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Feeling lost in life

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  • #393845
    Sesha
    Participant

    I feel like I lost every meaning and purpose in life. My head is filled with racing thoughts of self-blame, shame and worry. Also feelings of loneliness and worthlessness suffocate me.

    I am currently taking a vacation semester because I feel like I can’t handle my study anymore. Last year I pushed myself so hard to get through exams and projects that I neglected my health. During that year I felt more and more anxious in everything I was doing and with everyone I was working with. I got very anxious and paranoid of how other students, professors and even people outside of the university perceived me. I could feel the change in my behaviour and the behaviour of others. I became so tense and nervous around people. I acted and talked weirdly and stressed. People around me became tense too because they felt helpless and uncomfortable around me. I felt all the time ashamed as how I am. I still feel like I lost my inner stable self.

    Even if I passed the necessary exams and group project to still have the possibility to continue my study, I feel like I can’t enjoy this great achievement. I am so tired to always feel like I am not going anywhere, that I am mostly alone in my life and that I always feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I am thinking a lot about my past failure at the moment. I attended two other universities before and failed. Now I am in my midtwenties and still haven’t a degree or apprenticeship. I am lucky that I have parents who support me financially. But to think about that and how my peers are doing with their lives I feel so ashamed of myself. The self-doubt is also very present. I feel like I am behind in life and there is nothing that I enjoy in life.

    #393876
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    You are taking a vacation semester this year because last year, your anxiety shot up significantly and overwhelmed you. From what you shared, reads to me that you need psychotherapy this year so to address your racing thoughts, self-blame, self-doubt and shame. You are suffering and you need professional help. Is such available to you?

    You mentioned that you neglected your health last year, I wonder what you mean by it and if you have medical issues that need to be treated?

    anita

    #393946
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    Please let me know if you are still following this thread. I would like to help you come up with ways to correct the (incorrect) thinking that leads to and fuels your anxiety, such as that you are worthless and that you are behind in life.

    You can look at think cbt. com/ CBT thought record. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Thought Record Sheet in this website is about listing “Negative automatic thoughts” that come up for you during the day, then looking for evidence for and against each thought and coming up with a correct thought, or a “balanced alternative thought” as it says on the sheet.

    anita

    #393955
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    Thank you for your answer.

    During the last semester I went to a therapist because I felt overwhelmed with my life. Unfortunately it didn’t help much. Mostly I talked intensely bad about myself and my life circumstances. She tried her best to listen to me but didn’t give so much input. I felt more and more uncomfortable in the session. I felt especially ashamed how odd I was. Now I stopped it, because I felt like I only spiraled more and more down. It was a good decision to quit. Now I am not sure if another therapist could help me. Because I feel like I know that the issue is my own destructive thoughts that hurt my mind. I’m trying to fix them myself.

    I don’t have a medical issue. Last year I was constantly stressed and under fire. I ignored my mental tension and tiredness to continue with my study. That is what I meant with neglecting my health.

    Thank you for sharing about CBT. I will look deeper into that.

    Sesha

    #393973
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    You are welcome. I agree that you made the right decision to quit the therapist you saw because you needed her input, not her silence. Let’s look at what happened in therapy with her: “Mostly I talked intensely bad about myself and my life circumstances” – this is not different from when you are all by yourself thinking intensely bad thoughts about yourself and your life circumstances. In her silence, your own thinking was even louder than when you are alone. You needed your thinking to get quieter and her thinking to be audible, a thinking that is different from yours.

    She tried her best to listen to me but didn’t give so much input” – this might have given you the impression that what you shared about yourself was too difficult to process, too weird or heavy for a therapist to be able to understand. As a matter of fact, you wrote this yourself in regard to the therapy: “I felt especially ashamed how odd I was“- you figured that she wasn’t able to understand your… oddity, no matter how hard she tried, as if your oddity is too much to understand and comment about.

    No wonder you “felt more and more uncomfortable in the session… (and) stopped it“.

