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

  1. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    2303 posts
    5 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Excellent when it comes to sensing some progress at the party. Practice, practice, practice. Some stress may come with practicing on certain occasions but that's natural, to feel certain elements of the challenge you're in. If you were an insensitive guy you would be able to sense such elements so strongly, if that makes sense.

    With the dating side of things, I can just hear the powers that be saying 'First thing's first Daniel, let's work on your social skills before we take it to the next level. That way, you'll be well prepared (skillful) when it comes to meeting your future partner's friends and family. It'll be much easier for you by then'. You never know, maybe that's how things are playing out. Perhaps the more you practice socialising more consciously, like you did last night, the more females you may naturally begin to attract. Will be interesting to see. I can just hear it, people saying 'How does that Daniel guy mange to pull all the women?' and someone responds with 'I think it's because he's the silent type that has a natural vibe/charm about him while oozing a subtle confidence and the girls just love it'. Do you like that? :) Practice may be exactly what you need. Again, you just never know, maybe you'll get to the point where you've practiced so much, it all becomes perfectly natural.

    Again, excellent. I hope you're feeling your own excellence. I hope you feel yourself excelling beyond your perceived limitations, even if it's a little at first :)

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    5 December 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising

    Usually what would happen is halfway through the night I’d begin to question myself for not being as loud as others and feel like I’m judged, last night whilst I was not the life of the party (this role does not suit me anyway) I felt sort of calm that being the more silent type is fine and as a result I wouldn’t say I felt as on edge as I usually do.


    For example, last night I only knew 2 people at this event well and a few others I have met before but in my mind I had the idea they probably think I’m weird or shy because on first meeting when I don’t know someone I’m not in your face. I was surprised by their reaction when I said hello and as the night went on I spoke to these people more and I sort of realised maybe I underestimate myself and maybe the impression I leave is just that I’m a down to earth person and I don’t leave a bad impression or weird impression. Started me thinking whilst I’m not the big out there character maybe there is nothing wrong with that and I don’t need to feel this pressure to be that just to attract someone.

    I think with regards to the dating the point you make is very valid. It can be hard not to feel hopeless about it just because the way I believe I am isn’t conducive to like meeting women spontaneously because I am more in the background. I do hope though that naturally this may happen with the right person because I’m the way I am and not in spite of it.


    My dad raised a similar point about this to me recently mentioning that all the “failures” for lack of a better term I have experienced with dating and difficult social experiences is like I am doing a “pre-season” (my dad likes analogies haha) for when I meet the right person or right people. Also my sisters fiancé raised a good point and said given the way I am probably the girl I am looking for is similar and that type of girl would be harder to find the same way I may be harder to find if that makes sense.


    I guess the struggles I have with it at the moment is I’m not sure how to stop the disheartening feelings I get about being alone or helplessness to find someone and where. And also I’m not sure how to manage the uncomfortable feeling I get when I have no “potentials” on the go and I am not speaking to anyone, this should be fine but I feel bad about it.
    Not sure if you understand what I mean at all by that and how you managed if so.


    Thanks again


    Daniel
  3. therising
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    7 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I was thinking along the same lines as your sister's finance, how your partner to be may be similar to you. Maybe there have been these types at social events you've been to but maybe you haven't noticed them 1) because they don't stand out amongst all the super confident social butterflies and/or 2) focusing on yourself and how you're fitting in has been a distraction from them. It's interesting how our internal perception can alter how we observe what's going on around us. What I mean is - you can be in a down mood and perhaps notice how horrible the world can be at times, kinda because your brain's looking for proof of all the horrible things that bring us down in life. You shift to an up mood and all of a sudden you begin to notice all these amazing coincidences and things that prove the world is an amazing place. While looking for proof of your own 'weirdness' at past social occasions, maybe you noticed a girl staring at you, leading you to believe she was judging you as 'weird' when, in fact, she was judging how she could possibly approach you, wishing she could.

