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Forums / Depression / Help. I don’t know who I am supposed to be and feel lost

Topic: Help. I don’t know who I am supposed to be and feel lost

  1. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    6 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Fantastic that you got the book, I really hope you enjoy it and find it interesting!

    I had a similar feeling when I finished my VCE, my family all stared me toward going to TAFE and doing an apprenticeship and I sort of just found myself following that narrative although it never felt right. Eventually it changed and I moved into civil engineering, thankfully I tried in year 12 despite knowing I was going to do a trade initially otherwise I would not have got into the course. I remember not really knowing what I wanted to do at the end of school and just accepting what people around told me was a good option, it wasn't until I started looking into engineering and gave up the pursuit of an apprenticeship for multiple reasons did I really know that this was the right path career wise.

    I think a lot of the problem is I sort of feel like I know what I want generally in the grand scheme of things but at the same time I don't know what I want as stupid and confusing as that sounds. Like I have mentioned, I know I want a stable and successful career in engineering with the view to work for myself one day if I work hard enough but I would be happy with a stable career that add value to myself but one that does not become life-consuming like I have seen from people around me. I know I want to have someone I truly connect with and can spend my life with and build a family. These things I know I want in a broad sense.

    I guess the feeling is a bit like these wants are not grand enough or too simplistic at this stage of my life and at the same time

  2. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    6 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi again therising

    Apologies I accident hit post this reply halfway through type haha, see below for continuation of what I was saying!

    What I was trying to get at is I feel pressure from society around me, social media, friends and family that I should have things figured out but also that my ambitions like I described need to be bolder or something.

    It is a weird feeling at the moment. I feel I have been making progress with thinking better I don't know if it is showing to anyone but I think there is some there at least but I also feel a bit lost as I feel like uncomfortable because nothing really seems to be happening at the moment. I feel a bit like I don't know what I want at this moment apart from finding a partner but I understand now this will take time to eliminate the wrong people and find the right one.

    My life just sort of seems dull at the moment, like I work, go to the gym, eat dinner, watch tv or read and go to bed day in day out. In isolation there is probably nothing wrong with this but I feel a big pressure to live a more grand lifestyle and more entertaining. I'm not sure sorry for the confusion in my post I am just not really sure how I am feeling at moment and I just type sometimes haha

    I had a bit of a read into metacognition and sounds really interesting I am going to read deeper into it to see more of how it works or what it tells me!

    I guess with accepting myself some moments I feel I am progressing and others I sort of think I haven't at all, just confused in general of what is that's going to just help me relax and live!

  3. therising
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    therising avatar
    2710 posts
    7 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Yesterday I was chatting with an absolutely amazing lady who I work with. She's incredibly inspirational. At 60, she has the energy and passion for life of a 20yo. She asked me whether I'd adopted anything new in life, a topic we'd touched on recently, based on the fact I'm lacking in energy and drive lately. I admitted 'No', to which her response was 'Why, what's your excuse?'. One of the reasons I gave was based on me not being able to get out of lockdown mode. I've kept a lot of the habits that served me then, which are now getting in the way of me living and energetic and fulfilling life.

    I can relate to what you say about having a general idea about what I'm to be doing with my life but outside of 'general' there can be somewhat of a lost feeling. Kind of feels like standing still, wishing someone would give you solid direction. With 2020 predicted to be a year of clear vision or 20/20 vision of the future, maybe it was somewhat about the destruction of the life that wasn't working for us (these last couple of years). As things became clearer during those couple of years, the life that wasn't working involved settling for less, self-esteem issues, not being able to tolerate a lack of adventure, certain relationships that need serious reassessment and so on. Actually, I recall hearing 2022 as being predicted to be one of the toughest years as it's the year that involves reconstruction. So, the question 'How to construct without plans for reconstruction?'. How do we build without a blueprint? I imagine, a civil engineer would say 'You can't'.

    What would a civil engineer insist on, when looking at design and construction? I imagine certain factors would involve taking environment into account (is it the right one for the kind of construction being considered), purpose, practicality and so on. Does some destruction have to take place before anything can be created? After all, we can't build upon what's faulty. How much time needs to be allowed, given the complexities involved in the construction? I imagine there's a lot to take into consideration. I imagine there's a specific process that needs to be followed. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't want to simply construct a new path or road in my life, to take me out of my old life. I actually want to create an entirely new town/infrastructure and this, I know, will take time.

    How 'bout you? Road, bridge, town or city? Aim as big as you please, even if it takes a lifetime to create :)

    3 people found this helpful
  4. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    7 January 2022 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    I feel I am stuck in this lockdown mode as well. It’s been a challenge to break out of the habits, for example last night I spent the night pretty much lying on my bed just doing nothing surfing my phone and thinking and it was what I found myself doing just automatically throughout lockdown which really sparked all these challenges I’ve been having as it zapped my energy levels.
    I’m wondering did your friend have any advice?


    I like the analogy you’ve used and makes a lot of sense to me. I think there’s a lot of pressure I feel as a younger person to have my hat in a lot of different rings because the options available to us now through technology and stuff like that is enormous, it’s like there is too much choice that it makes it very hard to focus on one thing because you might miss out on another. Not sure if that makes sense.


