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Discussion Starter #1
I realize that our personalities, memories, interests evolve over time; but what do you do when you feel like you've just *stopped* and are unraveling?


I'm currently 21 and I've been on this down-ward spiral for for almost 3 years. I am a ghost compared to who I was when I was < 18 yrs. I used to be vibrant, energetic, out-going, pleasant, funny, and well-liked. Further more, I actually engaged in hobbies such as reading, painting, photography, socializing, etc regularly.

Ever since, leaving my *niche* in high school, I've managed to lose myself... completely. All confidence is gone, and motivation has ceased to exist. I don't paint/take photos, socialize (at all), read much, and I feel exhausted often. I feel my opinions are out-dated, and that I haven't been exercising myself intellectually, socially, spiritually, etc. I don't know how to fix this growing void, or what direction to take.

How does one go any direction, when you have basically become numb? I want to change, even if its just baby steps. I need help.:sad:
 

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It sounds like what you are going through is very painful! My thoughts are with you today, and prayers too for what it's worth to you.

Something similar happened to me, after I had had two children and I felt like the person I knew myself to be was completely gone. Part of me just kept trying to be what other people needed me to be, and I kept putting away the things that made me 'me'. I wouldn't let other people see my fun silly self, I just kept wanting them to like me so much I would turn into anything I thought they might like, and in the process everyone saw me as inauthentic, and I wound up hating myself. All my friends from university had moved away, and I wasn't socializing with anyone, I had these two kids who were draining me, and I was''t getting much in return. I would wake up and feel empty and wish I could go back to sleep. My friends had never been a huge huge part in my life anyway, but a couple of things happened that helped me get out of this.
I was diagnosed with a thyroid deficiency, and it was explained to me that I probably had been feeling symptoms of depression with the way my hormones were working. On thyroid meds, I changed dramatically. (I'm not saying this is the issue for you, just that sometimes there are chemical problems in our body that need to be fixed for us to feel like ourselves again - and it may not mean going on anti depressants, either!). A little later, my husband (who I LOVE) had to go on a three week business trip, and I was by myself. I was out at the store and decided on a whim to pick up some art supplies... and with all that time he was away I started listening to music I hadn't listened to in years, I started painting and making fabric batik, I started watching shows that *I* used to love, and doing the more I made my life feel like 'me' the more happy I became. It wasn't my husband who stopped me from doing these things, I just felt guilty taking time for myself before. He loves the changes in me!! He says I'm back to who I used to be. It was little things like that. For instance, in the last year I've read over 50 books, and in the year before that I maybe read 5... the year before that I maybe didn't read any? Life just got tastier. I don't know how to describe it! And this summer, I made a few amazing new friends. Probably because I was allowing myself to be myself, instead of pretending all the time.

It sounds to me like your life in highschool was a huge part of your identity, and now it might be time to recreate that. I just shared my story as one example of how there is life after this experience - this growing void as you say. I think some practical steps might be to go and make yourself do something you used to love... take a photography class, or join a book club (or start one!). It sounds cheesy, but things like this help you get outside yourself, start receiving positive interaction from others, and feeling like you're back in your own skin.
 

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It sounds like what you are going through is very painful! My thoughts are with you today, and prayers too for what it's worth to you.

Something similar happened to me, after I had had two children and I felt like the person I knew myself to be was completely gone. Part of me just kept trying to be what other people needed me to be, and I kept putting away the things that made me 'me'. I wouldn't let other people see my fun silly self, I just kept wanting them to like me so much I would turn into anything I thought they might like, and in the process everyone saw me as inauthentic, and I wound up hating myself. All my friends from university had moved away, and I wasn't socializing with anyone, I had these two kids who were draining me, and I was''t getting much in return. I would wake up and feel empty and wish I could go back to sleep. My friends had never been a huge huge part in my life anyway, but a couple of things happened that helped me get out of this.
I was diagnosed with a thyroid deficiency, and it was explained to me that I probably had been feeling symptoms of depression with the way my hormones were working. On thyroid meds, I changed dramatically. (I'm not saying this is the issue for you, just that sometimes there are chemical problems in our body that need to be fixed for us to feel like ourselves again - and it may not mean going on anti depressants, either!). A little later, my husband (who I LOVE) had to go on a three week business trip, and I was by myself. I was out at the store and decided on a whim to pick up some art supplies... and with all that time he was away I started listening to music I hadn't listened to in years, I started painting and making fabric batik, I started watching shows that *I* used to love, and doing the more I made my life feel like 'me' the more happy I became. It wasn't my husband who stopped me from doing these things, I just felt guilty taking time for myself before. He loves the changes in me!! He says I'm back to who I used to be. It was little things like that. For instance, in the last year I've read over 50 books, and in the year before that I maybe read 5... the year before that I maybe didn't read any? Life just got tastier. I don't know how to describe it! And this summer, I made a few amazing new friends. Probably because I was allowing myself to be myself, instead of pretending all the time.

