Stay positive positive after moving back home?
November 20, 2010 11:46 PM   Subscribe

How do I not put myself down after moving back in with my parents at 24 after almost losing my job due to alcohol?

I'm a 24 year old male who recently moved back in with his parents (for the second time) after moving to a new city and losing control of finances. I have a full time job, and could technically have afforded my apartment, but after dealing with moderate depression due to a breakup coupled with social isolation from living alone in a new city with no friend support, I started going to bars. I'd be out till pretty late every night, and couldn't make it to work on time in the morning, and for that I almost lost my job.

I made the decision to move out after feeling like I was going nowhere, and felt that by getting away from that scene I'd be able to re-ground myself. Now that I've moved back home, I've fixed my car and live a lot closer to work. I am also working on repairing my credit card debt (which is at about three grand...) and just concentrating on getting to work on time and doing my job. Although these things are good, I am still having issues with feeling okay with where I am in my life. Those around me have since read me the riot act on "fucking up" and told me that "I just need to bust my ass and I'll make it", etc.

I do know that I have self-esteem issues and have been told by people that I trust and whose knowledge I've subscribed to that I need to "find myself" (whatever you want to call it) and things will start making more sense. I've also been told that everyone goes through some type of similar experience and that it is just a part of growing up.

All of this being said, when the hell does finding yourself happen, and how can I stay positive and grounded in a time where I feel like things couldn't suck any more than they already do?
posted by nurgle to Human Relations (31 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
1. Therapy. Possibly coupled with meds for the depression, if your therapist thinks they are warranted. (I know you're low on funds, but put you first. Sliding scale therapist in your area?)
2. Everyone needs a good support network. Sometimes it's easy to build one, sometimes it isn't. Your parents are a built-in support network and it's okay to fall back on that.
3. I don't know when finding yourself happens. I think my boyfriend is almost there, and he's 28. He's been to many colleges, started a few companies, worked jobs as varying as used car salesman and campaign manager, and lived in three states.
4. Busting your ass is great. Work hard, realize that you are responsible for the actions you take, but also realize that it's your life, and you can spend it how you like. You can pace it how you like.
5. Things you have accomplished that are great that a lot of people your age haven't figured out:
-know yourself enough to know when you need help
-be proactive about your responsibilities (debt, car)
-have priorities straight (almost screw up due to partying -> party less)
-have a full time job!
posted by Night_owl at 12:00 AM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Right on. I do have a therapist but I should prolly call her to schedule another appointment. I also have Wellbutrin for smoking (desperately trying to quit). My parents are awesome, so that helps. Right on, feelin better already. :)
posted by nurgle at 12:04 AM on November 21, 2010

I heard on a radio program that happiness is not something you can go after, you have to sort of sneak up on it while acting like you're just doing what you're supposed to be doing. In your case, that seems very true, and I think you're on the right track (at least on the basis of what you said here).
posted by salvia at 12:10 AM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]

Hmm, that's well spoken. Right on.

I agree, I think that I burn so many calories/occupy a ton of thought space with stressing and worrying about how to fix it all. And waiting for it to happen probably feeds into the negative circle. Like the say, a watched pot never boils...
posted by nurgle at 12:13 AM on November 21, 2010

No practical advice here, but to follow on from what salvia said...

I have a wall plaque that says "Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes softly and sits on your shoulder".

Bit wanky, I know, but if I need a lift - or motivation to kick my own butt and just get on with stuff instead of wallowing - reading that helps me.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:21 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think "finding yourself" is something for which there isn't a fixed time in life. You might find yourself now, and then rediscover a new self some time later.

Try to take things one step at a time.

Try to activate each of your five senses every day (whether you feel like doing it or not. Treat it like a medication.). So, smell some flowers, or coffee, or smelly socks. Listen intently to a sound. Look at something closely, whether it be for colour or for line. Feel the texture of something. And focus on the taste of something. Just activating the senses can make one feel better about a lot of things.

Mark each day you get to work on time on a calendar. Or pick some other achievable daily goal.
posted by bardophile at 12:21 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Focus on what you've already learned and use that to build your confidence.

Yep, you're home with Mom and Dad. It okay that you didn't get everything right the first time you left home. Most of us don't. If moving back home allows you to regroup and figure out your next steps then it's all good. In this round of adulthood, you've gotten a better handle on how to structure your life to maintain your work and control your alcohol consumption.

