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giving up on life
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giving up on life


I'm 29 and my life has amounted to nothing.  Although I am a Christian and I have a relationship with God, most of the time it has not felt like it.  I have never had any idea of God's plan for my life or made many goals for my future.  Infact the only goal I've ever had was to get married before I was 30 and have some sense of direction and purpose in life.  I have none of these things and I guess it has just left me feeling fed up and dead inside.  

I could really get into my life story but I'm sure you'd rather I didn't...but to be brief I haven't had the best childhood, felt very isolated, was bullied etc. but even so I always knew there were people far worse than myself.  

But right now at almost 30, I still live at home with my parents, still no idea of what job I would like to do, have no motivation or desire or purpose to work anyway.  
I have travelled in the past and enjoyed that and if I had more money I would definitely do more of that.  I have friends and I've had relationships with women but I'm still not married.  Although I've been sexually active, I'm technically still a virgin because I wanted to save intercourse for marriage with my future wife.  And I'm finding that whole process incredibly difficult to deal with now as I see more and more friends getting engaged and married.  

I'm starting to lose faith that God has a plan for my life.  I know it's ultimately down to me to make decisions and plans to orchestrate a future but therein lies the problem.  I pray about it that God would maybe reveal to me what it is he wants me to do, but nothing is ever revealed to me nor do I discover anything new when I search my heart or explore different avenues.  Maybe it's just about making a decision and sticking with it but that is something I've never managed to do either.  I think being a Christian also inevitably makes you aware that this earthly life really does not matter in the perspective of eternity.  So does it really matter if you don't become CEO or managing executive or the lawyer or the top banker in the city? etc etc.  In other words I think what I'm saying is that I don't see much purpose or meaning to this life!  Being in work or working for someone/something and so on means that you will be contributing positively to society, I'm not sure if I really want to contribute to this society and the world!  I know this sounds selfish but I think your own person problems and issues and personal life in general are far more important than achieving great things in a career.  I've come to the point where I'm not that bothered about achievements or accolades in a work sense.  I think it's always been more important getting to know yourself better rather than getting ahead in a particular career.  
Afterall, your job/career is not your identity..

We're not here for long in this life, so might as well just enjoy doing the things that make you happy.  Which for me, definitely DOES NOT involve sitting behind a desk and computer in a some depressing office.  But then there are those who will say, well that's life and sadly most people will have to endure that because that's how things are.  You see, I think what is significant of course is that I don't have responsibilities or bills to pay or a family to support as I still live with mine!  I know, so I've never been forced to work because I HAVE to, so my motivation isn't the best.  

I'm sure I'm coming across as self pitying, spoilt person and that's probably true to some extent.  But then I wonder how much is due to mental illness.  I have been diagnosed with depression in the past and I have taken so many anti-depressants now, I've lost count.  None of them have ever worked for me and I have always felt the same, hopeless and fed up with life.  I have seen many counsellors, therapists over the years as well and infact am seeing someone now.  Again, that has not brought about change.  I know you're going to say it's up to me to change...but I just feel so....stuck all the time, it's like I do want things to change but I just can't seem to "unstick" myself.

It's hard for me to have summed all this up and obviously there's alot going on here and no easy answers but I'm sure there are others out there who feel the same way.
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Other than the state of mind that I am in now, our stories have a lot in common.  I hope you like tto read because I am about to tell you what it took for me to get out of your situation:
Once upon a time, a woman moved to a cave in the mountains to study with a guru.  She wanted, she said, to learn everything there was to know.  The guru supplied her with stacks of books and left her alone so she could study.  Every morning , the guru returned to the cave to monitor the woman's progress.  In his hand, he carried a heavy wooden cane.  Each morning, he asked her the same question.  "Have you learned everything there is to know yet?"  Each morning, her answer was the same. "No," she said, "I haven't."  The guru would then strike her on the head with his cane.
This scenario repeated itself for months.  One day the guru entered the cave, asked the same question, heard the same answer, and raised his cane to hit her in the same way, but the woman grabbed the cane from the guru, stopping the assault in midair.
Relieved to end the daily batterings but fearing reprisal, the woman looked up at the guru.  To her surprise, the guru smiled.  "Congratulations," he said, "you have graduated.  You know everything you NEED to know."
"How's that?" the woman asked.
"You have learned that you will never learn everything there is to know," he replied.  "And you learned how to stop the pain."


