FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

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

Daniel12
Community Member

Hello there I don’t usually do anything like this but I wanted to see if anyone has any advice for me. I am a 25 yr old who on the surface should have everything under control as I have a good job, good family yet I increasingly feel like I don’t know what makes me who I am and often feel down and flat when trying to find answers. I know people have much more reason to be depressed than someone like myself but I just constantly felt flat and lost searching for how I am supposed to be and what makes me who I am.
I have been trying to find a partner which has been the source of countless rejection which is all part of it I know but often I’m left feeling like I’m quite a boring person with nothing really that interesting to tell anyone and I am confused as to how to act

I’m usually a quiet natured person but I feel this incredible pressure that I can’t be like that and I am confused as to where I am at with my life

it is difficult for me to put into words I guess it’s just a lost type of feeling of what my place is and who I am and I thought at 25 I might have an idea of this

I know my post hasn’t given a great deal to go off but if anyone has experienced similar at my age I’d be glad to hear what approach you took

thanks

532 Replies 532

Daniel12
Community Member

Hi Hanna

You are correct there were some differences but they were just in terms of small things we had done differently in past but weren't too bad in the end and we both thought they'd be easily handled as we had already being doing that anyway. I think the moving away factor is probably what did it because it was sorting of looming in the background, I wasn't sure how to navigate it and neither did she at the stage we were at, but I hope she liked me even slightly in the end anyway.

You are right, the psychologist has been discussing with me how to not take a thought and run with it down a rabbit hole that makes me feel even more depressed.

I'll definitely need her help and will discuss some of the relaxation techniques you've mentioned. I tried meditation in the past and at different times but my focus has been all over the shop and probably need some guidance on how to do it properly also.

Hi therising

I think I need to, with help from the psychologist and those around me, understand who I am better and develop some comfort in who I am in relation to what you say because at the moment there is none of it at all and hasn't been for a very long time even if I have been able to manage it better in the past.

I let different aspects of myself get way out of control for sure, for example the anxious side has filled me with regret that I haven't backed myself to feel comfortable in myself to trust myself to be "normal" around others and in relationships, some people say the anxiousness in relationships is probably because that person isn't the right person and you know it deep down but I don't feel that way. I feel that it's just me, it's part of who I am to be fearful to let myself fully go and not doubt who I am or what I can offer.

I've retreated inside myself more and more and I don't feel like even trying to get out of myself anymore, i really do see no light at the end of the tunnel at the end of the tunnel at the moment.

Not sure if you had similar experiences but I constantly feel like I am getting the life sucked out of me, like a balloon deflating. Any little thing triggers this as well at the moment and I actually feel a physical unwillingness to get out of it, like mentally I want to try and pep myself up but physically I can't do it. Feels like event attempting it is like moving a mountain at the moment.

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Daniel

Yesterday I was led to contemplate what I'm addicted to. There was a bit of a list, which included cigarettes and the kind of food an emotional eater eats. While I've become more conscious of the need to rid myself of these things, I'd neglected the 3 things I'm addicted to more than anything else - a sense of safety, a sense of comfort and a sense of peace. I'd never thought about this until yesterday, this addiction and how much of a problem it poses in my life. It gets in the way of me developing my ability to better navigate and manage a sense of insecurity and discomfort. I'm wondering if you can relate in some way.

I realised cravings for safety, comfort and peace are what stop me from experiencing the things beyond what feels safe, comfortable and peaceful, to a degree. I feel safety and comfort in interacting with the people I know best, which stops me from going out with others on occasion. I feel safety and comfort staying in the house I'm living in, which stops me from making solid plans to move out with my kids, now that I've made it clear to my husband I no longer wish for us to live together. I more so enjoy the deluded sense of peace smoking and emotional eating offer, which stops me from working through the discomfort that comes with initially detaching from them. Of course, long term, the smoking and eating will cause the kind of diseases that lead me to feel far from peaceful and comfortable. The list goes on with the things I avoid just so I can feel a hit of relief, safety, comfort and peace. You know that feeling you get when you're asked to go out and, after some degree a tormenting back and forth, you finally decide you're not going. Letting yourself off the hook kinda feels like a hit. It relaxes your whole body into a sense of relief/peace, until that 'I really should have gone' dialogue within yourself starts up.