    Maybe you’ve had a similar experience at the end of lockdowns to me, i had this feeling where part of the depression I started to develop was out of frustration or being exhausted with certain aspects. For example like you mentioned settling for less than I deserve in certain relationships, getting tired of self doubt that plagues me and fed up with meaningless relationships and wanting to find the right person.
    What I feel happened is that I have started the process to building toward solving these issues I have done so with no real direction or idea of how to do it. So for example with dating I used online apps during lockdowns and put myself out there but as this increasingly became more and more unsuccessful I got worn out.


    I guess in terms of what I’d like to build for myself like you mention is just to live each day without overthinking plaguing my life like it has done for so long, sounds really simplistic. I just don’t really know what else it is and I’m not sure whether I should be concern by it or whether I just lack drive as a person and am boring.
  5. therising
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    2710 posts
    8 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    My friend at work discussed the importance of making a difference. She was reflecting on her life and some of what she's achieved so far, including raising her beautiful son. She'd developed the habit of making a difference with her husband before he suddenly passed away about 15 years ago. They traveled to the most amazing places and did some amazing things together. It sounds like he brought out the best in her, which is one of the reasons she still misses him. Even though he's no longer here, she knows she can't live without making a difference. She's also a super high energy person, which helps. I should say, she deserves the energy she has. She works to maintain good sleeping, eating, exercise and relaxation habits, among other good habits. She's also fueled by her imagination. She says it's been hard work. She mentioned how she lost her energy for a time when her husband passed, as she was emotionally exhausted and had become sick, with grief. I think one of the most significant skills she has is...she doesn't question natural inspiration too much. For example, if what suddenly popped into her mind was 'Go to the Zoo', while most of us would be thinking 'Why would I want to do that?' (if that came to mind for us), she'd simply find a way to get there. She'd trust it was a good idea. Then she'd tell you something along the lines of how amazing it was and how she chatted to someone there who she felt made a difference to her. I suppose you could say when she shows up to life, life shows up to her and she feels it.

    Making a difference in our life can be so much easier with a partner who's on the same page but what my friend would most likely say to us is 'I had to learn how to make a difference on my own'. Whether learning such a thing is based on her situation, not having found the right partner yet (like with yourself) or not having a partner who wants to make any difference (like with myself), we have no choice but to largely make a difference on our own for the time being. Doesn't hurt to find some help.

    What comes to mind is 'Ritual'. What daily rituals do I have? Besides the usual getting out of bed, showering etc, there are no new ones. It's time to create one. Doesn't have to be big. Something as simple as the 6am practice of feeling the pulse in our neck for 20 secs is a daily ritual that reminds us how we have this amazing thing in our chest which gives us life with every beat. How often do we remember, with gratitude, it's there?

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    8 January 2022 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    Your work friend is such a valuable friend to have I think, must be fascinating to talk with. I admire people like that a lot and hope to someday say I am similar probably a very long way off that now though.


    I try to eat healthy (ignoring my sweet tooth), exercise regularly and try to get rest where I can which has been more difficult with the habit of thinking and overthinking i have developed but I try my best. But when I think about how I feel at the moment this stuff isn’t giving me the usual energy rather my head is saying “what’s the point”.


    The example you use about questioning natural inspiration I can relate to a lot. Just recently I have been thinking this year circumstance allowing I want to go to the snow as I have never been. But immediately I think well I can’t do this because I don’t have the friends to go with or the partner and I I’ll feel like a loser on my own. Similarly I signed up for a mixed sport season but I’m on my own and I’m getting incredible anxiety about it 3 weeks out. Situations like this have come up before, I think I mentioned my friends birthday where I knew no one and ultimately at the end of these events I feel depressed and defeated because I end up feeling unaccepted or too quiet or boring or like I have nothing to offer. That tape is playing in my head already before I even go to this mixed sport program. I really don’t want this to happen but I struggle to manage it.


    I really want to make a difference in my life like you say I’m just not sure how to do it, like I’ve mentioned I don’t have a big circle of social connections at all and then when I’m alone I feel uncomfortable. This is like a suffocating problem just going around and around my posts probably reflect confusion and little progression.


    I wrote down a list of some daily things to try and do when I get back to work on Monday in the journal I started to keep. Seems pretty mundane they just things like wake up early, avoid my phone until I’ve had breakfast and things like go to the gym, read a book at night or do something productive and not sit there like I have been. I don’t know what else to do I feel a bit pathetic about my daily life to be honest.
  7. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6644 posts
    8 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12
    Hi Daniel12,

    Sorry to hear about what you are going through. We are glad you have some support from the community here. If you would like any further support please don't hesitate to reach out to Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.

    If, however, you feel unable to keep yourself safe this is an emergency and you need to call 000 (triple zero).
     
  8. Hanna3
    Hanna3 avatar
    3589 posts
    8 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel,

    I'm sorry you're feeling a bit blah tonight!

    I think going to the snow is a fantastic idea! What about a singles snow holiday, I Googled quickly and saw there are some for 2022 (I just don't know what state you're in) or take yourself alone and do a ski course? You won't look like a loser, you'll be someone learning to ski with other people! Anyway, people who travel by themselves look confident,they don't look like losers!

    I met friends I kept for years - and a great boyfriend - when I went on an under35's trip to New Zealand - we had a terrific trip and we were all single and lonely and became great mates and had a heap of fun. It was one of the best things I've ever done!

    I think mixed sports sounds a brilliant idea as you can mix with the girls in a shared interest. Aim at just enjoying yourself and making friends. Take the pressure off!

    Good for you for thinking about doing these things. That's a step forward!

    Could you maybe start looking for a snow holiday you can book and have that to aim for?