    In your original post, you wrote: “My head is filled with racing thoughts of self-blame, shame and worry” – these are the noises in your head, and they are loud.

    Also, feelings of loneliness and worthlessness suffocate me” – you are alone with those loud noises, loud blaming, shaming, worrying noises. Alone with such distressing, loud noises you feel lonely and suffocated. You need silence inside your head, so that you can breathe freely.

    During that year I felt more and more anxious in everything I was doing and with everyone I was working with. I got very anxious and paranoid of how other students, professors and even people outside of the university perceived me… I acted and talked weirdly and stressed” – during last year, the noises grew louder and louder. The noises were telling you that you are odd and weird and too much… and that everyone was well aware of how weird you were.

    I always feel uncomfortable in my own skin” – no wonder you feel uncomfortable being in the 24/7 company of a person you believe to be weird and odd and unacceptable.

    I am thinking a lot about my past failure at the moment. I attended two other universities before and failed. Now I am in my mid- twenties and still haven’t a degree or apprenticeship…  to think about that and how my peers are doing with their lives I feel so ashamed of myself. The self-doubt is also very present” – the noises in your head have a lot to say to you, an ongoing barrage of negative commentary about you.

    I feel like I know that the issue is my own destructive thoughts that hurt my mind. I’m trying to fix them myself” – I very well know such loud, destructive thoughts/ noises in my own head, it is only recently that I am experiencing freedom from such noises… finally that welcomed silence within my own head. In my life, the beginning of these noises was a very noisy real-life person, my own mother. She said a lot of negative things about me. Any such person in your life?

    anita

     

    #393987
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    You said it right. I wished that the therapist intervened my thoughts and worked with me on my issues. It seems that during the last months I literally fed even more that negative side of me. It feels like nobody can handle my oddity and intense thoughts even myself. Now that I have so much time in hand the “noises” in my head are taking even more room in my head. I wish that I know how to find silence in my head. I am trying my best to train mindfulness and also to take care of myself by meditating, eating well and go outside. Unfortunately I have difficulties to go back to my hobbys, because I acted irritating in the sport’s clubs and I think people kind of felt offended by me. I am not welcome if I am not coming as my stable self. I feel quite alone even if I see my parents more often now than during the last semester. I don’t feel like they can support me emotionally to get my inner hold back.

    You asked if I have any person in my life who impacted me negatively. Even if my parents love me and would give everything they have, they used to be very demanding and discouraging at the same time. But they changed and don’t do it anymore especially since I moved out. They didn’t know it better back then and just wanted that I succeed. I don’t have a bad relationship with my parents, but I wish that they didn’t let me down emotionally when I most needed them. In every failure or rejection I was alone.

    At the moment my little sister is somebody who impacts me negatively. She said very hurtful things that let me feel even more worthless. She even ignores me and gives me the cold shoulder when I am at home. I am also very envious of her life and compare myself very often with her, because we grew up in the same circumstances, but she seems to have her life together. I also know that she has a lot of friends she can rely on. It hurts to think that I am alone and that I will stay alone if I can’t fix myself.

    Sesha

     

    #393990
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    I will be able to read and reply in a few hours.

    anita

    #394072
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    I will be back to you later than I thought, in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #394102
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    My parents… used to be very demanding and discouraging at the same time” – I have this image in my mind: your parents demanding that you jump high, but they are holding you down at the same time. You want to jump and make them proud, but you are stuck under the weight of them holding you down.

    Let’s say that this simple image is figurately correct in regard to your experience. How does a person feel, being expected to jump, wanting to jump under too much weight?

    Maybe the answers are in your original post: “My head is filled with racing thoughts” – you can’t jump, but your thoughts are jumping. This is what happened to me when I was a child- I felt stuck, and the more unmoving/ stuck I felt (as if paralyzed)- the more moving/ racing were my thoughts!

