September 25, 2017 at 4:12 pm #170267
Sorry for the title don’t know what to call this. Here is my most recent post about 2 months ago. https://tinybuddha.com/topic/how-to-feel-love/
This is my general description of my history taken from the other thread. “i’m 25, black male, in graduate school to become a counselor, currently working as a bicycle messenger while i’m in school. History of depression, self harm, drug abuse, and suicidal tendencies. As of the past year and half or so I have made significant improvements in my mental health which prompted me to go back to school.”
And this is my current updated situation since that post…
1. I have not made any attempts at dating in the past two months and only made 1 attempt this year. Though I feel a deep need and longing for love and companionship it is far down on my list of worries right now. But dammit it’s becoming painful not ever feeling understood or even held when you need it.
2. My depression is worsening mostly due to life circumstances largely out of my control, and I cannot access my therapist because my cars engine just blew last weekend, and utilizing alternate transportation is unrealistic due to my work and school schedule. I have random crying episodes that sneak up on me and i’m afraid it might happen at school or work.
3. I am beginning to feel as if life is suffocating me mainly due to my parents going through a divorce, (in which my dad hit my mom and got arrested and is no longer living in the house I grew up in due to restraining order) I have not spoken to my dad and don’t know if I even want to anymore because this is not the first time he has hit my mom, he also has been cheating on her my entire life, has punched me and knocked me out, and drug my sister out of the house which resulted in an ER visit for her. So i’m not sure my heart has any more room for forgiveness and it’s killing me. I have always had to care for my mom since she was depressed and suicidal my entire life, and lately i can talk no sense into her and she is in constant crisis and i’m exhausted.
4. Also school is stressful as hell, my bike i ride for work was stolen, and my roommate is probably moving the end of the year and i cannot afford our apartment alone making $800-900 per month, i doubt anyone will rent to me because i don’t have steady paychecks and i would rather live in my car that doesn’t run than to rent some substandard rodent infested apartment for a few hundred bucks a month. I can’t go back to working full time while in school because my health was suffering, and i was feeling suicidal.
5. After reading this post i don’t even know what im asking for at this point, maybe just some encouragement to keep me going because im on the fucking edge right now and have been for months at this point, it feels as if every area of my life is being met with constant resistance. Before anyone says “stop being a victim” i hear you, i don’t feel sorry for myself as I know people who go through much worse than i’m experiencing on a daily basis. I’m not looking for sympathy i’m looking for help coping when life comes at you unexpected. And it is very hard for me to ask for help, but lately i’ve had no choice and i’m deeply grateful for my family and friends who have stepped up and supported me emotionally but i’ve got to figure this out for myself, how to be happy when circumstances are rough and safety uncertain? I’m not sure, I can assure you if these same circumstances hit me a few years ago i would have probably killed myself, but I know that is not an option for me any longer.
6. I suppose the silver lining in all of this is that I have been racing my bike lately and i get some relief from that because i’m finally experiencing success, and seeing my hard work pay off, though that is only a temporary escape from my life every other weekend.
Thank you in advance for any attention payed to this thread it is greatly appreciated, no bullshit.September 26, 2017 at 9:36 am #170389PearceHawkParticipant
My friend, look at your plate…there is SO much on it. I think it is reasonable to think that many people would feel this much stress in their life too. You said, “I’m not looking for sympathy.” I don’t see any of that in your post, bud. I think to deal with this is to take one issue at a time. Right now I am going through a lot of crap in my life and in the beginning I felt consumed by the notion that I have to take care of all that crap all at once. What was that BS I was thinking? So I decided to prioritize what I need to deal with. I don’t mind having a couple of so called issues come at me. It’s when it seems like a blitzkrieg of problems are coming at me all at once that I feel overwhelmed.
Check this out…You said, “I suppose the silver lining in all of this is that I have been racing my bike lately and i get some relief from that because i’m finally experiencing success, and seeing my hard work pay off.” Doing this is HUGE my friend. as you said, you are “finally experiencing success, and seeing my hard work pay off.” So taking care of you is first and foremost. You are doing that and it works. Take care of you first.
Can you elaborate on the circumstances that developed in to depression? If not we’re good.
