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Ugh. That sounds incredibly hard. There’s a post on Tiny Buddha about what to do when your life falls apart that I wrote under a different pseudonym, if you want to read it. I had my life fall apart as well, about 2 years ago, and I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard to recover, but I did it. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing: caring for yourself even when you don’t feel like it, putting your life into a less stressful bywater so that you can focus on healing, and reconsidering your path. You’re young (half as old as I am), and I know that seems like a trite thing to say, but it does mean a lot when you’re my age. If you listen to yourself – which it sounds like you’re doing – then this time may prove to be just what you need to put your life on a track that will be more fulfilling to you. One thing I had to keep reminding myself was that everything that’s come before was not a “waste”. I lost a career that I had spent 17 years building. It felt like I had wasted that time, but now I know that the skills and experiences I had will be useful in my life going forward. The same is true of you – you may be a “dropout” (for now), but those skills haven’t gone away because you changed your path. They can still be useful in creating a new future for yourself.
I h0pe you can continue to take solace in nature and self-care and music.
Big hugs to you –
Thanks for your response! In answer to anita’s question: I feel that all of life is meaningless. There is just no reason for, say, that bird outside my window to exist, breed, struggle, die.
I don’t know what would make my life meaningful. I guess feeling like my struggle has a purpose; like knowing that it’s for some reason.
I guess the real reason for this post is that everything I thought was true has turned out not to be (i.e. if you go to school, work hard, buy a home, etc you’ll be successful and safe; if you spend time in community and contribute/participate, your contribution (and you) will be valued, etc.), so now I don’t know what it’s all for if what I thought it was for is not true. Don’t know if that makes sense.
I do try to remain positive, and I understand how my thought processes can drive my depression and hopelessness, but lately this knowing isn’t helping much.
Ugh, this sounds like such a hard situation. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I grew up with an abusive dad myself and it’s completely negatively affected my life, my relationships, my self-esteem, etc. I was not nearly as insightful as you seem to be at your age. And I could at least get out of the house to go to school and go to friends’ houses, etc.
I’m worried that you’re cooped up with this person for so much of your life. I’m worried that his abuse will rub off on you and damage you in the long run.
You speak of being scared a lot when people suggest things you can do to get you of the house or get more effective help. I’d like to encourage you to do some of those things even though they are scary. Life is really all about doing scary things, and the more you face your fears, the less scared you’ll be. I think it would help you in the long run to take a deep breath and get out of the house more, even if just to take a walk in nature or something. I know it’s hard when you’re a teen to make certain decisions (like finding another therapist) because you’re not financially independent, but getting out into the world and at least exploring different ways of being could be helpful to you for your whole life, not just in your current situation.
I hope you have friends you can have fun with, so at least your whole life isn’t taken up by fear.
Good luck and stay safe!
First of all: get another doctor to talk to. I’m on antidepressants (Celexa) because I’ve had low-level depression for most of my life, with a similar pattern to yours. In my experience, Celexa has very few side effects but I feel better after being on it. I will probably take it for the rest of my life, so I can experience life in a more balanced way. I’d strongly suggest finding a doc who will not be so dismissive of medication.
It sounds like you know yourself pretty well, and are mostly doing the right things. Therapy might help, as well, with a compassionate person. Maybe also group therapy that focuses on depression, particularly one that teaches Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills (DBT). In my experience, depression is exacerbated -if not caused- by how we speak to ourselves in our own heads. If you’ve felt mistreated by people, and if you’ve had a couple of relationships that ended, it’s pretty understandable that you’d feel sad and down. It’s possible that you’ve internalized the messages that you’re not OK the way you are, and that this is at least somewhat driving your depression. I found that when I ruminate too much about my problems, I end up depressed, so I try not to let myself dwell on problems if I’m not being constructive about solving them. A good therapist or group can help you process these feelings of not being OK, and hopefully can help you see other possibilities.
I’ve also started to be very careful about who I let into my life, because I’ve had a tendency to be around people who were not healthy for me (judgmental, manipulative, unkind, etc). Now I try to just let people in who are positive, kind, engaged with life, hopeful, and are actively pursuing positive things in their lives. If you have people around you who criticize you or judge you, consider not being around those people. Attitudes like that can really infect us.
Good luck!December 13, 2016 at 7:42 am in reply to: I need help. My skin problem cause severe depression #122594
I’ve had acne since I was 10 (I’m now 46, and though I don’t have much active acne anymore, I have a lot of scars on my face and chest). I used to think the same thing: that I would be too ugly and nobody would want me. But the truth is that I’ve never had problems attracting romantic and sexual partners. It took many years for me to finally just stop worrying about my skin, and once that happened, I noticed that people were attracted to me. I started using apple cider vinegar (as the poster above suggests) and it definitely helped, though have no idea if it would help your condition. I also agree with the poster who suggested getting another opinion. It’s possible that your first dermatologist doesn’t know everything.
As I got older, I started to realize that my acne has helped me build empathy and compassion for others, especially for people who aren’t “perfect”, and has made me strong and resilient.
You’ll be OK, I promise!
