Would just love some advice on feeling goalless, comparing myself and w friends
I am 23, just graduated uni and have struggled with mostly depression and more recently anxiety since I was in high school. I've have never been sure what I will do for a job and am generally pretty unsure of my goals and have very low self esteem. I have a few chronic health conditions which have been a huge contributing factor to my mental health and was the reason I started seeing a psychologist during high school. Speaking to someone was fairly helpful at first but in the past few years whenever I have had psychologist appointments I've just felt like I'm complaining and repeating myself each time and not really getting much from it. I now don't know if I should try and find another psych (haven't had an appointment for 6 months or so) or how to even do that. I have also in the past been on anti-depressants but had major issues with side effects so am not currently taking them.
I've spent the last 3-4 months after graduating travelling alone which I have enjoyed as I'm definitely an introvert and recognise I'm quite a difficult person to be around for too long so like knowing I'm not being a burden on anyone around me. But I was starting to get lonely and missing my family about a month ago but also didn't want to go back home because I don't feel like I have much to go back to (other than family) as I have no job and I've had a lot of issues with keeping friends, mostly due to my low confidence and anxiety. My sister has recently met up with me which has been really nice as she is pretty much my best friend but I also recognise I compare myself to her SO much as she really has everything sorted out and is always calling friends and has a lot of ambitions and a great job - and was at the top of her classes in school where I was very average. I can't believe how much of a shift in mood I've noticed since being with her - at first I was loving it but now I am starting to compare myself and feel low and she doesn't really understand/appreciate my mental health as she doesn't have depression or anxiety so is quite quick to jump to me being moody if I am having a low day (like today).
I don't really know what I'm hoping from this post but I would just love any advice or to hear if others have similar issues or know how to deal with any of my issues, whether it be comparing to others, having not many friends, low self esteem and/or feeling completely aimless/lacking ambition for my future. Sorry this is such as long post!!!
Thank you for contacting us here on the forum. Never worry about the length of your posts. They can be as short or as long as you wish. Probably longer ones are better, if someone is asking for help because they give us a better overview of who they are and what might be the issue they are facing.
Comparing ourselves to others… It’s a pretty common thing. I think a lot of people do it and quite often without even realising.
When we do realise, it might be also with a combination of awe or possibly envy. Again, this is natural and not uncommon. There is one catch to this, though. Remember the saying: “the grass is always greener on the other side”? What you see/hear is sometimes what you “want to” see/hear, meaning just picking up the best bits and pieces. Often though, they are exactly it - just the best bits and pieces. You might never have a chance to get to know the day to day life of that person, more than likely not so “shiny” anymore. It’s like seeing a polished photo of your friend on social media but once you meet them in person they might look completely different.
Low self-esteem and feeling lonely but at the same time avoiding people. It would be good for you to talk about it with a good counsellor as the causes and solutions might vary and can be not so obvious to yourself and/or a counsellor straight away. If you haven’t had luck thus far, how would you feel about calling and having a chat to one of Beyond Blue amazing Counsellors? The phone number is: 1300224636.
Sometimes it’s good to try to embrace yourself as you truly are. It might be difficult at first, as you might be used to seeing and thinking about yourself in negative terms only. I wonder though, how would you feel about a little exercise: you call yourself “very average “. Ok, so what facts support this? How do you know this is true? What happened that you started to think about yourself in this term? When? Was it a significant moment in your life?
On the flip side, think about all the facts that do not support this. I would never call “an average” a person who managed to finish a uni, decide, plan and travel by him/herself, knows his/her faults but might be unaware of his/her positives. That’s not average at all. Some would call it impressive.
Let us know how you go. Take care there.
Welcome to the forums! It's lovely to meet you here, and good on you for posting and asking for help.
Learn to Fly has posted some really fantastic advice and just some good reflective questions, so I don't want to repeat that too much. But I did want to pipe up on the friends thing because it's something I've had to deal with for a long time too.
