Young woman struggling with purpose and self love

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    Hello, so I am indeed having a bit of a tough time lately. There seem to be many issues that are nagging away at me. I have suffered from depression since I was 16 (I’m now 20) and after hitting rock bottom two years ago I have managed to find a lot more happiness, however lately I have been increasingly down. I will try to explain what I am going through. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I find the bullets easiest to put my thoughts down.

    – Sadness – I am overwhelmed by the sadness in the world. I try to be politically active however I increasingly must not look at the news because it just makes me cry. I feel so much pain just writing this now. It’s like I cry for every person in war, poverty, oppression, illness. I cannot separate their pain from my own pain. I do not understand how humanity has become so desensitised… I also am very passionate about the environmental and animal rights (I am vegan) however I increasingly lack hope for the progress of these movements. I keep myself up at night filled with fear and sadness thinking about the world in 100 years time

    – Self hatred – I am really struggling with this lately. I feel un-loveable. I have never been in a relationship and feel like I am too much and too little of all the wrong things. I am too complex, emotional and extra fat. I am not funny, pretty, fit enough. I am filled with self loathing when I see my body.

    – Purpose – I do not know why I am here and what I am doing with my life. I am currently at university and it feels like it is sucking the life out of me. I spend my days studying hard then feel exhausted and have little time to do what I want to do. I am scared for the future because I am terrified that I will not achieve my goals. I want to accomplish many things but am concerned that I will never be good enough. I also hate the fact that feeling down about myself means that I just sit around all day. I want to read, write, draw, explore and help people but I always feel too exhausted/sad/not good enough so don’t do these things and stay in instead. It terrifies me how much time I am wasting.

    – Perfectionism – this leads on from the last one. I have huge pressures that I put on myself. I often fantasise about being very talented and successful but when it comes down to actually trying something new I just get disappointed in myself. I realise that ‘talent is only pursued interest’ but I cannot stop the self doubt stopping me from pursing things. I dream of travelling in beautiful remote places but find it very hard to get fit without hating myself as I am now. How does one have goals without motivating oneself through self hatred + punishment? I try to practice self care + relaxation but soon enough I beat myself up for *failing* at self care + relaxation. Everything I do turns into a way to criticise myself. I am never enough.

    Loneliness – I feel immensely lonely. For some reason I can never truly communicate myself to other people. I have a lot of passion + love deep down but lose this in sadness and self hatred. I feel like it would be incredible for someone to ever take the time to get to know me. People seem interested in me initially because I look *quirky* but soon enough they stop bothering because I am slow to open up. I lose faith that there are gentle + patient people in the world. Moreover my parents are divorced so I lack belief in lasting relationships.

    I realise that my problems are not the biggest by any means. Yet it is coming to the point that I really need some advice. I feel like I have been fighting the sadness + self hatred for SO LONG but with little progress. I don’t understand why I am *still* getting sad and stuck in these mental habits. Thank you for reading. I really appreciate it.

    • This topic was modified 9 years, 8 months ago by Mia.

    Hi Mia,

    I am sorry to hear you are feeling this way. I’ve been down the same road as you. I was depressed during my childhood and most of my young adult life. I was plagued with some of the same issues too. I really admire that you recognize these feelings within yourself and are taking time to address it now, before you make any major life changing decisions (motherhood/marriage, etc).

    Part of my past unhappiness is that I had an emotionally painful childhood. I interpreted my parent’s lack of emotional love and attention to mean that in some way I was flawed and unlovable. I also felt very lonely, because I was so afraid of getting to know myself. I had conditioned my mind to think I was a bad/ugly person. I finally overcame those feelings through years of therapy and treatment for depression. I had to stop seeking validation from others and give to myself the love and care that I wasn’t receiving.

    It sounds like you could benefit from therapy. Please talk to someone at your school to see if they can recommend a therapist for you to speak with about your feelings.

    You also stated you feel stressed about school. Have you really asked yourself why you picked the subject you did? I spent one year studying business and even wasted $ on the GMAT exam, only to finally realize I hated business, but I choose that major because I believed business is the pathway to a lucrative career. Yes, studying is going to be challenging no matter what the topic is, but if you are having a hard time staying focused, please consider exploring other areas of interest that don’t feel so much like a chore.

    As for understanding your purpose, once you get to know who you are and embrace what is unique about you, you will then understand why the reason you are here and what your purpose is on earth.

