January 7, 2022 at 7:19 pm #390862
Hello everybody! After 4 years of not posting anything I’m back.
I am feeling hopeless about myself, I am currently working as a teacher and while I love it and see it as a challenge, I have also found myself feeling anxious and depressed. I am currently 22 and having to take care financially of my mother and I.
Every couple of months or years, I feel this deep hole inside of me absorbing everything good in me (so it’s a pattern!), I start feeling tired and unable to do things properly. I am sure I am struggling with my self-confidence and my lack of boundaries but this has become such a problem that I feel like I don’t want to exist. I am an overachiever to an unhealthy degree and I can’t stop, I was forced to take this job because my father left and I had to see a way to take care of my mother and for the first year I tried to do my best and put a good smile, but now I can’t seem to find joy in normal things like taking a shower or eating. I feel like I want to stop the train or jump out of it, I am losing my passion for things and feeling extremely overwhelmed. Maybe I am overreacting but it’s just that I never feel in control of things, always complaining and depressed. I am thinking about seeing a therapist but here’s the catch, I always end up lying to them and I can’t seem to be honest with my problems. I never feel prepared or worthy, I always let people walk all over me because I am afraid of them just not respecting me and that feeling of nervousness just makes me prone to break down.
I would love to hear your take on this and please be honest with me, I can take it.January 7, 2022 at 9:43 pm #390864
I have been where you were at – I had to take responsibility for my family’s finances and my mom’s happiness at roughly the same age as you. My father never left, but he was never there. He is sitting maybe a metre away from me as I type but he might as well be on another planet.
I have felt what you are feeling and still do. I’ll present a possibility to you below for why you might be feeling this way. And you let me know if that doesn’t feel right for you and we can go from there.
I went over your previous post and you mentioned you were good at studies. Is being a teacher the peak of your potential? I am not looking down on teachers but where I am from teachers are overworked and underpaid and it is not intellectually stimulating. You seem to have taken this job to take care of others but in that process you may have suppressed your own potential. And the depression and anxiety could be stemming from this – depression because you feel you don’t have the safety net to shoot for the stars and are locked in to this profession and feel trapped? – thereby restricted by the highs and mostly lows it offers. And the anxiety from feeling financially insecure. If your job triggers stress, you feel you have to endure it and the consequences of not doing well are devastating for you, so it causes anxiety. You might have been an overachiever in the past, but this might be the opposite end of that spectrum for you.
Regarding the hole you describe every few years – I think the hole is always there, you just feel it’s presence more strongly when the outside world is backing you into isolation. Could this be possible? Is it absorbing the good things or simply temporarily outshining them. Do the good things in you reappear?
Can you describe to me this hole? What are you feeling in your body? Does the hole signify something missing? What do you think is missing in your life? From your previous post – you seemed to have spiralled into feeling insecure after someone rejected you – which is common for all of us. But, is there a part of you that knows what is missing and is strongly seeking it out? You seem to point to self-confidence and lacking boundaries as causing this hole – why is that?
Lying to your therapist can be fixed easily – decide if your therapist can’t handle it or if they don’t like you, then you will find a new one. That can help with being brave and honesty.January 8, 2022 at 7:46 am #390871
I love your take, I think you’re absolutely right and it just clicks for me.
I feel like the hole absorbs everything: good or bad, I feel like I am but a fragment of who I was and those good feelings I used to have are gone. I feel like it stems from my very core: my back, my hips, my throat hurts from all this suppressing. I would love to be free from my own mind, my insecurities, my low-self esteem. I wish I could just feel full and happy again. I am aware I’m missing something but I don’t even know where to start. I think that I became aware of this problem this year because I am afraid of not being enough for my students and not being up to standards. I somehow can’t seem to feel enough.
I appreciate your insight! Thanks for helping me through this.January 8, 2022 at 8:09 am #390872
Could you make a list of your insecurities or fears? Not being a good enough teacher is one. Add more to that list.