Of course, it's perfectly natural to want to feel safe, comfortable and peaceful. We're built to feel these feelings and even thrive on them but when these feelings start to get in the way of progress, you know there's something wrong.

Perhaps the challenge comes down to exercising finding a sense of safety, comfort and peace within situations that feel uncomfortable and confronting. While 'playing it safe', 'keeping the peace' and maintaining comfort can be constructive, these things can also be incredibly nonconstructive in a lot of ways.

Hi therising

Sorry for not getting back to you earlier it’s been a whirlwind week, just feel like I’ve had very little effort to even drag myself out of bed feels like my spirit so to speak is so low it’s hard to really move past any of it.

In regards to what you said, I can actually relate quite a fair bit to that. I have been thinking (probably way too much) about past experiences and what you sort of mentioned is a common theme. For me it’s a case of holding myself back because I’m a afraid of being ultimately rejected which probably stems from severe self esteem issues, so I’m effect my comfort and peace comes from holding back and not showing that extra 10-20% of myself so as not to be exposed. Does that make sense at all?

I completely relate to that kind of “hit” feeling when you eventually say no to going out or it gets cancelled etc. It feels like a huge relief to me, one because I don’t need to go and then feel like everyone around me is better than me or more relaxed and fun and two it eliminates my fear of being judged so I’m comfortable in staying home even though staying home means also feeling this dark depression.

I don’t know if you can relate or whether this sounds silly but it feels like at the moment if I go out, whether that’s to the office for work or out on weekend, it slowly makes me feel worse because I feel like I’m reminded by people around (not by what they say but just observing everyone) how bad I am and how unflattering or not relaxed as a person I am. Then on the flip side of that if I stay home I can’t escape from feeling like I’m in a bottomless pit of depression and constantly replaying past events in my head or negative dialogue as you’ve mentioned before, is this normal? I can’t even function anywhere properly it feels.

The only small respite I am getting is from reading at the moment, which I picked up more recently to try and escape my head. It works most of the time but sometimes I read a chapter and I don’t even know what I’ve read because I haven’t actually absorbed any of it.

Coaching at soccer was helping but it’s really becoming an effort because I actively try to boost myself up so I have some energy in front of the team but then as soon as I get in the car to go home I crash back down and even further than I was at before I went to training.

I hope you are going well yourself and thanks again for your ongoing support even if it’s like talking that brick wall haha

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi Daniel,

It sounds like your inner voice is chattering to you in a quite toxic way. Perhaps you could try listening to utube videos such as "What to do if your inner voice is cruel" (channel Big Think). When you find yourself thinking dark, critical things about yourself, could you try asking yourself Are these thoughts helpful to me? - and if not, change them to thoughts that might be helpful to you.

Maybe you could think where this critical inner voice comes from - what experiences or people might have caused it to start? When did you start to think badly about yourself? I find this kind of reflection often helps me identify where feelings of being inadequate or anxious come from.

I recently had a friend decline an invitation out by me. At first I felt rejected by her (a common feeling for me, and one I know I have to think carefully about when it happens). I couldn't find any reason why this person would suddenly not want to be with me. It later turned out, after talking to her, that she suffers from severe social anxiety and couldn't cope with a crowded cafe, so we agreed to meet for a take away coffee outdoors.

So carefully noting my feelings of rejection, stopping them, and carefully enquiring of my friend why we couldn't meet up.. led to an understanding for me that her refusing had nothing to do with me - and we found a solution - meeting outdoors. When you feel you are not coming across well in a group setting, maybe it's helpful to remember that people are not focusing on you, they are more interested in themselves? Can you try to appreciate your are the type who prefers to listen carefully and only speak when there is a real need?

There might be some helpful books in your local library, if you belong to one - or try a bookstore? You mention reading can be helpful. Good on you for continuing with the soccer coaching too, even if it's tough at the moment - it's good to have a routine and something where you have to "get out of yourself" and concentrate on the other people for a while.

I sincerely hope things pick up for you soon!

Hanna3
Community Member

Daniel, on that video he talks about the importance of rituals to help calm down your inner critic - by creating order around you, you feel calmer. He talks about a famous tennis player who performs small rituals with his drink bottles in between sets to help quieten the voices in his head.