    Feelings of loneliness and worthlessness suffocate me… I am so tired” – (1) being held down and seeing other people jump, makes you feel like the exception, the odd one, and that feels lonely and worthless, doesn’t it? That’s how I felt when I was a child! (2) the thoughts race but the muscles are rigid and in pain, tired from trying and failing to jump, again and again, including the diaphragm muscles, the muscles that make it possible for us to breathe freely and take in enough oxygen.

    I became so tense and nervous around people. I acted and talked weirdly and stressed” – being held down, not being able to move, feeling that you are suffocating- no wonder a person would be, and appear to be so tense and nervous, act and talk weirdly. Any person (and most other animals) will react this way. We all need room to breathe, the ability to move around freely.

    I am not going anywhere” – being held down=> unable to move=> not going anywhere.

    Back to your recent post, regarding your parents: “But they changed and don’t do it anymore especially since I moved out” – good thing. Unfortunately, they repeatedly held you down during what is called your formative years, the years of your childhood, so naturally, your childhood emotional experience of being held down extended to your adulthood and to beyond the home where you grew up.

    In every failure or rejection, I was alone” – I wish to know more about this part. Why did your parents leave you emotionally alone when you were hurting? Didn’t they notice that you were hurting?

    My little sister… She even ignores me and gives me the cold shoulder when I am at home… we grew up in the same circumstances, but she seems to have her life together” – I wonder if she copies now the way your parents used to behave in the past: ignoring how you felt, giving you the cold shoulder when you needed their help?

    These are probably difficult questions to contemplate but contemplating them can help you. It helped me!

    anita

    #394124
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    Your analogy is a good one, but it doesn’t feel exactly like that and I want to emphasize that my parents aren’t bad people, but they grew up that way and didn’t know better how to educate me. It felt more like a constant pushing to reach high goals and ignore other needs in life like taking care of myself, socializing with people and other values in life than performance. I regret that I couldn’t learn in my young age social skills, self worth and build much earlier on friendships. I get very paralyzed when expectations seem not reachable to me or when people reject me. Then I do feel stuck and my thoughts are racing.

    To see how others could jump let me question myself. The comparison with others make me feel lonely and worthless. It feels like I can never reach those high jumps like others did. I feel like I lost connection to society.

    My parents know when I don’t feel good, but they don’t know how to help or talk to me. They feel overwhelmed every time when I get emotional so they let me be. Many times they just stand up and go because they can’t bear my emotions and my intense moaning. Now as an adult those intense moaning are not tolerable and I have to regulate my emotions. It got better but it is still very difficult to cope alone. They suffocate me.

    I don’t think that my little sister copies the behaviour of my parents. It’s more a protecting mechanism. She doesn’t want to have any negativity in her life. I am somebody very negative and unbearable.

    Sesha

    #394131
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    My parents aren’t bad people” – okay, Sesha: your parents aren’t bad people. I understand. In looking at their behaviors with you, I am trying to say that they are bad people, not at all. What I am trying to do is to understand how it came about that you feel so anxious, so “lost in life“, etc., for the purpose of figuring out a way for you to find yourself and your way in life.

    “They feel overwhelmed every time when I get emotional, so they let me be. Many times, they just stand up and go because they can’t bear my emotions and my intense moaning” – this is what I figured repeatedly happened when you were a young child: you felt emotional, that is, you felt distressing physical discomfort and distressing emotions, fear, anger and whatnot (all children do), you expressed your discomfort and distressing emotions (all children do, at least before they are stopped!), next- you saw the discomfort in your parents faces and watched them walking away, leaving you alone. For a child, to be left alone, is very scary.

    From those experiences, you learned that emotions are scary and terrible, so terrible that they make your parents walk away from you.

    Now as an adult those intense moaning is not tolerable” – you say that your intense distressing emotions/ moaning is not tolerable as an adult, but they were not tolerable, as far as your parents are concerned, when you were a child.