It sounds to me like your life in highschool was a huge part of your identity, and now it might be time to recreate that. I just shared my story as one example of how there is life after this experience - this growing void as you say. I think some practical steps might be to go and make yourself do something you used to love... take a photography class, or join a book club (or start one!). It sounds cheesy, but things like this help you get outside yourself, start receiving positive interaction from others, and feeling like you're back in your own skin.

I'm so glad that this doesn't need to be my WHOLE life. Your words hit close to home!! Its inspiring to know that I'm not alone AND you beat your demons (totally envious over here :p)

This is going to be hard :( I have a nagging suspicion that I MAY have depression, but I'm having a hard time coming to terms with that specifically, because it makes me feel like a weakling that I have fallen into a hole and can't physically get out. The idea of telling anyone, especially family terrifies me.

*sigh* I think I may need to address that problem first, before I try and rekindle any passion for ... life? Maybe then i'll be able to be excited about reading again (I think thats what I miss most honestly) :unsure:
 

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Self-compassion, mate -- radical compassion.

Your profile says you're a 3; it sounds like in high school you were caught up in and invigorated by the tides of your social group, and the culture there. Maybe you relied on external things to give you a connection to yourself, and while you had a strong connection, it was vital and powerful and good. But when that way of expressing yourself ended, you were left with no way to outwardly "be" yourself, and that's when you began losing touch with who you really were on the inside.

Our inner crises happen because we need to address whatever problem is at the center of them. Your life belongs to you. Even if someone can provide an answer for you, what is needed is the ability to find it yourself, day to day, year to year. It's the art of knowing what you need, what's right for you, what you feel pulled to do. And I think that's the very heart of type 3. Not just being who people expect you to be, not just an outer "identity" -- oh the title of this thread! -- but an inner SELF. Being who you deeply, internally know and feel that you NEED to be.

I think this is about hearing yourself -- and letting yourself speak. Emotions are how a very deep and important part of you speaks. We all need space and permission to be unhappy, if that's what we feel; permission to be upset; permission to be numb, even. But at the same time remaining conscious, keeping a compassionate-friend part of yourself awake to notice what happens -- and to not be impressed by it. ("Even though there's a lot of sadness here, that doesn't necessarily mean the world is TRULY a horrible place and everything is hopeless. Feelings don't always tell the truth about reality. That isn't their purpose. What can I learn by hearing out this sadness? What clues or messages could it have for me?") When you allow feelings to happen, there's less resistance in your mind. And by staying conscious of the process, you can learn more about those feelings and the needs behind them. With permission, spaciousness and self-compassion, a new dimension unfolds, a place that can be filled with insight and understanding.

The things that you can learn about yourself through interacting with this situation, and the attitudes you can develop, and the deep wisdom that will eventually come of it -- they'll stay with you for the rest of your life.

It is the beginning: the threshold of conscious, true-self living. Or it could be, if you choose.

All that said, it does sound like you may be depressed. A good therapist can really help in figuring these things out; and feeling better while doing so, by way of anti-depressants, can be super helpful -- especially since you've been in this state for so long. Imagine quitting smoking: there's still plenty of work to be done with emotions and behavior patterns, if you want it to stick -- "why did I start smoking? What does it give me now?" -- but using a nicotine gum or patch, to interrupt the physical habit, can make the difference in being able to keep at it or not. To put it another way, if your brain is stuck in "depression" gear, it's not weakness to use some oil to help it ease back out -- or to go see a specialist (like a mechanic!..for your mind).