The divorce and the family dynamics behind it are easy to understand for the motivation for divorce. The memories of the way your dad treated you and your family are very difficult to erase, especially if they are recent events. Please consider this my friend…I have posted about this many times to others who have posted here…My dad died when I was3 months young into this world. My mom remarried about 2 years later. Being so young when she married, and through the years, I thought he was my dad. Without details I can tell you that what this demon did to me and my sisters as well was horrendous. I went to see him the day before he died, still not knowing he was my step-dad. I decided to be the man and step up and told him this: “Well I have to go now dad. I love you.” He didn’t say anything. As I walked out of the hospital room I asked him, “We won’t even see each other again and you can’t even say I love you too?” His answer was, ” I never did.” My response was, “I thought you were going to tell me something I didn’t know.” Leaving his hospital room there was a mirror hanging on the wall by the door. In this mirror I saw him flipping me off. I left it at that. One thing I want to share with you too my friend is he taught me something very valuable that I will be forever indebted to him.That lesson was how not to be. Like him. It was a lesson learned over the years and not some bs sit down talk with him.
Family abuse runs rampant in our society. My feeling is that it is more prevalent in African-American families. I have no idea why except for me to consider that it is probably due to a combination of socio-economic conditions. But, abuse is abuse and there is absolutely no excuse for it.
As for the therapy goes, what do you think about the option of going live online with your therapist? I would think that your therapist would be open to this. It may or may not be the same as seeing your therapist in person, but it still is a connection. Another thing that may be helpful is to talk with your mom, and perhaps even your sister, and ask them to go to therapy with you. This would unify each of you to an even deeper level.
As for dating…that can wait. School can be put on hold. I do not know if that is a option that you would consider, but school will always be there for you my friend.
Stay strong my friend. Tiny Buddha, and myself as well, will always be here for you too.
PearceSeptember 26, 2017 at 10:46 am #170423
You wrote that you are not looking for sympathy, someone to feel sorry for you- but you do deserve empathy because you are trying so hard and life is so difficult for you, and has been difficult for a long, long time. You mentioned the word “victim”, expressing not wanting to think of yourself as such, but like many of us, you are a victim of other people’s wrong doings, your father for one, and you are a victim of your mother not being available to comfort you because she is “in a constant crisis”. And you are a victim of the person who stole your bike.
My suggestion is that you practice self-empathy, that you remove from your life anything exhausting that can be removed. You need a relief, a removal of responsibilities taken on. Perhaps one is attending to your in-a-constant-crisis mother..
anitaSeptember 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm #170477
Thank you both for your responses.
I can agree that I probably do have too much going on, unfortunately quitting school is not really an option in my mind. While it is a major source of stress I lack only 1 1/2 years before I’m done. If I was to quit now and go back to the work I was doing with my bachelors, I would soon want to be back in school asap, because the type of social work jobs you get with a bachelors are ridiculous in regards to pay and stress level. Right now school is my #1 priority because it would grant me the financial stability I’ve never had. I have been looking for other student jobs at the university however, hopefully something works out for me.
I’ve been contemplating talking with my dad, I have alot of anger and disgust towards him right now, though I still love him, I don’t know that I want to be around an abusive person who refuses to look inside themselves and make a change, or get help that’s not court ordered.
I think whats hurts the most in regards to my parents, is that I never felt cared for. The lack of love which has been missing from my life (source of depression), is what motivates to me to want to date even though i have nothing to offer to anyone right now except my misery. At the same time i would hate to attract another unhealthy relationship which is why I am ambivalent about dating at all. But i need something soon. Like I said before suicide is off the table though i still have thoughts from time to time. I know i have a purpose which is what keeps me here but i don’t want to feel like a martyr, I desperately want to find some enjoyment in life.
Im becoming afraid of myself again, I seriously considered cutting a couple days ago which i haven’t done in 2 years, i find myself screaming in frustration, and crying every morning trying to find the physical and emotional strength to step out of my door. I don’t know how but i just do it, with a fake ass smile on my face.