    Seeing no potential partner in the foreground or even on the horizon would definitely feel disheartening. Do you think if you develop confidence in who you naturally are, accepting yourself as someone who gradually opens up to reveal their magic (a great sense of humor included), this will enable you to get out more? Like with the all sports gatherings, how would you consider taking this newly accepted version of yourself for a test drive under such conditions? Would you take a mate with you for such a test run, perhaps for the first few meetings? Someone to help you ease into such a setting. Perhaps you're someone who works well with a 'wing man'. My daughter's a bit like this. She appears as a natural social butterfly but can't easily achieve going out, to be this person, without her best friend. They're actually an interesting pair. While my daughter is this fair haired fair skinned blue eyed petite little thing who dresses quite feminine, her friend dresses in Goth like fashion and is outstanding in her appearance. They appear as the complete opposite but they're like 2 sides of one person. While they're not an intimate couple, they still refer to each other as 'My other half'. It causes my daughter significant anxiety to go out without her other half, the half that is not shy. She does mange on occasion but feels seriously tested under the circumstances.

    :)

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    7 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I think you may be right on both fronts with finding someone similar to me. Even online, I have met some nice people no doubt and I always try to give people a chance but a lot of the time there’s fundamental differences in character so I don’t even think online is as good an option. I happened to fluke meeting someone once that would have been well suited and really there was no issue it just ended abruptly and I feel this has contributed to my challenges as well because I’ve found it hard to get over.

    I think also I spend time focusing on coming across weird or too quiet, not in a narcissistic or self centred way but in a way where I want to fit in and I have probably missed a lot of “looks” or chances. Saturday night I felt a bit different as I wasn’t focused on this stuff but instead I felt a bit more calm that I’m just a nice, quiet natured guy easy to talk to and made an effort to not try and be unnatural and overly extroverted. Maybe I might not attract as many people that way but I wasn’t disappointed that I tried to be unnatural.

    I think I have been going through a self development journey which was probably triggered by the end of dating that girl, I have gone through a lot of different dates and although they haven’t worked maybe it was the experience I need and I do feel better approaching these situations now and not as insecure. Maybe I was too uncomfortable in myself when I started this process without realising it. I have signed up to mixed sports early next year, I asked a friend to come so I don’t feel as anxious but waiting for them to get back. If I have to go on my own I will try. I think even though I get anxious I do try to go to places which is something I guess.

    I don’t want to sound silly about it but it has been hard to sort of keep getting back in the horse with the dating particularly after I felt I had met someone that was right or at least had the potential to see where it went. It ended abruptly and it wasn’t an issue with me or anything like that so just left me scratching my head.

    At the moment really I have really no option or potential option at all and I guess it’s sort of the time of year as well where it makes it worse and I see all my friends off with people and going to end of year events with them and I’m just on my own.

    I am happy to develop myself but this loneliness is really intense and I fear there’s no end to this given the pressure to make things happen keeps rising.

    Daniel

  5. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    8 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Sorry to bother you again I just had some thoughts I wanted to air out and maybe someone had some advice.

    I’ve been reflecting back over the last 12 months particularly the last few days/weeks and I think whilst I’ve probably been a confused rabble at times I do believe there’s been progress and I feel things like last Saturday night are a sign of being more secure in who I am as a person and what I offer and that there’s nothing wrong with my personality (that progress has been helped a lot by advice you and others have provided on here).

    Despite this sense of progress the overwhelming feeling is loneliness that I thing is the largest issue at hand to be honest. Whilst there’s progress in other areas I’m really struggling to manage this feeling, I’ll be working at my desk and it pops into my head and I just feel really flat most of the time.

    I know I have my family and I do have friends although there limited and only a small network and to be honest I don’t really see them that much nowadays. The loneliness is basically never having had a meaningful connection with someone or even had someone say they like me. I have dated quite a few people this year and I try to say to myself that it’s progress and good experience gained but I don’t know I’ve reached a point where i question whether all the rejections and false starts is worth it.

    All my friends have partners and to be honest make no effort to see me and I have to jump through hoops to organise things. I understand people have partners and other priorities so it’s not really about that. I just see everyone going to end of year parties with their partners or just doing things in general and it just exacerbates the feeling.