But, naturally, your reasons for this resistance to the idea are your own... I would say, though, that whatever challenging or scary things you want/need/decide to do, like telling your family, it is TOTALLY worthwhile to try and figure out how to make that hard thing easier. Telling only one kind, sensitive person first, for example, so that you feel like you have someone on your side even if they can't functionally help; or writing it in a letter if you prefer, or telling them in a place or situation that would make you more comfortable with it.

Your needs are valid, and your feelings are valid. Anyone who says that you "don't need" help, or "it's not that bad," or otherwise dismisses your experience -- they're out of line, not you. You deserve to feel better and be happy, period. And I really hope you do.
 

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Hey its only been 3 years? Took me like, 11! Lol

I spent the last decade looking for shortcuts to motivation (that thing for identifying ways to improve and doing them)

And i actually found a shortcut, just recently, after a long journey. (wrote about it somewhat in the link on the bottom of my sig)

And that shortcut IS>.... TA DA!!!!

"There are no shortcuts"

I know, its messed up! Unfortunately for me, I wouldnt take that on faith, or trust anyone to tell me. I was "smarter" than everyone. Still am, jk, obviously not, since im so screwed up O-o

Stop rambling to yourself Adam, you'll lower the credibility of the post you are trying to make.

No i want (spelling error), how about you stfu. :eek:

Gtfo.

Now ur copying my 4 letter scheme.

I'll steal ur cat.

Uh.. ive got nothing.

Yea i know, cuz i stole it.

U know, this is how dismissive and dependent personalities are made.

Someone gets lucky, makes the first theft, gets a superior position and never gives it up, you bast***.

Im going to stop now.

Who, me or you?

Oh god.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey its only been 3 years? Took me like, 11! Lol

I spent the last decade looking for shortcuts to motivation (that thing for identifying ways to improve and doing them)

And i actually found a shortcut, just recently, after a long journey. (wrote about it somewhat in the link on the bottom of my sig)

And that shortcut IS>.... TA DA!!!!

"There are no shortcuts"

I know, its messed up! Unfortunately for me, I wouldnt take that on faith, or trust anyone to tell me. I was "smarter" than everyone. Still am, jk, obviously not, since im so screwed up O-o

Stop rambling to yourself Adam, you'll lower the credibility of the post you are trying to make.

No i want (spelling error), how about you stfu. :eek:

Gtfo.

Now ur copying my 4 letter scheme.

I'll steal ur cat.

Uh.. ive got nothing.

Yea i know, cuz i stole it.

U know, this is how dismissive and dependent personalities are made.

Someone gets lucky, makes the first theft, gets a superior position and never gives it up, you bast***.

Im going to stop now.

Who, me or you?

Oh god.

Hehehe, firstly my cat would not let you steal him!! and secondly, I know what you mean I too am stubborn and have been *trying* to find that elusive shortcut, regardless of what any nay-sayers have been telling me (for years). But tragically, the route I'm on is kind of going nowhere :( 3 years of aimless wandering, only to have it lead to the one place I didn't want to go... the truth. D:
 
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Hehehe, firstly my cat would not let you steal him!! and secondly, I know what you mean I too am stubborn and have been *trying* to find that elusive shortcut, regardless of what any nay-sayers have been telling me (for years). But tragically, the route I'm on is kind of going nowhere :( 3 years of aimless wandering, only to have it lead to the one place I didn't want to go... the truth. D:
Bwahaha. Well I really like your snails if that helps at all. :) :D

O-o o_- :D

Oh but there is a plus side to being depressed though. When you come out of it, you can help other people that were in the same situation with the knowledge of what you learned about coping with it and coming out of it. :)

lots a stuff to talk about concerning this really yup
 

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Bwahaha. Well I really like your snails if that helps at all. :) :D

O-o o_- :D

Oh but there is a plus side to being depressed though. When you come out of it, you can help other people that were in the same situation with the knowledge of what you learned about coping with it and coming out of it. :)

lots a stuff to talk about concerning this really yup
Haha, lots to look forward to basically. :p
 
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There is hope. :) I think the first two questions you need to answer are "do you think you have a problem" and "do you want to get better"? Sometimes, the sadness or the emptinesss or the hollowness felt comforting, I was nearly addicted to it. I didn't even remember what 'happy' or 'fulfilled' or a feeling of belonging felt like. You do deserve better, and healthy is possible again.
 