I have tried to stop caring for my mom so much but she wears my sister out in the same way, and its taking its toll on her too, which I can’t stand to watch so I keep taking care of my mom to hopefully lighten the load on my sister. I don’t see that there are too many other areas where I can control my current stress level other than modifying my relationship with my mom, even then if i stopped caring so much i would just feel guilty, and maybe feel worse. It is so difficult for me to see my problems as important, my therapist labored over this with me, and i hate myself for not loving myself, bit of a paradox there, but i swear i try i just don’t always know how to go about it.
Im sorry if im being pessimistic, it just feels like barely anything about life is in my control or ever really has been. I think back to a quote from Viktor Frankl often, that goes something like when life is completely out of our control all we have left is to choose our attitude towards a situation. I promise I’m trying hard to stay positive, there was a time when I didn’t care at all and would just let my negativity take over. I’m just very tired right now, and i think i’m reaching a point where i feel as if this dynamic with myself is going to go on forever because i’m trying but not necessarily feeling any happier about things.September 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm #170651
When you live without love in your life, or with too little of it, you are running on empty. If only there was love in your life, that would give you the hope, the energy to keep going. With your mother, your motivation is guilt. It is clear to me that your guilt in regard to her is not justified, but you feel it nonetheless and I understand it. Your motivation with your sister is empathy for your sister.
But where and when is the motivation empathy for yourself?
I suppose not wanting to feel guilty about your mother is a desire to not feel pain. Unfortunately preventing that particular pain is not good enough. Wanting to talk to your father, what motivates you to do that, I don’t know.
My suggestion is still to attempt to, intend to and do your best to focus on empathy for yourself, for the lovable child that you were, unfortunately unloved and the lovable man that you are, still not loved.
Still not loved, not because you are not worthy of love but because people have not been available, nor were they motivated to attend to you. Please do attend to yourself. Be good to you.
anitaSeptember 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm #170653
* did not get submitted correctly…October 4, 2017 at 7:53 pm #171623
Thank you very much for your reply, you have a profound ability to help target peoples needs, and what you wrote here helped me get through my week, i cannot say enough how grateful i am to have someone who takes the time to be concerned with me.
This week I worked on trying to convince myself that I was lovable, that I am worthy. I hate coming on here with seemingly the same issue time after time, but I just cannot feel whole, or satisfied with myself. I see myself as someone who is scarred and damaged beyond repair. I just can’t pinpoint what exactly is wrong with me. I know there has to be something wrong with me that keeps me unloved. I also know that if i can’t learn to love myself there’s zero hope of anyone else loving me, which kind of makes me wonder what’s the point of living in constant pain and despair.
I look at my coworkers, classmates, friends and family, and I seem to be the person who consistently ends up lonely. I must say when i’m honest with myself i do have hope that one day i could love myself and be loved. That hope is the only thing keeping me moving right now. But i feel as if i’m merely telling myself tomorrow could be the day so to lessen the sting of my present pain. I dont know how long i can keep this up.October 5, 2017 at 11:11 am #171737
You are welcome and thank you for your appreciation.
It is okay with me, perfectly fine that you post with the same issue, which is love, I believe (could be the title of your untitled thread), anytime, any number of times per day. You post rarely and I wish you posted more often.
You wrote: “This week I worked on trying to convince myself that I was lovable, that I am worthy”-
It is unfortunately impossible to convince oneself of one’s lovability/ worth. This is why lots of people try, achieving all sorts of things: educational degrees, prestigious jobs, careers, wealth, awards and yet fail to … convince themselves of being lovable and worthy.
The reason it is impossible to rationally convince yourself of such is because feeling lovable and worthy is a matter of faith, of belief. It is not a matter of intellectual understanding. And to believe it, you have to experience it first.
A belief is a thought, like: “I am lovable”, “I am worthy” glued to neuropathways in the brain with the glue of emotion. The emotion is what keeps the thought in place.
When a child is unloved, the child naturally concludes he is unlovable, not worthy of love. The child is not capable of reasoning that the parent is too busy, too unavailable, too distressed, too unloving to love the child. The child has to feel the safety that he is in good hands, so to speak, in the presence of loving parents, and if only he becomes lovable… then he will be loved.
You wrote: “I just can’t pinpoint what exactly is wrong with me”. I can. You weren’t loved yet.