I’m an editor. If you want to write, I suggest you write articles for websites, or blog about topics that interest you. Go find out what copywriters need to know in order to find employment in your area and for the companies you’re interested in applying to. I suspect that if you have examples of copy you’ve written on various topics in in various styles, that’ll go a long way to showing people what they want to see in order to hire you. Writing is probably one of the easiest things to “get experience” in. You don’t need to have a paying gig to show people that you can write. Be proactive: go find companies that are doing work you like, and figure out what kind of writing they are looking for. Network. Find people in your industry and go talk to them. Ask them what you need to do in order to get work in that field.
I’ve had a 20-year career in book publishing. I got into it because I loved books and didn’t know what else to do with an english degree. My first job in the industry was at a publishing company doing customer service, then I quit because I hated it. I kept applying and kept interviewing….15 interviews, I think, before I got my first real editorial job. Recently, I lost my job and am now freelancing and looking to shift my skill set into a more marketable career. I’m 46.
Two things that I’ve found that are important in today’s job market are flexibility and networking. I understand the despair you’re feeling. But don’t let it drown you. Most of us have to eventually experience the “I hate my job” story, and that’s a sign that we need to look at what we want in a job that we’d love. Good luck!
I’m sorry this happened! In my experience, healing is never linear. One aspect heals, but there are still other aspects that are in different stages of healing. And the fact that you were doing well is great! It means you can do well again. Life is not a zero-sum game. We move forward, we drop back, we make quantum leaps, we lose ground again…having this attack does not mean that everything we were doing before was wasted. Not at all. It just means that you are you, and that maybe there are aspects of your life that you need to look at further.
I understand feeling anxious. It may be that it’s not so much about letting go of the past as understanding that you are someone prone to anxiety attacks, and not judging yourself or beating yourself up about that. Exploring what triggers attacks, etc. Do you know what happened in this case, or what was building up and causing a panic attack? Are you doing too much? Do you worry about everyone liking you, or always doing everything perfectly, etc? I know that these issues are things that have come up for me. More recently, I’ve become aware of how much I “micro-worry” – worry without knowing I’m doing it.
The attack was a way to learn more about yourself. You’re OK and you’re taking the right approach by exploring ways to foster calmness, physical health, etc. Best wishes to you!June 5, 2016 at 2:37 pm in reply to: Internet debate gone horribly wrong – trauma, ruined conscience #106584
I don’t know what you said/didn’t say or believe/don’t believe, but it sounds like you were being sort of a troll, and then got called on it. If you are actually feeling genuinely bad, good for you, and yes, people will move on eventually. I’ve certainly made mistakes online and had people call me on my stuff. Life is about making mistakes and learning to live with them. It sounds, from your description, like you’re genuinely wanting to make it better. But you still feel guilt. That’s actually OK, because that’s the purpose of guilt: to show us how to be better.
From my experience, written communications can leave out some important signifiers for other people, such as facial expression, body language, and tone of voice. I read something somewhere that verbal communication is a very small percentage of what we communicate when we interact with others in person. In writing, a lot of this communication is absent. That’s why there are so many misunderstandings online. I’m not saying online communication is bad, just: it’s something to remember. And then when people get triggered and mad, arguing with them (or trying to explain or backtrack) can fuel the fire. Generally, when people start down the road of freakout online, I step away. I make the point I wanted to make, and then leave the convo so people can have their own drama, etc. Eventually I might come back to see what the upshot of the conversation was, but engaging in online arguments, in my opinion, is just a road to drama, bad feelings, etc. I’ve learned this the hard way, btw.
I understand how it is to feel like people don’t like you, are mad at you, etc in a community you want to remain a part of. My advice is to learn from this experience and engage with people online as if nothing happened (while using the experience to help you understand yourself better). Don’t try to explain anymore, or apologize anymore. This is life: we screw up, and then we learn from it or don’t, and life goes on.
Maybe don’t write things online that you don’t believe?
Oh, I so totally get the introvert thing. I really prefer to be myself, and when I’m surrounded by people for more than, say, a weekend, I get pretty cranky (at least internally: I try not to let it show, though I’m sure I do sometimes). And loud talk around me when I want to be quiet is really hard, even painful.
You’re not a horrible person. You have a brain that is wired to need a lot of alone time and to be sensitive to stimulus around you. Do what you can to get quiet time, and then maybe meditate or do other types of activities that help you not react in a negative way when you have other people around when you’d prefer to be alone. If people don’t understand your desire to have your own space, can you go somewhere outside of the house where you’re less likely to be bothered? I know it’s not ideal, but maybe for 6 months you could find a park or something where you can be alone with your thoughts and a book.June 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm in reply to: Being all in really crushed me – can I trust myself? #106582
I’m so sorry this has happened to you. I know how painful it can be. I don’t know this guy, obviously, but the fact that he was very fast to tell you he wanted kids, etc and was serious about you is a big red flag to me. It could be that he doesn’t know himself very well, that he’s manipulative, or just that he’s insecure. Once he realized that having a relationship with you would mean that he might have to face some hard things, do work, or really open up to intimacy, he ran away.
