Snap Out of It Existence
January 21, 2013 5:20 PM   Subscribe

This is somewhat of a fairly negative post, so let me apologize now. I have a lot of things to be happy about, and I am really struggling to feel happy. I should be grateful for all of the blessings I have, but instead I keep thinking about how much of my life has been wasted on fictional goals and trying to find something that I stand out in.

I feel like I have been trying to find something that I am good at for most of my life. I have really struggled to find anything, other than being a big reader and that isn't exactly going to win you first prize in the most sociable contest.

I was taking a bath today and reading Viktor Frankl's - Man's Search for Meaning, which I haven't read in a number of years. I felt guilty reading about all the shit that people have had to go through in the concentration camps. I felt, like what do I have to complain about in comparison to that?

While I was reading it, a bunch of things were going through my head. I felt a sense of sadness about how much of my life I have pissed away. I realized that for most of my life, I have been so isolated and this was largely due to bad decisions that I had made. I have felt very discouraged throughout a good portion of my life.

How can I be mourning for all the things that I didn't get to experience when growing up? I'm 37 years old, and I'm still caught up in the past. Why do I feel such a sense of regret? The reason is that I can only blame myself for a lot of my decisions. Things did not go in the direction that I wanted, but I made matters worse by how I reacted to a lot of the circumstances.

To make matters even more complicated, I broke up with my fiancee about eight months ago. When I say broke up, she made the decision and I went along with it.

How would I describe my ex, she was one of the most kind people that I have ever met. She made things that seemed impossible to me, possible. When I was with her, it felt like my life was on track for the first time in a very long time. I was really into her, and it just sucks trying to fill that void.

I will not turn this post in a "poor me" type of post, but rather try to explain why I am struggling so much right now. I was a contractor for the last two years, and I was laid off back in June. I took the time off to finish up graduate school and I should be very pleased with that accomplishment. My fiancee was with me for the entire journey except the last semester, and the accomplishment feels really hollow without her.

Today, I have been reading Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart". It was very Buddhist so a lot of was hard to take in even though the message was positive. As I said earlier, I then went on to Man's Search for Meaning and I just started crying. I have been crying for the wrong reason. Reading what those people had to go through makes my problems seem so insignificant that it just reminded me of all the things that I should be thankful for. The truth is that I just started crying after I read the book, because instead of feeling grateful for all the good things in my life, I feel a sense of sadness about how much I have missed out. The "missing out" was a combination of bad choices and a several unlucky breaks.

To add to that, I have recently found out that some of the people in my life are not the people that I thought they were. I feel a sense of anger at how I didn't notice how self-centered and narcissistic they are. They aren't all bad, as they do have some decent qualities, but for the most part, they are so focused on their own stuff. One of the people has invalidated so much of my existence that I feel stupid for being as loyal of a person to him that I have been. I saw with my older brothers that if you ever go against what he says or does, that he will cut off the entire relationship with you. I one time started up with him and he compared me to my older brothers, so I just backed down. I feel like I have gone along with everything he does and say for most of my life because I have been afraid that he will totally write off our entire relationship. Worse than that is the fear I have had most of my life of alienating him because he has been one of the only people in my life that have stood by me when I made a bad choice. He was raised by immigrants in a poverty stricken neighborhood, so I have always believed that he does the best that he can. I just realize that he has a lot of negatives that I was afraid to look at and let alone voice.

To finish my day off, I began reading Irvin Yalom's - Existential Psychotherapy. The problem is that instead of looking at my life as becoming enlightened and thinking about all the things that I should be happy about, I keep thinking about the things that I cannot do. I spend a good amount of time ruminating on things that I cannot change. Worse than that, is that I'm not really sure what I want out of life. I have been excellent at setting goals that I never reach. That is one of my specialties.

It has been very difficult to find the discipline to get up in the morning and do the things that I need to do. Everything feels so damn overwhelming, that I would rather stay in bed than get up and face the day. Yes, I do see a therapist, and yes I do take some antidepressants.

Why can't I get past this feeling of loss? Loss of what my life could've been and loss of my fiancee. Also the loss of key life experiences at certain developmental stages.

I know that I need to just find a job and to move out of my folks house as I had to move back in without a job. That is something to be grateful for that my parents allowed me to move back in when my life fell apart.