    The guy who wrote the book I mentioned to you previously has a utube video about himself at 25 - he was quite a mess and had a drinking problem but he later became famous. You don't have to have things all worked out at 25 to have a successful life.

    Take the pressure off if you can, and give yourself some things like a holiday to look forward to!

    Cheers! 🙂👍

    2 people found this helpful
  9. therising
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    9 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Interesting to get Hanna's perspective, especially based on her experience. I imagine she didn't realise, at the time she booked her holiday, that the people she'd meet would become such solid friends. I think that's the thing about friends, you never know exactly where you'll meet them. Personally, I have absolutely no idea where I'll meet friends in the future. Can't hurt to wonder and basically put our self out there and see where it leads.

    I recall someone saying that they believe one of the best books on human relations of all time is 'How To Win Friends and Influence People', by Dale Carnegie. Carnegie produced the book in 1938 and while it's been somewhat revised it still remains a best seller because of the psychology behind it. Personally, I've never read it but the person who spoke of it mentioned how it was one of the most significant influences in their life as a social person and successful business man. Having Googled it, one tip is

    • Become genuinely interested in people. 'You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them, than in two years by making them interested in you'.

    Can't recall whether I ever mentioned the sage like words my son once said to me when he was little. Some years ago we were sitting in the back yard together, him sitting cross legged in some lotus position and with some amusement saying to me 'Ask me any question and I will give you the answer'. I humored him, 'Okay, tell me wise one, how do I become a better person'. He stunned me with 'You already are a better person'. I'd not considered how far I'd come in life up to that point, how my challenges had changed me for the better. Of course, I still had a long way to go, to meet with the person I always imagined I'd be one day. Here I was, having traveled so far from the deeply depressed completely lost self medicating alcohol dependent girl I once was. By this stage, I'd even achieved my #1 goal in life, to meet with a sense of inner peace and inner beauty/self love. This was my ultimate goal, hence having it tattooed in the form of a flower weaved into a peace sign, during my years in depression. I'd been gradually meeting my potential without realising.

    We're always becoming a greater version of our self, which can be far from easy. It can be seriously tough mind altering work. Don't forget how far you've come, from who you used to be.

    Perhaps the ultimate point behind everything we do involves finding out who we're capable of being.

    2 people found this helpful
  10. Hanna3
    Hanna3 avatar
    3589 posts
    9 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi again Daniel and hi The Rising

    Daniel it's great you're talking with The Rising but I think you have to both keep seeing the psychologist and do your best to bump yourself out of this cycle of introspection.

    I was probably nervous when I took myself on that tour of NZ and I ended up having the time of my life. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to try something new and different. Lots of people won't like me recommending Jordan Peterson to you because he's controversial and I will say I don't agree with him about the type of men women are attracted to, but he has a great deal of good advice and his audience is young men in particular, which is why I recommend him to you. He has heaps of utube videos so maybe you can take a look. His book was a huge best seller and I wish I had it to read when I was younger.

    You can do this Daniel. You have a good career so now you can try some new things so you'll have new experiences and new things to talk about, like "hey I've been on this great skiing holiday and met some great people and learnt a new skill and saw new places I haven't been to before" - and then you're making yourself interesting for people to talk to!

    You can do this. Cheers 🙂

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    9 January 2022 in reply to Hanna3

    Hi Hanna

    Thanks for the advice, encouragement and support in both your posts I am very appreciative!

    I have booked in another session with my doctor for when she returns from leave, I will continue to go to talk through some different areas.

    I have 2 separate programs booked for the mixed sport which I did to lock myself in, I would never have booked it in past and I thought about it for a while without booking it because of anxiety so I guess that's a step. Now it is actually going for starters and then not being overcome with nerves or anxiousness and retreat into my head when I am there. That's where going alone makes me very anxious because I tend to use other people I'm with as the icebreakers to make me settle and relax so I feel a bit of pressure to not come across a bit weird because I am coming there on my own and I imagine others would be doing it with friends.

    The snow trip is definitely an aim of mine, just for a weekend as I would like to learn to snowboard. I guess it's very foreign or seems unusual for me to do things on my own and I get a bit uncomfortable about it like I will be judged. I think the groups I have grown up around throughout my teenage and young adult years have shaped this in me as I see a lot of people have big groups of friends they could do things like this with or partners and I only really have ever had a very small number of what I would call true friends and even then there are hard to organise things with.

    Yes I have heard of Jordan Peterson and have watched a few of his videos, he is somewhat controversial and whilst I am the same as you in that I don't agree with everything he says, there are some good messages behind things he says. I will read the book you mentioned!

    Thanks again for your help and support!

  12. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    9 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I guess it's a positive that I am open to doing some of the things I have mentioned and put myself out there in spite of being anxious about it. With meeting new people and being anxious like I said about eventually going to this mixed sport on my own, it may not make a lot of sense but the anxiousness I am feeling is about finding myself in a position where I sort of retreat into my shell and then feel depressed afterwards for doing this. As an extension to this I feel a bit anxious as to what people would think about a guy rocking up there on his own, I know in isolation this isn't a problem but it makes me extremely nervous. I guess the best way to describe it is anxiousness/worry in anticipation that I am going to be judged or that I am going to feel self-conscious and not show who I am. Interestingly it is not necessarily worry that I don't come across as a down to earth guy, it's worry that I won't allow myself to do this because of what I mentioned. Confusing I know haha

    I have this book at home! My brother has read it, I have not yet read it but I think I will this year. My psychologist mentioned this bit of advice as well also in terms of helping me stay in the moment in interactions.