Don't worry too much about "finding yourself". It's not like finding your keys. It's not ever going to be a completed task. Focus on the things you're able to manage well and where you want to further develop yourself.
posted by 26.2 at 12:45 AM on November 21, 2010

I had to move home twice after college, for long stints. I was simply horrible with money. It sucked, big time. I did a lot of thinking, and took up running. I worked on mentally making it through one day at a time. I started making tiny steps toward a bigger plan to move out and move on with my life. Tiny, tiny steps are key here.

I mean, I didn't find myself. I'm still figuring that out. The running brought a sort of zen into my life. My brain never shuts up, but running makes the chatter more...positive.

The running also made me realize I have limits. I enjoyed a run best when I stopped trying to mentally out compete myself. If I wanted to run slower, or walk, I did that. That made me realize I don't have to do things how other people do, I just have to do what's best for me, at this certain time. That helped lift a lot of stress off of me.

You're doing everything right, so far. There's a whole world going at different speeds, and no one cares at what pace you need to take to get through life.

TL:DR - Go outside, get fresh air, tiny steps, you'll find your happy self at your own pace. Keep up what you're doing.
posted by shinyshiny at 12:51 AM on November 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

Sounds to me like you're doing everything right. Most people wouldn't be able to overcome their own pride and do what you've done, which is return to a support network when you know you need help. Work on that debt, but in the scheme of things $3000 isn't that much.

In regard to finding yourself, I like this Rilke quote: "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 2:02 AM on November 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

This all sounds familiar. Next week I will be turning 24 and still living with my parents, having originally moved out "after feeling like I was going nowhere" (I had a good job that paid poorly, if that makes sense, but I was still desperate to be like my friends and move out and live independently. I didn't realise at the time that a lot of my friends moved to London solely because they had to for work, and that they had no option but to move into less than ideal living situations with people they didn't really like in properties miles from where they actually worked for more money than they could comfortably afford. Whereas I grew up in a big house in central London that I returned to rent free after university. I seemed to think that this was a handicap).

"I felt that by getting away from that scene I'd be able to re-ground myself". In my case, I felt that by moving I would be able to finally assert myself as an adult, which as the youngest person in my family was all I really ever wanted to do.

After an unhappy breakup I immediately ended up back at home. I laboured for a while under the impression that I was a massive man-child and would never achieve anything. Thanks to all of this , I ended up going out a bit too much as well for a while, which was not good for me. Example - I can't really remember the month of June.

Right now, the thought of what people must think of me does trouble me, time to time. But the rest of the time, I think - who gives a shit? Living at home works for me. I am still welcome, I love my parents, the fact they put up with me demonstrates that they love me, and I genuinely cherish the time I get to spend with them, time I will not always have. I live closer to work and MUCH more comfortably than I would if I moved out. This is an entirely common situation for someone in their early twenties, and more common what with the economy. Many people our age cannot say they have a job or a roof over their heads, or that they live with people who truly care about them. This is what matters.

Remember also that both of us and our peers are only 24. There is a lot of future coming up for all of you. All those friends who "read you the riot act" were demonstrating their concern and probably doing you a favour by telling you to get back on track. But don't compare yourself unfavourably to them. Some may seem to be living charmed lives, but they themselves will inevitably have a lot of difficult crises awaiting them in the coming decades. After my break up, while I miserably examined the ruins of my relationship, a friend of mine in his thirties did say to me: "When you get older, a break up means living in a one bedroom flat, paying for a mortgage on a house you can no longer go inside, and seeing your children every other weekend".

My attitude is, moving out will happen in its own time. I think it will all happen when it is right for me, when I switch jobs, maybe when I meet the right crowd of people and I get that 50% pay bump I so richly deserve (don't we all...). So I second shinyshiny's "go at your own pace" advice.

Three grand of credit card debt - don't feel too bad about that. I don't know what you are earning, but this is an entirely surmountable figure which will not destroy your life. Well done on recognising that you needed to get a grip on it before it became too big a problem. A lot of people fail to do that.

In terms of finding yourself, I will say that what worked for me is to stop thinking about myself anymore. Let me explain. I also have self-esteem issues (so does everyone else, incidentally). What I have realised is that whatever people think about me, be it good or bad, no one is expending as much mental energy on me as I am. And none of that mental energy I spend on myself is good. There is literally no-one on the entire planet who wants to punish me as badly as I am punishing myself. There is also no way you can please everyone - someone, somewhere, is always going to have a negative opinion. So there is no point. Instead of pacing around my room muttering unhappily to myself (which appears to be my favourite hobby), why not do something useful/fun instead? (I also run, so shinyshiny gets double kudos from me for that answer).

