be, just feel far from it at moments. I am studying to be an engineer, making it harder than most other college students with studying. but with that i have hobbies, things that i enjoy and doing, and could probably spend a day and be fascinated taking apart any kind of electrical equipment and seeing how it works.

I do find that my job is a basic job that one gets as their first job. it doesn't pay to bad and i have met some great people, but it can be stressful and requires a lot of work which never gets recognized at times. But i am working to get an internship which pays more and will focus more on what i really want to do in the future. And have been told by people who know me that it is putting stress on me.
posted by loser8008 at 4:42 AM on January 11, 2009

Response by poster: on another note. in a world filled with myspace and facebook. i somehow keep running into this girl, she is a friend and is really nice so we talk every once in a while. i have decided as my new year resolution to stop using myspace, afraid to get rid of it as i know so many people and relatives. but i found most are on facebook anyways. but i find that i still find myself some how seeing her and digging myself into depression with a simple click
posted by loser8008 at 4:53 AM on January 11, 2009

Best answer: the girl of my dreams type of girl

If she makes you so unhappy, maybe she is really the girl of your nightmares. The girl of your dreams would be with you.

You need a new social circle. Join some clubs or activities to meet new people. Never speak to her or look at her facebook page again.
posted by procrastination at 5:50 AM on January 11, 2009

Best answer: It is not about the girl, or socialization. No girl, friend or booze should be responsible for your own happiness. It is primarily about you and finding your own happiness and passions. I think you are doing fine. You just need to work more. And once you reach it, it is not the end of the game. There will always be those days when you will have to work more towards staying happy. it is like being an artist, or a sportsman: you should work hard every day, there will be days when you question it and lose faith, but that is just part of learning.

There are lots of excellent threads here on MetaFilter that helped me a great deal a while ago. Also, there are books that might drastically improve your life. Burns' Feeling Good (a mefi classic), Levine's The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga, to name just a few.

Also: pay attention to your nutrition. I am not kidding. For me, eating right foods works wonders. Last but not least, physical activity rules. Yoga, for example, will improve your body and your mind immensely.

Social Networks are tempting, yes. I was often tempted to check pages of an ex of mine. I tried with firefox block-site extensions, with no luck. But, at the end I solved it in the way that I reached my own peace and confidence, so I no longer care! Yeah, it's possible! Good luck!
posted by Think [Instrumental] at 6:16 AM on January 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

My first reaction is that anyone who is interested in an unavailable woman has a problem. It's not the woman's unabailability, it's their interest.

That aside, I didn't catch - does this woman know about it? Do you have any money, or you are some poor kid? Do you think the woman would actually be better off with you than with who she is with?

If you truly think you and she are meant for each other (both ways) - have some courage. Tell her in person alone (NOT over email or letter or the phone) that you feel you are meant for her, and explain clearly why you think it's in HER interest to be with you. Just ask her to think about it, never ask for an answer. After the coffee, say thanks for your time, I'll be in touch. Smile and leave first.

Four days up to six days later, call her up and tell her a few things that you like about her, and then say talk to you later. Don't ask for an answer.

When in doubt, watch that movie Don whateveritis. The ladies man often starts out as a geek but focuses on learning how to actually express love while not obsessing about it, thus becoming something new.

If someday again you are alone and she is close to you, kiss her. You cannot create this "alone-ness": it is a matter of destiny only, and all you can do is accept it if/when it happens.

I personally consider it repulsive to be attracted to another man's woman or to pursue it but it's your business how to deal with your problem; I merely inform you how some people deal with situations similar to yours. I have never done that. I feel nauseous when I think inappropriately of a woman in a relationship with someone else.

Maybe a better idea would be to learn to think for yourself which woman might be beautiful later when in your company - not by whether she smiles now (this is often a sign she's already in a relationship) but from whether she behaves respectfully. When you find one who takes care of herself and is respectful of others, then take the time to recollect her face. Next time you see her, tell her you noticed that she is respectful of people and that you value that about her. Attraction begins with thoughts, then moves through words and actions; by focusing your mind on a healthy, available person, even if your historical attraction is towards deranged or unavailable people, you can become more capable of greater harmony.

Good luck.
posted by peter_meta_kbd at 7:45 AM on January 11, 2009

looking for happy.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 9:00 AM on January 11, 2009

Ah yes, the man of my dreams! I wish I could be with him but I can't have him. If I find a way to talk to him, go to a party he is also attending, or get the nerve to send him a message through some social networking site... then I could weave my way into his heart. Maybe I could make it happen!

Fuck! He's always in my head. We're talking about religion and politics. I already know we agree on every issue. God it would be nice to have someone I could be so passionate with. And the sex. It would be simply amazing. I could search and explore all the wonders of his body...

Okay, you get the fucking picture. It's not going to happen. If you contact this girl she going to be like, WTF dude? I'm not interested. Why are you being so creepy? This unfortunate scenario has happened twice in my life. It sucks ass. But why did it happen? I was lonely and depressed.

Seek professional help. Tell a family member that you need help. Do something. I obsessed over one guy for a year! And it wasn't because he was amazing. It was because I was trying to escape from my reality.
posted by pixelnark at 11:17 PM on January 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

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