Thought cause emotions and emotions cause behaviors.  There are a lot of things that you can do to stop.  Often people say I am depressed.  Depression is the foundation for your thoughts and your thoughts feed the depression.  The short version is:
When you are depressed you have trouble distinguishing between the emotions you are feeling.  Lack of good concentration is a side effect of depression.  What I learned one of the last times I was depressed was that I wasn't just having one or two emotions, I was having several.  The emotions were all brought on in a minute.  The situation was I had a hard day with my ex Carolyn and as I hit the rock bottom of the depression I noticed and wrote down the different emotions I was feeling.  I felt fear because I knew that her dad didn't like me and she trusted him more than me.  I felt anger because that day she had compared me to her abusive ex husband.  I felt love because I loved and compassion because she had a hard day with a lot of suicidal thoughts.  I felt insecurity because she was so beautiful and I thought she would realize she could do better.
Anyway the point is picking out one of those emotions and let it be the one in the forefront.  They happen quick and I understand it takes a long time to get good at this but it was necessary for me to do it.  Also I wear two rubber bands on my wrist to help me stop negative thoughts.  When I pop them it releases endorpins and helps to ease the pain and often centers me.
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The foundation for fighting depression is learning to control your thoughts.  With or without medicine gaining control of your thoughts is the best thing you can do to keep you out of depression.  This is the first thing I learned about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  When I was admitted to treatment at the beginning of August last year, I met with the same psych dr that I had year before.  The difference this year was that I wasn't detoxing.  It didn't really make it any easier since I was stuck in manic depression.  I was much further into depression than I was last year when I came in detoxing.  It lasted for 3 weeks and on the second week I tried to end it.  This is how I came out of it:

Thought Stopping
The first exercise that my dr started me on was the thought stopping exercises in CBT.  He wanted me to write down my thoughts and what feelings those thoughts caused.  While in the manic depression it was very hard to do.  It was very basic but trying to catch a thought when you are depressed is like trying to catch a moving train.  I would literally have to work hours just to catch a handful of thoughts.  Once I started catching them he made me write them out in one column on a piece of notebook paper and in the next one write down the feeling that it caused.  It sounds easy but it was exhausting.  I didn't want to write, I just wanted to lay down and isolate.  The only thought that I could catch at first was "I am never going to come out of this depression."  The feeling it gave me was exhaustion.  This carried on for a few days.
The whole first two weeks was just me going to groups and not saying a word.  I couldn't concentrate hard enough on what the therapists were saying.  They would say something and then ask me for input on it but I had already forgotten what they had said.  I would just say "I don't know, I can't understand."  On my time out of groups I would go into the quiet room and work on my thought stopping techniques.  Like I said on the second week I tried to end it.  After that didn't work I decided to fight.  I journaled all day.  I took the notebook to all the meals with me, ate as fast as possible, and started working again.  I started getting good at thought stopping.  My mind stopped racing slowly and I was able to catch more thoughts.  Some of these thoughts were "I don't want to make my bed, I am too anxious to go sit in the cafeteria with all those people, or I don't feel like going to group today."
The book recommends that you yell out "STOP", but I had another technique that I learned from one of the therapists.  I placed a rubber band on my wrist and when I had a negative thought I would pop it.  The pain that I felt depending on how hard I popped it was enough to stop the thought.  It released endorphins and it is a much safer and less harmful then cutting, which is in the same family.  As I got better at that I started putting two or three rubber bands on each wrist and using them for different thoughts.  I had one for suicidal thoughts, one for angry thoughts, and different other types of negative thoughts, you get the idea.  This categorized them into more manageable sub groups and gave me something else to think about before I acted on an emotion such as violent out bursts.
By the end of the third week I had gotten the depression down to a level that let me move onto the next exercise my dr started me on which was codependent behaviors.