    I think I have mentioned but your son sounds like he has a very good head on his shoulders! That is also a testament to yourself as he would be a product of the lessons and advice you have given him!

    I struggle to see progress in myself at the moment even with the things I am trying to do and I'm probably not great at giving myself a break. I feel it is part of the culture I have been brought up in, not that I would change it for anything because I wouldn't. What I mean the traditions we have are old school and there is a lot of pressure on the ones my age to fit the ideal lifestyle that our parents want for us and had. It is sort of an expectation to move through like its a ladder, for example - go to school, go to uni/get a job, get a girlfriend, get married, have kids. I struggle sometimes with the weight of the pressure as the girlfriend aspect doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon and I get constantly reminded of it therefore I struggle to find time to allow myself to realise any personal development and therefore feels like there is none. I am not sure if that makes sense at all I struggle to explain it without feeling guilt that I am ungrateful for my upbringing.

  13. Hanna3
    Hanna3 avatar
    3589 posts
    9 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I think it's great that you're trying these new things and sure you'll be a bit nervous at first, that's completely normal,but you'll gradually relax as you get to know people.

    The Rising's suggestion of the Dale Carnegie book is a good one as I remember reading it years ago and thought it was excellent. Peterson's video about dealing with social anxiety by focusing on the other person is helpful too. Yes I don't agree with him on many things but his general advice on life and relationships I think is very sound.

    It sounds like you're making a great effort to engage in some new ventures so well done you! I know it's not easy but it gets easier the more you do it.

    Give yourself some credit for what you are achieving so far!

    🙂

  14. Hanna3
    Hanna3 avatar
    3589 posts
    10 January 2022 in reply to Hanna3

    Hi Daniel

    I think covid has made things very difficult for you in terms of social mixing, it has for me too as I moved to a new area just before the pandemic started!

    So here are some random ideas of things that you could do/join to make friends and particularly meet girls. I used to make friends through work and they've been mostly life long friendships but you're unfortunate in that you've mentioned your work colleagues are much older than you, which is a shame. So some ideas for after-work activities, and apologies if you've tried some already: (& I don't know how much covid will still affect them over the next year, let's hope things will improve) :

    Rotaract clubs (these are great)

    Church Fellowship Groups (also good!)

    Toastmasters (also very good)

    Dance school/classes (always short of guys! )

    Buddhist meditation classes (good for over thinking and anxiety & you meet people)

    Cooking classes (I used to meet lovely guys learning to cook)

    Amateur theatre groups (you don't have to act, they need people to help with all sorts of things and I've had great times in these groups)

    Art classes

    Birdwatching group

    Bush walking groups

    Swim club

    Local political group

    Evening classes

    Art painting groups (who often paint outdoors)

    Dog walking groups

    Local CES group or volunteer fire brigade

    St John Ambulance classes

    Language classes (I did Italian, lots of nice young people who often needed it for their work and we used to have meals together for fun and practice)

    I hope these might give you some ideas.

    Good luck 🙂

    2 people found this helpful
  15. therising
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    10 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    You don't sound at all ungrateful for your upbringing. I think we can be very grateful yet still feel some lacking in certain areas. I can relate to this, as I was raised within a good family but there were certain things lacking that could have made life easier. One of the areas lacking involved social development in some ways, which is why social development can be a challenge for me at times. If we, as a family, were very social people I wouldn't feel an ounce of stress or elements of difficulty when it comes to interacting/conversing with new people I meet. I would be used to it. Fact is, I was raised by parents who weren't terribly confident people themselves and who never socialised to the extent some families do.

    As your life begins to take off in different directions, I believe your sense of humor may serve you well on occasion. I imagine you're grateful to have your dad's sense of humor. I think one of the most challenging things to do is not take our self seriously. To develop the ability to make fun of (out) our self in an amusing beneficial way is not a bad thing. It's something that can even break the ice on occasion. By the way, when people are making fun of us and we're not laughing, it's not actually fun. Typically it's degradation we're experiencing. When I think of 'the class clown', they don't care how crazy they look to others, balancing a text book on top of their head while the teacher has their back to the class. They just love using themself to amuse people. They love giving people a laugh, as it creates joy.

    Just say, for example, you take some entertaining soccer skills into the all sports arena. I'll pick volley ball. While something in you may say, before a game starts, 'Do a particular trick with the ball to make people laugh', the challenge would involve following through with that bit of inspiration. Imagine you do follow through and folk laugh. You've then established yourself as 'a fun loving guy', who loves making people laugh. The clown in you makes friends.

    I think there's a part of us that says, in certain challenging social situations, 'This is serious! You can't afford to stuff this up' while there can be another part of us that says 'This is not meant to be so serious. Just relax'. Listening to that part of us that holds the best advice can take a lot of practice. Creating an arena for practice is significant.

    Taking theory and putting it into practice will help determine which strategies work best :)

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    10 January 2022 in reply to therising
    Hi therising

    I can relate to this family aspect that you mention with socialising as well. Not that my parents are antisocial but I would say that by nature particularly my fathers side we are very polite people but more reserved people. I would say my parents stick to the family and probably don’t care to be overly social apart from the family events.