    I hope that you continue to address your feelings until you can solve them. Please take my advice and seek out a therapist. This is a little bit much for you to handle all alone.

    I wish you the best.

    Sal Jade

    Hello lovely,

    It sounds like you are really going through a lot- and I really feel for you. It might help to know that a lot of these issues are experienced by lots of people- but so few are brave enough to express it- so well done for expressing it!
    I have experienced many of the problems you have and worked with many clients who are struggling with these issues- and my first suggestion is a little bible that helped me at 19 called ‘You can Heal Your life’ by Louise Hay- (my apologies if you have already read it!)
    I really struggled with self-love after some rough childhood trauma- and this book was like a soothing balm- and 20 years later- I still read it every year. With a highlighter in my hand. The journey to self-love can take a while- but once you embark on it- you will find life feels kinder and more gentle.
    My other suggestion if you are open to it- working with your angels. Learning more about angel medicine and how you can call in your spirit guides to heal your wounds, your self-loathing and find more purpose in life. You are only 22 and you might feel like you have to have all the answers now- but its ok that you don’t. Most people don’t discover their life purpose and what they are meant to be doing until later in life- but you can call in your angels and ask them to help you feel more at peace with your journey and ask them to help you have more trust that you will find your perfect vocation in perfect time.
    I started off doing a media degree- and ended up become a drama teacher- and finally a healer and psychic healing instructor- all of these things have added to my life tremendously- but I wasn’t ready to be a healer and psychic healing instructor at the age of 22. I had to go on the wrong path before I went on the right path.
    Ask the angels to help you find your path in perfect time.
    My other recommendation (not sure if I am allowed to recommend books here- sorry if I am not) is the power of now by eckholle tolle. He is one of Ophrah’s faves- and I love how he helped me calm my mind using Buddhist and Christian philosophy. Very easy to read- and very healing.
    I do agree with the above though about finding a therapist- I really feel like that could go a long way to getting to the bottom of where all this trauma and self-loathing comes from:))
    Hope that helps gorgeous!
    Sal Jade
    Clairvoyant Healer


    Dear Mia,

    It seems there is a lot on your mind though i am sure you have managed way better than you really give yourself credit for. Divorces are hard and you are really young to be honest. I think a huge part of the control you wish to exert on your yourself, people, the world and situations in general is your way for compensating subconsciously for the lack of control you may had in your parent’s situation. You have deep rooted trust issues and that does spill over to people who want to have a connection with you. According to me, you need to try the following, they have helped me immensely over the months and perhaps they will help you too.

    1) Separate the things you can fully control, partially control and not control at all:

    a) Can you control war, poverty, oppression, illness of the whole world? In the most serious sense, what is the best question of control do you have here? At best it could be to devote your life as a welfare worker or campaigning in organizations involved. But really, thats a very very long process and you need to be very strong financially, emotionally and connections wise, to make such things happen. Change is possible but dont expect it to be easy and the whole world will be swept clean. Its a complicated world and you dont have control. Reflect on this.

    Is there really anything useful about filling yourself up with fear and sadness over things you dont have control over? Why wreck whatever shred of peace of mind you already have? Believe me, i volunteer in places where people (kids) have been affected by homelessness, abuse and God knows what and every time, i return home, i cry my lungs out and then tell myself- “If they can smile despite this, then i need to have the courage to smile too despite whatever happens to me”

    b) Beauty really comes from within – the love you give out to others and the way you glow…not these pretty plastic women that our media seems to be promoting like crazy – sure its nice to dress up and feel confident but this is a part of confidence. If you really want to work on your body, invest time in developing stamina and strength…believe me, regular vigorous exercise helps the mood swings so much. Even if you are size 0 or size whatever, loving yourself just the way you are is the hard part but believe me, exercise and good sleep will work wonders.

    c) You’re just 20 my love, dont be so hard on yourself! People have screwed up way more in their lives and come out of it. Well, i dont know my purpose either and most of my friends dont. So what? So what if i dont know?