I don't know if this is what it means to find oneself, but it certainly clears out the negative thought nonsense and gives you the mental space in which to develop who you are.

Hope that helps. Best of luck. Sorry for the long answer. (TL;DR: there are plenty of people like you out there, no-one is trolling on your life and if they are they can fuck themselves, take the chance to love your parents, there are good reasons not to worry about yourself, and it will all happen in good time)
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 3:03 AM on November 21, 2010 [9 favorites]

You should stay positive because you're owning up to your problems and doing exactly what needs to be done. This is what I'm getting from your post:

You came close to losing your job, but didn't. That's a fine bit of luck and a lesser person would take it for granted. But you decided it was a bad sign and took action to turn things around.

Moving back in with the parents is a little embarrassing (we all like to feel independent), but in a lot of situations it's the sensible thing to do. Some people would have tried to stick it out on their own out of pride, but you did the sensible thing and accepted that help. That's gotten you some breathing room so that you can more easily tackle your other concerns.

Consider that your negativity about past mistakes is what motivated you to make these changes in the first place. Don't dwell on how you think you screwed up and feel bad - recognise those feelings as useful warning signs which you responded to in the correct way.

You should stay positive because you're recognising what needs to change and making it happen. You feel bad because you remember that you fucked up and you're not finished fixing things yet - but nevertheless you're making it happen. You can't change the past, but you're laying good groundwork for the future.
posted by Lorc at 3:06 AM on November 21, 2010

Everybody fucks up sometimes. Almost no one really "has it together" as much as they like to pretend they do. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and move on.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:26 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

You started going down a wrong path, you recognized it, and course-corrected before you crashed and burned. That makes you very much NOT a fuck up, but rather pretty damned mature. Ignore those who say otherwise.
posted by murrey at 4:41 AM on November 21, 2010 [6 favorites]

"I made the decision to move out after feeling like I was going nowhere, and felt that by getting away from that scene I'd be able to re-ground myself. Now that I've moved back home, I've fixed my car and live a lot closer to work. I am also working on repairing my credit card debt (which is at about three grand...) and just concentrating on getting to work on time and doing my job. Although these things are good, I am still having issues with feeling okay with where I am in my life. Those around me have since read me the riot act on "fucking up" and told me that "I just need to bust my ass and I'll make it", etc. "

These people are dumb. All of the choices you've listed in this paragraph are responsible, careful choices.

People like you and I (and others in this thread) are the lucky ones, who have parents who can afford to help us out when we "boomerang" back home, and with whom we have a mutually respectful and affectionate relationship enough to make such a move helpful and healing, not horrific. My husband and I (at 25ish?) undertook an awkwardly-timed job-change-and-multistate-move that required new bar exams that meant we ended up basically with six months between ending one job and starting the next. We were moving to near my parents' anyway, so we dumped our stuff in storage and we went and lived with my parents for six months. Saved us THOUSANDS. Some people were all, Dude, you're MARRIED, you can't move back in with your parents. But it was great for us, helped us through an awkward time that otherwise would have been extremely stressful and difficult.

(And, you know, things COULD suck more than they already do -- you could still be living alone, lonely and disconnected, drinking yourself into a stupor and out of a job. You made a super-responsible decision to STOP DOING THOSE THINGS!)

I don't know if this applies to you, but one of the things I've learned about myself is that I am just not meant to live alone. I HATE it. I lived with my parents, then in the dorms, then with roommates, then I got married. I lived alone briefly just to try it out and I thought I would go actively crazy I was so unhappy and lonely. I needed to be pretty good friends with my roommates to be happy. I need pets to keep me company. I like some alone time to recharge, but I HATE living alone. I even had a therapist who kept telling me I needed to "disconnect" from all these support systems in my life and be independent of them and blah blah blah, but she was wrong and crazy; I'm a person who suffers without strong support systems and who is ABLE to be independent in life when I have people I can turn to if I need to for emotional support. I know there's a big mythology of The Lonely Search for the Self, but my Self simply isn't to be found in solitude, and I don't think that's abnormal -- humans are tribal animals, most of whom go a little crazy if you, say, put them in solitary confinement.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:28 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