    I think this has definitely spilled over into my adult life as I get anxious going to new events or parties where there is people I don’t know because of a fear of how I will
    be perceived or that the perception of me will be that I’m a weird quiet guy and I won’t be accepted. I admire those who are able no matter whether they are extroverted or introverted to go to such events and not care how they may be perceived or whether they are liked, this has been a hard habit to break free of for me as growing up not feeling truly socially accepted I feel leaves me vulnerable to being anxious about things liked the mixed sport event I signed up for but I need to not let it stop me from going.

    I think you make a great point about the humour and be able to laugh at yourself. I think it comes across endearing mostly. I feel this is probably the best way I have been able to break the ice in the past most likely as I’ve mentioned because I think if there is one thing I might be able to do naturally well I’d use my fathers wit. For myself it’s very much conditioned to the dialogue in my head I believe. What I mean is, I have found when I’m in moments where I’m not particularly thinking overly hard that side of me naturally comes out in my own way without having to be loud or larger than life. When I start having those periods when I’m out somewhere where I’m consumed by thought whilst I’m interacting I either retreat into my shell completely or I try go the other way and fight through it but I feel incredibly uncomfortable and unsatisfied with myself afterwards.

    It sounds really bizarre I’m sure but I feel like I know I’m quiet natured, a little shy but not to a bad extent I think it’s a natural shyness, but often what happens is and I suspect it may happen at this mixed sport night is that in my head I’m saying “say something or you look weird because you’re just listening” or “you have to say something you’re boring”. I don’t want this to happen again that’s what makes me anxious.
  17. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    10 January 2022 in reply to Hanna3
    Hi Hanna

    Thanks for all the suggestions I really appreciate it and you did not have to provide that so you are very kind!

    I had heard about toastmasters, and my sisters wedding is coming March and I was thinking of learning to dance but I have no one to dance with at the wedding. I may still try it though with cooking as well at some point.

    I have been given a job as a coach at my soccer club for the reserve team as I had to stop playing due to an injury which might help me break out of my shell potentially.

    Thanks again and hope you are well

    Daniel
  18. therising
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    2710 posts
    11 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    It can be hard to channel the conversationalist in us at times, depending on a variety of circumstances such as if we're tired, disinterested, fearful, low in self-esteem, not practiced in channeling this aspect of us etc. I think the conversationalist in us tends to come to life more so when there's a 'hook', when something hooks our interest. Then that's something we can run with. An example of a hook, for you, could involve someone saying to me 'Do you like soccer?', to which my response would be 'While I admire those who play, I really don't know much about it to tell you the truth'. If you were present, the conversationalist in you may suddenly come to life with 'What would you like to know about it?', based on your experience. The challenge can sometimes involve letting the conversationalist in us come to life and not push it back down out of fear. Fear might involve 'I fear she will think I'm a know-it-all when it comes to soccer' or 'I fear she'll be bored by what I say'. For some, they fear an entire group of people looking at them, all at the same time. For someone who fears a lot of attention, this can be a major challenge.

    How to keep a conversation going is a tough challenge. If someone says 'Oh, soccer doesn't really interest me', the natural conversationalist in you might then ask 'What are some of your interests?'. It's always much easier if someone picks an interest you want to know more about or have always been curious about. Getting others to talk about their passions means they'll carry most of the conversation. People typically love talking about their passion/s. For some, you just can't stop them :) I smile when I think of the conversationalist in me who may say at times 'Okay, enough of the 20 questions, it looks like you're grilling that person for information' :) You might have noticed elderly people have that 20 questions thing going. They may meet a complete stranger and before you know it, they've discovered what suburb that person lives in, what their passions are and how many kids they have. I think the conversationalist comes to life more over time.

    Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a listener in some cases. I've had people say to me before 'You don't say much', to which my response has been 'You people are thoroughly amusing/fascinating. I can't help but listen'. Adding a smile to such a response can lead us to be welcomed into a group, in the process of coming to know them better.

    2 people found this helpful
  19. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    11 January 2022 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    Thinking about what you said about the conversationalist within us, it’s definitely learning to ignore the fear like you mentioned that I have struggled managing. It’s more so before I even open my mouth, once I may start I usually fumble my way through it if it’s with people I’m unfamiliar with. I admire your skill to ask all different types of questions to people and trigger thought which you have been able to do with me and I know you would be thoroughly engaging to speak with just by our conversations on this forum!


    I have to admit that I am more introverted by nature but I believe I am an introverted extrovert. I would say my default setting is to listen first, speak later but I always try to be polite. If I think about it further and the internal dialogue I’ve mentioned to you that plays in my head in these situations is centred around anxiousness of how I will be perceived. This comes from when I was a kid at school as well, at some point I started this pattern of worry about if I was to be myself how I would be perceived. Ive particularly struggled with this in my young adult life because I feel immense pressure to fit a certain mould of person because of the group I grew up around.


    I guess I feel that the listening first type of persona just makes me fundamentally underwhelming to speak to so when I do talk people aren’t that interested. I don’t feel that I am a particularly interesting or engaging person as I can sense people divert attention when I talk. I struggle to see redeeming features in myself socially a lot of the time and what would be attractive to a potential partner.


    The mixed sport is a perfect example of where I’ll feel I’ll be anxious about coming across weird as I am on my own, the tape has already started playing :I
    The other situation is potentially meeting my friends girlfriends friend (mouthful haha) as he said I probably would get along. The anxiousness associated with this is the pressure to be interesting or likeable to this person and then trying to allow myself to relax but I fear I’ll just make a mess of it.


