Revisiting a dark time
A look back at a rough patch I went through during the year.
A letter I wrote out of desperation to an online therapist
2016 was undoubtedly a rough year for me.
In 2015, I had begun a small business that eventually closed down by the end of the year (all my fault), went into unemployment, was battling depression due to previous failures and was using heroin,hookers, and liquor as an escape from my problems. On the surface, it looked like I had control of things but I was falling apart.
I had begun 2016 with some optimism that things would get better but it hadn't. I managed to get a job that cost more than it paid, met circumstances that drew me back into drugs and was spiralling out of control.
I wrote this letter out of desperation as I literally had no one to talk to,seeking advice on how I can turn things around before I got sinister ideas:
I am fast reaching my breaking point as nothing seems to be going well in my life. In the span of a year and a half after finishing school, I have started and failed a business, slept on the street while working a 14 hour job, faced depression, and fought a heroin addiction.
I don’t know what’s worse: having nothing in your life work out or knowing that there's not much I can do about it despite how hard I try.
I feel I have no direction in life, truth be told, I never had any personal ambitions and goals, I just wanted to help people so as know I could sleep at night having made a difference in at least one person's life at this point, I feel I am just living out of habit. I’m just waiting for my sister to have her family (4 months pregnant) up and running and then I will see how things turn out.
I am becoming more isolated by the day. I don’t feel comfortable with dating because I want to fix myself first before trying to meet someone. I want the lady to see the best version of me, not the broken down version. My lack of employment makes it hard for me to meet people. I can’t even look my family in the eye due to feeling like I have let them down. To their credit, they are cool about it but I feel otherwise.
God, I just honestly don’t have the words to describe how it’s all weighing heavy on me.What does it say of me that at the age of 24, I have all but given up on life?
I’ve never verbalized or said this aloud but while I was working, the truth is that I was putting up with all that work so that at the end of the month, when I got paid, I would buy an expensive rope from a hardware store and end things. I figured that since I have suffered for so long, I might as well die with some form of quality.
With all the disappointments and screw-ups I have faced and committed, optimism is but a distant dream. My life’s philosophy is basically hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. All these dreams people have such as having kids, picking a house, growing old with someone you love are just that…dreams.
I know life isn’t supposed to be roses and sunshine but I was hoping that the effort I put in would eventually pay off. The thing that pains me is that even though I have admitted my faults and worked myself to the bone to change my situation, nothing seems to go right while on appearances, everyone else seems to be flourishing. I keep having to hear about other family members living successful lives and this makes me feel inadequate.
I am sorry for rambling on, and I know my problems may seem small in comparison to others (I volunteered with my mom at a woman and children crisis centre when I was younger so you see a lot of hardship) but….f*ck man, I’m just tired of things not working out.
Is there anything I can do to change my mindset? To see a silver lining though all this? To find joy in life again?
The following was the response of Dr Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW from Psych Central:
You know the pain in your life. When you look at the world around you and the people that make it up, real people, people in television shows, people in the movies, it may seem that they have little pain and few problems. It may seem that their life is all positive and they are easily achieving their goals in life. The difference between them and you is that you have full access to your very real pain and no access, whatsoever, to their internal pain — the pain that they hide from the world.
The truth is that life is hard and you can expect it to be a struggle. Look at all of the people, people who seem to have it all, rich and admired, famous and respected, who have committed suicide. From the outside, it seems as if they have achieved the ideal life, money, fame and success. It seems like that because we can’t see what exists inside their external façade.
What are you comparing yourself to? Are you comparing yourself to the real person, who exists inside the external façade or are you comparing yourself to the external carefully crafted image?
Movies and television shows do not represent reality. Those cool, competent, successful people are fictional characters created by writers to provide entertainment and profit for the sponsors of their products. Those characters do not accurately represent life.
Life isn’t easy, but it is a blessing from God. If you deny the existence of God, at least we can agree that life is of immense value. You can find meaning and happiness in this world and you should. If you continue to try, you will. When something doesn’t work out for you in life or in other words when you fail at something, what does it mean?
Here’s what it means. It means “nope, not that way.” Your failure is actually success in narrowing down the things that don’t work, i.e. the wrong ways. When a baby is learning to walk it falls down, it may cry or maybe not but it always gets back up. It will fall, again and again but eventually it will succeed. The baby doesn’t know how to walk and it’s finding out how not to and with every fall, it is moving closer to success.
People aren’t born knowing how to be happy in life or to find their personal meaningfulness. Each path is different. There is no “normal.” There is no map to happiness for anyone. You must create that map and you will create it by using logic, good judgment and through experimentation. When you try something, after using your best judgment and reasoning, and you fail, what does that mean? It means “nope, not that way.” Take a lesson from the purity of the baby’s soul — cry a little if you must but get back up and keep trying. They eventually succeed and so will you.
Update since the response
Well, ever since the response, I figured I owed it to myself to give this life thing another try and have been taking steps to change things in my life.
As of 12/12/2016:
I have been clean off heroin, alcohol, and hookers for 4 months and 11 days and have a slightly more optimistic outlook on life.
I posted this with the intention of letting others know that we all go through rough patches in life, but the trick is to keep chugging on.
Whether you need a change in scenery, a friendly voice, or some good ol' divine inspiration, you owe it to yourself to give it another try.
Hope you folks stay blessed and strong!