My spark is gone

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    So I have posted here a couple months ago about learning to love myself, or at least be kind, which I having been doing well with. The issue I am running into now is feeling kind of burned out with life. To quickly put things in context I am in graduate school and recently had to quit my job as a social worker to focus my energies on school and be able to take care of myself mentally and physically. I have had no job as of April 1st and my spring semester just ended last week. I will not be able to return to work until July because of an intense block of summer classes starting the end of may, and whatever I do will have to be part time. I just turned 25 this weekend. I live with a roommate, and I have a few friends I hangout with or workout with. I go home to see my family in a city about an hour away about once a month.

    The first thing I have noticed from working full time and going to school, to then quitting my job and just going to school, to now being on a break from work and school for the next month is that I feel as if i’m not doing enough with my time, and that I am very lonely, despite having a few good friends. I did not realize how much I was suppressing my loneliness with work, school, and exercise until now. My dad has always worked 60-80 hour work weeks since I can remember to avoid dealing with problems, and i said i would never be like that, then i realized i have essentially been doing to the same thing since I’ve been out of high school, and graduated college. I just don’t feel comfortable unless i’m stressed and busy to the limit, which I was not happy with either.

    Now i’m having issues with motivation and feel my depression creeping in again. I absolutely cannot wait to return to work, just to have something to help pass the time and have some social contact with people again on a regular basis however superficial it may be. However, my circumstances are essentially forcing me to take a break, and it’s becoming very difficult to enjoy being with myself and in my thoughts this much.

    I also have a feeling as if my best days are behind me and as if life really has nothing satisfying to offer me anymore. Lately i’ve been noticing the mannerisms of children and younger adults (18-21ish) in my family and that i may see out in the world, and I notice that is seems as if they have a natural curiosity and enchantment about life, the most trivial things are amusing to them and their emotional expressions are more genuine. I then take a look at myself at 25 i feel completely spent and forcing myself through life because i took suicide off the table a couple years ago. I journal and meditate regularly to try to be mindful and grateful for the little things in life that bring me joy, like spending time in nature, or seeing someone smile at me in passing, but at the end of the day when it’s to time to sleep I feel alone, and when i wake up i feel alone and struggle to get myself out of bed knowing i may not even speak to another human being the whole day. Eventually i get up around 10am, eat and exercise and try to make to the most of the day, but I feel useless, unlovable, and as if life is only about waiting for more problems to pop up to try to solve.

    If anyone has any insight into restoring the lust for life it would be greatly appreciated.





    Hey Rich,

    first of all, relax 🙂 It’s great of you to come here and it’s the right thing to share and talk about these things. You are by no means alone or very special in this regard – most people feel this way one time or another. Things are normal 🙂

    The spark for life will come when you are not chasing it or looking for it. It is there in you, has always been there and will always be there. Somewhere deep down, there is a You that is content and happy and full of courage and curiosity about life… the core of your being. Remember it. You know what it feels like. You know that it is there.

    It may be hidden, it may be ignored and not being looked at, it may have been buried under your history and thoughts and repressed feelings, but do not worry – trust it. Trust yourself to be capable of all that you are missing, because you really are and deep down you know it 🙂

    You may not know how to reconnect with that part of yourself, you may not know how to reach it… that is what therapy and competent, small, deliberate steps are there for. Use the time now, the time when work and school are not distracting you. Use the time to look at these things, face yourself and be friendly and supportive to yourself. I know the way you feel very well – and to me it always feels like trying to lure a small, frightened animal out of its hiding place. Be calm, relaxed, friendly towards it… don’t stress things. All is good already and all well feel good in the future. The good times are yet to come for you 🙂




    Dear Rich:

    No wonder your childhood spark was extinguished. A month ago you shared: “Growing up my mom was very depressed and my dad had anger issues, one of my strongest memories from childhood was my dad telling me and my sister it was ‘our job to keep our mother happy’ that’s alot for a 8 year old to take on, which contributed to my continuing lack of self care from that point on, trying to keep my mom happy and my dad calm was a very exhausting task”- exhausting and spark-extinguishing.

    And your mother being depressed and your father angry, working 60-80 hours per week, who attended to you- you were lonely then.

    You asked for insight regarding restoring your lust for life. First, make sure you are no longer trying to keep your mother happy as this will continue to exhaust you. Look for any way, however subtle, you are still trying to do this job and … fire yourself.

    Second, keep away from people who exhaust you- if it is your mother or your father or anyone else, limit or eliminate the time you spend with them.

    Third, keep doing what worked for you, and when it stops working it may need you need to add something to it, not necessarily eliminate it (at least as far as practicing mindfulness and reasonable exercise and other healthy habit are concerned, don’t give up on those).

    The progress you can hope to make regarding reigniting that spark, I believe, will happen gradually, incrementally, little by little, and not in a big-bang way, so fit your expectations to match the reality of it.

    And please do post anytime.




    Thanks very much J and Anita,

    I have been hesitant to post lately, only because I feel my problems aren’t really that bad, and I have been trying to kind of pick myself up lately, as the therapist I have been seeing for the past 2 years is in the process of opening a new practice and I haven’t been able to see him either, even though I was only going once every couple of months at this point anyway.

    In regards to J, I agree with you that my spark or motivation is somewhere within me I feel it every now and then, mostly in the company of others, however as i’m quite introverted it is always a struggle for me to be around people for too long. I have been using this break to examine myself, and it has led me to understand how uncomfortable I am being alone, though I have almost reached a state of acceptance as of late, as we are undoubtedly alone in this life.

    To Anita, I have talked with my parents about our family dynamic growing up, and they both acknowledged that they may have put too much pressure on me as a child and neglected my emotional health in various ways. I forgave them and I feel they were doing the best they could as they both came from tough backgrounds as well. As an adult my parents have been more concerned about me than when I was younger, and it feels as if i’m finally being nurtured for the first time, I always tell people when they ask about my childhood that i was the adult in the house, in the sense that i took care of everyone’s feelings and acted as a mediator on many occasions, I was very calculated in expressing my emotions which honestly i can barely remember doing. Though while my parents care is better late than never, some of my unhealthy coping strategies are strongly ingrained within me, the most difficult one to shake being social withdrawal or isolation. What makes me feel most alive is being able to be vulnerable with people and having that reciprocated back. However that is very hard to come by for me, the only people I feel safe enough to be completely open with is my mom and sister, but sometimes i do find myself not wanting to open up to my mom because she tends to start to tell me about her problems because my dad wont listen, and i cant take care of her forever. The other people in my life keep things very superficial, and when I try to push conversations deeper up go the walls so to speak.

    I suppose I still haven’t made enough progress connecting with myself to the point where I can feel motivated to live vigorously without much social contact. I hate to admit it but I still have trouble with believing that having a romantic relationship will help restore my spark and magically solve all my problems though I know that’s bullshit. As much as I would like to have a relationship with someone I do not feel it would be appropriate if I can’t be happy being with myself. I’m not sure what I need at this point. But thanks for the help and kind words.


    Dear Rich:

    You are welcome. Maybe getting into an acting class will ignite a spark in you, doing improvisations in an acting class. Maybe a dancing class. Maybe Tai-Chi, all these being done as one in a group of people, interacting within guidelines. That may work for you.


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