It makes sense to me, ever since I've been into decluttering my home I've observed how much calmer the house seems. I also always have a quiet period and a carefully made brew of tea in the evenings, it's very soothing.

I wonder if there's a calming ritual you could think of to do just for yourself?

🙂

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Daniel

Can relate to what you say about the challenge of going out. When I went out for a work do last Saturday, it was a little stressful based on a few reasons. One, I'm a natural introvert, so being a social butterfly is just not my thing. I can hold a brilliant conversation within a small group of people but anything large and I switch into 'Everyone else can do the talking and I'll simply listen' mode. I can appear 'strangely quiet' and even a little uncomfortable while I don't participate in a large group conversation. Part of this is to do with the 2nd reason - sound is an issue. I can't manage hearing easily when there's a lot of sound going on in one place. My hearing's fine btw. While there's music playing in the background (to create an almost deafening ambiance) and a large group of people are holding multiple conversations, trying to speak over that music, I have pretty much no hope of hearing what anyone 2 seats away is saying. When you consider sound is a form of energy, once you ramp up the volume of the music playing, ramp up the volume or number of people speaking at once (in the background) to the point where it becomes like a loud din and ramp up the volume or sound of the people directly around me trying to speak over everything and it's too much energy for me to handle without me feeling it through my nervous system, a 3rd issue. All that stimulation excites/stresses my nervous system. Easier in my drinking days; I was less conscious of every individual sound. One of the ways I manage this kind of sound/volume and my nervous system is by not attending too many of these events. I'm good to myself that way.

I think with low self esteem, we can tolerate it up to a point. When we hit a point where it's intolerable then there's no choice but to finally address it. There's no putting it off any longer. While we can start at a level of shyness that perhaps reflects a basic level of low self esteem, it's not too much of a problem and can even appear 'cute' in a little kid. Then we can move to a slightly less tolerable level but still manage somehow. As we age into our teen years, we may find it growing to become a problem but still we manage to the best of our ability. Then we may suddenly find our self experiencing a depressing level of low self esteem. As our challenges that evolve with age require much higher levels of self respect and self efficacy, not having that can be depressing. In facing this, you're at your turning point.

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Daniel

Wondering how you're going 🙂

Daniel12
Community Member

Hi Hanna,

 

Hope you're well and thanks for both posts and the video recommendation. I watched it and it does make sense to me also....I am trying to start doing some sort of housekeeping thinks each day/throughout the week to try help. Finding things to calm me down has been a struggle but I guess I need to start small, sounds silly but for some reason detailing and cleaning my car seems to do this for a short period.

I mentioned to my psychologist that the inner voice suffocates me and we are working on where these voices come from and what experiences have caused this sort of downward spiral I feel like I am in.

Thanks again for all your continued advice and support I genuinely appreciate everything you've said to me! 🙂

Hi therising

 

Thanks for the check in and sorry I had not replied to your other post yet, I hope you are travelling well!

 

I certainly can relate to a lot of what you say you experience when going out and what you mention about self esteem.

 

I think in my early 20s I probably thought when I was out if I drank and got "tipsy" then it would bring out a side in me that people might like or that I could like but that is not really me. Then on the flip side I wouldn't so that but still not know my value or place anywhere and have this confusion on how to just be or act normal so it's like that internal tennis match that I have mentioned before.

 

I am still going through big ups and downs, I have been put on some medication which I feel like a bit of disappointment about...that is not to discredit anyone who is on the same medication because deep down I feel it is probably required to give me a kick whilst I work with the psychologist. The disappointment I feel is that I failed in my attempts to fix myself on my own and the way my head is that makes me think I am weak.

 

My psychologist I feel can help me so there is a glimmer of hope starting to appear, she challenges me and stops me sort of abruptly when my inner low self worth makes certain statements or I start to sort of hyperventilate with negativity about myself or outside stress. She has stopped me and made me repeat things I say to her a few times over for me to understand the damaging effect certain thoughts/statements I have/make can have.

 

Not sure if you had similar feelings in the past but I do feel that there is this force just hovering over my shoulder though that's ready to strike and take me over with depression at any moment when I am sort of feeling ok so I am still hesitant and fearful that I'll hit a meltdown all of sudden. There's a sort of physical anxiety I feel that it's just lurking in the background. Does that sound silly?