    I am here, right here, living my life, finding love and beauty, overcoming my fears and learning how to cope better despite all the uncertainty. Keep walking, and tell yourself this every day-

    “I dont know where i am going but i am on my way”

    d) Spend your free time in something you enjoy – that was a tough one for me cuz i studied way too much, or didnt study at all and then hated myself, ran away from friends wanting to go out but give yourself time. I started painting, going for walks, doing something creative..watch a lot of vlogs actually 😀

    for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdGNWyq8nsQ

    And yes, though i have written a list of what to do, believe me i know what it is like to feel this way – i spent a major chunk of my life in self-hatred, fear and anger but you can get out of this. Start small, believe me…you’re going to experience some beautiful things over the years..I used to think that all the depression, social anxiety i had and whatever happened in the past meant i was stuck, i was a failure and utterly unlovable. Part of still has the old feelings but i am human and all i can do is fall, pick myself up again and keep going again and again.

    This takes a lot of courage though and i believe that you have it..This sadness is not you. You’re way too complex but its time to get in touch with the light within you..it will never get illuminated unless you have really felt darkness..imagine a pitch black room and a match being lit and then a big ray of sunshine. These emotions will help you know where you need to change..think about what you are sad about..what can you really change and what do you actually have to accept..

    I will recommend seeing a therapist for this process though. Took me some 3 years to figure it out on my own, hence the suggestion 😛

    Hope you find your inner light.



    Everyone gave some really great advice that you should take to heart.

    One “red flag” I saw was you getting overwhelmed and emotional about all the horrors of the world. You are empathic, but you shouldn’t suffer! Take Vitamin D and St. John’s Wort for depression. You might not be getting enough sunlight (which has Vit. D). I was depressed/weepy for years and it helped. A lot. It seems like such a small thing. Promise us you’ll get a check up and rule out any underlying, subtle, thing that is “off”, OK? Once the physical is OK, then work on the mental/emotional stuff that’s left.

    Also you are vegan ~ are you eating a lot of grains? Some of us have a grain sensitivity which wreak havoc in many ways. Maybe up the fruits and veggies. Vitamin B12, obviously, is a must. Would you be open to having an egg once in a blue moon if you saw the real, live, happy chickens they come from? There are a lot of people who feel as you do and raise their own happy chickens and goats so they have some animal protein. I only say this because I’ve been there and I saw what made a difference in my own mood and well being. (Apologies if I offended!!)

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 8 months ago by Inky.

    Hi Mia,

    Wish I could offer a “remedy” for the way you are feeling, but I can’t. Just know there are other people in this world who have been thru what you are experiencing and who have gotten past it. Some of those people have you in their thoughts and feel your pain. Things will get better. You may not feel that way now, but things will improve. Focus on the goal of what you want to become and how you want to feel about yourself as much as you can. It’s difficult, but just know you are not alone. Hugs.


    Dear Mia,

    First and foremost, many congratulations for being so aware of yourself. Trust me, having awareness of what needs change is a very important and FIRST step towards bringing change. Having said that I know how you feel because I have experienced everything that you have stated. Infact, these are 100% of the issues I am dealing with right now.
    I don’t know what works but I am going to share what is working for me or didn’t. You are free to choose anything and use it for yourself.

    I have been in therapy on and off for several years now and realised that only mind based therapy wouldn’t work for me. I even tried metaphysical stuff in my desperation which only made me more stuck in my head and more ungrounded! I have now realised that I need more body based (grounded) therapy.

    I am taking private yoga classes where the focus is on body movements along with breath. It keeps me in the present moment and makes me feel more powerful. I have just begun with counselling since I realised that it is my self doubting thoughts that created and are still creating painful emotions. It is time to change that programming and I am taking help for it. I am 30 with no job since few years and still living with my parents [just to point that things are not easy :)] It is overwhelming to make a fresh start but I am gathering the determination to do it.

    I would suggest you take up some fun hobby classes and stop taking life so seriously. That will also make you more social and happy. It is a wounded world, yes, but know that you don’t have to take care of all the sufferings of the world. Make yourself happy and in doing that, you do your bit.

    Sensitive people need more care. Be gentle but firm with your mind. Lots of love and best wishes to you! Good luck 🙂


    Good morning Mia,

    I wanted to send you positive energy and love. I can tell that you are a beautiful person inside, and that is what matters. Many of us on TB have struggled through a hard time (or ten) and I can say that doing your “work” can help tremendously. Many of us have been down, but it doesn’t stay that way. I agree with all the good advice and seeing a counselor, if you can.

