Now that her dream has come true....
dumped me I was suicidal for about 3 months, had plans everything, but sought
professional help and by around August/September last year was largely back to
being OK with things.
So today I found out (accidentally/unintentionally) that she
has finally gotten a job in her dream career, and is with someone else. I didn’t want/ask for details.
It’s left me despairing, yet enraged....thinking what have I
achieved in that time...nothing...all I have is a litany of rejections and
failure to look back on over the last year... I feel cheated out of what should’ve
been mine, I’ve gotten no rewards for any of my efforts (a reward only counts
if you value it). To have struggled for
so long, and felled so easily....And then what kind of person does that make
me, that I hate the fact she’s moved on with her life successfully...”the more I
see pleasures about me, so much more I feel torment within me”....am I selfish/ungrateful
for thinking thus, for looking on others happiness with bitter envy...seeking
my own yet always failing and so despising others even more?
I have really no one to talk to about things like this
anymore, being angry over others good fortune and self-pity is not endearing
but it is how I feel - has anyone here had a similar feeling/situation? Any
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Well done for sharing/venting your feelings via this forums. Unloading the overload is therapeutic in itself. A wise decision.
It sounds like news of your ex girlfriend's success has triggered another wave of depression. Waves are only movement on the surface of the ocean, not the ocean itself. They do pass, calmer waters return.
Society and the system that regulates it imposes on us specific standards of success. However, we are all unique individuals, in different situations and at different phases of our life. It follows that standards for success and achievement are not a one size fits all condition. Many great minds, responsible for significant discoveries and breakthroughs were notoriously considered socially inadequate, even mentally unstable by their peer. We all have our talents and flaws, some unsuspected, some obvious.
So comparing ourselves to others is unhelpful, even harmful. Their perceived success accentuates our distress. The differences between them and ourselves seem unfair. So resentment sets in and makes us feel inadequate and undeserving.
You are the one who matters here. Depression makes us self-centered because our pain and anguish become all consuming. It leaves no space for anything or anyone else. It is an illness that dictates how we feel. It is something happening to us, not caused by us due to some weakness of character. Accepting it as such doesn't come easy but it does away with the belief that we are in some way responsible. You are NOT a bad person. It is just that depression hides your beautiful side as it does for everything.
Acceptance is a major step towards recovery. With the right help, support and persistence, it is achievable.Having traveled this long road myself, I can tell you that it gave me more sense of success and pride than any academic, professional or social achievement could ever have done. Many of us are profoundly unhappy in spite of those and -as you know- the most loving relationship can easily turn into its opposite. Happiness can never be a permanent state.
Please do not underestimate yourself and criticize yourself so harshly. You are doing it tough and deserve kindness and respect. Yours to start with...
Thanks for your reply.
I totally understand your points about comparing oneself to other / societies expectations....I guess the problem is that I have failed to achieve even the modest (with regard to social anxiety issues) goals I set myself toward the end of the last depressive episode, in spite of all my efforts...it is highly demoralizing and makes me question why I should bother continuing to make the effort.
“So resentment sets in and makes us feel inadequate and
undeserving.” I think in a sense I have the opposite problem, I feel like I deserve far more, i.e. a sense of entitlement, that all my efforts should get me at least something...my parents always emphasized that if you work hard you get rewarded and in spite of evidence to the contrary I still subconsciously believe it.
I will consider your point that I should not criticize myself etc. perhaps I should transcend concepts of being a good and bad person and proudly accept that I am, to be completely honest with myself an envious, self-entitled person.
Thanks for providing more insight into your situation.
You write that you have not achieved the goals you had set for yourself and -as a result- you feel that you have failed. We often set the bar way too high for ourselves. This may also have roots in childhood when our parents/educators expectations become imprinted on the mind. De-programing doesn't come easy.
Depression operates outside society's rules. For those affected, they become invalid. This explains in part why social isolation is its by-product. Acceptance of the fact doesn't mean giving up. At first, it is all about setting goals we know we can achieve if we make the effort. It is all about accepting the limitations imposed on us by the condition (just like diabetic people must do, for example) and taking baby steps. In time, they accumulate into significant progress. It is true that this slow progress, these small victories don't mean much for the community at large but -because life with depression has its own set of rules- they are meaningful to us and each should be acknowledged and celebrated.They are important.
Proudly accepting yourself as being an envious, self-entitled person cannot be the answer because this is not who you are. Your frustration at perceiving yourself as such proves it. Accepting that it is how depression makes you feel would be a more reasonable start. Feeling angry at a perceived handicap is legitimate, though unhelpful in the long term. No situation can be managed successfully unless we accept if for what it is and learn to work with it instead of raging against it. Befriending the enemy so to speak...
Depression is a shape-shifting deceiver. Learning not to be caught in its web of illusions is a journey unknown to those who live without it. It makes us different, kind of special. A bit like adventurers traveling through unchartered territory on a journey of self discovery. A different, more useful perspective...
You are intelligent, articulate and courageous enough to reach out and open up. You are living with a difficult condition. All good reasons to appreciate yourself and treat yourself with the respect and consideration that you deserve... A huge step forward in the right direction.