I'm also quite introverted and the older I get (now 29), the more I realise how much being around people generally drains me. The trouble is that I'd then try to be alone for long periods of time and start to feel lonely. I think I've found a much better balance now where I know how much social interaction I need and I have all the friends I want (not many). But there are days that can be lonely, and I think that's normal and actually kind of okay.
It's okay in the sense that we only have limited time in the week to catch up with friends, especially if you like your alone time. Instead, as you've suggested, perhaps what we can work on is spending quality time with the friends and family we have.
I have a younger sister and we get along fantastically...but I don't think I could deal with being around her constantly for more than a few days. I just need my space and time to do my own thing. Perhaps there is something similar for you; while you work on your confidence and also learn more about yourself, you can just focus on spending time with your sister and friends in a really positive way. Maybe you could do things you enjoy and are good at, or just make sure you are properly rested before so you aren't stressed or tired on the day. Strangely, it can often be the way we plan -around- the time we spend with friends, that actually makes spending time with them more enjoyable.
It can be really hard balancing being introverted, managing self confidence issues, and then loneliness, but you're certainly not alone in that and it gets a lot easier as we start to work out what we really want and need. 🙂
Hey, i'm sorry you've been feeling this way. If theres any advice i can give, its to know that you really are on your own journey that is only unique to you and within your own timing! Someone who may not be dealing with mental health now, could in two years time. Someone right now who is in the very midst of their mental health struggles could be healing from it in two months from now. Tables can turn, and they often do. It is hard not to compare to your sister, but truly you will soon be doing the things you love, with your own close friends and successes that are personal to you. It may take a bit longer, but the wait will be worth it. You seem like such a caring, hardworking person despite dealing with these difficulties in mental health. If anything, your story could be a testament to others who are going through similar things and one day you will look back and be truly amazed at how far youve come. This is only a season, and will not last forever. If you are feeling you are lacking ambition, maybe it is time to rest or to find a new direction in life. You dont alway have to be ambitious, in fact its probably better to go back to your origins, your roots and just simply explore what you love and see the opportunities that blossom from there. Over time, your self-esteem will grow, and although it seems like so much time has gone by without much progress, this is often the nature of life. I believe in you! Don't give up, you deserve a lot more credit for what you've been through, how much your trying and how real and authentic you are.
I'm almost 23 and I really relate to you right now. I graduated 2 years ago but decided to do my masters this year because I felt like I should be doing something but I don't even know where it's taking me. Also so confused about my future career path and it makes you compare yourself to everyone around you because you feel like you're worthless in comparison. I hate it and the person it makes me and I'm sorry you're going through the same thing.
It feels like I'm the only one that can really figure it out though and that makes the burden worse. Especially after covid and everyone asking what I'm doing with my life, makes me want to avoid groups all together.
I don't really have any advice but I just wanted you to know that you're not alone and I completely understand your situation. I really hope that you can work it out and we can get past this. I try to assure myself of the past two years and how difficult they've been, it's important to be kind to ourselves and sympathise with out battles with mental illness. Sometimes its so easy to dismiss the hardships we've faced and things we've achieved along the way.
I wish you the best x
Welcome to you too! I'm sorry you feel worthless when you compare yourself to others. I know the feeling and it is so hard to deal with, and to try and find out how to get past that comparison. As you say, it can feel really isolating when it feels like it is down to you to figure it out and make that change.
I also don't have a lot of advice other than what you may have heard already. The usual, "don't compare yourself" blahblahblah. So much harder to do than to say.
I think in our twenties, especially the early twenties, we're still trying to come into our own skin and see what we can do as adults. I definitely felt like my confidence and ego were pretty fragile. I've just turned 30 now and I think I'm starting to feel a bit more confident that, even if I'm not doing as well as other people, I'm doing the best I can, and that is enough. And I'd probably say the same for 23-year-old-me as well; maybe I didn't have it all together then, but I still managed to get past it and get to where I am now. So that's something, right?