You wrote: “know that if i can’t learn to love myself there’s zero hope of anyone else loving me”- no, first you have to be loved. You have to see and hear and feel someone else, a person outside of yourself, loving you. Then you will believe it, that you are lovable.
It is about someone else loving you as you are, feeling unlovable. It is about someone seeing you the way you are and loving you, accepting you approvingly.
Thing is, how can you get this experience? Look for it where it is, not where it isn’t. Look for it in your parents and they are likely to fail you. After all they failed you so far, when you were a cute and innocently reaching out child. Look for love in unloving people, and you will not find it. Look for behaviors that you think are love but are not, and you look in the wrong places.
Look for a person who accepts you approvingly, who is curious about you, want to know more, takes in what you share, sees you as you are and approvingly accepts you, with affection.
anitaOctober 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm #172795
Thanks again Anita, I read your replies as soon as you write them, and come back to them when I need strength. It’s nearly 2 am right now, and I can’t sleep, I’ve been crying in so much pain for the past couple hours. I don’t know what to do to keep going. I was extremely close to texting my ex of 3 years, and my ex of 1 year because I’m in desperate need of love. I know she(3year ex) won’t respond though, as our breakup was messy, and I tried to kill myself. I’m so tired, I can’t sleep though, I don’t know where else to find the love I desperately need right now. I have been distant at work, in class, and in general. I don’t know how long I can continue living without feeling love. While I’ve felt greater pain, I don’t know that I have the strength to endure for much longer. I really want this pain to stop. I need a hug badly, I haven’t been held in over a year. I’m trying not to do anything to put my pain on others by alerting them to how bad shit really is right now. I don’t know there’s anything anyone can do, but just knowing there is another human out there who can hear my cry helps a lot, so thank you for reading this.October 12, 2017 at 4:42 am #172807
You wrote: “I don’t know that I have the strength to endure for much longer”- but you do. It is amazing, almost unbelievable, to me, how long people can endure and survive, in spite of pain and distress. It is not our individual doing that makes it possible to keep going, it is nature. The inborn motivation to survive is extremely strong. Plants, animals, micro-organisms all survive all kinds of extreme environments and conditions and keep going, doing everything possible to survive and do survive.
You wrote: “I really want this pain to stop”- understandably. And one way or another, this pain will stop, guaranteed. Until it stops, accept it calmly best you can. Before this pain stops it will weaken, this is also a guarantee, as such pain doesn’t stay unchanged. Emotions have a time limit and the brain takes its breaks.
You have survived and you are very capable of continuing to survive. The pain will weaken, maybe already has by the time you are reading this. And, this pain will not last forever (a benefit of there not being a forever). It is very possible for you to be in a loving relationship in the future. Have patience. Do not rush or panic. Keep calm. Make the best of your circumstances as they are.
When you do panic, go to a place in your brain where there is calm, where you can observe yourself from a calm place. From that point of observation, learn all you can, about you, life, people. Be a student of life, motivated by curiosity, by a desire to know more. That desire may motivate you to keep going as is.
anitaOctober 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm #174483FinzyParticipant
Your story has really touched me and I want to reach out to you.
Briefly, I too was unloved, unwanted as a child and treated badly. I too internalised the message that I was unlovable. I also trained to become a counsellor. I was looking for some understanding and I was drawn to those who suffered. And, would you believe I cycled – so hard! I cycled up onto a nearby moorland and the act of cycling gave me a feeling of who I could be and the moorland I believe saved my life by being bleak and windy as heck and beautiful and there, for me.
My reason for wanting to speak with you is to ask what keeps you going? Clearly this conversation here above is important in keeping you going. And I wonder what else. Maybe the opportunity your training is offering to reflect in a way your father doesn’t? Your cycling….. It is a question that has helped and continues to help me. Because it reminds me about nature, about activity – using my body helps – about books which are so important to me.
I think what I want to say to you is you are not alone. I join with the voices of those who hear you, see you. Thank you for speaking
MerlyOctober 23, 2017 at 6:57 pm #174501
Thanks again for your reply I when you said that the pain will eventually stop, that really resonated with me as it is something I try to be mindful of while i’m feeling both pleasant or unpleasant emotions, just to let me know how temporary everything is in this life. That was very helpful and I’ve been trying to apply that same thinking to my circumstances in life right now. What i’m hoping for is that once grad school is over I can get some relief in the form of financial security, being social again, and just pursing my interests.