    I have really been trying to be open and give people a go and I know I need patience as well but I am really struggling to manage lonely feelings and I feel like I have a fundamental problem where I can’t see any light at the end of tunnel.

    Maybe it’s the time of year as well and looking at 2022 around the corner and I think to myself most likely will be in this exact position next year like I was last year, my fear is the sort of calmness I have felt the last few weeks is more a resignation

    On the outside looking in it looks like I’ve got it all figured out and things like work life and family life are going well but it’s this one feeling that doesn’t allow me to enjoy any of it. This lonely feeling is taking over my life and it’s hard to stop it.

  6. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    6126 posts
    8 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12
    Hey Daniel12,

    This is such a brave and powerful post, thank you for sharing it here. We hope the kind words and understanding of lovely community members like therising are a help and a comfort to you.

    We can hear you've been having trouble connecting to others and feeling alone. Christmas and the year-end can be an especially difficult time for many people. For difficult moments the Beyond Blue counsellors are here for you and would welcome your call or online chat, anytime it would help you to speak to someone.

    We wanted to pop in and also share a couple of articles we thought you might like to look at. We’re hoping some of them can bring you a bit of hope or maybe some new ideas for the new year, but we do understand some of these things can feel like cold comfort when you're going through it:

    We can hear you've made some amazing progress, but we know it's not easy. Many will relate to the feelings you share, so we're really glad you have been able to reach out for support here on the forums. You never know who might read this thread and feel less alone in their own experience.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  7. therising
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    2303 posts
    10 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Life can definitely become a torturous and depressing experience when you begin to see most things through one emotional lens. I've never really considered this lens factor before in detail. I'm always grateful when someone leads me to greater consciousness. Thank you Daniel.

    When I think of lenses, I suppose it comes down to what factors or triggers impact our vision. Is our vision/perception (of life) gradually impacted or suddenly impacted? The gradual vision loss can be a tough one. It's kind of like you not realising it's happening until, all of a sudden, you find yourself stuck with a way of seeing life and it's definitely not through rose coloured glasses or lenses. It's quite the opposite.

    I found myself over the past week wearing some really challenging glasses. They were that of resentment. It didn't matter where I looked (work, home, in public), just about all I could feel was resentment. Just about everything I saw I saw through the lens of resentment. From people at work making my job harder, to people at home not caring enough, to strangers not giving a single thought to walking in front of me, I felt resentment in just about every part of my life. It felt like every day was fueled by a sense of anger. Definitely not good for the nervous system :)

    To cut a long story short, eventually what came to mind, when I meditated on why the heck I was stuck with this emotional lens or pair of glasses - 'Now can you see what you deserve' (in a good way). Wearing these glasses allowed me to actually see what I deserved. I deserved a greater degree of consciousness from those I work with, from members of my family and from strangers. I have great respect for those who work hard to be more conscious, such as yourself. When it comes to certain others, in my opinion they need to work harder. I know that sounds a little arrogant perhaps but it cannot hurt for others to work at being more conscious, instead of happily remaining thoughtless in ways that serve them.

    With the loneliness you experience, is it possibly the lack of consciousness of others that allows you to see or experience loneliness? If they were more conscious, perhaps you would not come to see loneliness so clearly. Through the lens or lenses of loneliness, can you see you deserve better? Can you see what you should not settle for from others, such as a lack of consideration or thoughtlessness?

    Through your perception, what can you see in others?

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    10 December 2021 in reply to Sophie_M

    Hi Sophie

    Thanks for the kind words and the information, I will definitely read these in my down time and see what I can take from them!

