Really struggling

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    Hi Anita,

    I agree.  I am trying to be less reactive.  It was just a text message and it does not even mean I have to take the job if things progress to an eventual offer (which is not guaranteed to happen anyway!).  I am trying to not let it derail my momentum I started building up the past few days in managing my mental health, as well as looking for employment opportunities I am interested in.

    I read the following recent TinyBuddha post shortly after my first post today: Afraid to Say No Because You Might Miss Out on a Big Opportunity? – Tiny Buddha.  I am trying to realize I can say no to a job offer (whenever I eventually get on for whatever opportunity) and that it is not the one and only opportunity that will ever come across my path.  I am trying…

    As always, thank you for your reply.



    Dear Richard:

    You are welcome.

    I am trying to realize I can say no..”- the more sense of personal power you have (ex., the ability to say Yes or No= the ability to choose what happens in your life), the less reactive you will be!



    Dear Richard,

    I agree with what anita said – that when we lack a sense of personal power, we tend to be much more reactive and anxious about the events in our lives, because we feel unable to protect ourselves, we feel unable to say No. We feel helpless.

    This could be related to your sense of powerlessness and helplessness with your brother: you weren’t able to protect yourself and say No, bugger off! And your parents weren’t there to protect you either. So sinking into helplessness became your default mode…

    I believe practicing saying No in a safe environment (in therapy) would help a lot in your healing. You said a few posts ago that so far you haven’t worked on your past in therapy. You also said: I have told several people I believe the way I am today mentally and emotionally is rooted in my childhood. Just not sure how to begin to heal from things that happened so long ago.

    If you’re seeing a therapist at the moment, you can mention your brother’s bullying, and ask to work on that. If they don’t know how or don’t think it’s important, you can seek a different therapist. Because there are definitely ways to deal with it and to basically re-write the old imprint of helplessness into a new one of empowerment.



    hi Richard,

    I had to write you because I too am going through the kind of desperate dispart that you are going through but for different reasons.  I too have childhood trauma: 1) I was left by my parents to live with my grand mother when they left to go live overseas with my other siblings.  This was because I was the oldest and the one they chose to keep my grand parents company; 2) I moved to several countries by the time I was 11 years old, each time losing my support system, friends, and learning a new language.  When I moved to the US, the racism and bulling was extremely severe; 3) there was signifiant emotional and physical violence towards me at home even though my some of my siblings deny that; 4) I reached adulthood being lonely a lot.  I finally found a great situation but I did something horrible to my family (not on purpose) related to investing our money and losing it all.  I am devastated beyond reason.  But the reason I wanted to write you is that I too went back for my PhD when I was 33 years old.  But I quit with just another master’s degree and was lucky enough to find employment and have been working ever since.  I think your panic and depression comes from the realization of your being 42 years old and not having a career, much money (I speculate), no permanent living arrangement with a significant other and feel generally hopeless like your life was a waste.  But you did cling onto your PhD and endured many years of hardship to acquire it.  I did fall into a deep depression when I was about 35 years old and I could not get out of bed, etc. I saw many of my PhD candidate friends also face similar existential crisis such as where will I get a job, how will I go on afterwards, and I wasted so many year not earning, etc. I do want to point out that my second master’s (not the PhD) was in the New England area at a very prestigious University, while not technically an Ivy League school but at that calibre.  I know that the only way you can get out of your depression and anxiety is that by living with it and finding any job to start building your post-PhD life.  You may never get the dream job you desired, as many of us seldom do.  But you will learn to respect order and regularity that the job brings.  You must now accept that you are 42 and starting over and just live day by day and do your best on whatever is put in front of you because being depressed and anxious and seeking help from everyone (I know this from experience) will not get you out of bed or move your life forward.  I was anxious and depressed to the point of crazy when I was 5 – 6 when my parents left me; at age 9 -11 when I was moved from country to country; at age 13 to 17 when I was dealing with racism and bullying at school and my parents’ raging at home; 19 – 22 struggled through college, 23 – 25 when I was trying to extricate myself from an abusive relationship but someone I was co-dependent on; 29 when I lost my prestigious first career; 35 when I met my now husband but somehow fell into a complete and utter depression over a girl he chose to date before he even met me.  I lost over 1 year of my life being bed-ridden and obsessing over why he dated her, and if she was better than me or worse than me, and just being crazy.  I then suffered depressing after having my one and only child at age 41 but I had to keep working so that was ok but then deep depression between 44-48 when we finally tried to have a second baby and could not; and now I’m in my early 50s and I have led my family to financial disaster by losing so much money in the stock market, having been obsessed with social media for the past 1 year and listening to people on social media about where to invest.  My husband has forgiven me for now.  I can’t believe it.  I am hoping that I don’t mess up my marriage and my precious child any more by doing anything else.  I have to keep working at a job that is grueling because I need the money more than ever.  You have to just get a job, even if you have anxiety over getting it, and work and live one day at a time and move forward.  That is the only way at some point, your depression will lift.  I hope that this is the final time that I have to live with such catastrophic event. I am trying to learn from my mistake and reflect upon myself and not react but be still and see how I can be a better person end not have to relieve pain after pain.  Until recently, my life was perfect, the best it had ever been.  My husband who I thought was going to be devastated, has been upholding us really well and telling me we can rebuild, even though he is older than I am.  I am grateful for him and my child.  I still don’t have a good relationship with my family of origin although my mom has passed away.  Before died, we had the best relationship, putting the past behind us.  Now she is gone and I don’t have extended family or many friends either.  My husband’s family did not approve of the inter-racial marriage and was not welcoming to us, something we were in denial of until were had our child.  We moved many states away and that seemed to slightly improve our relationship to his family.  I have many things stacked against me but I also look at my husband, my child and the resources that I do still have, such as a good job (grueling as it is) and I must keep these things intact and do my best with these two people and to myself and the job.  Just get a job.  You must just move through your anxiety and depression and work.  At some point, fog will lift.  I hope that I don’t use this Forum (I registered today after reading your posts) becomes another Rabbit hole from my life.  I’m posting this and going to live my life.  I am taking anxiety medication for the first time in my life as my anxiety now is as bad as it was when I was 5 -6 when my parents left me.  I didn’t have the words to ask for help then but I have the words now.  Use you head and take it one day at a time and know that your days will just be filled with pain and depression but that you still have to move forward.  And by the way, I can’t even cry (I can’t cry) so I can’t even release my emotions.  I can’t even get mad at the situation.  You are not alone, others too are suffering, just know that.  One day at a time.

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