On the other hand i question whether i will actually ever get any reasonably long term relief from depression. In alot of ways i feel broken, I have a strong desire to be with people, but when i’m in social situations i will withdraw pretty hard or just straight up leave to go be by myself, (i’ve done this a few times in class this semester). An old friend sent me a picture of myself and a couple other friends at birthday party when i was 17, i looked completely miserable, anyone i’ve shown this picture to could tell something was obviously wrong. Shortly after that photo was taken i made a suicide attempt, started self harming and getting into drugs. I kind of need to know it’s possible to be content for more than a few days at a time for someone who has struggled. I need to know this to give myself hope and if im going to be doing therapy to help others have hope. Of course i could go on surviving but i really want to believe that life can actually be enjoyable.
Thanks for sharing with me and your support. Honestly what keeps me going is knowing how much pain it would cause my mom and sister specifically if i was to kill myself. Also, I want to be there for my younger cousins who my mom had been taking care of for the past few years in case they ever need me. Having been brought to my knees by life recently has forced me to ask for help and my family has been doing alot to support me, and my mom while were trying to stay on our feet. I know one day those kids will need someone like i did, and if anyone else in my family ever needs someone i want to be there.
Outside of living for others, nothing is really exciting me right now. I’m cutting my bike racing season short this year because i need to take care of schoolwork and get to fixing my transportation. Racing has become much less enjoyable for me now than in the past couple of years. Though riding my bike is one of the best moves i ever made for my mental health. lately i haven’t had transportation to get out to the woods to mountain bike, or had the time to get out and ride with friends, so i’ve just been riding for work and that’s it. Cycling gives me freedom and definitely has helped my confidence in learning that anything i practice at i can improve in, i’ve tried to apply this to my mental and social issues but it doesn’t necessarily translate as well. While most people are like “thats cool you ride a bike im sure it keeps you healthy” i’ve definitely had times where i’ve been too focused on training and was using it as an escape or drug. I would do things like skip a group ride, or opportunities to socialize, only to spend hours alone on the road running from myself.October 24, 2017 at 7:39 am #174559
You wrote: ” i could go on surviving but i really want to believe that life can actually be enjoyable”- my experience with surviving-and-suffering vs. enjoying, experiencing joy:
following so much suffering, any excitement became uncomfortable for me, including joy. All I wanted was to feel numb. Later, while healing, calm was good enough for me.
More presently, I am experiencing moments of joy and it feels so .. strange, a new experience. I had bouts of joy before, throughout life, as I believe the brain takes breaks from misery, it has to. But it is different now. Still it takes getting used to it. As the anxiety lessens, as the misery is reduced, joy is made possible… in small portions, gradually, bit by bit. And of course, I don’t expect it to ever be an all-the-time experience.
anitaOctober 24, 2017 at 1:29 pm #174669
I completely agree with you about calm being good enough. I certainly know there are things i could be doing to bring about calm in my life that i am not doing right now (meditation, being in nature, etc.) That is very good point that when the anxiety is reduced there comes room for joy. Thinking back to when i have felt joy in the past couple years it usually came about when life was slow, not too many obligations, and i was able to really focus on caring for myself, and even had the energy and time to care for others which also brings me much joy when i’m in a healthy state of mind. This gives me hope and some clarity as to what i need to be doing for myself right now.
Thank youOctober 25, 2017 at 8:35 am #174795
You are very welcome. As I was reading your lines from “Thinking back to when I felt joy..” the word Hope came to my mind, and then I read it, you using that word: “This gives me hope”- prior experience does give us hope, when we make sense of it, that indeed “when life was slow… I was able to really focus on caring for myself…(and) care for others which also brings me much joy”-
and so, it is possible. It happened and it is likely to happen again. When life gets to be slower. It is tough now and has been for a while. But it will get slower and then, you will be in a healthier state of mind, and you will experience more calm and at times, joy. Something to look forward to.