I know that there a lot of things that I should be grateful for, but it is so damn hard to think like that right now. With all of this uncertainty with my future, I just feel a combination of anxiety and depression.

I volunteered at Habitat for Humanity so that I could get out of my own head and do something for others and I hope that this is a positive experience. I also volunteer at a Day School, so that also helps.

I don't want this to be a negative post, but if anyone has gone through a period like this and could share with me things that they did to getting back to being a whole person and stop feeling so much of a loss, please feel free to post.
posted by nidora to Human Relations (26 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Stop reading, start doing.
posted by mochapickle at 5:25 PM on January 21, 2013 [10 favorites]

I got treatment for my depression. Friends in similar circumstances got treatment for anxiety and depression (which often show up together). A number of your questions are about your anxiety: have you been or are you in treatment for it?
posted by rtha at 5:27 PM on January 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Wow wall of text, total tldr, but

How can I be mourning for all the things that I didn't get to experience when growing up?

I had a chance to take beginning piano lessons from an internationally know conductor/composer. Just the sweatest, smartest guy.... Regret, oh you don't even know where to start.

Get some exercise, eat better, get to a show, practice, love, keep on truck'n.
posted by sammyo at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2013

Have you considered reading, say, some light fiction? Or nonfiction about tangible and preferably cheering topics?
posted by asperity at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, I have gotten treatment for my anxiety. Some of the things such as exposures are helpful, but not necessarily with the catastrophic thinking and constant worrying.
posted by nidora at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2013

It sounds like your parents have your back - that where you are now is as bad as it's going to get - there are no more looming disasters to threaten you - you're safe in the safety net, so you really do have a chance to regroup and start fresh, a step at a time.

It also sounds like your depression meds aren't working (or aren't working yet). I have no expertise here, but it sounds like a classic case of not being able to do anything to help yourself because GiantWallOfDepressionAtEveryTurn!!1!

Step 1 might not be get a job, it might be talk to therapist about depression still being in full force. You've got time. Your parents have your back.
posted by anonymisc at 5:37 PM on January 21, 2013

Step 1 is accept that this life is your struggle and that it is valid.

Your post is all about how you should be responding differently to your life. You've been through some rough shit and what you're feeling is totally valid and acceptable given what you've been through.

Your post is riddled with "should"s. I highly recommend a CBT- or ACT-focused therapist for what you're going through. Good, behavior-focused therapy will get you out of your thoughts and give you the perpective needed to start 1. accepting where you are [where else can we be?] and 2. moving forward.
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:07 PM on January 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Nthing that treatment for anxiety and depression might be helpful - and by "treatment" I mean think about whether drugs might help. Sometimes they can just help you get over the hump and past the catastrophizing and inertia.

But about missing certain life experiences - a lot of what seems like a key experience at a certain point in your life is more a media-generated fallacy than a reality for many people. I have a college degree, but I never had the traditional college "experience." I never lived on my own as an adult. I spent my 20s caring for a small child and working to put my husband through college instead of "finding myself." And I spent some time regretting those losses - that if only I had hit the developmentally appropriate marks I would be a better and more complete person. But there's nothing productive there, and you're not alone. Lots and lots of awesome people didn't follow that path, and they are fine and happy.

I'm very close to you in age, and I am experiencing my late 30's as a time of "oh shit I guess this is what it is." The problem is that the front everybody puts up is one of "I'm so happy with how my life has turned out!" 37 feels OLD, and like everything is irrevocable. But I think that's not really true.

When I turned 35, I asked the members of another site to tell me the amazing things that happened to them after they turned 35. I got a TONNE of responses from people who had started new careers, fallen in love, had children, changed their lives for the better in every possible way. So it's not even CLOSE to being over. All kinds of great things can still happen, and it doesn't matter a bit whether you experienced all the things you were "supposed to" in the past.

Finally, I really like Chodron. I find her very practical, even with the strong Buddhist trappings (although that is more of a feature than a bug for me). But I do find that I have to read it over and over before it really sinks in. It is deceptively simple, but often so against our nature that we understand but forget it easily.
posted by jeoc at 6:08 PM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Take ownership of your choices. They're not some distasteful story you can choose to push aside. They happened, you chose them. You did the best you could at the time and the results are the life you get to live.