We all fuck up from time to time. As a parent of lots of years, I would gladly take my son or daughter back to live with me, as would my wife, if this would help him or her. That is what parents do.
posted by Postroad at 5:40 AM on November 21, 2010

Sounds like you're doing pretty well now. You kept your job, you're gonna have that debt paid back in no time, you're presumably not going out and drinking every night. Great job. Keep it up.
posted by Slinga at 5:57 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Whatever you do, just because you feel like you are f-ed up in the head right now, don't think that you absolutely HAVE to be on medication. Therapy is one thing but people, especially in your situation, tend to run toward the medications as a solution.
You already got rid of one drug (the alcohol), why become reliant on another?
Try as hard as you can to get control of your body and mind the natural way. The body wants to be clean of these wants to live in the natural state that it evolved to/from.

I know it's hard to 'find' yourself---that may take years. You can't stop looking, but you certainly can't stop living in the meantime. Consider making a small list of goals. Think of it in terms of baby steps (sorry for the 'What About Bob' reference). Each little goal is a step towards happiness and satisfaction. The goals could be simple --clearing out your room and throwing out junk from the past. They could me more complex --changing your diet and getting on a good, healthy workout routine. Either way, they need to be goals that are achievable within a small amount of time (day/weeks).

You can have longer term goals, but the important thing is to start getting some wins now. Start making progress now. Start feeling better about yourself now.

Whatever you decide, I just highly suggest you strongly consider staying drug free --that means alcohol, nicotine, and these prescription medications for the mind that people love to recommend. You'd be surprised what a little sunlight and a healthy diet can do.
posted by Yunani at 6:00 AM on November 21, 2010

finding yourself is too vague a goal; it's really more a lifelong process. so i wouldn't put too much pressure on it as a sign that you're on the right track. i know some awesome people, but most will likely never feel that they've figured it out--and that's part of what makes them awesome.

i think there are certain phases in life when your goal should simply be to get through it--not worry about where you are or where you should be, but just work on what gets you to the next day. don't try to force yourself into something; don't try to grasp at something (a relationship , a career) to save you. and do not compare yourself to others, as this will be inaccurate in all kinds of ways and will only drive you crazy. just worry about the basics, and be okay with that. take some pleasure in simple everyday things. once you get a kind of routine down, some consistency from one day to the next, you'll get the sense that you want to try or do more; let that come naturally.

and as cliche as it sounds, it really does make a difference when you try to keep your head in a positive place and to catch yourself and avoid getting into a negative or pessimistic cycle of thinking--because it will turn itself into a cycle. you do have a lot on your side--from having a family who can help you out (many don't), being young (many now find themselves in the same situation and are much older), and that the things that have happened to you are things you have the capacity to learn from (considering you are actively trying to turn it around, when many would just let themselves sink into it deeper).

good luck!
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:42 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just want to tell you that I am really proud of you for making it out of that hole you were in before it closed in above you, and for doing all the things you are doing to get yourself back on track. Those of us who have had loved ones with alcohol problems can testify to the fact that it doesn't often work out that way, at least not until a significantly greater amount of damage is done. Your instinct for self-preservation is much stronger than you think it is. I could name a couple people in my life whom I desperately wish were asking the kinds of questions you're asking here, but they are incapable or unwilling to do so.

"Finding yourself" often occurs during a period like this, when one has narrowly averted a serious tragedy and begins deconstructing the elements of oneself that led to this point. You begin to recognize that there are more sides to yourself than you were currently aware of, and that remaining in contact with these aspects of yourself (keeping an eye on them, studying them for clues) is the only way to guarantee that your choices and actions represent your true intentions. It is a new layer of self-awareness, one that many people would rather bury or distract themselves from dealing with.

The term "finding yourself" has become cliche but it is a good cliche, it is two words that evoke a very obscure and interesting purpose. Typically people start reaching outward at the same time they're reaching inward, counterbalancing their inner search with new friends, new interests, new investments. I think part of that is just trial and error, hoping something will strike a chord and point you in a new direction. Groping around like this allows greater opportunity for synchronicity to occur, for some sort of flash or coincidence that seems meaningful and instantly gives purpose to your struggles, pointing out the way the interconnectedness of external factors in your life mirrors the interconnectedness of your various inner aspects.