    Daniel

  9. therising
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    2303 posts
    10 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi again Daniel

    Just to be a little clearer

    • Do you deserve greater consciousness/thoughtfulness from the the women you've tried dating? Would be nice if someone thoughtfully explained something like 'I'm not looking for anything too serious or long term' or 'I'm looking for a guy who's a self serving a-hole, not someone like yourself' or 'I'm a shocker when it comes to seeing the best in people on a 1st or 2nd date. I just can't manage to find the best in people, which would lead me to get beyond more than the 1st or 2nd date'
    • Do you deserve from friends 'I'm typically neglectful of good friends, based on when all I want to do is feel high on what my partner can give me'?
    • Do you deserve from people who can't carry a conversation with someone who's initially a little shy 'I'm a shocker at small talk. The fact I can't generate small talk, to make your life a little easier, is not your fault'?
    • Do you deserve from somewhat insensitive people 'My apologies for not being able to sense how you're really feeling, I don't have that well exercised ability - to really get a good sense when it comes to how someone's feeling deep down'?
    • Do you deserve someone acknowledging 'Christmas/New Year can be a mentally torturous time of year for some people' or do you more so get 'You should be happy!', like it's a magical command that's meant to automatically make everything better?

    What do you deserve? I imagine, better than what you may be getting :)

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    10 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Firstly, if you have been having a tough week feel free to reach out! I may not have the same experience to help as you have with me but I can certainly try! I can relate to those sort of moods of resentment, I’ve had weeks where it’s like an agitation with things around and it’s definitely not a good state to be in.

    I agree that I’m probably looking at things through a lens that’s not desirable and it’s become a habit that’s hard to break.

    I think I possibly deserve better from those around me in a social sense (family is excluded because that’s a stable area and I’m grateful for this). I think what may be happening is I find myself in a position where because all my friends have partners and everything I feel excluded and it triggers some feels I experienced as a teenager and kid at school of having friends but never really feeling I had a place and still feeling lonely.

    I don’t feel I deserve to made to feel like I have to jump through hoops to organise tinder my friends, I’ve always been supportive of my friends and also their partners just feels like I’m judged for not having a partner and it’s almost a pain to do things with me.

    When I have been looking at the last year recently I’ve tried to look at it and see the progress made but the conclusion I come to is, I had a good opportunity with someone earlier in the year and I feel because lack of experience I didn’t take it and I regret it because I haven’t met anyone that was suited like that since then or before that and then now I’m in the exact same position I was this time last year and the year before so this leads me to believe why is 2022 going to be different. I am almost not even looking forward to a new year, it feels exhausting.

    I know I shouldn’t feel that way because I graduated from my engineering degree and was promoted to a higher role at work and I should be proud of this but it almost pales to insignificance without filling this hole I feel in my life. Funny thing is I have a rationale part which says my happiness shouldn’t be dictate by not having a partner or not. I’m just at a stage where it consumes my thought like it never has.

    It’s hard at the moment to not feel flat looking into the future. Then the regret I feel from that experience I didn’t take advantage of goes on top of it.

    It sounds really silly I can’t seem to focus on positives and feel this way, I don’t want to I just can’t get out of the funk and to think I thought I was slowly coming out.

  11. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    10 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I didn’t see you other post until now, those points all make sense.

    The last point in particular about “you should be happy” is typically what I get. I understand people are trying to help and maybe I can be unreasonable as well on the pressure I put on myself.

    But a lot of the sentiments I feel are like what I described below, the search for a greater connection in my life seem torturous if I’m honest.

    When people say “you should be happy” but thought is well yes I want to be I don’t want to be like this and I want to relax and not focus on these lonely feelings but like I said below I can’t seem to deter my mind from focusing on that one hole in my life. Not sure if it makes sense

  12. therising
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    11 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    While the thoughts in bold (below) used to really challenge me, once I expanded on them things began to make sense

    • I should be happy but there's a good reason as to why I'm not feeling happiness. I can't feel what's not running through me at this point in time
    • I shouldn't be feeling like this but there's good reason for why I'm experiencing these feelings
    • I should be more grateful but it's hard to feel this level of gratitude while my mind is consumed by my challenge/s

    I've reached the conclusion that the powers that be will send the same lesson over and over, until it's finally learned, in full. A significant lesson can come in many forms. Sounds like you've picked it, in your own case, with this current situation bringing up memories of the past. If the lesson is about acceptance, something you've never tried to seriously master until now, this may partly explain why it feels so intense, as you're in the process of picking everything apart (to make sense of it). I believe self acceptance, more specifically, is one of the hardest things to master. It's not common for a child to be strategically taught the skills behind self acceptance. For a start, to be able to feel when someone's telling you a depressing lie is a skill, such as with 'You're useless'.

