Not sure what to do

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    I honestly don’t really know where to begin. I’m lost to say the least, but here is my story:

    I’m Chris, 26, male from North Carolina. I grew up in the middle of nowhere. Through therapy I have learned that my parents wern’t really there for me, that what I thought was normal, was really borderline emotional and even physical abuse. I still love my parents. I think they tried their best. But ultimate I never felt good enough and never felt loved.

    I went to school in Charlotte. It took me 6 years. I got a degree in religious studies because I changed my major around 12 times and finally settled in this because I thought I was going to go into the ministry. Really I was just searching for someone to love me, for a god or higher power or something, anything. I struggled through my college years, barely making any friends, and my social anxiety got worse. My depression worsened and well, things just sucked.

    That’s a little backstory, here is why I am here. I met a girl 3 or so years ago. She showed interest in me, I was 23 and hadn’t really ever had a girlfriend. I jumped into this relationship quickly and fast. She had two kids from a previous marriage and I was honestly ecstatic that I had a ready made family. She filled a void that I wanted, she was way out of my league in terms of looks, and she was super sweet and awesome.

    The first year went okay, but once we moved in things got worse. I was never happy. I always was searching for the next thing to make me happy. I started becoming angry and mean, becoming just like my flipping parents. We racked up close to 30,000 in debt (20,000 for a car). We fought all the time. I felt the kids were holding me back (wrong) that she was holding me back (wrong), and that if only I could break up with her I would be happy then finally. We went through the breakup fight multiple times. Finally, we broke up and she moved back in with her grandparents.

    I was happy for a while. My stress went down and my anxiety got a little better. Then I moved to Chicago to go to graduate school. I was so lonely and scared. Im fine talking to people if I have a sense of power, such as in a job role or something, but otherwise I just can’t talk to anybody. During this whole 4-5 months prior, Cortney and I remained friends, had sex, I thought everything was fine. Then a few weeks into moving up to Chicago, she told me she had a boyfriend.

    I freaked out. I don’t know why. I cried, I begged, I pleaded. I packed my entire apartment up and drove back 13 hours non stop because I was going to change and get her back. THat obviously didn’t work. I told myself I didn’t want to live if she wasn’t with me, so for that thought I spent 9 days in the hospital. I got out and read self help books, articles, meditated, did yoga, all of that.

    Its been two months and nothing has gotten better. I’m now 66,000 in debt. I have no car, no money, and no job. Nobody is hiring because everybody wants experience or a certain degree. Most of the debt is shared between us.

    I still feel so lost. I feel so inadequate. I feel so worthless. It took so long to even get a girlfriend and now because of my selfishness of thinking I needed to find happiness elsewhere, I lost the most wonderful thing in the world, and I lost the two kids. I don’t have any potential job leads. No direction in life. And what is worse, is I feel like I am going to be lonely for the rest of my life. I feel ugly and that she upgraded to a better version and now I am just out here to die. I don’t know what im good at, I don’t have any real job experience or skills, I lost the kids and her, and I live in a crappy town again that I vowed I would never move back to. What makes matters worse is I don’t really have any friends.

    I don’t know. I feel so pathetic even writing this, but in a way it helped. I’ll be honest, I’m really just fishing for complements or encouragement so I can feel good about myself. Ive tried forgiving myself. Ive tried self love. Nothing has gotten better. And now Im running out of what little money I did have.

    Tldr; Made some stupid mistakes and now going through a quarter life crisis. Don’t know what to do.


    Dear crhampton1:

    Start from the beginning.

    You had a story with this woman and her children and you are at the end of that story, but not at the end of your life.

    Start from the beginning. I am referring to Genesis simply because you have a degree in religious studies. It reads there: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep”- kind of how you are feeling now, in the darkness, formless and void.

    From the darkness, void and formlessness, lots was created. And you can do it too, you can create a meaningful life for yourself from the formless, void and darkness where you are.

    One day, one step at a time. Day One, Day Two and on.



    Hello Chrampton,

    My Story is almost the same as yours. I am married but unfortunately we aren’t successful. but right now is Im starting all by myself and treating myself gradually one at a time.

    I still dont know what to do. but I am always praying and keep moving forward.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    Goodluck for both of us. I know you can do it!