Codependent Behaviors:
Codependency covers a wide variety of behaviors.  A good book to read is "Codependent No More."  If in an a relationship with an alcoholic/ addict your behavior could be to try to consume their life by trying to catch them using and get them to recover by starting fights and ridiculing them.    Then the next day they will let it go and clean up the mess that the other's using caused.  Often they spend so much energy living in denial and lies that they never have time to focus on their own happiness and interests.  They like to have the things that they have control over perfect.  Cleaning and re-cleaning the house almost in a trance, always keeping the house immaculate.  A good movie that tells this story is :The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" (2005), based on a true story.  Julianne Moore plays the wife of  Woody Harrelson who plays an alcoholic.  
I can relate to this because my ex wife put up with me for four and a half years while I was addicted to pain pills.  She always set down ultimatums but never stuck to them.  She caught me at least once a month.  She would find out I didn't pay a bill or noticed something was missing that she knew I had pawned.  Sometimes she even found the pills, but she loved me.
After about a year into our relationship I started asking her to marry me.  I would wait until she hadn't caught me for a while but she still had some pride left and told me know.  About a year and a half into our relationship I was sitting on the couch getting ready to go to work.  She hadn't caught me in a while because as all addicts do I got better at hiding it.  I had some pills in my pocket to take to work with me but as I stood up they fell out onto the couch.  She found them before I got out the door and we started fighting.  I told her I would leave and packed my truck up to go stay with my mom.  The next day I called her crying telling her how much I loved and missed her.  She cried too and told me that I could come back home.  She met me at the door and we started kissing and making up.  She asked me to "ask her again."  I asked her to marry me and she said yes.  This was how distorted her reality was.  She convinced herself every time that I was done and always forgave me as this went on for the next three years.  We even had two kids together.  She had a daydream of a loving husband and father so much so that I think she actually believed she had it.  But all was not well behind closed doors and she never told anybody about it.  This was the codependent behaviors that she displayed.  Mine and most depressed people's codependent behaviors are different.
When I found out I was extremely codependent was when my dr gave me a homework assignment.  He said to turn to a new page in my journal and title the homework "On a Deserted Island."  He told me to imagine what it is like on a deserted island.  Imagine how your mood would be and what it would be like not to have other people around.  I thought long and hard about that for a few days.  What I realized was that without people there I would have no one to compare my looks to.  I wouldn't have to worry about saying the wrong thing or being insecure because of the childhood I had.  My self worth was based on what others thought about me.  My mood was easily elevated or brought down by the flattery or criticism of other people.  I was passive aggressive (which I will talk about in a little bit).  If I was praised for something I would be confident and my mood would be elevated.  If I was told something I said was wrong or was stuck in a room where discussions were going on that I had no intelligent input that would include me in on it, my insecurities would bring me down.  This was a roller coaster ride that could change minute by minute.  If nobody noticed me when I walked in a room I would sit away from everybody and try not to make a noise so that they wouldn't notice me.  I had low self worth.  I had to start working on these codependent behaviors by changing the way I communicated with others.  The three main ways to communicate with those you come in contact with are passive, passive aggressive, and assertive.


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Communication Styles:
Passive people are pretty much doors mats.  They don't think for themselves at all and don't take a stand on anything.  They will usually not be the person to initiate a conversation or use "blanket terms" to try to get a conversation started.  I call statements such as "nice day out today,", or "goodness , it is hot out today" as blanket statements.  You believe you have nothing interesting to talk about so you try to get the other person to initiate a conversation.  If the other person say "yeah it is," and nothing else, you will drive yourself crazy trying to think of something to say instead of realizing that you don't have to talk at all if you don't want to.  Passive people have low self worth.
Passive aggressive people are different.  They will be passive to the point that they get angry and lash out at even close friends that they are comfortable with most of the time.  A good example of this that a lot of people will be able to relate to is the decision of choosing a meal.  Most of us have been in the situation where we are riding with a friend and they say "where do you want  to eat at?"  A passive person will say "wherever you want to eat at."  If the friend asks them again they will say the same.  If the other person says something like "if you don't pick somewhere than we are not going to eat," the passive person may name a restaurant but if the other person doesn't like it they will do the same thing all over again.  It is a depressing and uncomfortable position to be in.  
If a passive aggression person is in the same situation after being asked once they will say "wherever you want to eat at."  Asked again they might say "it's up to you, I don't give a ****.  In the same scenario as the passive person, if told "if you don't pick somewhere than we are not going to eat," the passive aggressive person could escalate to anger saying "I DON"T CARE IF WE EAT OR NOT!!!"  The passive aggressive person will be a doormat but wipe your feet on them too much and they will aggressively pull the mat up knocking you to the ground.
Assertive people have great self worth.  They stand by their morals and values.  In the military soldiers are taught to do what they are told and not question it.  That doesn't make them passive; it is required for leaders to be able to make decisions without those decisions being questioned by those soldiers beneath them.  The best scenario for explaining assertiveness for me as a soldier is to talk about lawful and unlawful orders.  Orders are carried out from the top down.  If a higher ranking person gives you a lawful order like shoot at that enemy that is firing at us, unless the soldier freezes up, he/she has to carry out that order.  A good reference for the execution of unlawful orders is the movie "A Few Good Men."  An unlawful order is an order that is against the Geneva Convention, or against the Military code of conduct.  If a higher ranking person gives you an unlawful order it is your right, and well your duty, to disobey it.  An unlawful order could be a higher ranking person to telling to execute someone suspected of terrorist activities because he/she doesn't want to have to deal with deviating from the mission that they are on.  This is where you will quickly find out if a person is passive, passive aggressive, or assertive.  A passive person might say "please don't make me do that."  A passive aggressive person might say the same but if pushed may carry out the order out of anger or turn the aggression on the person giving the order.  An assertive person, would assertively say "NO sir, that is an unlawful order and I will not carry it out or allow it to be carried out."  