    'If you think you've learned, think again' seems to be the mantra of the powers that be. Mind altering life changing challenges can have many levels to them. So, just when you think you've learned your lesson, a test follows, proving there's more to be learned.

    It's taken me more than 20 years to finally learn self acceptance/self love in my marriage. While I worked hard for years to suppress parts of my nature, I now accept and love the fact I'm an adventurer and a future goal setter. I'd suppressed these parts of myself because my husband's quite happy just vibing at home and is happy not creating exciting goals to reach. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, my father triggered me the other week, with his self serving nature. The revelation, 'I've been catering to self serving men all my life, feeling rejection (from them and myself) if I don't conform'. I feel like I've just gone up 5 levels. I'm so glad my son's different. He's a truly beautiful highly conscious person.

    There's nothing quite like our adult self taking us all the way back to the past, to see exactly how our challenges have played out to now. It can be a brutal process, yet one offering many revelations.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    11 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I'm not sure whether I make sense when I describe it but it's like a strange situation where when looking back over the last year in particular I do feel more comfortable or have a better idea of who I am but the loneliness stuff is actually worse and I feel the hopelessness looking forward is somehow worse. I find it hard to explain properly.

    What will happen is I think to myself well I am more comfortable in myself for example on a date because of more experience but then I start to think of the results of those dates and not having found someone and then loneliness or what have you starts to take over. it sounds really silly because it's almost like it starts as a positive thought but I choose to take the negative out of it but it feels a natural thing that I haven't got a grip on.

    There is definitely parts of me that feel I have made some sort of personal progress, I hope so anyway, but the last few weeks I have hit a real flat spot where I wouldn't even say the feeling is like a deep depression type it's more like a nothing feeling and like a lack of hopefulness going into the new year.

    As silly as it sounds given some of the things I have described previously but I do believe I am ready for a greater connection whilst I understand I do have some personal development in terms of 100% accepting myself still required. Id like to think I have made progress in this area but it's this one area that plagues my mind and thoughts and it has almost become something where it sucks the life out of me. I know I should not compare myself to others and I am genuinely happy for those I know that have found partners etc but I look at it and then look at how socially I don't have that many friends and it just feels like all the pressure is mounting and the cards are stacked against me. Each sort of dating experience that inevitably ends up the same way leaves me more and more demotivated and questioning if it's worth all the effort.

    To your point about realising a certain revelation, I actually feel like I have these light bulb moments but then these feelings I have described sort of just take over immediately. Maybe I am impatient to a degree and I need to go through all this to find that person but I just don't like what this process is doing to me in general and that's where I question if it is worth the effort.

  14. therising
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    12 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I was saying to someone just today how every time I become more conscious, the challenges seem to get harder in a lot of cases. Waking up to who we truly are begins a process that's mind altering. Some compare it to all the scum beginning to rise to the surface, for us to work through and get rid of. The more you get rid of, the clearer things become. Things may be incredibly muddy to begin with. Gaining clarity can take a massive amount of work, which is why a lot of people prefer to remain asleep.

    This 'waking up' process leads me to think of Neo, in the Matrix. I may have mentioned this before. He was quite content before he woke up to chaos and an incredibly harsh reality which included the challenge of discovering who he truly was. Each challenge tested him. If you've seen the original, you'd perhaps relate to the red pill/blue pill scene. With the blue pill, taking it means ignorance remains kind of blissful. While life's still a struggle, it's an easier struggle. Taking the red means there's no going back. It dictates that moving forward will be deeply challenging in a lot of ways. With Neo getting a glimpse of what the Matrix is about, he chooses the red pill. There are times where, as his challenges increase or intensify, he wishes he'd chosen the blue. He wishes he could return to how life was, just to escape how life is.