    This “work” varies with each person, but starts with you. It helped get my spirits and self-esteem out of the gutter and into a much healthier place. You have to know that you are a good person and realize you are unique and meant to be loved (as everyone is). You have talents, feelings, thoughts, opinions and qualities that are important and individual. Those are what make you wonderful. The differences and the uniqueness. Understand that you are worthy and loveable. Only you can give yourself that love. In addition, do things that make you feel good, such as reading a touching story, watching a funny movie (I watched Bridesmaids twice in a row), take a warm bath, write your favorite relative a sweet note and mail it, walk the dogs at the Humane Society, cook a new homemade meal, read TB daily (I try to) and simply be good to Mia day in and day out. Your heart deserves it. You deserve it. I hope time and inner strength will get you through this dear.

    Hugs, Lightsource

    And thank you to those who have commented, being the advice helps me as well. You are all loved. xo


    Hello all, thank you for your kind words! I needed a moment to digest everything but I am feeling much calmer now and I have followed the advice to see a counsellor. I think I am very much bogged down with studying which I know isn’t my *thing* so I will try to step back from studying a little as you suggest Deep Thinker. Sal Jade I will definitely take a look at the books you recommend and I am open to the healing you suggest. I think there’s often overlooked wisdom in these things. Moongal your advice is extremely helpful thank you. I will get the physical checked out and see if my diet is having an impact as you say Inky. Thank you for your kind words Chris. And I will make sure I am doing some fun and physical things as you suggest Tripti. And thank you lightsource – I agree that working on my self esteem will probably help the other things I am feeling too.

    thank you all for making me feel a less alone and more hopeful. I have saved all your messages to read again! xo


    Dear Mia,

    I’ve rarely seen anyone being so empathetic. That is a beautiful quality. You are very sensitive, it seems. You probably need to find some kind of balance, and seeing a counselor is the best way to do just that. You are also very young (i am too, tbh), and probably have not found your “crowd” just yet. The people that will both make you feel comfortable and make you want to work towards your goals. That will come too, with time. I believe the early 20s are a very lonely time in our lives, and I think you should try and not think of yourself as the only person who has this kind of problems. Many people are struggling, some more than others, to find out what it is that they want and who they are. Just look at this forum ha!
    You said: ” I also hate the fact that feeling down about myself means that I just sit around all day. I want to read, write, draw, explore and help people but I always feel too exhausted/sad/not good enough so don’t do these things and stay in instead. It terrifies me how much time I am wasting.”. Mia, you can do all this stuff! Sometimes, what it takes is maybe to think less and act more. I know you feel shitty right now, because you lack self-esteem. But just try for one day to be brave enough to do what you want, and go talk to people. Because the less you talk to people, the more it feels like a big deal to do just that.
    It becomes a huge deal, when really, it’s nothing. From what you wrote, I think you have some great, essential qualities that people will want to see. You are empathetic and self-aware. In my book, those are the two most important qualities in a human being.

    To sum it all up, like everyone said, go see a counselor, and try and do more. Be brave! Go out there and talk to people, draw, write, do it! Just for a few days and see how it feels. I am sure you can manage that.


    Hey Mia,
    I would like to commend you for the strength it must have taken to overcome your depression. I would like you to meditate and recall how you were able to have that strength. By doing this, you can take immediate steps to make your situation better. That strength, and so much more of it, is always accessible within yourself. It’s just understanding how to unlock it that takes some time but I know that if you did it once, you can do it again.

    Secondly, the world revolves around balance and how you feel is a product of what’s around you. It seems like there is too much negative around you. When you surround yourself with painful news stories, negative thoughts towards yourself, or just focusing on how bad things are it just strengthens the belief that things are all wrong in the world and in your life. I know it’s important to stay up to date with current events, but you need to know when enough is enough. There is a lot of good going on in the world, you just need to open yourself to it.

    As Ghandi stated, ‘Become the change you want to see in the world.’ If you truly want to be stronger and have a more positive mental and physical outlook then you need to start with yourself. Figure out what you’re doing that may be condoning negativity and eliminate it from your life. Then fill that space with love, joy, and wonder.

    You can find love everywhere. Without love, life would be empty. Find love in appreciation and gratitude for the life you were blessed with and where you are right now. Find joy in the potential you have to inspire others and in your ability to create. Find wonder in the way life works. Spirituality is laughter. Spirituality is joy. When you become overly obsessive over an issue, it just strengthens. Realize this. But no matter what, it all starts with you. I implore you to take that first step. Life is incredible and we’re so blessed to have the small time that we do. I know you will succeed.

    Good luck!

    Thepathofaronin.blogspot.com is my personal blog. Use it if you ever need help.

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