It's ok that they weren't all ideal. Everyone has mistakes in their past. Many mistakes aren't obvious until years later. Learn from them but don't beat yourself up over them. You have more than half a life left to apply what you've learned in pursuit of what you still want.
posted by ead at 6:21 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're seeing a therapist and taking antidepressants, but you're still unable to stop these spiraling thoughts, and unable to get out of bed in the morning, it is time to reassess the medication and the therapist.

What practical strategies is the therapist offering you? Are they helping you to build structure into your days so you don't just spend all day reading sad things and ruminating? Can you make a list of some concrete things about your life here-and-now that you would like to change, so that you have some definite small goals and a way to see when your therapy is making good progress? (Things like: get up and shower every day by 10 AM, spend an hour outside each day, apply for one job each day, etc.)

A breakup, and layoff, and friend breakup, are hard. On the other hand, finishing grad school is great and you should be proud. It's good that you've got a stable place to stay for the time being, and great that you're getting therapy and volunteering. Do not make this situation more overwhelming than it actually is - you've gone through some tough times, but you have a lot of the ingredients to get back on your feet.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:34 PM on January 21, 2013

Look, I know from nothing, and any Google of my nic on this site will well demonstrate that claim.


Nobody's gonna talk you out of reading, it seems. But have you recently taken up Mark Twain, in his totality? Because the man that invented Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also went abroad, and lost his fortune, went on the road to repay his creditors, and more, and then lost his family to disease, and, then, well, cried for himself, some, in his autobiography. You put down about half a million words he strung together, sitting in the warm water of your bathtub, and measure your life and self against his, adjusting for time and progress, and then you come back ask any questions you like, with specifics.
posted by paulsc at 6:36 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

So much going on here.

tl,dr: Do you know the purpose of your life? Is there a role you can fill that gives you meaning, rather than simply happiness? If not, discovering your purpose is the most valuable way you can spend your time. There are plenty of resources to help with this.

You're 37 years old, it is likely that you are excellent at something that you don't even realize is a skill, and which has something to do with your purpose in life.


Re: Not being thankful for what you have vs people who have less:
You have needs that aren't being met, and so those are the source of your problem. Frankl and the people he wrote about had other, baser needs that weren't being met, and in striving to fill those needs (surviving, in their case) they found meaning. Many of our modern, first world problems are much more difficult to find, because they aren't as obvious as finding food, or avoiding death at a guard's hand. But they're just as real.

Re: your brother:
Your brother standing by you and supporting you when others don't is not free - he requires that you not oppose him, and he appears to have plenty of tools to facilitate this goal. Just be aware of that, and decide if that deal is acceptable to you. If he uses the threat of ending your relationship with him to maintain your loyalty, that's also different from friendship/brotherhood.

Re: your ex:
I get the feeling that you took more value from the relationship than you gave, and that you got a sense of self value from your ex; meaningful relationships will be tough while you don't have a strong internal source of value.

Re: regret:
Emotions have a purpose - what is it that you're getting from the regret? Perhaps the regret is coming from your ego, which is using it to keep you from seeing current opportunities, to protect you from failure/rejection/something else?
posted by Holidayalltheway at 6:52 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

This only concerns a piece of what you're facing, but I have found it helpful to remind myself that it's ok to feel what I feel. After all, you can't control your emotional reaction (you can control how you express it, but the actual emotion isn't under your direct control). Try to be kind and compassionate with yourself -- for me, that means accepting that I will occasionally have thoughts and emotions that I wish I didn't, and that is OK. Just think and feel them, without beating yourself up about it. Skipping the self-hate really saves time and will let you get to the doing stuff and making changes part even sooner.
posted by chowflap at 6:58 PM on January 21, 2013

I also think fiction or more cheering books are in order. There are all kinds of books out there that can lift your spirits and even motivate. Not too long ago I read You are an Ironman. I have no intentions of competing in an Ironman Triathlon but when reading about these athletes, you can't help but to be inspired. Currently I'm finally reading A Walk in the Woods. It's entertaining and light. Any time I read about someone taking on a physically and mentally demanding endeavor, it inspires. If you think you will feel sad that you aren't a triathlete or a hiker of long trails, avoid. Keep in mind that you're never too old to be a hero in your own life. Is that cheesy enough for you? It's true though. There are so many stories of people deciding to do something courageous and great. What will make you a hero in your own life right now? A job? Your own place?