    Christopher (and JoeDar) –
    I have been there, too. In fact, I too am going through another difficult trial right now.
    But let me share what I can in order to help you.
    As anita very well stated, a chapter has ended – but your life is far, far from over. I am 52 and remember times when I was your age when I too faced significant loss (yes, of a girl) and thought all was over. But “time” is a very funny thing. We are always moving forward. And there really are new things, people, opportunities just around every corner. And, as these new things consume your attention, time and emotions, the old things really do fade away. Honest.
    Depression is real
    Depression is a real thing that can hurt. It lurks and sneaks up on you when you’re most vulnerable – and fills your head with thoughts of self-doubt, anxiety, fear of the future, debt, worthlessness, loneliness, etc. This happens to everyone. Still, here’s what I do when this happens: call it out! Like turning on the light in a dark room and saying, “Get the hell out of here! Your cancerous thoughts are not welcome here – NOW GO!” Depression can act like a fake friend; snuggling up against you and getting you to believe negative things. Don’t let it. Depression is a weak snake. Run it over with your Mack truck.
    Of course, some depression can be severe – and overwhelming. When this happens, seek a trained profession to help you navigate through it.
    Be positive – and stay positive
    It’s very hard to be positive. And it’s even harder when everyone else seems to be happy, successful and better off. But this isn’t the case. Everyone has self-doubt and anxiety – even the President and the Pope. It’s simply part of being human. But when you eject the negative thoughts that depression brings, back-fill the void you just created with positive thoughts. I know, easier done than said. But people pick up the “vibe” of others who are positive; they are more open, comfortable to be around, genuine, honest – and attractive. Yes, it’s proven that most women would much rather be around a positive guy who’s genuinely interested in them rather than a GQ cover stud who’s a total egotistical jerk.
    Get up – and out
    Everything that is worth something takes work and effort. Break from your “comfortable norm.” Meaning, don’t sit around and watch TV, etc. Get up – and out. Walk. Run. Exercise if you can. Breathe fresh, outside air. The more you’re in motion, the better. It’s not only good for your body, but it flushes the nasty cob webs out of your head. And say “good-bye” to negative BS.
    Keep your faith – close
    I must mention this – because you did. I am a Christian. I’m not going to assume you are, too, although you may be. Still, faith is critical – especially when we are facing times of trial. Remember, “faith” is not “religion.” People wage wars over religions. Faith is personal. It’s about the deep, intimate relationship that is real between you and God. You will get through this, Christopher. Pray about it. Be patient. And don’t compare yourself to others. You are unique – and full of huge potential. You are where Michael Jordan was in high school.
    Your time is coming, Christopher. I just know it. Now, go for a long walk. And pray. God’s a great listener.
    Write back as much as you want. I’ll check in regularly.
    In the meantime, I’ll pray that peace engulfs your soul today.



    Realize that the “you” or “I” you keep referring to is not something that was there at birth, but rather something created by the mind/brain as you grew up and continues to be formed throughout life. It is a picture or character created by the mind to represent “self”.

    Past experience (abuse) can create an image of “self” that says we are “not good enough” and “unlovable”. Then we take that image of “self” out into the world, believing it without even thinking about it, perhaps never questioning it. We go about living our lives without fully realizing the impact it has on everything we do, everyone we try to bond with, and how we see the world as a whole. We tend to see this image as our “true self” and forget it is just a character made up by our own mind.

    We try to find “things” to make us happy, but they only bring happiness for a short time. We try to find “others” to make us happy, but when they can’t take away the pain, we end up resenting them for letting us down. We chase achievement hoping to show others and ourselves that we really are “good enough”, yet when we achieve our goals, we resent others who don’t seem to see us as we thought they would and should.

    Everything you told me in your post makes perfect sense to me. I lived through a very similar story. If you are like me, then you are probably running away from your “self”. You grasp at “other” to find something to make up for your own inherent sense of defectiveness. You simultaneously resent others for not making you feel better, yet go running back to them and cling to them as you fear nobody else would want defective you.

    In my experience, the only thing that helps is to go back into this character your mind has created called “you” and gain an understanding of what it is, what it is not, and just how ephemeral and fictional it really is. This is your “ego”. You were not born with it, it was created by your mind. Now it is leading you on a life experience full of sadness, fear, loneliness, and despair. Some seem to find a way to numb out and experience life as a spectator (for a time anyway). IMO, this is not how to get the most from the life experience. One way or another, there is no sense of an individual “I” without the ego and to have a personal experience of life you need a “you”. It is your mind that created this ego image of self, and your mind can pull it back apart and rebuild it. Old beliefs can, with work and time, give way to new ones. The effects of emotional abuse, particularly during childhood, are carved deeply into the foundation of the ego. Never the less, they can be repaired, and this starts with coming to understand what the ego is, how it was formed, what it contains, how your mind uses it to guide your decisions and opinions throughout life, and that most of all, it is just a fictional character, a character your mind can re-characterize. This may seem like a rather nasty lot to be given in life. The upshot is that if you face your task with courage, and most of all compassion for this “self”, you may just come out the other end understanding a great deal more about your “self”, other’s “selves”, and what IMO, what Christ’s teachings were really all about. Good luck, it’s a tall mountain to climb, and even harder when starting from low in the valley, but the view is worth it.


    In reading your post, (well in reading many…most? posts on this an other forums) this quote came to mind.

    “Part of the problem with the word disabilities is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” Fred Rogers from The World According to Mr. Rogers







    I’m so glad that my post from yesterday resonated with you. Every day is a new day; a new start. A fresh beginning. Focus your energy outward, rather than reflecting and measuring yourself inward.

    Write back if need be.

    Peace to you today, my friend.


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