Imagine another person with all those qualities being true, being a bad teacher, etc. While there is room for improvement or let’s say there are qualities that can’t be changed, that person still deserves to have good experiences and experience joy, no? Give yourself space to separate your weaknesses from who you are. The sooner you realize you are no less or more than anyone else, the faster you can get to addressing the hole. You will feel enough.
Self-esteem is that to me, it is not to be perfect or expect to become perfect, but to accept yourself as you are and do your best in life. When you decide you are worthy, your mind will follow suit.
You may have some things to improve on, let the need to improve come from a place of love and feeling secure. You can then create goals for yourself and work on them.
I feel you are split into 2. You feel suppressed being forced to take these responsibilities and doing this job but at the same time you want to do well at this job and feel you are not enough. Write out what you want to be as a teacher and who you would be if you weren’t a teacher. If there is something else you want to do, plan a long term for achieving that and factor in your current job and how you want to function as a teacher in your short term. This will energize you. Also, investigate why you want to do well in your job. The answer to what you are hoping to get from doing well, might be what you feel is missing, what the hole signifies.January 8, 2022 at 11:31 am #390880
On March 2018, when you were 18, you shared that you were a straight A student, that your body was beautiful and that you loved yourself: “my body is beautiful, and I love myself“. You shared that you have never been in a relationship and that everyone was telling you that the reason for that was that guys were afraid that such a smart and beautiful girl would reject them. Believing this in part or in whole, you told “a really nice guy” that you liked him. But he rejected you, saying that he is not in love with you, that he loves you in a platonic way, “just like loving the way stars shine“.
Almost 4 years later, on January 7, 2022, at 22, you shared that you currently work as a teacher, “having to take care financially” of your mother and yourself after your father left, feeling hopeless, anxious and depressed: “I feel this deep hole inside of me absorbing everything good in me… I can’t seem to find joy in normal things like taking a shower or eating… feeling extremely overwhelmed… I never feel in control of things… my very core: my back, my hips, my throat hurts from all this suppressing. I would love to be free from my own mind… I somehow can’t seem to feel enough”.
And you added this curious “catch”: “I am thinking about seeing a therapist but here’s the catch, I always end up lying to them and I can’t seem to be honest with my problems” –
– I am wondering, is the reason that you always ended up lying to therapists that you were lied to? Is it that people lied to you when you were growing up, telling you things (about yourself, about themselves, about other people) that were not true?
I wonder if what you are suppressing in your very core, in your back, in your hips, in your throat… is the truth?
January 8, 2022 at 12:50 pm #390884
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
I do feel tremendously split between those 2 versions, not wanting to fail but also not enjoying what I do. I would love to know where to start taking care of myself or at least stopping the anxiety. Your take on self-esteem fills me with joy and hopefulness.
I feel like I want to do a good job perhaps because I am trying to fill that hole I mentioned, it’s the only thing I can control at least.
Thanks for reaching out!January 8, 2022 at 12:53 pm #390885
I appreciate your take on this situation, I am trying to think about lies people have told me but nothing comes to mind, perhaps the idea I had about my parents not supporting me enough or forcing me to work at such a young age to take care of our family is what is hurting. Not a lie, but a betrayal to everything I wanted to be. That actually makes a lot of sense. See, I wanted to have a different career and I was a promising student, now I feel stuck and angry but I don’t know how to let go of those feelings.
Thanks for replying!January 8, 2022 at 1:07 pm #390886
You are welcome. “Not a lie, but a betrayal to everything I wanted to be. That actually makes a lot of sense. See, I wanted to have a different career and I was a promising student, now I feel stuck and angry, but I don’t know how to let go of those feelings” –
– The less you suppress those feelings/ the more you express them, the better chance you have to let them go. You are welcome to express your feelings regarding your betrayal here, on your thread: who betrayed you (your father, your mother, both…. others)? How did he/ she/ they betray you?
* I am still wondering about why you lied to therapists, do you know the reason?