Be careful with reading too much self-help and too much sad stuff even if they are from the respectable authors you mention. Therapy will serve you much better than these books. I think these books can be useful but shouldn't be used as a replacement to therapy or to punish yourself or make you sadder. I wouldn't read any self-help right now unless therapist recommends it.

When you're in a better state of mind you'll be able to read Victor Frankl without making everything about yourself. Get regular sleep, take small steps to get your life back on track. What are your goals? A job? Moving out? Forget the stuff that is not important and focus on these two things. Isolate what you want and forget about all of the other unimportant stuff that is cluttering up your life and getting in the way of reaching your goals. I would even suggest dropping your volunteer stuff until you get a job and move out. I know you say they help but what is your ultimate goal? To work and make money, or work for free while you are still living at home and unhappy? There is plenty of time for volunteering when you are more financially stable.

I feel a sense of anger at how I didn't notice how self-centered and narcissistic they are. They aren't all bad, as they do have some decent qualities, but for the most part, they are so focused on their own stuff.

Most people are self-centered and focused on their own lives. I think the term narcissism is thrown around way too frequently, but I'm no expert. You're focused on your self big time right now, right?

Run. Jog. Walk. It helps with the anxiety -- a lot. And be easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself. You haven't pissed anything away.

The best of luck to you.
posted by Fairchild at 7:13 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Dude, same age, have had a lot of similar crises. You are not alone. I don't want to go into detail, but based on a series of absurd circumstances and defeats, after which I realized I had pursued elusive goals at the expense of the things that really matter, I often think lately of a line from the rapper Mr. Lif, who says, "I think I missed my own life..."

I think it is pretty normal to discover at this age that you've been climbing up the wrong ladder. Like in movies where someone thought they needed X, but the whole time they needed Y. This is a common experience of life.

And a few years back I too had the discovery that a lot of the people I'd surrounded myself weren't as worthwhile as I thought. Someone I'd looked up to since the 5th grade, for example, turned out to be a con artist and a narcissistic maniac. I felt like a moron because so many of my dreams growing up had been woven with people like that. Again, you are not alone: David Copperfield is partly about a man discovering his idolized best friend, Steerforth, is a creep.

Stay strong. You know who wrote a badass self-help book for finding your way through a situation like this? Epictetus.
posted by steinsaltz at 7:20 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow wall of text, total tldr, but

Maybe it's tldr for you, though lots of people (for instance me) like to read these walls of text. That's sort of the whole point of this forum. It's interesting to hear others' life stories. I don't have much to contribute that the others haven't said already, but wanted to point out that it's not tldr for everyone.

Also... I'd guess a lot of your feelings come from the fiancee thing, the job, and now living with your parents. Once those are turned around, you will probably feel better and be less compelled to read Man's Search for Meaning and such.
posted by kellybird at 7:47 PM on January 21, 2013 [8 favorites]

I don't think you're in the depths of depression, so much as you're grieving.

You lost a major relationship: grief.
You are taking stock of your life and finding things worth regretting: grief.
You are facing the loss of some hopes and dreams that you held dear: grief.

Your experiences are normal and many of us have felt the same things. That doesn't make it hurt any less.

In my opinion, some of the stress you're feeling is because you're thinking that you should fight against that hurt and somehow just Stop It and Straighten Up through sheer force of will. But grief doesn't work that way: it won't be ignored.

Instead I think you should embrace your grief, and feel it fully, and cry it out until it's gone.

Once you feel the grief for what you lost, you can move on. And then you'll have the space to feel good.
posted by (F)utility at 8:07 PM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Booze helps to kill the pain. Its not for everyone though. Realize that life is not fair and you have to play the game of life that has been given you. Getting lots of advice is a good start but picking the advice you want will be tough. It's going to be a tough slog but you are the only one that can change and help you.
posted by Kilovolt at 10:38 PM on January 21, 2013

It's ok that they weren't all ideal. Everyone has mistakes in their past. Many mistakes aren't obvious until years later. Learn from them but don't beat yourself up over them. You have more than half a life left to apply what you've learned in pursuit of what you still want.