Summary:
If you are not so deep in depression that you are still able to function, it would benefit you greatly to gain control over your thoughts and to learn how to stop negative ones.  If you can't get out of the bed because you are in such deep depression, you will have to start at the point that I had to start at and it will be a process, but it will make you better at fighting depression.  
Once you gain some control over your thoughts start becoming aware of the impact you have let or are letting people have on your mood and your behaviors, try to avoid cognitive distortions such as:

All-Or-Nothing thinking:  Avoid using never and always.  Don't say I never get a question right, or I always get picked last.  There leaves no room for shades of grey.

Over-generalization:  A good example of this is thinking that because you were hurt by a person of a different race, all people of that race must be the same.

Mental Filter:  A good example of this is say you are going in to see your boss and he/she tells you several things you are doing right but you choose to focus on the one thing that he/she said you could improve on considering yourself a failure.

Mind reading. It can also be associated with having too much empathy.  Assuming you know what someone is thinking or feeling.  You may get it right sometimes and sometimes you may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fortune telling: You assume things are going to turn out bad.  Like saying "I will never be able to learn how to sing."

Magnification:  Making a mountain out of a mole hill.  

Minimizing:  Making a mole hill out of a mountain.

Catastrophizing: Assuming the worst possible outcome.  "I am late for work, I am probably going to get fired."

Should Statements:  This is often something that gets addicts.  Thinking that they should be stronger or they should be able to beat this by their self.  Putting too much pressure on yourself creates an elevated expectation that if you don't meet sets you back that much further.

Personalization:  Thinking things are your fault that you had no control over.  "Everybody is in a bad mood today, it must be my fault."

When you stop the negative thoughts replace them with positive affirmations which can be gained quickly by setting daily goals that are S.M.A.R.T: (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timed)

Using the statement "I am going to lose 10 pounds by March" fits all of these categories:

Specific- The goal is to lose 10 pounds by March
Measurable- You can measure your progress by weighing yourself
Attainable- If you say "I am going to lose 150 pounds by March," it is not an attainable goal.
Realistic- The statement above is a realistic goal.  Saying "I am going to find a job tomorrow or I am not coming home." is not.
Timed- Putting a time limit on it is better than saying "I am going to lose 10 pounds." Without putting a time limit leaves you too many excuses for why you haven't done it yet.

Another statement could be "I am going to walk for 30 minutes 4 days a week."
Or the goals can just be for the day if that is all you can do at the beginning, just follow the S.M.A.R.T. method.
Another challenge that you can throw in is if you reach the goal in less time than you had planned on keep going.  If you set out to run on the treadmill for 3 miles and you can keep going, why not?
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Simplicity

Let's say that you are pushing a car into a driveway.  Which would you rather have:  A person who read you the owner’s manual along with physics books that explain how much energy must be exerted to get the car where it belongs or someone who offers a shoulder to help you push?