    Thanks again for continuing to persist with me and reply despite the circles I go in haha I am very appreciative!
    1 person found this helpful
  20. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2710 posts
    12 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Don't sweat the going around in circles stuff. I do it myself, quite often. You could see as a loop the loop thing until things begin to become a little more 'straight forward'. It's like revelations can be coming in here and there while you're going around in circles and gradually the revelations start to set you straight at some point. I might have mentioned it before, how it's kind of like going 'round in circle as you're graduating upward at the same time. Things become a little more clearer each time we circle around. Things have already become clearer to you. You know when the social challenges started (in school), you know how they started (the process of looking for acceptance/trying to fit in) and you know how they feel to some degree. They feel anxiety inducing/stressful. You're even more conscious of some of the triggers. You know this much so far and that's progress. You're becoming more conscious as you're going around. I know, hard to maintain faith in the process of becoming more conscious when it feels like you're not really getting anywhere.

    Easier said than done but try not to predict or plan how things are going to go with this girl. She could end up being someone who vibes on exactly the same level as you. She might be someone who relates to similar challenges and perspectives in life. It will be interesting to see.

    I've found, sometimes being honest with people can be a bit of an ice breaker. We could find our self in a room full of strangers, honestly admitting to the person beside us 'To tell you the truth, this feels a little stressful. I'm not used to coming to these kinds of events on my own'. Sometimes that person beside you may admit the same thing or perhaps say 'I used to feel that way myself until I looked at it this way...'. So, we can pick up a new tip on how to manage such an occasion. Strange when you think about it but we're not really encouraged to be so honest. More than anything we're told to keep our thoughts to our self and 'act tough' or confident. It can be a real challenge to be openly honest about how we're feeling.

    Keep your mind open to revelations. They come in for good reason. Inspiring revelations take you in a particular direction. An open mind is key.

    :)

    2 people found this helpful
  21. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    12 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I guess it is some sort of progress recognising some of the thoughts/causes/feelings you mentioned instead of suppressing it and trying to carry on due to outside pressures to be a certain way or to be at a certain stage of my life. May be strange but I think one thing that is helping me at the moment is I have taken a step back from things like social media and dating apps. I still have them but I do not feel like I am getting stuck in a rabbit hole, for example scrolling through social media only to feel bad about myself because I see others with what looks like masses of friends or a partner and then that starts the spiral of my thoughts.

    I agree with your advice in regards to this girl and that is exactly my fear that I will put too much pressure on myself in my head to come across likeable and allow nerves/anxiety to get the better of me and not shown my relaxed self. Part of it comes from the fact I mentioned to my friend of my struggles to find someone and then the idea of meeting this person was brought up. It has just been spoken about between me and my friend as he wants to give me a chance to meet her without any label on it like "blind date" or something like that so I think it'll be in a group which I guess is good but I also fade into the background a lot in groups. Whilst I am definitely open minded to meeting someone new and if my friend thinks we may get along then why not but with that I feel pressure as if I can't make something happen I will have wasted another opportunity. I know this is a bad way to think I just don't have a great strategy in place at the moment to combat it. The current COVID spread has delayed this meeting which in a way is good as it buys me time sort myself out before it might happen but also leaves me pondering too much over it as well. Does it make sense what I am describing?

    I like your advice about being honest and I honestly thought the same thing when I pondered over the mixed sports classes in a few weeks time. Maybe an ice breaker can be to tell people I have never done this before (mixed sport I mean) or ask whether they have played at this event before? I fighting the urges I usually get to cancel it as I want to force myself to do it as I'm hoping the benefits I can gain from might outweigh the anxiety I will go through in the lead up, so I am trying to practice being open minded as you say probably in my own confused way though haha:)

  22. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2710 posts
    13 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    That's definitely progress, recognising social media and online dating as triggers. I have a poop load of triggers in life and I always feel a sense of progress each time I identify a new one. I know this makes me sound a bit neurotic but it's not all that intense. From knowing exactly how many coffees it takes to upset my nervous system through to the mere mention of a particular person's name (someone who leads me to feel a lot of stress) through to key phrases that trigger me, such as 'You're too sensitive, you need to toughen up', I have a variety of triggers. That last one's a big trigger for me but one I've gradually come to manage well. It's a phrase that used to trigger me to feeling really down and beating myself up. Nowadays, it triggers me to respond with something along the lines of 'I think your insensitivity is the real problem here'. I've come to realise each trigger tells me a little more about who I naturally am and what I can and can't tolerate.

    Sounds like your friend has thought of the best way to manage you meeting this girl. No pressure, just a laid back get together of friends. Can understand the frustration, with the time to think between now and when you meet. While the extra time to think can be a good thing, it can also be a not so good thing. I suppose it all depends on how you think. Not sure if the combo of thinking/feeling might be of some help. It's kind of like 'I'm going to feel my thoughts, to see which are the right ones'. This is one of the benefits to being sensitive to your own thoughts, you can feel them. Might pay to take notes as you practice this exercise. A handful of thoughts, for example

    • 'She's going to think I'm boring'. If this one leads you to feel what 'down' feels like, it's the wrong thought
    • 'I'll throw an occasional smile her way throughout conversation, so she knows I'm a generally happy person'. If this thought leads you to feel what 'lightheartedness' feels like, then it's the right thought
    • 'I'll go out to buy a new shirt for the occasion'. If this one leads you to feel 'optimism', it's a good thought
    • How does the thought 'I'm going to predict the outcome based on past experience' feel?