Yeah, I'm about your age and I've made some mistakes too. But similar to this quote, recognizing your mistakes can also leave you energized and empowered. It can be as basic as "I won't do that again!" or "now I finally know what I really want." It can be as profoundly freeing as "yeah, hahaha [manic laughter tinged with madness], I fucked up that and that, even when I was trying to play it safe, and I survived THOSE disasters, so why NOT just do what I want with the rest of my life!?!?"

I don't necessarily think you should try to figure all this out right now, because it sounds like your antidepressants aren't working well yet. But as for the mistakes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
posted by salvia at 11:31 PM on January 21, 2013

I've spent most of my adult life fighting against depression and I have something very important to say that you really need to hear, okay? Not just nod and go on to the next answer but really hear, read it aloud if you have to, get it into your brain and mull over it like you have been mulling over everything you read before you posted this. Okay now, are you ready? Here it is:


You're depressed, and you're allowed to be depressed. You don't have to feel guilty for the way you feel. You don't have to earn the right to be depressed. You don't have to compare your hardships with others. You're allowed to grieve, or cry, or feel like the world has dealt you a really sucky hand right now. You've taken some tough blows, and you're reeling from them. Don't beat yourself up on top of that!

Reading books about others' suffering is not helping you right now. I think maybe you were trying to give yourself some perspective, but you just don't have the distance or the objectivity to deal with anything that heavy. I'm not saying your intellect isn't up to it! It's just that your emotional state can't handle it.

Be kind to yourself. Let yourself heal. I am not lying to you when I tell you that I have gone months reading nothing but Calvin and Hobbes level material because that's honestly all I could handle emotionally and still make myself get up out of bed and do the things I had to do. Sometimes that's what it takes. You find whatever helps you cope, and you avoid anything that gets in the way.

When you're depressed, no matter what the reason, you are going to be very much inside your own head, worrying things over and churning them around. This is especially true in your case, because you have the anxiety thing going on. Anything you can do to get out of your head, turn those thoughts off for a while, is therapeutic right now. Activity is going to be better than contemplation. Exercise, tiring yourself out physically, even though you feel exhausted already, will make you feel better. It's mental exhaustion that's getting you down.

In one paragraph, you say that your friend has both invalidated your whole existence AND you are afraid to stand up to him because he will cut off the relationship with you. But you also say he stood by you when you made a bad choice. There's a lot of conflicting stuff going on there. You know what? Maybe you just avoid that particular person right now. You don't have to decide what to do about him. Hang around the people that are good to you, full stop. Spend some time with your parents, maybe. I'll bet they want to see you happy.

You say you are great at setting goals and not fulfilling them. But you just got your graduate degree! That's an incredible achievement. Keep on reminding yourself of what you HAVE done. You aren't already 37, you're only 37! Realistically, you probably have half a lifetime left to get things done. That's plenty of time.

People gave you a lot of really good advice before, too; it's worth re-reading.

Hang in there. You'll get through this!
posted by misha at 12:36 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Go get inspired. This isn't working well for you.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:37 AM on January 22, 2013

You know, there's this myth that each of our lives has to culminate in some grand achievement. Why? Why must I feel bad that I didn't blaze a trail, or do some amazing thing?

So far, I've lived my life decently hedonistically. I have met so many nice people, I have seen so many neat places, and I hope to do more of the same throughout my life.

I have a friend who frets over the fact that we should be CEOs of something, we all started out so young and smart and ambitious. What I've discovered over the years is that being the CEO of something is my nightmare. Who wants the responsibility? Who wants to sit through all of those meetings? Not me baby.

I have unpublished novels to finish, so there are some projects that await me. Not that I think they're fantastic, or going to change the way people think, but you know, finishing things is good.

I'm pretty happy knowing that in my life, while my accomplishments are small, that by me doing my job well, I've managed to help other people.

That's it.

I'm not so narcissistic that I think that somehow I'M responsible for doing something meaningful with my life. So long as I live my life ethically, and usefully, I forgive myself for my binges of watching old movies with the cats on the weekends.

Stop aiming so high. Start enjoying the small things, take pride in what you do, at the level you're doing it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:53 AM on January 22, 2013 [11 favorites]

First of all: I don't think it's fair to compare yourself to people who suffered through the Holocaust. Yes, you are on the whole not suffering nearly as bad as they did. But it isn't a very fair comparison.