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There is hope. :) I think the first two questions you need to answer are "do you think you have a problem" and "do you want to get better"? Sometimes, the sadness or the emptinesss or the hollowness felt comforting, I was nearly addicted to it. I didn't even remember what 'happy' or 'fulfilled' or a feeling of belonging felt like. You do deserve better, and healthy is possible again.
I believe I do have a problem, that addiction you describe is starting to wear off a bit. I actually for a long while started to hate people who were happier then me, I thought they were being smug, and hording all the happiness to themselves. But I guess happiness isn't an object to envy, more like sunlight... of which I need, and its starting to even now feel a little easier to say. :happy:
 

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You came down this road for a reason, and as long as the reason you came down here exists, you will stay down. When the reason is gone then you will move forward. Isolate the reason. Meditate on what drove you here. The answers are never easy when we choose to examine ourselves, but they form the bedrock of our processes. Though we may live, feel, and act in the moment, we get to think in the past, present and future. What do you want the future to look like? How did the reason bring you here? How do you get to that future? There is a place where the heart goes when it dies to us. Go after it, bring it back. You are in there somewhere, the you that you love to be, the you that you identify with. She can't disappear without your permission, and...

Up until now, you've been giving her permission and reasons. Find them and stop giving permission to your essence to vanish. It's not easy, but it's a journey you will remember and surprise yourself in.
 
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I'm sorry you are feeling like that, @jadedtortoise!:( I was a very happy person until my bipolar onset at age 18 (well I was happy and hypomanic then -- I got depressed at age 19, technically). I ended up getting kicked out of college for being suicidal (long story, what the school did was illegal, I couldn't cope with school, anyways, so it ended up not mattering). It took me years and years to finally feel stable and happy again. I didn't really have a "niche" in high school, unless you count being the "weirdo." However, at times I have gotten off the path of what I really want to do with my life and what I'm really good at. I'm a very creative and artistic person and that kind of expression is important to me. I feel so much better when I'm being creative and not putting it off or telling myself bad messages like what I'm doing isn't good enough to bother with, etc.

Things can get better! You can be happy again! It might be a difficult process, but it will be worth it:)
 

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I realize that our personalities, memories, interests evolve over time; but what do you do when you feel like you've just *stopped* and are unraveling?


I'm currently 21 and I've been on this down-ward spiral for for almost 3 years. I am a ghost compared to who I was when I was < 18 yrs. I used to be vibrant, energetic, out-going, pleasant, funny, and well-liked. Further more, I actually engaged in hobbies such as reading, painting, photography, socializing, etc regularly.

Ever since, leaving my *niche* in high school, I've managed to lose myself... completely. All confidence is gone, and motivation has ceased to exist. I don't paint/take photos, socialize (at all), read much, and I feel exhausted often. I feel my opinions are out-dated, and that I haven't been exercising myself intellectually, socially, spiritually, etc. I don't know how to fix this growing void, or what direction to take.

How does one go any direction, when you have basically become numb? I want to change, even if its just baby steps. I need help.:sad:
Hello.. I can relate to this very much.

First I am going to offer a theory and then I will speak a bit personally.

Have you ever heard the term "institutionalized"?
It's generally used for people who have been in prison for a long time and have trouble coping with life on the "outside".
It can extend to any long term situation really.. A marriage or a job for example.
People get used to a way of life. Your whole life is planned and scheduled. You see the same faces year after year.. everybody has a role, a character, a position, a social expectation. History is a shared experience. You have support in ways you don't realize.
You are dependent and most likely do not realize it.
And then one day it all changes.
I believe our childhoods and the 12-13 years of education we grow up with.. Institutionalize us all to some degree.
The world we have known our whole lives, the roles we played, the status we had, no longer exists.
It can be quite the blow to the psyche.