About a year and a half ago I was fighting fear while working on patience and compassion.  I had a habit of taping papers all over my wall writing on them the crazy ramblings of a manic man.  Every day I would wake up and look at the papers thinking they were wrong and rip them off the wall.  I would throw them away and put up new papers to start all over again.  The one paper that I left up had only one thing written on it.  "Don't be afraid to jump off the bridge."  It didn't seem to have anything to do with patience or compassion (at the time) but I liked it because it made me think of a time when I was little and I took a trip to Dale Hollow lake. I was up on the swinging bridge getting ready to jump off.  It was about 20 feet up or so and being a kid I jumped right off.  I thought about that lack of hesitation and fear.  That is why I wrote that on the paper.  I liked it because it made me think like a kid.  I remember climbing trees when I was a kid without fear of falling.  Of course I did fall a couple of times, breaking my right arm once, but even that wasn't enough to keep me from doing it again.  Think about that.  I know adults now who are afraid to lean up against a tree for fear that a snake or a bug will get on them.  Such a simple sentence, "don't be afraid to jump off the bridge."  Little did I know, that simple sentence would teach me about compassion, simplicity, and patience.
It happened one day when I was making the twelve hour trip back to Kentucky from Louisiana.  I passed by a person on the interstate who was changing a tire.  My heart told me to stop but I had about ten hours of that twelve hour drive left to go and I was afraid to stop because it would make my trip longer. But I remembered to jump off the bridge and I told myself that the next person I saw who need help I would stop no matter what and lend a hand.  Sure enough about ten minutes later I see a guy hitch hiking.  Now I know what you are thinking, but I made a promise to myself and God that I was going to do it.  I passed him by at first because he was standing in the median and I was in the middle lane.  I took the next exit and circled back around.  I pulled over and he jumped in.  I introduced myself and he did the same.  His name was Greg and he smelled like he hadn't seen a shower in a while.  I had some Popeye's chicken that I couldn't eat so I offered it to him.  He accepted it, ate a few bites and put the rest of it in his little backpack.  I asked him where he was going and he said "just take me to the next town." We got to talking and before I knew it I had passed up many exits where I could have dropped him off.  He rode with me for six hours talking the whole time.  I showed him pictures of my ex wife and he showed me pictures of his deceased wife.  He said that after she passed away he had no reason to work anymore so he decided to set out on the road, living a simple life.  The craziest thing was that he never asked me for anything.  He never talked negatively, never talked about a worry, he just talked.  I told him that I had daydreamed about going into an Amish community or living on the road like he was doing. I had just gotten divorced and I didn't really want to try that again.  I had no purpose at the time and thought, hey, why not.  He began to tell me tips on how to survive on the road.  He said to make sure to be on a median before trying to get a ride so that someone could stop and pick you up.  Also he said you are less likely to get hit by a vehicle.  He told me of the times he had evaded the law by hiding in tall grass or whatever he could find that would give him shelter.  He went on for a while giving me more and more tips.  He was genuine, listened to what I said without interrupting, and gave me feedback that was appropriate for what I was saying.  Sure that situation could have went either way but I learned a lot in that six hours.  I learned about living on the road.  Who knows, I may have to use that someday with our government.  He taught me about simplicity.  I learned that you can survive for years with only the clothes on your back and still be happy.  I learned patience and compassion by not listening to music and not trying to drop him off the first chance I got.  The point is you have to ask yourself "what did he have that we don't?"  

The happiest time in my life was the year before I went to Iraq.  I was down one day and decided that I had enough of being lonely and depressed.  I knew a friend that was teaching martial arts.  I had taken class with him a couple of times before but I never stuck to it.
Anyway, I looked him up and he was teaching a class at one of our elementary schools for free.  He had a good job and didn't need money.  He still made money when the kid's parents bought martial arts gear.  He got fifty percent off of the merchandise but most parents bought a uniform and nothing else and since they sold at twenty five dollars apiece, he didn't make much.  

Anyway, I started taking the class and moved up through the belts pretty fast.  Eventually he asked me if I wanted to be his assistant.  I was a little apprehensive because my self-esteem wasn't too high yet, but I accepted.  We leased a building on the town square in my city.  We left the elementary school and started having classes there.  We got up to thirty student at our max and was having classes four days a week.  

Not only was I teaching martial arts but I was also involved in some things with my unit.  I am in the National Guard, have been for fourteen years.  I was participating in a program the schools thought up called the junior guard.  I took in the trouble students from the high school, put a uniform on them, and taught them "basic training" things.  I was kind and didn't really yell at them.  It was bittersweet.  I didn't ask them to do anything, I told them what to do but I did it with a certain humor and charm.  I worked with them once a week and twice a week I would go to the high school and tutor them.

