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hanging on by a thread

I don't know where to begin. Over the past couple years my mental health has gotten progressively worse. I'm 21 years old and have no idea where my life is going. I have many passions and talents, but I don't know how to harness and execute them sucessfully. I constantly doubt myself and question every move I make. I'm at the point where I don't do things out of fear of not being good enough. I don't like who I am. Rather, who I have become. I came out publicly as gay early in high school but I have always known I was. I am an artistic soul and very eccentric to some, so I feel like a target in the world. The persistent jokes and questions about sexuality. However, I do not feel that my sexuality defines me. It's a part of me but not me entirely. Some people see me that way though. Many of those people are scared of me, I feel. Maybe thats my insecurity projected. I don't hate being gay, I am very proud to be able to love another man unconditionally, I just don't appreciate the labels and stigmas that accompany my sexuality. As a young person, I am undoubtedly looking for a life companion like every other, but my inner struggle repels any type of healthy relationship. So the struggle gets worse. I start to hate myself and convince myself that I will never find love because of the type of person I am. I try to change things about my behavior or mental process but always seem to fail in doing so, because I cannot be anything other than me. I dabble in psychedelics (quite often, not habitually) and amphetamines (very occasionally, not habitually) to try to figure out how to fill the immense void and numbness I feel. They only leave me feeling even more confused and with more questions. I'm tired of feeling abandoned and criticized by the world. Sometimes I feel as though I should not exist any longer. That I'm not meant to exist in the present. Then I think about how life would be if I killed myself, for the ones around me. They would be devistated. I don't ever want to hurt them like that, but ultimately that is how much they hurt me. With the negative energy, the abandonment, the constant disregard for my thoughts and feelings. I feel like a dead man walking amongst the living (and thriving). After all, I guess my question is how do I start on the path to self love, preservation and bliss? How do I stay alive?
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Avatar universal
Hi Nick!
Sorry you're going thru this rough patch.  Sounds like early years smeared  you with guilt over who you are.  Everyone is an individual.  Some people are vastly social, some are more comfortable in close-knit & smaller groups.  Some people try to make themselves bigger by making others smaller.  Some folks, as you know, are just plain conservative, and others are more open to new things.  There's populations in jail, in volunteering, into criminal actions, into productive actions.  We've got Americans, Brits, French, Russians, Australians, Africaners.  

Basically, tho, all humans are born the same.  Human.  Humans are curious, "pack" animals (like dogs & wolves), very busy or very restful, emotional, and often people are expert easily in some things.  I think humans like to live a balanced life, with a home, a family, a few neighbors and friends, something fun to do, something important to do.  And one thing humans are superb at is reaching for the stars by being spiritually fulfilled by being sympathetic, being kind to others, understanding the world, communicating, asking for help, joining in groups for a common purpose, and yet setting aside time for reflection.

A lot can be said about people and what they're up to.  But generalizations don't fit anyone.  Each individual is unique.  Some people will like you, some just aren't interested, usually due to common interests, sometimes a feeling of trust, ease, and sharing a good laugh.  

Soooo, what you do is, you look in the newspaper or underground type papers or art mags, free at ESPECIALLY the library, or some stores in a box out front, and find "entertainment" or "things to do" type sections, where clubs are listed.  Guess what?  You think of yourself as artistic, right?  Well, you could go take a public class starting up to teach you how to draw and paint!  Or join in with a swing dance bunch, all amateurs.  Or get in with folks that go to a community garden, go hiking, volunteering at the hospital or food bank, or maybe start with a class in ju-jitsu self defense.  You need SOMEthing that is pleasant as all get out to do!

Next, if you are not college educated, try going to the local community college and taking a few courses, just pick a few you like, or one class, or a whole programme... who knows, maybe you'd like to learn how to become a policeman or do security, or could be you are interested in interior design.  Also, you could join the military for the basic four years, and they'll teach you stuff to do.  Or if you've got an AB or BA degree, talk to a counselor at a large & popular fairly close-by university and ask them to help you decide what to choose for grad work master's.