I have to run .. But I will be back and I will share something personal about this.
For now you have my sympathies.. I know this one myself.
 

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Forgive me for using this term, but reading your post sounded like you were in the midst of an existential funk. I remember once mentioning that I was in one with another person and he was kind and understanding enough to say that having an existential crisis is important at times because it reminds us we are alive. Be kind to yourself always. You will pull through. I think your starting this thread is proof that you want to reclaim and empower yourself once again.
 

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Hmm. Type 9...

Fix this before you go completely schizoid and "dead".

You must force yourself to be active, to meet people, to visit new places and have new experiences, and learn a new skill. It really doesn't matter what you do, but something will "click" and you'll be back in the thick of things in a short time.
 

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I realize that our personalities, memories, interests evolve over time; but what do you do when you feel like you've just *stopped* and are unraveling?


I'm currently 21 and I've been on this down-ward spiral for for almost 3 years. I am a ghost compared to who I was when I was < 18 yrs. I used to be vibrant, energetic, out-going, pleasant, funny, and well-liked. Further more, I actually engaged in hobbies such as reading, painting, photography, socializing, etc regularly.

Ever since, leaving my *niche* in high school, I've managed to lose myself... completely. All confidence is gone, and motivation has ceased to exist. I don't paint/take photos, socialize (at all), read much, and I feel exhausted often. I feel my opinions are out-dated, and that I haven't been exercising myself intellectually, socially, spiritually, etc. I don't know how to fix this growing void, or what direction to take.

How does one go any direction, when you have basically become numb? I want to change, even if its just baby steps. I need help.:sad:

I'm 22 and I was just talking to my friend yesterday (literally) about knowing who you are. I was telling her that I felt I had an obsession with wanting to know answers as to who I was and I became obsessed with things like the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types and how I was an INFJ. I wanted to know if there was a reason that there was something on a description of an INFJ that no longer applied to me. She said that it's natural for people to change over time. She also said that I was at an age where I would feel like I didn't have the answers. She said that once you get a place to live, and come to terms with your family, friends, etc. you'll find out that there are no answers and that you'll be comfortable with that. She's only one year older than me.

And the description you were posting about not having interest in the things you used to be passionate about and feeling exhausted and not having confidence does sound like depression. It would probably be a good idea to see a psychiatrist and therapist. I have a lot of experience with being mentally ill and taking medicine, so if you have questions or whatever you can always ask me.

I wish you the best of luck.
 

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I know how you feel and I'm recovering from this for myself. I was intelligent when I was young, doing 5th grade level work in 1st, knowing simple chemistry, which is partially what a high schooler knew, when I was in 2nd grade, I read on a constant basis, did stuff like martial arts, building plastic models, building things out of legos, a little bit of gardening, cooking, stuff like that. I lost it all once I hit a depression beginning around 7th grade, and now I'm close to finishing my high school year without feeling like I have learned anything, I am behind with applying to college, getting a job, getting my license... I also lost my motivation to do anything until the beginning of this school year and I've been fighting off my own corruption and my anxiety still with nothing accomplished because of fear since I'm behind, and because I feel like I won't do something right. I'm not depressed anymore, and I have been reading a few books on philosophy and spirituality that momentarily help me by seeking my inner being but I still come back to the same conflict that's preventing me from doing anything. It's also the same reason why I find it difficult to break open my shell to this ISFP lady I like during the 15 minutes I see her in school every day, and why I'm usually on my 360 or computer during the week, because I feel the need to share these feelings while always getting the same advice to just do it when I never manage to. It's like I'm fighting a side of myself that has managed to grow and manifest within me for so long that it's too difficult to get rid of by just doing, and by just living like everybody else. I don't know...
 

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Just wait until your mid-thirties. :D
 

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Just wait until your mid-thirties. :D
Hey Jaded......the quote above from Shale is a good 'un. One thing you do have is time. At 21 and in the midst of a life change (college to post college) there is a real sense of loss. You put it as loss of motivation and social grouping....it's also loss of youth. Could it be you're in mourning for that?

That's perfectly Ok and natural. But embrace your adulthood. It's quite exciting and not nearly as hard as it appears. We humans are amazingly resilient creatures.
 
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