There was a point when I was younger when I realized how close I had come to destroying myself. I decided that if I was going to go ahead and stay alive, from then on it would be on my own terms. So, what were those terms going to be? Deciding that was maybe the most interesting and exciting time of my life. Suddenly it seemed like every book I read or every project I took on had new messages for me. My friends and family were alarmed at the swerve my life took at that point, but over time they began to accept that I really did have a vision for myself, and that the "me" they had grown accustomed to was not necessarily the definitive version. I can't say I have it all figured out now, but looking back there was definitely a turning point.

I hope this is one for you.
posted by hermitosis at 7:37 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

It sounds to me as if there are two things going on that people haven't addressed - feeling bad for moving back in with your parents and self-esteem. May I suggest doing things around the house for your parents? Some cleaning, do dishes, some cooking, some repairs, anything that will make you feel like you are contributing to the household, not just mooching (not that I'm saying you are doing that) off your parents.

The other thing that helped me when in a similar place was to find ways to help other people. This could be formal volunteer work or not. This has the added advantage of helping to meet other people, so you can start building a support network or broadening it.
posted by QIbHom at 7:54 AM on November 21, 2010

Congratulations! Having the wherewithal to recognize that you're in a destructive situation and taking the steps to put yourself in a better place is a MAJOR accomplishment. You have just made what may be the single best decision of your life. Of course it's hard now, and you're not exactly where you'd like to be, but it's entirely possible you'll look back on this time in your life as the stepping-stone that kept you from sinking deeper and deeper into a very dark hole.

There are so many good things in your life right now: your self-awareness, your willingness to ask questions like these, your family, your job, your youth.

Living with your parents right now is not the end of your story. This is a necessary step in becoming the best adult you can possibly be.

A few specific thoughts:

- Everything is relative, but 24 is pretty young and $3000 in CC debt is not that much. Just get the debt going in the right direction, and you'll be fine. Depending on your interest rate and your income, it might make sense to make payments to your savings account while you are paying down your debt -- it's nice to actually have some savings once your CC balance is $0.

- Several people have suggested therapy, and you have indicated that you're going to make an appointment. It's important to find the right therapist, and it's important to give it time. You can't think of therapy as a temporary solution to a temporary problem. It's not like your sick and this is a doctor that's going to heal you. Your therapist is a coach who will get to know you, who will be on your side, who will lead you towards making the right decisions and feeling good about things. When everything is fine and you feel good again, keep going to therapy. It's good to have that relationship when things inevitably get hard again. If this sounds like a chore, you probably don't have the right therapist. If you fundamentally disagree with something your therapist says, or if you don't feel comfortable about some aspect of their 'treatment,' tell them. A good therapist will send you to someone who might be a better fit, or adjust accordingly.

- Don't 'self medicate.' From your post, it's impossible to know anything about the nature and extent of your substance abuse, but it doesn't sound like you're minutes away from rehab. It's good that this is on your radar as a potential issue. If it feels like alcohol is getting in the way, try this: Don't drink for a week. How's it feel? Can you go a month without drinking at all? Talk to your therapist about this. There are LOTS of people who have made the decision to never drink again who are leading full, fun, happy, social, healthy lives.

- Take care of your body. Eat right and exercise. This doesn't have to be a major commitment. If you don't exercise at all, start by walking for 30 minutes, 3 times/week. Enjoy feeling good.
posted by TurkishGolds at 9:05 AM on November 21, 2010

I don’t know about finding yourself, but I do know about fucking up, and here is a mental exercise that helps me stay positive and grounded when I’ve done it:

Imagine that you had a very good friend who you’ve known forever and who was in the same situation that you’re in. My guess is that you would commiserate with this person, try to motivate them to take the next steps that they need to take to fix the troubles that they’ve gotten into, and support them through the difficult time that they're having.

Until recently, I found that although I could forgive a friend for almost anything, I couldn’t do the same for myself when I screwed up. But this doesn’t make any sense because it’s not like my mistakes are special or different than anyone else’s (as your friends and family have repeatedly told you). The only reason why my mistakes should be treated differently than another person’s is if I somehow think that I’m different or better than other people.