As for you: you showed that you were really available and open and willing to go “all in”, and yes, that’s rare in my experience. Maybe it’s time to take some time for yourself, lick your wounds, and process what happened. I understand how frustrating and painful it must be to feel you were careful and went in with eyes open and you still got hurt. And I totally get not trusting yourself…I’ve had that experience myself.
Maybe focus on other things in your life and let this experience wash over you and change you. Let it percolate. You won’t always feel this way. Best of luck to you!
I’m sorry, that sounds really hard. If you haven’t been talking….why not? Are you not talking as well? Sometimes we think we know what’s going on, but if we don’t ask the other person, we may find out that we don’t have the full picture. It sounds like you two need to sit down and really talk about all of this. Tell her what you told us – about how you feel she’s not interested, etc. If she isn’t, than it’ll hurt, but you’ll be able to move on. If she is and something else is causing her to withdraw, feel scared, etc, this information might actually help you regain some intimacy that was lost. Relationships do take both people working on communication and openness; it’s not one person’s job to be open. I know it can be scary to have these talks, but it’s necessary to understand what’s happening. I wish you all the best!
I just read your last comment. I understand how you might have shut down because you weren’t getting any response from her. That’s so painful. But if you’re asking and she’s not responding, then she may just not be the partner for you. You have a right to understand where she is in her head regarding the relationship.
That sounds hard. I don’t think porn is the core issue – I think it’s the fact that he’s hiding from true intimacy with you. In his case it’s porn, but it could just as easily be booze, drugs, other women (that’s what my ex did), schoolwork (that’s what my current BF does), even going to the gym. There are lots of ways people can hide from showing up in their relationships. But I understand how him watching porn while not wanting to be physical with you could make you feel hurt and confused. If he wanted to be intimate with you and still wanted to watch porn, the porn could prove to be a stimulus that could actually help your sex life. But obviously that isn’t the case here.
Without demonizing or pathologizing his porn use, I’d suggest letting him know how hurt/confused you are about the fact that you two are not having he kind of sex life you’d like. Yelling at him about his porn use is likely to just make him want to run away from you (and go use porn). If you’re still wanting to be with him, possibly couples therapy might help, if he’s not made to feel like a sicko for using porn. There’s a reason he’s using porn and not having sex with you. I suspect it’s that he’s afraid on some level of real intimacy. But forcing him to stop something he finds pleasurable isn’t going to help your relationship. Making your relationship pleasurable/enjoyable for him (and also for you) is the key. Good luck!
I’m sorry you’re struggling. I was in a relationship for a couple of years that sounds similar in spirit, if not details. I was so incredibly afraid of this man leaving me, that I put up with all sorts of bad behavior from him (and also exhibited my own. The relationship drove me insane). A friend of both of ours was always telling me that my ex and I are great people individually, but that we were toxic when we were together and brought out the worst in each other. It’s possible that this is also true of you and your husband. If he married you and didn’t tell you about doubts he had prior to the marriage, then he’s not being a very good partner to you. And threatening to end the marriage each time he’s bothered by something you’ve done is pretty immature. I used to do this in my old relationship, too, but my BF would get so upset that it took me a couple of years before I got up the strength to leave this poisonous dynamic. It’s not healthy to have this kind of emotional roller-coaster happening in a relationship. From my experience, it probably means that you’re not well suited to one another.
As someone with my own abandonment/self-esteem issues, I understand how hard it can be to walk away. You feel like if you lose this person, then you’ll die and you’re worthless, unlovable, etc. For me, I just couldn’t stand the drama anymore (both the drama I created and the drama he created.) It was too stressful, and was affecting everything else about my life. I lost my job and am still seriously depressed due to this relationship.
It doesn’t sound like this is a healthy marriage. If he’s staying out of guilt and you’re staying out of fear…what kind of marriage can it ever be? Don’t have kids with him (they’ll make it worse, and then you risk poisoning them by having them grow up in that kind of environment). Seek therapy, do self-work to figure out why you have these feelings that you’re not worth anything without your husband, and explore other options for happiness – hobbies, interests, friends, work. Good luck to you!
Your son will be fine, and by leaving this man, you are sending your son the message that strong women walk away from abuse. My mom left my abusive dad when I was 15, and I was SO proud of her. It was the best decision ever for the family. My dad got help and now we all get along and he’s a good father and grandfather to his niece and nephew. Don’t let your husband’s sadness or protestations stop you. You know what kind of man he is, and you know he will go back to being abusive. That pattern (abuse and then feeling regretful) is very, very common. Who knows, if you do leave, maybe he will come to understand that he needs to do work on himself, and then maybe eventually you will be a family again. It happened with my family. Though my parents never got back together, they get along better now than they probably ever have. And I thank my mom for being brave enough to leave him and my dad for realizing he had a problem he needed to fix. Good luck and stay strong! You are doing the right thing.
Wow, it sounds like she’s pretty immature. I do wonder how she got along this long without needing to take any responsibility for herself. She sounds almost like a teenager! Can you stop enabling her and insist that she buy her own cheap car (get a better job, etc) and contribute to the household? It sounds like you have two kids instead of one. What would you do if your son chose not to contribute? I’d hope that you’d find ways to encourage him/reward him for contributing. Maybe do the same for your wife?