The funny thing was I made ten dollars a week teaching martial arts.  We made some money but the bills were high so it wasn't much.  Allen, my instructor, made a little more than me but it wasn't much.  I was driving a Ford Tempo that I gave three hundred dollars for.  It had one break that worked out of the four.  If I parked it on a hill I had a gallon jug in the back that I had to prop behind the shifter to keep it from going out of gear and rolling backwards.  I made about two hundred dollars a month with the National Guard but I spent it on insurance and put the rest into the school.  I made nothing for working with the kids, except the payment of love.  

One day last year I was listening to the radio and I heard an interesting concept.  It was called the 100 item challenge and it was created by Dave Bruno.  The premise was to try to get down to where you have 100 items.  I don't remember the specifics of it but that really doesn't matter, I just liked the idea of it.  Clutter and color is hard on the eyes and your mental health.  Sometimes when we have clutter in our house we feel disconnected with the outside world.  Even when you are inside you are outside. Your body may be present in the house but your soul is connected to everything in this universe.  Think about it like this:  When you are in a bright room you feel like your soul is inside you and that is the extent of its reach.  How is that possible when a single light bulb can light up a room?  To give you a visual think about a candle.  A candle shines brightest when it is place in a completely dark place.  
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I have a challenge, (experiment) of my own.  Take one day, just one day, and turn off all your lights. Unplug your TV and all electronics.  Pretty much leave your house void of light as much as possible.  You can light candles or use cole oil lamps.  I did this once.  I shut myself in the bedroom and wrote by the light of a cole oil lamp.  That was some of the best writing that I ever did.  I take advantage of this as much as possible.  I only use as much light as needed.  I don't turn on the lights if there is any sun coming through the windows.  There is a therapeutic effect to being in complete darkness.  That is why the brain signals for you to sleep when you are in darkness.  It has to do with your circadian rhythm.  You get no benefit from artificial light, only sunlight.  Do you think it is better to have sight or insight?


Summary:

I already did most of the things that I talked about.  I never realize it until some thought triggers it.  I have never had more than 100 items in my life, and I most likely never will.  I noticed this when me and my wife split up.  I gathered my things in the middle of the living room floor.  The pile was not impressive.  I fit it all in the back of our van.  

When I got out of treatment last year I gave away almost everything I had, which wasn't much .  I didn't understand why, I just did it.  I don't like money either, I never have.  If I needed money for say, a car payment, I would go out looking for a job.  I would impress them and they would hire me.  I didn't notice it until recently but I always worked until I had the money I needed and then I would quit.  I have likely had over fifty jobs.

I live with my mom now.  I have been here since me and my wife split up.  I am not homeless like my hitch hiking buddy, but I am not far from it.  I have always lived with somebody.  Even when I was married I didn't pay the bills, my wife did.  I gave her the money I made, minus gas money and some essentials.  So in a sense I lived with her as well.  I have been writing these theories about fighting depression, and realizing all this was a huge milestone in doing that.  I have not had a bad day since about two weeks ago.  That may not seem like a big deal but that is the longest I have went without cycling into either mania or depression since I was teaching martial arts.  I have started working with the high school and middle school junior guard program again.  I have a P.O.S. car in the driveway that needs a starter.  I don't need the car bad enough to get a job that I will end up quitting after a week but I will likely fix it when I get my taxes or something.

People often wonder what I have that they don't.  What I have is everything that I need out of life.  I don't want that promotion, or that awesome career.  I don't want that fancy car, or that degree.  I don't WANT anything because I have what I NEED.

I am not saying that everyone should do this.  It may seem like a depressing life to others and I am ok with that.  I will be getting money from the military once I get medically retired in about seven or eight months.  I will likely move out on my own, not sure.  I have to make the decision at the end of if I want to manage my own money or let someone else do it, not sure about that either.  I don't think that I will stay anywhere for long.  I think I will travel and stay in hotels or temporarily with people (women) I meet.

The point of this was to get you to think.  I don't suspect that many can live like I do and be truly happy but you can take steps towards making your life more simple.  When you have a simple life your stress will go away.  A bright cluttered room is loud.  Use a lamp and shut out that blinding ceiling fan that holds four lights.  This doesn't just work with the items in your house.  You have to think simple too.  Don't want anything.  Be reactive instead of proactive.  Take what you need and use the rest to help somebody.  