January 8, 2022 at 5:29 pm #390892
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
Let me know if this sounds familiar. This is my real life experience. I am developer, and for that I received no training in college. My degree should ideally be enough but it does not train you for the skills you need to be a developer. Some kids in college did side projects, I was so terrified of not finding a job, that I would constantly wonder if I would be a terrible developer, so much so that I did not even try to test or hone my skills.
Once I started on the job, I would be paralyzed from doing work. There is a term for it in my profession, although it is not self-esteem related. “Analysis paralysis”, where you go over all the ways things could go wrong and keep evaluating options in terms of which solution to use or tool, etc, but never fix on an option and get to work. But, I was forced to choose an option since there were always looming deadlines. This was a lot of pressure for me. I was a perfectionist and not confident. I wanted to quit so many times but couldn’t because I had to earn. It was this helplessness that triggered feelings of resentment and how if only my situation was different, I would not have had go through this.
I believe you feel betrayed because every time something upsetting happens at your job, you think about how your situation forced you into this job and you wouldn’t have had to take it had your family had enough money, etc. So the external situation betrayed you and stopped you from following your passion.
There are 2 independent parts to your problem.
1) You don’t want to do this job.
2) You don’t think you are good enough to do it
And just so you know, 2) is independent of 1). Had you been pursuing your passion, 2) would still have plagued you but you wouldn’t have had the resentment about being forced to pursue that career, but you still would have started hating your passion. There is a saying in my mother tongue, I have heard it in English as well, “make your passion your hobby and not your job, otherwise you will hate your passion”.
Some of the reasons for 2) are external to you:
All around the world people are faced with financial insecurity. Money defines your quality of life. You could be denied basic needs like food, shelter and healthcare. Healthcare is in fact tied to the job. So it is natural to want to do well out of fear of getting fired and losing your basic human rights and needs, and fear not being good enough.
If you have a tendency to internalize your failures, you will always blame yourself and believe you are someone who can’t do well. In my example, it was wrong to expect college students to know coding at all. Your first job should train you. It took me a long time to realize my work conditions did not enable my best performance.
You asked how you should start taking care of yourself:
Short term( 1 day – 1 week)
1. Feign arrogance and be okay with being a bad teacher. This is a temporary break for your brain.
2. Use your mornings to set an intention that you will do your best and mistakes are ok.
3. Build a routine with small tasks – drink water, soak in some sun. Checking things off is amazing for the brain.
4. Affirmations – this used to work initially, so it is good for short term, it will alter your state to a pleasant one.
Long-term (1 year)
1. Identify if you need to change jobs within the same profession – for better pay and conditions.
2. When you are happy at your job, you are likely not going to be reminded of your passion at all. Also, you need to plan your future from a place of happiness. So 1. is important. When you are content with your current situation, think of all your possibilities not just being a teacher vs your passion. All the other possibilities that you can venture into for a job – remember this is mainly for money, so aim as high as possible and be creative.
3. Start planning on how to save money to work on the career that is right for you. You may not need money, just a plan to switch, work on that.
4. Create a daily routine that factors in a healthy lifestyle. Socialize and build hobbies.
Planning for super long term
This will assume a healthy sense of self-esteem
1. Be objective about everything. If you are unhappy or not doing well enough, evaluate if it is just you, or what needs to changes and with whom.
2. You have a goal that will meet your financial needs and you are not just getting by – break this career/goal into small steps and check-in every year to see where you are at.
3. Your passion can be your hobby if not your career – give it some time and love.
The hole will go away when you are happy with yourself, which means if something is not right with work, it is just work and not you. It will take time to get to this, but you can do it.January 9, 2022 at 7:32 am #390903
Thank you for letting me express these feelings, it’s a deep sensation rooted in me hating the idea that my father abandoned me and chose to let me fend for myself and the abandonment that it entailed. I feel betrayed because my parents didn’t allow me to fully complete my aspirations, I was a good student and I can’t help but feel I could have been so much more than this in another career or field.
I lied to my therapist about my real issues because I am somehow afraid of talking about myself or what is hurting me because I don’t want or don’t know how to explore my emotions or reactions, sometimes I feel like I am making it into a bigger deal than it is.