    Another relatable aspect of the movie involves the concept of having to let go. Being led to believe in your limitations helps keep those limitations in place. Again, only a movie but what the character Morpheus tries to instill in Neo over and over is along the lines of 'You are more than what you have been led to believe. Let go of these beliefs and find out what you can do. Find out who you are, what you're capable of. To achieve this, you have to let go'.

    What you describe in regards to being able to sense your progress while still feeling your limitations, based on past experience, is something I can relate to. I think, for me, what it feels like is kind of having each foot in 2 different realities. You have the realisation of who you are regarding your potential (because you're waking up to it) as well as realising who you believe you are, based on your past experience. Kind of like being caught in the crossover. Having faith in who you're crossing over to become is a massive ask. Once you take that leap of faith, love may appear in ways you've never seen before. Perhaps it is waiting patiently to be discovered.

    1 person found this helpful
  15. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    117 posts
    13 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I think the parallels you make are very interesting and when you say you feel stuck in two realities I can relate to that. I feel like I am realising what my potential is or there’s times where I look at things I have achieved or where my life is at and it’s not that bad but the as you say I thing it’s past experience that conflicts all this.

    I’m not sure if you would have any advice in this area and feel free not to provide any because I may be like a broken record. But when I think about what you mentioned about being in two different realities I think whilst I am waking up to my potential I get pressured or feel pressured by sort of the expectation to be a certain way or come across a certain way in my generation.

    To explain further, for example social media has affected me greatly over the last 18-24 months. I do not frequently use it or post stuff because I have never really been that type but i find myself now feeling an incredible weight on my shoulders to show off a certain lifestyle or if I don’t show that I have 100s of friends I’m not an attractive person for people to know or I’m not thought of or anything. It sounds silly but it’s a really crippling type of thought loop and it makes me get pretty down.

    Another layer to this is I’ll see people out and about, not that I don’t go out I do, and they seem to know heaps of people whereas I look at myself and I only really have 2 friends and even then I really have to jump through hoops to see them as I often feel forgotten and they have partners etc. So I feel like I may be perceived as a bit of a loner or that’s how I feel anyway and then I start thinking things like does it matter how many people I know or don’t know and will people find me weird.

    Basically what I am trying to say, sorry for the rambling again, is that this type of stuff is the alternative reality I have based on pressure in my social life and the like that makes fully trusting myself and being comfortable and just flat out not worrying about stuff like that the challenge.

    I don’t feel particularly strong either as a person because I know that these thoughts are silly and yet I still think it and believe it and I’m really exhausted and frustrated at myself

    Thanks again for all your kinds words and hope you are doing well

  16. therising
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    13 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    It's never silly when you're trying so hard to work out who you are and where you fit in. When you think about it, you start off being told who you are and where you fit in or are supposed to fit in. We don't really get a lot of choice when we're younger. From the start, we never actually chose our name, it was chosen for us. We don't choose our family. We don't choose our own clothes or what we eat. We don't choose what kinder, primary school or secondary school we're going to. We don't choose what class we sit in and sometimes we don't even choose our friends, they kind of choose us. So, all of a sudden at around 18, we've got a stack of strategic choices to make and few skills when it comes to how to make them because we never really exercised choice all that much when we were younger. I suppose it's a skill you have to begin developing a lot when you hit somewhere around 18. It's then where we have to seriously begin choosing who we want to be, what direction we wish to take and who we're going to surround our self with in the process and still no one really teaches us significant skills, even as an adult. Life kind of becomes about 'winging it' until we find we can't in some cases. It's then we may typically question, 'Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I heading?' For myself, one of the things I struggled with during my years in depression was the sense of feeling completely lost. 'Lost' can be a horrible and lonely feeling. There's somewhat of an emptiness to it.