    I have to regulate my emotions” – here is how your parents, when you were a young child, could have helped you to regulate your emotions: when you were moaning, let’s say, you wanted to stay up and play after your bedtime. Instead of your parents walking away from you, either one of them could have stayed with you for 5 minutes or so and tell you something like this: I know that you want to stay up and play, but this is bedtime. I need you to sleep. I am going to hold your hand and sing you a lullaby. After the lullaby I will slowly take my hand away and put your teddy bear close to you. The teddy bear means that we will be together again tomorrow morning.

    This could have calmed the child that you were, and the moaning would have subsided. But when they simply walked away from you, the moaning intensified. You were not born overly emotional; your distressing emotions intensified because your parents walked away from you when you experienced distressing emotions.

    it is still very difficult to cope alone. They suffocate me” – this is exactly it, when ALONE emotions INTENSIFY and become suffocating.

    I am somebody very negative and unbearable” – again, you were not born negative and unbearable any more than any other baby. Your distressing emotions and emotional expressions intensified as a result of being left alone.

    anita

    #394149
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    Thank you for your patience and time you putting in your words.

    You brought it to the point. As a child distressing emotions were not accepted if nothing tragic happened like somebody died. But when I grew older I couldn’t control my emotions and they got very intense. I didn’t know how to handle them neither do my parents. So they walked away and hoped that I calm down myself. But I couldn’t bear those emotions and regulated them in very destructive ways. Now as an adult I fear that people will walk away if I am not my stable self. Those intense emotions are scary and terrible for others too. So I have a tendency to avoid others especially if I acted irritating or created discomfort for others.

    I regret that my parents didn’t know how to comfort me as a child. But now as an adult I don’t seek the same consolation. What should I do then to get the comfort I need to calm down those intense emotions? Like you said alone the emotions intensify but in such a unstable state I can’t seek comfort in others.

    Sesha

     

     

     

     

    #394150
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    You are welcome.  “Those intense emotions are scary and terrible for others too” – I need to understand this sentence better, therefore I ask: how are your emotions “terrible for others”/ creating pain for other people?

    anita

    #394152
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    When I am feeling those intense emotions I am desperate for comfort. I think I get very clingy and vulnerable. I want that people don’t leave me alone with those intense emotions. I want support. Therefore people feel suffocated by me and are searching the distance because they are not responsible for me and they are not my parents. I feel like I am acting like a child and that is not tolerable in the society. As an adult it is deperate and very irritating.

    Sesha

    #394155
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    I couldn’t bear those emotions and regulated them in very destructive ways… Those intense emotions are scary and terrible for others” –

    – when I read that you regulated your emotions in “very destructive ways” that “were scary and terrible for others“, I thought that maybe you physically harmed others, or physically harmed yourself in front of others, or… emotionally abused others, calling them names, threatening their lives or whatnot. Because very destructive and scary and terrible are strong, extreme words.

    Therefore, I asked what you meant.  Your answer: what you meant was that you were clingy, not wanting people to leave you alone and as a result they were irritated. This tells me that you greatly exaggerate the effect your clingy behaviors on others. It is scary and terrible for a child to grow up with a very clingy parent, but it is not scary and terrible or very destructive for one adult to spend some time with another adult who is clingy. It can get irritating and uncomfortable after a while, but it’s not even close to being very destructive, etc.

    When I am feeling those intense emotions, I am desperate for comfort… I want support” – it is not your fault that as an adult, you get desperate and need support. If you had support as a child, during your formative years, support would have been…  formed into you, becoming your inner support, providing your “inner stable self“, as you termed it in your original post. But without parental support, you lacked that inner support and that inner stable self so far.

    I feel like I am acting like a child and that is not tolerable in the society. As an adult it is desperate and very irritating” – it is wise and mature of you to realize that acting clingy as an adult, at least for long periods of time, or regularly, is not acceptable in a healthy society.

    What should I do then to get the comfort I need to calm down those intense emotions? Like you said alone the emotions intensify but in such an unstable state I can’t seek comfort in others” – I want to think about your question and get back to you later, maybe in a few hours, maybe in as long as Friday morning (in 17 hours from now). If you have any thoughts/ ideas in regard to your question, please feel free to post about it before I return to you.

    anita

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