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Unsure about my direction

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This topic contains 50 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 days, 18 hours ago.

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  • #248369

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello,

    For the last couple of years, I have been feeling a bit depressed about where my life is going. It kind of all started when I left a nursing program in college two years ago. Even to today, I beat myself up for leaving, even though I would cry every day while being in the program. I think it was from a fear of failure, but I’m not sure. About a year after leaving, I started therapy which turned out to be the best thing for me. Even though my perspective has changed, I’m still really unsure of what to do with my life. I’ve been meditating every day for about 2 weeks now, and though it has helped me slow down my thought process, I still can’t seem to figure out what I would like to do for a living, but more importantly I can’t seem to shake this uneasy, underlying anxiety that always seems to be in the background every second of every day.

    I’ve asked the universe for signs, and the closest thing I received was to go back to school (college), I’m just so unsure what for. I’m sorry if this “problem” seems trivial, I would just like to find some peace since my mind keeps seeking answers for this so-called issue. Any advice is greatly appreciated (:

    #248381

    Selkie
    Participant

    Hi Nikkole- maybe the answer is as simple as asking yourself, what do you LIKE to do? What made you go into nursing? Did you enjoy studying biology and anatomy? What kind of activities do you do enjoy doing when you’re on your own? I think that every human being is meant to do work that expresses their deepest passions/desires/wants. So, what do you exactly want? If you don’t know, you might want to think about what you were like as a child, what kind of activities and games that you gravitated toward. And, lastly, what makes you jealous when it comes to other people? THAT might actually give you some indication as to your life path. For example, at one point I found myself getting envious of women around my age who were publishing debut novels- which of course that I was repressing the desire to create my own novel!

    If you give this some hard thought (and feeling!) I’m sure you’ll arrive at the right answer for you.

    #248391

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Thank you, Selkie. Honestly, I chose nursing for the job security. Ever since I was little I loved making videos, and editing them was my favorite part. Unfortunately, the thing that is keeping me from pursuing it is the belief that I won’t make money doing that. As far as jealousy I noticed that I am very jealous of women who do not have to work, and have the day to do as they please. Or if they wanted to go to school, monthly finances would be covered and school could be their main focus. I make myself sound lazy haha but I guess I’m wanting a mix of doing something I like and not having to work so hard since I’ve been working for the same company since I was 14 (I’m now 25).

    #248393

    Selkie
    Participant

    I think we all consider security when looking at careers- it’s difficult not to. The problem is when job security becomes the only considered factor. That ends up creating a lot of anxiety, and an anxious state is the worst kind for making decisions.

    Are you making videos right now? If not, you can start doing that just for fun, and just the process of it might soothe your anxiety. You don’t have to think about the money- just enjoy the process of making the video. And it’s a common belief that artists/creatives don’t make any money. But if you think about it, film/TV are very large industries, so all those people working in it must be bringing in a paycheck somehow. How do you feel about finding some people in the videography (correct term?) field to talk with? Just a chat- you can consider it an exploration. You might even find an amateur group/meetups, and just enjoy doing that. If you really do like some aspects of medicine, perhaps you can even consider combining your knowledge of the field with your video editing skills.

    From what you’ve written, I think  that aside from finding your niche, you really need some simple enjoyment and fun in your life. It might even help to take a short trip (or plan one for the future) to clear your head. Hope this helps 🙂

    #248399

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Thank you so much for the questions, and advice. I really do think I need to start bringing in more fun moments into my life since most of it has been focused too much on work. I’m going to make it an effort to incorporate new and fun activities into my life that way it gives me some downtime and opportunities to explore.  Thank you again for your help (:

    #248435

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    This is my understanding:

    You are a 25  year old woman who has worked since 14 years old, in the same company. Financial security has been  a significant concern from your early youth, so you worked a lot, and hard. In your early twenties you attended a  nursing program in college because you wanted the job security of a nursing career. But while in the program you were miserable, crying every day. You quit that program two years ago, at 23, but you beat yourself up for leaving the program.

    At 24 you started  therapy, “the best thing  for me”, but you still feel “a bit depressed” and you “can’t seem to shake this uneasy, underlying anxiety that always seems to be in the background every second of every day”.