So in short, staying positive when you’ve messed up is a matter of giving yourself the same benefit of the doubt that you would give anyone else in the same situation.
posted by _cave at 9:16 AM on November 21, 2010

I'm glad you are making these necessary adjustments (straightening up at work, moving home) you really do need to square your shoulders about the alcohol issue. Generally, people over drink to feel "empowered" and/or to fit in with their "clan". When it gets out of hand you can't gloss over it. You might consider giving up drinking altogether (total abstinence). The "AA" route is not always called for (especially if you don't agree with the higher power things). When one has depressive tendencies they can fall into a victim mentality and some of the support groups are notorious for furthering "dependency". You are making very good manly decisions, the idea is to not muck up your progress with woe-is-me. There are other ways to address overdrinking aside from support groups. The best way is to simply give up drinking. Just start thinking about it (if you haven't already). Many young people do not drink at all. If you consider this route you have to find new friends.
I agree with all the other are certainly not a fuck up, you are doing all the right things, and if you were my son, I'd be immensely proud of your recent decisions. Keep making good decisions and understand that all humans are fallible. Life is like sailing a sailboat, constant corrections.
posted by naplesyellow at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2010

Wow, look at what you've done so well!

You DIDN'T actually lose your job. You fixed your car. You saw were you needed help and took the necessary steps to get it. Now, you're taking small steps in the right direction by getting to work on time and managing your finances. Not just barely managing, but getting out of debt which, in my opinion, is a major obstacle to feeling really self-actualized. Remind yourself of these things when you start beating yourself up. Honestly, the strength of self it takes to admit mistakes and ask for help is a huge indication that you are more wise beyond your years than you know.

About finding yourself,'s not the destination but rather the journey. It sounds all cliched, but it's very true. Learning from your mistakes and making the necessary adjustments is the eternal process of life.
posted by motsque at 10:43 AM on November 21, 2010

Spending time with people your own age (probably not in bars though:) will help tremendously with isolation and depression I think. Try running or hiking or volunteering or various meet up groups. Good luck.
posted by bananafish at 3:46 PM on November 21, 2010

You started going down a wrong path, you recognized it, and course-corrected before you crashed and burned. That makes you very much NOT a fuck up, but rather pretty damned mature. Ignore those who say otherwise.

this, exactly. I have seen friends who never recognise and own up to their mistakes lose job after job.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:10 PM on November 21, 2010

I'm 25. You sound like a whole helluva lot of my friends right now. Moving to new cities, trying to make a support network away from home (and make friends away from college...which is a lot harder than you'd think), drinking a lot, financial troubles, moving back home. Yeah...I've come to see these things as sort of par for the course as a 20-something in our current economic climate and culture.

You didn't lose your job. You fixed your car. If the 3K is all the debt you have, you are much better off than most I know. Don't get too down on yourself man. It's a shitty time to be starting out in the world, and you aren't really doing all that bad, to be hoenst.

Finding yourself? Call me in 20 years.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:39 AM on November 22, 2010

I really like _cave's advice about imagining that a friend is telling you this story. You're likely to treat a friend with a lot more compassion than you'd treat yourself.

Here's how I read your post: "Life is tough right now. I made some bad decisions and screwed some things up. I realized I needed to make major changes, so I did it. I've become a lot more responsible and I'm working to fix the things I screwed up."

And my reaction on first reading it, which it looks like everyone else around here shares, is, that's awesome. It's really hard to admit that your life isn't on the path that you want, decide what changes you need to make, and actually MAKE them. Right now you're doing the hard but necessary work of fixing your problems, so it's probably not the most fun time in your life. But you should be really proud of yourself for where you are right now.

Maybe it would help to have a concrete plan for the near future? It might be a budget for paying off your debt, or some personal goal you've always wanted to achieve, or a plan to run a 10K or take a trip somewhere. Something that would help you get excited about what you've achieved so far and that would give you something positive to focus on.
posted by chickenmagazine at 11:44 AM on November 22, 2010

Find biographies of people who also started off rough and then managed to find their way.

Same sorts thing happened to me when I first went away to college...figured I was stupid and it took a long time for me to figure out I had depression / home sickness.

How about realizing things that you are or will accomplish. For Example: When you pay off 1 of the credit cards or debts...count that as an achievement. If you want a quicker achievement, pay off the lowest balance first (called 'snowballing') even if it doesn't make sense mathamatically.
posted by CodeMonkey at 1:59 PM on November 22, 2010

Check your memail.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 9:13 PM on November 24, 2010

Just wanted to give a MAJOR thank you to everyone who responded to my question... You've all been instrumental in helping me contemplate all of this... wonderful to have a sounding board.. Thank you all. :)
posted by nurgle at 10:48 PM on November 27, 2010

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