You are a healer, thanks so much for everything you do for this forum. I appreciate you.January 9, 2022 at 7:43 am #390905
Your thoughtful message has actually helped me so much, I can relate to your situation and I know how it feels. This connection you allowed me to have through empathy feels like I have been heard for the first time. I set up myself for failure through my negativity and that makes me think about other people letting me down.
You have carefully crafted a plan for me to get better just by reading my plea for help, I am deeply thankful and I will follow them to get better. I hope you feel better too, I’m sure you already do a great job and I would love to continue this line of communication.January 9, 2022 at 8:14 am #390906
You are welcome and thank you (!!!) for your kind words.
You expressed “a deep sensation rooted” in you, a sensation of hate for the idea that your father abandoned you.
“I was a good student, and I can’t help but feel I could have been so much more than this in another career or field” –
– it is my understanding that growing up you worked very hard on being the best daughter in every way: “I’m a straight A student, my body is beautiful, and I love myself, I have never attended parties, I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke, I sing, dance, play instruments and I get along with everyone” (March 19, 2018).
The promise was that you will be rewarded for all your hard work by your parents and by society by leading a happy and exciting work and love life.
The betrayal is about that promised being broken: (1) Your father abandoned you, (2) Your mother needs you to support her, (3) No exciting and rewarding career life for you, (4) No romantic relationship for you.
“Everyone tells me how great I am, how smart pretty“, you wrote in March 2018. Fast forward, you wonder something like- what happened to that great, smart and pretty? Why did it not translate to a great life?
“Sometimes I feel like I am making it into a bigger deal than it is” – I think that the gap between the Promise (your hopes and dreams, your expectations) and the Reality of your life is what is very big. Did I understand correctly?
January 9, 2022 at 8:22 am #390908
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
I am glad to hear my message helped you. I just wrote that plan out to give you ideas. You could choose to take what you like from there.
I am happy to have this connection with you. Please know that you have not set yourself up for failure. You haven’t failed yet. You did what you could do best. You are viewing your life in a bubble without acknowledging the conditions that pushed you to make the decisions you did. Sure, fear is a factor to shy away from challenges, as are many others you could work on, but also acknowledge that your external conditions and internal conditioning from childhood led you to where you are at. And you can define where you want to go.
People have let you down, so there is nothing wrong in being cautious in that regard. I honestly don’t see a problem with that. My bigger fear for you is if you settle for people in your life that will bring your energy down and tire you out. You having boundaries is a good thing. All you have to change it to is from fear of to a casual disdain for terrible people. Constantly vet the people in your life, it is worth it. How people have treated you so far should tell you how you don’t want to be treated and not as something to lose hope and take as evidence to not expect good treatment from others. Set standards for who is allowed your time and energy.
I hope you feel better too, I’m sure you already do a great job – Thank you for the compliment. But in all honesty, I have had ups and downs since I was your age in this matter. I have become a little more centred in how I look at my situation. Before I used to view all my problems from the past and in the present, in a vacuum, and I used to struggle with their existence or how to fix them by myself as I took them as a reflection of me. Now, I have learnt to assign responsibility for it to other parties and this has helped in relieving the pressure I felt. I have also been partially successfully in peeling aways the parts of my identity that were tied to my job. I only look at it as a way to earn. And the worry to do well is only to keep earning. This is the only progress I’ve made. Once I peeled that layer off – the one where my career had to compare to others, or I had to get married and have babies like others in my family, I have reached the most painful part of myself, where I can’t simply define myself by outcomes or the lack of them. I now see what I’ve had hiding underneath. A very anxious and scared person that wants to feel safe. This I cannot fix by having a better career or finding love. I am actively working on feeling better this year. I hope you do as well. Take your life into your own hands and drive it.
I would love to continue this communication as well. Thank you!January 17, 2022 at 7:48 pm #391546
How are you, Care?
anitaJanuary 19, 2022 at 11:10 am #391607
Thinking about you, Care, hoping that you are feeling better.