Sit down one day, get out a medium-sized notebook and start writing down stuff you're interested in, jobs you might like to do, educational opportunities, trips.  Then make a list of goals as relates to getting your life in order with respect to the basic human drive, which you mentioned you wanted, which is to form relationships, communicate, eventually have a family or tight living-together thing or roommate with like-minded people.  You got to be educated, you got to have a job, you should have a spare-time activity (learn guitar, artwork, dance), you need a pleasant place to live and fix it up and paint it and hang pictures and put some furniture from the flea market (fun), and in the midst of all that you should make a friend that is obviously interested in what you say or how you look or whatever mutual good feelings are.

This is how you list would look:
1.  What am I good at?
2.  What am I interested in?
3.  What kind of schooling or job should I have?
4.  Where am I going to make a living?
5.   Is my home life my own or what I want?
6.   What new stuff can I try doing to pass spare time?
7.   What will make me feel better about myself?

That last one is a loo-loo, particularly if you are filled with doubt.  Well, first of all, most people could care less what you're up to... they're in their own world.  Instead, concentrate very hard on one thing when you're out and about:  BE KIND to each and every person you are with.  Second of all, you gotta get into good shape by walking or running or swimming at the Y and getting a massage once a month, all to get out normal frustrations of daily life.  And you gotta eat regular, have habits, get up the same time every day by setting a clock.  AND QUIT THE STOOPID DRUGS.  Ugh!  Acid???  You can have much better fun getting lost in a painting you're working on, all the colors, creativity, styles...  If you don't have a canvas or paints, most PCs have a "Paint" program, just find it, pull it up, and give it a go, keep at it often, practice makes perfect.  Next, also make trips to the library and look in the NON-fiction section, and pull out whatever interests you, from dogs to maps to stories about ER docs (like on TV).

Now you are ready to meditate on all this.  It's SO easy.  Do it maybe once a week.  Just sit on the floor, put something shiny in the window like a glass or crystal, and then stare at it, and one by one pull every thought out of your head.  The moment the last one is free, close your eyes and think a question to the universe, "What is bothering me?"  Within seconds, the answer will come all over you, and you'll cry.  Or you can ask, "What is holding me back, what kind of work should I do," or, "Please help me, please comfort me, please make me a better person."  When you're done meditating, go outside for a few minutes to calm your emotions, and then go about your day.

But OFFICIALLY, you can go to the Dept of Social Services, ask to speak to a psychologist, and arrange to have a half-dozen sessions with someone in there about all this, and they can help you arrange yourself.  They can give you tips on how to organize the big job known as life.  They can console you, encourage you, cheer with you.  ALSO, they can arrange with the psychiatrist over them for you to get a mild antidepressant to take a very small amount of daily for a few months (until spring gets here, for example, going on and off very slowly), until your psychologist feels like you're ready to be by yourself.

I take a medication for insufficient adrenal function, and one of the side effects is a deep, dark, doom depression, so I take about 100 to 150mg of Zoloft a day.  Normally I see my psych twice a year, except when I'm in crisis, which then I'll come in for two days a week for three weeks or something.  If I'm afraid, I take a tranquilizer, the original Valium, very nice, small amount to relax.  Also, I was in a horrific car wreck, so I take a couple pain killers.  So, meds can help you.  You should also see a regular family doc or internal medicine doc (the best) and get your blood drawn (no drugs!) to chk for your vits and minerals, and he can listen to your heart, look at your eyes, ask if you're feeling physically well.  I take a vitamin and mineral pill once a week.

I hope ALL this endless chatter will stabilize you, give you some hope, some direction.  I care.  And I don't even know you, except from one paragraph you wrote here.  I feel sympathy, I like gay men (and I'm female), I like my home, my dog, and all the good things you want.  I had to work very hard all my life, got into some terrible jams, felt awful and felt great, but eventually, little by little, I got very good at living.  You just got a slow start.  Don't pressure yourself the way you've been doing.  Forgive yourself and forgive others, it's a WHOLE lot easier just to get over yourself.  Don't take things too seriously.  Be curious.  Be good.  And go out and get what you want.  SMILE.
Regards, Gail    
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