My life fell apart once. I moved back home too. I couldn't fight anymore and simply needed to collect myself. I think this is what you should focus on, collecting yourself and healing.

Your post is very well written, you also seem very well read and have a lot of experiences. Perhaps you could write a book, or do something to make progress on every day and perhaps take your mind off of what you're going through. Creative work in times of strife has helped me greatly.
posted by hellojed at 7:59 AM on January 22, 2013

My entire life felt like this until I started letting go. In my deepest, most existential bouts of ennui, in my darkest hours of suffocating grief and confusion, what the hell did I think time was going to do -- stop, and stay stopped until I figured out how to get my shit together in just the right way? Alas, alack; no dice. The world went on without me.

Ultimately, I discovered that you can really only change two things: what you are doing right now (RIGHT NOW!) and what you will choose to do every single moment after that. There is no rewind button or option to start over. This is it! It's scary, but beautiful. Every time you wake up, every move you make gives you an opportunity, however small, to change your life.

Why can't I get past this feeling of loss? Loss of what my life could've been and loss of my fiancee. Also the loss of key life experiences at certain developmental stages.
Because no matter how much you might feel as though you have begun to accept your lot in life, you are still grasping. You are clinging to a ghost. You are firing off volleys of cannonballs of regret and desire back into the impossible, unreachable past. The past is no longer real. There is no "what could have been," so wanting to access that is approximately as useful as wanting a unicorn to show up at your doorstep with the key to world peace hung around its golden horn. It just ain't in the cards. This is, contrary to how you feel now, a very good thing.

Habitat for Humanity is awesome.
Pema Chödrön is awesome. (And I know you may feel iffy about Buddhism, but it might make you feel better to watch this. Makes me cry every time! Also, her three methods for working with chaos. Caveat: I am a practicing Shambhala Buddhist, YMMV.)
You are awesome. If you blame yourself for your failures, you MUST take credit for your victories. Graduate degree? Loving, supportive family who has your back? Possessing the intelligence and presence of mind to know that how you feel now is not how you need to feel forever? Go, you!

You don't ever need to be good at anything in particular, you just need to be kind.
There's a lot of bullshit and pain in the world, so as it turns out, it is really, really easy to be kind. Go drop off a giant bag of peanut butter at the food bank. Hang your bag full of non-perishables on the mailbox on Stamp Out Hunger Day. Cook and serve dinner at a local homeless or DV shelter. Offer to carry someone's groceries or help them across the street if it looks like they're struggling. Pay off a stranger's library fees, feed a random parking meter, or toss a few bucks in the toll booth so the people behind you get a free pass. Reflect gentleness and humility, particularly in the face of bitterness and strife. Stay the course.

Have faith in yourself, try to cultivate compassion through everything you do, make concentrated efforts to extricate your mind from the whirring spiral of "what if" and "what could have been," and remember that everyone -- even the seemingly hopeless narcissists, even the people who inspire you to feel knotted up with anger and resentment -- is in the same boat. We're all in this together, promise.
The improvements will be slow, often arduously so, but each tiny step toward equanimity and acceptance will help bits of gnawing worry, suffocating anxiety, and hopeless yearning for a non-existent do-over begin to fall from your heart.

Oh, and definitely lay off the existentialist philosophers for a while! ;)
posted by divined by radio at 9:52 AM on January 22, 2013 [6 favorites]

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will teach you to talk yourself out of negative thoughts.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:08 PM on January 22, 2013

I really got touched by your post. Because I have had depression and similar thoughts like yours. Everybody's growth path is different, so I can't give you specific directions in a few sentences. But I want to tell you that when you think the way you do, be kind to yourself. Tell yourself that you need to love yourself. Your previous thinking pattern is not working, since it didn't lead you to a better place in life. It only brought you depression and anxiety. You need to have major changes in the way you think. And that is not easy. It takes time. It could be a few years of learning before you make significant progress on depression and anxiety. Keep a journal. Keep telling yourself to love yourself. Open your mind to grace. The fact you are doing volunteering work is great. Know that in the end, this period of life will be history, you will be in a better place. Be patient, you are not alone and tell yourself, even though you were lost, you hang in there, give yourself love to move on with your journey. Good luck
posted by akomom at 10:12 PM on January 24, 2013

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