    You don’t know where  your life is going, “unsure  of what to do with my life.. can’t figure  out what I would like to do for a living “. You are thinking about going back to college, but “unsure  what for”, and you are jealous of women who don’t have  to  work or worry about money and who “have the day to do as they please”.

    You wrote: “I’m sorry if this ‘problem’ seems trivial, I would just  like to find some peace since my mind keeps seeking answers for this so-called issue”-

    I would like to communicate with you beyond  this one post, to have some back and forth communicating because there  is more here than what was presented so  far. At this point I ask regarding  the sentence I quoted last: some  voice  in you says to you that your problem is  not a real problem (therefore the quotation  marks around the word problem), saying to you that your problem is trivial and that you don’t have a real issue (therefore the “so called” qualifier)-

    Did someone in real life, a  parent perhaps, communicated to you that your problems, your issues, your feelings are  not important, not real  problems; did a parent/s focus so much on money that nothing in comparison seemed  important to them?

    anita

    #248451

    Selkie
    Participant

    I’m glad I could help! Good luck to you 🙂

    #261499

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Growing up I had a really turbulent childhood. When I was younger I lived with my mom and younger sister. My mom was single and worked two jobs, and my dad is the definition of a workaholic. All I remember him doing when we were younger was working, he never really spent time with us. To kind of top things off, my mom was pretty much an alcoholic. She would come home from work, pour herself some wine and stay in her room. She would occasionally come out, and not sure if it was always intentional or not, but try to stir drama. She was pretty much projecting her internal problems and hurt out on my sister and I. But the main reason why I put the word problem into quotations is because while I was going through therapy, there was one session where my therapist said: “There are people who are having a harder time than you are, and you’re over here worrying about what you should do.” That kind of stung. I’m sure her intentions were good, but it still hurt to hear.

    #261529

    Selkie
    Participant

    Hi Nikkole- Wow, that was a really uncalled-for comment from the therapist. I know therapy is often recommended, but a lot of them have their own baggage/judgment issues. So sometimes it takes a while to find the right one, if you do choose to continue down that path. I do think your problem is a real issue that deserves compassion/exploration, etc. I hope you don’t take what that therapist said to heart.

    #262689

    anita
    Participant

    Dear  Nikkole:

    Regarding your therapist input: “There are people who are having a harder time than you are…”- this sentence  was  not said with good  intentions (“I’m sure her intentions were  good”), it was said out of some anger, impatience. She  lashed  out at you having  said that. There  can not possibly be a  good intent in that, not for a person with some insight and awareness. Maybe at other times her input was  good, but not at that time. If she didn’t apologize  for her damaging comment, she should  have.

    Regarding “this uneasy, underlying anxiety that always seems to be in the background every second of ever day”, this anxiety is likely to be the same  anxiety, the same  daily fear you experienced growing up when your mother was in her room and you were outside her room, waiting for the next time she comes  out  of her room and “stir drama” next. It is the anxiety of anticipating her next drama.

    You wrote  that you beat  yourself up for leaving the nursing program, but don’t you beat yourself up for other things, every day, smaller things?

    anita

     

     

     

    #266311

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Selkie, I really try not to. She (the therapist) really helped me in some ways, like becoming a little more aware of myself, but I do agree that I feel that at times she would get impatient with me. I think going back into therapy would be a good idea, I would just need to maybe find a different therapist. I just feel like there’s still a lot that I haven’t really uncovered / discovered about myself, even after going to therapy for a while.

    Anita, Yes! I would definitely agree with that’s where the anxiety comes from. When I’m at work (I work in retail), I’m always anxious that a customer is going to come up to me and start arguing, get angry, or say something that I don’t know how to respond to. I think that’s why I’m always wanting to be in the back where I don’t have to be around customers, when I actually really do like helping people. I do beat myself up about little things too, like missing a day of working out, or not being productive enough throughout the day. All these restless thoughts are exhausting *sigh*.

    #266503

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    We keep reliving our childhoods, no wonder, because our brains are formed during those Formative Years, our childhoods. My mother was very argumentative, stirring trouble a whole lot. I feared her, feared  the  next time, anxious throughout those formative years and  the decades that followed.

    I used to have these ongoing arguments in my  head, people arguing  with me, telling me  I am wrong, making their points proving to me I am wrong..  and  I  in turn argued  against  those  voices  in my  head, sure was exhausting. I was tired most  of the  time, day and  night.