    You might have a hundred thoughts. See which ones feel 'high' or 'light' and which ones feel 'low' or 'dark'. I know it may sound a bit strange but you might find that when you eventually meet her, you meet her on a high with a kind of lightheartedness about you, based on you gathering specific thoughts.

    2 people found this helpful
  23. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    13 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    You don't sound neurotic at all, that phrase "you're too sensitive, you need to toughen up" is a big trigger for me too. Change the word sensitive to nice and there's my biggest trigger. I've always been conditioned to thinking the word "nice" is bad because it's often followed by a "but" in a dating sense in particular. Makes you feel that to be a nice guy is the wrong way to be or that it lacks character. I personally think being sensitive is as asset, there is such thing as being "too sensitive" but I think people who use these phrase to someone often lack compassion and emotional intelligence. Being sensitive is a bonus in my opinion as you can be sensitive to your own needs/wants/challenges etc but also to other people's needs and the way they act. I think it is a skill to be sensitive and in today's world the phrase "toughen up" is out dated. I think there's more strength and character to being sensitive. Probably does not make much sense I guess I just wanted to explain how I try to think of it when someone says a phrase like that, that sometimes helps.

    I think that's good advice, I have been trying tell myself not to preempt the situation or how I may come across like you mentioned previously. I guess I am anxious to actually meet them because it's a different scenario to what I am used to, a lot of search for a partner if you can call it that has happened through online dating and the like which I feel immediately pressures the situation whereas this situation is something different which may be beneficial. I am just trying not to let my hope for something to happen over pressure me if that makes sense, I find it hard to manage.

    Also I wanted to ask, and feel free if you are not comfortable answering as that is not my intention, but when you say you got out of your depression was it a certain moment/event that sort of flipped it for you or was it a slow process. When did you feel you were "out" of it or coming out the other side? Whilst I feel there is some progress I still feel like I'm stuck a bit in like a state of confusion as to where I am at with my life and I feel pressure not to feel this way. I don't know what I should do about this just feel a bit confused about this feeling and I guess lacking in fait that I'll get out of this rollercoaster.

  24. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2710 posts
    14 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I agree with you, there is so much to being sensitive, so many incredible skills and abilities to be developed through sensitivity. That phrase 'toughen up' is outdated, you're right. Given the amount of sensitive people in this world, I think the insensitive are finally outnumbered. We can see such sensitivity in the number of people in this world who are able to easily sense what's depressing and what's stress or anxiety inducing. The amount of people who rally against some injustice these days is impressive. They easily sense injustice and outdated systems and mindsets that don't support those who need and deserve support. The amount of people who are sensitive to the direction the earth is heading in is beginning to change things on a global scale. So many examples of sensitivity. This is one of the up sides of social media and other forums constructed for the sake of progress. Places for sensitive people to come together is something valuable.

    My journey out of depression was triggered very suddenly. It was like a switch suddenly flicked. The trigger happened in post natal depression group therapy, not long after having my 2nd child. This was at the end of 15 or so years of being in a depression. By that stage, I'd given up all hope of ever coming out of it, so you can imagine my surprise and elation. I recall everyone in the group being asked for words that they felt best described them. The facilitator of the group wrote the words on a whiteboard. Words such as angry, sad, frustrated, lazy, control freak, resentful, pathetic, hopeless and so on began to accumulate on the board. I recall thinking 'All these words describe me perfectly'. How could that be, that we all had the same traits? And then it hit. These are not my traits, these are the traits of depression, the traits of the monkey on your back you could say. If these are the traits of depression itself, who am I without depression? The switch flicked with the revelation 'I have absolutely no idea who I am'. I always thought I knew who I was, based on a lot of accumulated beliefs. Who was I without all those beliefs? You could say it was a moment that suddenly wiped the slate clean.

    Based on my experience, I'd recommend anyone who comes out of depression so suddenly seek guidance. Many who've been through such a sudden shift describe it as 'the moment the mind fully opens' and there are some serious challenges that come with this. Opening the mind gradually is far less intense :)

    1 person found this helpful
  25. Flower Earth angel
    Flower Earth angel avatar
    73 posts
    14 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    can i pray for you

    ?

    In Christian love

    Christine

  26. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    14 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    That would of been a very powerful moment I feel even if not immediately recognisable and I am really glad you had this moment and got through what would of been a hugely challenging time, you should be proud of yourself and who you are!

    I have never really considered it that way until you mentioned it now. Thinking of it now I have definitely defined myself with these "depression traits" particularly throughout my adult life so far and along the way I have just accepted that is who I am and that I am ruled by these emotions as I have really struggled to manage them. The other element to that for me is pressure I feel to shake myself out of it and just do as people say and enjoy and relax but for whatever reason I have struggled to do this for a long time that I am almost conditioned to the opposite. I do struggle with this quite internally, I have always had the ability to "function" in spite of feeling this way which sort of gives people the impression I have no reason to feel a certain way if I ever try to bring it up. I do realise I have at least a couple things going for me but it seems a bit futile when I just feel fundamentally down and lonely.

    One thing I do know for certain is speaking with you on here has woken me up and made me better understand the question of who exactly I am as a person and what makes me who I am in spite of feeling how I have described. Each bit of the advice you have given and different posts you have written has gradually set in on me and I thank you for so much for it because even if I feel at times in that hopeless position I have often gone back and read some of your posts and words of advice and it has allowed me to better understand what I am going through and how I can reframe and tackle the issue.