Perhaps
If you don't see this life as a straight line that ends you may see it as a series of cycles that never end.  A short one might be a day.  The sun rises and the sun sets and the sun rises and so on... A big one might be the cycle of addiction.  use, recovery, relapse, use, recovery, relapse and so on.  It comes down to the mind's capacity to learn, how quick it can complete the list of cycles for this life, and how quick it can turn knowledge into wisdom.  When the mind experiences a positive event, let's call this love, a cycle starts.  That cycle will not end until the mind experiences a negative event, let's call this fear, that is greater than the love.  And that cycle will not end until the mind experiences a love that is greater than the fear, and so on.  I won't explain how this cycle has repeated and taken many forms throughout this planet's life.  I also won't explain how more and more minds die these days without completing their last cycle of turning fear into love.
Take as long as you want to complete the cycles and know that if you haven't completed them by the time you die, you may do them again and it gets easier every time.  Whether you saw this as love or fear it doesn't matter, it still started a cycle so enjoy your growth.  The next time you are afraid try to look for the love that will complete that cycle.  The next time you feel love brace yourself for the pain that is going to complete that cycle.  There is no stopping either one.  
Am I normal or is everyone else?  I will leave you with a few cycles:
Addiction and recovery (fear and love)
War and peace (fear and love)
Control and faith (fear and love)
Anger and compassion (fear and love)
Powerless and powerful (fear and love)
Notice the cycles and let the flow
Try to find faith and give up control
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Wow Bub!  And I thought *I* was long-winded!!!  ;0)  You just put me to shame, my friend!  (I'm just teasing you of course).

sadtired....I hope you read and reread Bubulous's post over and over again.  Not only is it just chock full of so much useful information, but it's nice to get perspective from someone of a similar mindset, and who is living a similar life.

I will say to you that you absolutely display some signs of depressive thinking.  You sound like a very deep thinker, which can be both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, you're able to look at things from much more than a superficial level, but on the other hand, you're overanalyzing life and making it more difficult than it has to be.

Goals are something everyone needs to have if they want to be "successful" in life.  I put that in quotes, because "success" does not always equate to the obvious, money, car, house, spouse, white picket fence and 2.5 kids playing in the yard.  Success is very relative, and the IDEA of what makes a person successful will greatly vary from person to person.

I kind of get what you're saying about us only being being on earth for a short time, but that doesn't mean you don't try to make the best of your time here.  No one really WANTS to spend their time behind a desk, or in front of a computer, but in order to get to the things we WANT to do for fulfillment in life (ie travel, etc), work is unfortunately a necessity.  Does that mean you have to strive to be a millionaire?  Of course not.  You COULD very much live a simple life, and make only enough money needed to sustain that life...but again, to do things like travel, which is something you would like to do to nurture your spirit, some income is a must.

You indicate you're not really sure what your goals should be, or what you would want to do.  It's normal to feel that way, but I agree with you that you've kind of been complacent about making some goals.  You're waiting for guidance from God.  On a small level, that's okay, but like YOU yourself said, YOU have to take the reigns at some point.

It IS hard to decide what to do with your life, because until you're DONE with any schooling and on the job day to day, you really DON'T know how much you would like it (or not).  That's kind of a chance we all take when we're narrowing down career paths.  Look into your interests, things you enjoy doing.  Do you like to be handy, fix things?  Do you like to help people?  Do you like to be around books or music?  Those are some basic interests that you would look at to kind of determine where to go.  You certainly don't HAVE to go to school for years on end.  There are a lot of more technical fields where you can become educated and be on the job working in 18 months-2 years.  And there are some awfully good jobs that don't require a whole lot of schooling, where you would make a very fair wage.  But, I DO think it's important to absolutely start making some goals for yourself.  The marriage goal, no offense is a silly one.  That's something that is kind of out of our control...especially to put it on a timeline.  Plus, I think it's important to start making life goals first, before adding to the mix a partner, especially with so much that is unsettled and uncertain for you.