Considering your word, I spent much of the last week “bound
and fix'd in fettered solitude, /To pine, the prey of every changing mood;/ To
gaze on thine own heart—and meditate /Irrevocable faults—and coming fate”
I think the crux is, I’ve been working with this depression, doing all the things I can to keep it from getting worse for so long now...yet that is all that I can manage, keep it from getting worse, it gets no better and there is nothing left over to actually achieve anything else I want to...basically treading water. There is no real progress at all just...survival...and when put into the contrast of what another person has done in the same time...
When my goals are just to a) find something I actually look forward to in life and b) find someone whose company is actually mutually enjoyable, I’m not sure how much lower my goals can be, or less my progress. But with consideration to your points I suppose if bare survival is the best I can manage then for now I suppose that is the fate I must accept.
Thanks for sharing your feelings.
You have made a very good point...in unfavorable circumstances , survival is a major achievement. It is the best place to start, a very important one. Without it, nothing is possible.
Depression takes joy and purpose out of Life. To look forward to something, there must be hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is always there but mental illness throws tight curves and steep inclines on the road that hide it from us. Forward progress is not easy when fumbling in the dark and treading mire. The more we struggle, the deeper we dig ourselves in. Exhaustion sets in.
This is why calm acceptance is so helpful. It allows us to reclaim inner peace and composure. Strength can then slowly build up so that the first tiny step can be taken. Most of us see being proactive as necessarily involving a somewhat aggressive approach. So we wage a hopeless war against the firmly entrenched perceived enemy. And we rage against ourselves for getting nowhere. Precious energy goes to waste.
I once found myself in the long term position of seeing no point in getting out of bed... a bad case of battle fatigue. A change of perspective led me to understand that the only way to combat negativity was to stop struggling against it and start focusing on taking slow, positive steps. Marching into war against our inner problems only serves to imprint their impact deeper into the mind. A bit like giving poor behaviour undeserved publicity. Sometimes, retreat is the wisest approach towards future victory.
Unfortunately, finding mutually enjoyable company is impossible as long as we don't enjoy our own. Finding peace of mind and achieving emotional well being cannot rely on an outside source. It is true that it can temporarily make us feel better but it doesn't fix depression. It only involves another person in our personal drama so further complicates the issue in the long term.
Meanwhile...Have you tried journaling / writing ? It helps clarify our thoughts to ourselves. Casting them out in front of us gives a less emotionally involved perspective and so a different insight. It also allows venting when there's no one around to listen. Could it be a helpful way to use your obvious writing talent ?
Survival may be some achievement...yet surviving today only for the sake of surviving tomorrow is an ambiguous feat.
Emotional wellbeing and peace of mind does - based on my
research and experience - largely depend on outside sources, the Deakin University Australia Wellbeing Index research determined the ‘golden’ triangle of happiness includes strong personal relationships (clearly external, with
marriage/de facto best for wellbeing) financial control (majority external due to economic influence/industry collapse issues) and sense of purpose – no element being sufficient in isolation hence my two goals....and surely when you are unhappy with your own company is when you need another person and their validation the most...without which you just cycle in rejection and loneliness that makes you need others more and others want you less...
“A change of perspective led me to understand that the only
way to combat negativity was to stop struggling against it and start focusing on taking slow, positive steps” So basically when your enemy is too powerful to defeat the only path to victory is to deny it battle, that can be an effective strategy...yet what other perspective is there, I know what I want, do what I can to get it, yet it is still not gained....no change of perspective can make someone dehydrated any less thirsty...
A counsellor I had suggested journaling, I wrote what might be called a 2000 page portrait of myself over the next 8 months, all my thoughts laid out indeed, and when I looked back upon it, it was filled with hate, despair and regret. I wrote about
my life gone past, and how it’s done me wrong, and look at it going forward and worried the best days are gone....long gone.
Thanks for your feedback.
Basing our well-being on outside sources is not helpful. As we all know, relationships come to an end, people are made redundant, illness may strike, loss and accidents happen to all of us etc...If we have inner resilience, those changes in our external circumstances will only throw us off balance temporarily. If inner resources are deficient, we have trouble getting over the hurdles and moving on. I agree that many of us generally rely on external factors or other people for happiness. Statistics unfortunately prove that those are prone to change...not always in a positive direction. When all is well, yes those factors contribute to making us feel good. It doesn't make them reliable. Nurturing and cultivating inner strength will give us a better chance to weather the storms of Life. We can rely on it at all times and in any circumstances.
What we are talking about is mental/emotional unrest or turmoil...not a basic physical need like hunger or thirst. Being of a different nature, they of course require a different approach.
I hope this clarifies my trend of thought.
As example, I live alone in an isolated area and in primitive, often harsh conditions. External events and relationships once made my life extremely difficult. They failed me, like they fail so many of us (navigating these forums clearly highlights the evidence). So much so that it could easily have been the end of me. I have limited contact with the outer world and no urge to climb the social ladder. But I live a useful life and feel content because I have inner peace.