    I know I may be stubborn to talk with as I feel things take a while to sink into me, I have even mentioned it to my doctor, but I try my best. I guess I go into these down periods because I struggle to find an answer for it much of the time its like I just fall off a cliff for a week right when I was feeling like progress was being made. It just tires me mentally and I feel it doesn't allow me to actually enjoy the good periods because I'm on edge about going down. My father said once sometimes I look too much for a reason why instead of moving forward.

    I'm just anxious at the moment that these ups and then huge downs are going to plague my life when I don't want to go through this anymore its exhuasting

  27. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    14 January 2022 in reply to Flower Earth angel

    Hi Christine

    Thanks a lot for your kind words

    Daniel

  28. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2710 posts
    14 January 2022 in reply to Daniel12

    You're such a genuinely beautiful thoughtful person, which is one of the reasons it's such a pleasure to chat with you Daniel.

    It was interesting in a lot of different ways, the months that followed coming out of my depression. As mentioned, at first it was like my mind just suddenly opened and the world was so incredibly different. Like a little kid, even the simplest things amazed me, including the realisation of how my name wasn't really me, in a way. I'd been answering to it for decades by that stage and in fact it was simply a word my parents picked for me, this little baby who came into the world. Then that's what everyone started calling me. I could go off tomorrow and legally change it and that wouldn't change who I am, as far as I'm concerned. People can identify me any way they choose, based on a name, the way I look, speak, think etc. How others identify me doesn't change who I truly am, deep down. Sure, I can be influenced by what some people say on occasion and that's okay, as long as I return/turn again to the me I best relate to, the me I've gradually come to love. The down moments can be the moments where I kind of forget myself. The up moments are the ones where I remember the me I love and accept.

    The months that followed coming out of depression kind of showed me how life changed when I was little. While people around me were somewhat uncomfortable with fact I'd changed so much beyond depression, they never fully realised that what they'd begun to do was change me back. Gradually, bit by bit, I gave in to what made others happy and I forgot myself again, like when we're little and people convince us of the 'best' way to be in this world. I was blessed to have met an amazing guide in my life. He stopped me from returning to depression.

    Just about all of us start off sensitive and open minded. A child's mind is incredibly fertile ground. You can lead a child to believe in just about anything. They're amazing little people. You could convince a 3yo you're a unicorn in disguise; the second you take your horn off you change into human form. If you tell them you keep your horn in the wardrobe, you can be guaranteed they'll go looking for this imaginary horn at some point :)

    In my opinion, 2 of the most depressing things in life are - to lose an open mind and forget who you really are. Re-membering yourself is putting yourself back together. Go back far enough and you remember this amazing person who is you, before you became someone else.

    1 person found this helpful
  29. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • China
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    james1 avatar
    3038 posts
    14 January 2022 in reply to therising

    That's a really fantastic story and journey of coming out of depression therising. It sounds like you got a lot out of just thinking about who you really were, and started to look at the world and yourself quite differently. Thanks for sharing :) And i totally agree that a child's mind is fantastic. I really love it when adults also have that imagination, like authors of children's books. I think it's really healthy for our minds to be able to see wonder in the world.

    Daniel12, you really described well a feeling I've felt previously, and heard many others here describe as well, when you mentioned the anxiety and exhaustion from the ups and downs. You're absolutely spot on - it's really tough to enjoy the good periods when you're just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I don't know if the frequency of bad things ever reduces - in some part, I guess we do roll the dice a bit in life - but one of the fantastic things I've seen in this chat you're having with therising is a desire to connect with other people, and to connect with ourselves. I really think that this connection with others and ourselves is what makes it easier to enjoy the good periods and learn to trust that things will be okay even if bad things happen.

  30. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    215 posts
    15 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Thanks for your kind words, do not underestimate the profound impact you have on me with your advice!

    I think you made a great point about how when we are kids we can be convinced of things quite easily. I think I am conditioned or have been conditioned to sort of expect my life to run a linear path. Now, this is not to say my parents did not guide me down the correct paths because they have. It's a bit hard to explain but my Italian culture is one that theres a lot of pressure particularly on young males to get the right job not necessarily follow a dream and then to find a partner so we can have a family. The sentiment from my parents has always been the right one but its a sort of unspoken pressure that even when people say "it will happen when it happens no pressure from us" there's still this huge pressure to build this life.

    At the moment I feel like I can't even tell if I have improved even 1% with trying work myself out, instead I feel there has been none because I always crash land into periods like this when I'm just lost. I feel overwhelming pressure to be "ok" because I have a good job, no real ailments that restrict my life significantly but yet I don't feel ok. I feel like my relationships or lack there of define who I am and I have worked hard to try and figure myself out but I'm just looking at it at the moment and I feel a bit all over the place. I'll have moments where I am seem to be fine and then I suddenly turn as I have mentioned.

    The pressures which I mentioned above weigh heavily on me and I feel I'm fighting this internal/deeper battle on my own whilst trying to manage/satisfy these pressures. I have moments of deep aloneness where I really believe it defines who I am, someone who wants to genuinely connect with people but will never find their place.

    I feel like I am ruled by societal pressures as well for a guy my age and the group I have grown up around I feel I'm lacking in any sort of attraction as a person and I fall short of what I should be doing. Like I see a lot of people my age around the summer going out with groups of friends and enjoying themselves and I spend most of my time doing my own stuff and I have never had a group where I belong. Probably seems a bit all over the place again I just feel like I'm lost again and I'll never find my way fully out of this.

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