But finding a career or job, and attaining financial independence ARE definitely important goals to start moving on.  Instead of looking at it so deeply, just keep in mind that to do certain things in life that you would enjoy...the other things are necessary.  Getting out on your own may seem unnecessary, when you can live perfectly fine at your parent's house, but I'll tell you, it's important for many reasons.  For one, whether you agree or not, or like it or not...there ARE societal expectations.  Just like wanting to find a mate/wife...women look for men who can take care of themselves, who are indpendent...that's a security thing.  Also, your self esteem would benefit greatly.  Right now, you're just kind of "blah".  Don't have a lot of motivation, don't feel strongly about the need to really start setting goals, etc.  If you started working towards being on your own, you will feel much more confident.  No matter what, not too many people really WANT to depend on others (no matter who) because it doesn't foster that sense of being able to take care of yourself and be your own person...that sense of being self sufficient.  Plus, as you start to get on your own, one thing leads to another.  You may really have always wanted a certain kind of dog, or a cat, but you're living in your parents' house, so those kinds of things aren't always possible.  Getting your OWN place is nice because you make it a reflection of YOU.  I cannot tell you how PROUD I was of my very first apartment.  I lived paycheck to paycheck and ate a LOT of mac n cheese, but it was SO fulfilling to say I had a place of my OWN, all of my OWN stuff, my own style, and to say that I worked for it myself.  Truly, it was a GREAT feeling.

It's great that you are a spiritual person, and you most certainly should continue to rely on your religion for support and guidance, but YOU are the one in charge.  You cannot let religion and your beliefs dictacte the way your life is going....as in many ways, you kind of use it to be complacent.  You're VERY smart and know that's not the answer.  If God never gave you a sign, would you NEVER make goals?  Well, you may be tempted (lol), but I don't think you would just never do anything.  You already recognize that it's time to start getting into gear and start finding some direction in your life.

I think that depression is TOTALLY playing a big role in how you're feeling, and most definitely is affecting your motivation and get up and go.  You said you have been on antidepressants, what all have you tried, and how long were you on them?  Did you give them ample time to work?  That's an all-too-common occurence.  People throw in the towel way too soon.  There are a LOT of different kinds of medications that can be used for depression besides the commonly Rx'ed SSRIs (like Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, etc).  I think it would be a great idea for you to find a psychiatrist who you can reexplore your treatment options with.  Therapy is a MUST, whether you want to try meds again or not.  

And, what you said that we would say is 100% true, that it's YOU who need to put the work in to address the depression...yes!  Very true.  That doesn't mean that we're saying it's easy to do.  One of the hardest things to do when you're unmotivated, isolated, and without a lot of emotion is to PUSH yourself to do more to help yourself.  No doubt that's not easy, but it's true that the more you DO push yourself, the better you will feel.  That I can promise you.

If you can manage to get the depressive symptoms to a more manageable level, a lot of the motivation isssues will improve as well.  Depression really destroys our desires and motivation, and while I'm sure your personality plays into some of this too, I think the depression is a very big factor(bigger than anything else).  I think if you weren't depressed, you would be much more willing to start setting goals, and you would get more enjoyment out of life, instead of viewing a lot of it as a requirement to pass the time until the afterlife.

Very best to you...please keep us updated, let us know how you're doing.
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Oh, I could never beat you.  I cheated I had already typed those theories out a long time ago.  I just copied and pasted them lol.
I have seen you post a lot and you never give a simple answer.  I love that.  I repost some of them because I worked so hard to make them and I have a lot more.  Plus most of them and the poems I right can relate to a wide spectrum of people with addiction and depression issues.  I may change parts of it to fit right with someone based on their post but generally they are the same.
You must have been a machine in another life :)

Sadtiredfedup,
You have received A LOT of good information above.  If you need anything else come back and you will find a lot of support here.
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Thank you to both of you for your responses.  There is plenty of information here which I will read through and process.  
I'm just confused over my depression if I'm honest, still...as nurse says alot of my thinking and thoughts I've put down on here is very much depression related.  However, I'm also thinking there are things that do make me feel happier, like masturbating to my favourite porn, travelling to a new city, the thought of meeting an old friend, going to a new restaurant or trying out something new etc etc. standard kind of things I suppose.  But my therapist says that the severely depressed person wouldn't even feel joy in those things.  

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You must have been a machine in another life :)


LMAO!!!!

That's a good one (and a new one)...I like it.

I have actually worn off the letters on 2 keyboards over the past few years.  That's just so weird!  I have the gift of gab!  
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