    I beat  myself up a whole lot, those voices did  (the inner critic  it is called, or inner  bully in my case), a whole  lot  of beatings. Exhausting and  painful. There is no winning with that  inner bully, I was wrong  no matter what, if I chose X- I was wrong, if I chose Y- I was wrong.

    It’s been a long and still  ongoing process of healing  for me, healing, learning, both. I hope to read more from you and would be  glad to reply every time you post,  if you want me to.

    (I will soon be  away from the  computer for about sixteen hours)

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  anita.
    #266527

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hi Anita, how did / do you deal with those argumentive thoughts? Mine are extremely judgmental of others and myself and I always feel less than other people or that people think I’m less than them? I know the thought isn’t true, but how do you truely feel better about yourself when those thoughts keep reappearing? Also, there’s a lot of anger, like it’s rageful, and I can’t seem to pinpoint as to why. Sorry, for so many questions haha I’ve really been appreaciting your insights.

    #266623

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    Your questions are fine  with me. My answer: there  is no easy or fast way to go about it. At times this or that will work for a while, and  you may think you  got it, but no, these well established pathways  in the  brain will get reactivated sooner than later. It takes months and years to insert new pathways into the old so to change the pathway- map of the brain. It takes  years of extreme patience and  persistence of doing  the work over a long, long time, not just when relatively calm, but while being  distressed.

    CBT, Cognitive  Behavioral Therapy, is a lot of that work. I started with a book of the  for-dummies series,  called  Cognitive  Behavioral Therapy for Dummies. It includes  a workbook with CBT exercises that are helpful in that re-mapping of the  brain. One  CBT basic exercise is challenging our thoughts (those  voices), evaluating if they are  true to reality, and if not, changing to thoughts that are true  to reality. Because  these  thoughts are connected to emotions, when we correct distorted (and distressing) thoughts, we  feel calmer.

    Mindfulness is another  very  important practice and I am sure  there  are  workbooks on the  matter, definitely lots of literature, including  on the  home page  of  this website under  Blogs.

    We can  communicate about  the above two items over time if you want.

    You wrote about your argumentative thoughts: “Mine  are extremely judgmental of others and  myself and  I always feel less than other people or that people think I’m less than them”- I mentioned earlier the concept of the  inner critic. The inner critic is me  criticizing myself and the  outer critic is me criticizing others. The two go together, people who criticize themselves a lot also criticize  others a lot.

    I too felt less than others, a very  painful feeling  to live  with. And  I  imagined  others knew I was less than them, and that made me very angry. So I relate to what you wrote: “there’s a lot of anger, like it’s rageful”. You wrote that  you can’t pinpoint why you feel this anger. I can because I found out the reason: I am not less than. If I was less than others in reality, I wouldn’t be angry about it. When you are as worthy and valuable as others but… doomed to  behave as less than, that  brings  about rage!

    I remember the surprise, my surprise when I first entertained the thought-and-emotion that I was  not less than, that there was  nothing  wrong with me.

    There  is a difference between knowing on the intellectual/ superficial level and knowing on the intellectual and emotional/ deep level.

    So I remember my surprise, I had no idea that I was not less than others, emotionally I didn’t know. It took a lot of time and work following that realization in 2014 to actually talk to people and not feel less than them. The old less-than pathway still exists and still sends its vibrations of distress, but it  doesn’t  feel as intense, doesn’t lead to overthinking, I figure its the pathway reactivated and I repeat to myself the thoughts that are true to reality.

    anita

     

    #266891

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’m glad to have met someone who has experienced the feelings of being less than others and has found a way to lessen the feeling. If I understood correctly, the feeling of being less than will not go away entirely, but can be lessened over time by creating new neurological pathways (different thoughts) for that emotion? I’ve heard of CBT before but never really tried to change my thinking. I just let the old tapes (thoughts) re-run themselves.

    What I find truly interesting about what you wrote is understanding this on an emotional / deep level. I know that intellectually I am not less than anybody, nobody is, but I can’t seem to really convince myself (or my mind) that I really am enough. How do we understand more on an emotional level? Is it just something that the mind will eventually grasp after creating different pathways and new ways of thinking?

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