You mentioned it's been a difficult couple of years and you are trying to be kind to yourself and sympathise with your battles. That's fantastic! It feels really bad at the time, but that's because these issues are really really hard to deal with. But we get through them, we grow, and we find them easier to deal with in our later lives as a result. The most important thing is to remember that we're not alone; in this small thread alone, we've got quite a few people who've experienced very similar challenges, and connecting over them.
Hi love. I'm so sorry you're feeling depressed. It sounds very normal to me that you are anxious about not knowing which direction to take with employment and study. Also, having a lack of connection with anyone is a really isolating feeling. It's probably one of the most common issues for people all over the world. You're not alone in sharing that particular pain. One thing I do know, is that it truly does get easier as we get older. We feel thing's deeply at your age. As time goes by, we worry less about thing's that used to tear us apart. And because of that, we're able to relax more, which in turn opens more doors and more opportunities. So my advice, is to remind yourself every time you stress about your situation or your future, that it will get easier, and have faith that those doors WILL open for you eventually. When we're young there is so much pressure around getting all your ducks in a row by 'such & such an age'. Well some people manage that, but I guarantee about a third of the people on the planet do not have a clue what they want to do in life at your age. The key is to have faith and not put so much pressure on yourself. We are all different and you're allowed to be happy without having a major career by the time you turn 25! It WILL happen. Remember the less you stress, the more you relax and the more opportunities arise.
As for connections with people; one step at a time. Often we meet people through work, study or community groups. We do have to take action though. If you can join a group and meet someone you like, ask them about themselves. You don't have to be besties by the end of the week. The more often you make contact with people, the easier it gets. That goes for everything in terms of taking small steps, frequently. The better you know a subject or situation the more comfortable you become until eventually it will come naturally. In the meantime, make connections with anything that inspires you. Reading, music, nature, gardening, cooking; whatever! So long as it inspires you, put your heart in to that until you make some more human connections. And you will! Faith remember! Even if you don't believe what you're telling yourself at first, it's important to always tell yourself you are worthy and you matter and when the time is right you WILL make a close friend, or find a partner and decide on a career. Make a habit of it until you believe it with all your heart. You're going to be okay love. Take good care.
I know it has been a long time since I made the original post and since you replied but I can't thank you enough for the thought you put into your reply and the time and consideration you have given in writing this reply. I did read this back when I was in the midst of this stage and it made me feel so heard, I just haven't replied to anyone on here because I really struggle to accept that anyone actually cares/notices if I say thank you as I see myself as quite invisible and unwanted. But thank you. I have hit another lower period of my life and have been looking through these forums and a lot of these worries I was having at the time of this post I have drifted back into (although I am feeling better on some!). Your reply has once again given me some hope which is honestly so much more than I could ask for or expected to be capable of feeling at the moment. I just really appreciate everything you've said. Thank you.
Hi Learn to Fly,
Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate the time you've given me and what you've said. I do know so many people have so much trouble comparing ourselves to others and I have realised that I really struggle to open up in person to my psychologist about issues that I think are 'normal' because in the past they have been dismissed because 'everyone feels these things'. As much as I think it is so important to discuss any issues we have, including the 'normal' ones so many people experience, I still have trouble opening up so really appreciate these forums to provide me the space to do so.
I really appreciate you suggesting that number for Beyond Blue. I am having so many worries about the 'fit' I have with my current psychologist and have been really considering reaching out to someone else to discuss these issues (although I know I need to raise them directly with my psych!), so thank you. I really appreciate you!
Sorry I completely missed your posts until just recently. I'm sorry to hear you've hit a bit of a low point again, and I hope it's been helpful looking back to see that people really do care about you.
Let us know how you are going, if/when you feel up to it. We're here to support you, but I also don't want to put any pressure on you. This is a safe space for you to explore and just be yourself. If you find it helpful even just to read everyone else's posts, that's all you have to do! 🙂 there's no expectation for you to reply to us. A lot of our members actually only ever read posts and never post themselves, and that's totally okay.
Take care for now!