    Imagine being born with some kind of internal compass but no one tells you this, that you have it. Basically, you're not led to access it when you're young because you're busy following everyone else's directions. You get to around 18, out of touch with that compass with no idea how to use it, how to make choices with it (gaining a sense of direction). So, 'round and 'round in circles you go, covering the same old territory, not knowing how to move beyond it. Doesn't matter how we phrase it, 'broken record' or non functioning compass, we can find our self stuck in the same grove, not knowing how to get out. Makes you want to scream.

    If you're feeling drawn to use social media, perhaps your compass dictates 'Do not conform to the expectations of social media, instead look to it as a resource, a tool'. You might pick a music based platform, finding out where all the local band venues are and that's all you use facebook for, for example, a whole different world :)

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  17. Daniel12
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    13 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I wholeheartedly agree with what you say about suddenly having to work it out when you’re 18. I left school and to be honest I “thought” I knew what I wanted to do in terms of career and stuff like that but I really had no idea. When it comes to who I felt I was I don’t even think I had the capacity to even think about it. I relate to the lost feeling wholeheartedly as I think I’ve been this way particularly in terms of not feeling adequate socially since I was a kid and I think I’m more greatly aware of it as an adult.

    I may have mentioned it before but throughout my time at high school I had friends and would say I was well liked by all but never really felt an actual part of anything or group. There would be birthdays where everyone would get invited except me and it was an afterthought type feeling. I’m starting to feel now this may have had a more profound impact that I realised at the time.

    Now in my young adult life I think this has turned into pressure to be something or be perceived as something other than myself because to be my quieter and more reserved self is unattractive.

    Much of the lost feeling I have directly results in loneliness I reckon.
    When you mention things going round and round in your head for example that’s definitely a huge challenge for me.
    If you ever experience this how or what have you done to sort of improve upon it ? It really exhausts me and when I get mentally drained I plummet further and further down and each time it’s harder to get out of it.

    At times I can be good with social media and just not use it or use it for specific interests, I think it’s when I’m am flat about who I am that turns the way I use it as a comparison tool which is not great to be honest

  18. therising
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    16 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I think as we go along through life we're kind of pushed to discover who we really are. I've found there are a lot of triggers that really push me to delve quite deep. It's typically when I'm stuck going over the same stuff in my head that I know it's time to explore why it's impacting me so much.

    It was only the other day that I actually realised what was emerging out of what felt like a self destructive pattern. In fact, it turns out the pattern is highly constructive, now that I better understand how it works for me. I cycle. I can be quite content when, all of a sudden I'm triggered by something or someone. I think and think and think until I feel quite overwhelmed. When I've convinced myself I can't work out what the trigger or issue is all about, I become quite down at times, stuck in hopelessness and self chastisement. Then, suddenly, some revelation comes to me that leads me to understand what the heck's going on. What I didn't initially realise was that every time this happens a new aspect of who I am emerges.

    • From the down and hopeless people pleaser who could never please everyone no matter how hard I worked, the intolerant upstanding aspect of myself came to life, who dictated in a variety of ways 'If this is not good enough for you, I suggest you do it yourself!'
    • From the down and exhausted servant to those I love to serve, the challenger in me came to life. To my family and friends I came to challenge with such words as 'I expect thoughtfulness from you when rest is what I need, to recharge. I expect us to be of service to each other. No one way streets'.
    • From the once lonely aspect of self, the content recluse was born while discovering ways to love myself more and love being by myself
    • One of my favourites came from my once fearful self, who feared what people would think of me if I said what I was thinking out loud, for example. This new part of me gave me permission and courage. It dictated 'Be yourself. Tell that person how beautiful they look. Don't keep it to yourself, for they may really need to hear that right now'. I think this was more my instinctive self, my relaxed fun loving self

    So, for me, I've finally come to realise the cycles produce something unique. The lowest point is giving rise to something mind altering and life changing. Hard to know exactly what is coming to life when you're feeling stuck in the cycle, especially at the lowest point.

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  19. Daniel12
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    17 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Thanks again for your wise intake on things and I really hope I can have revelations such as these you mentioned that you have been able to find for yourself, particularly the last one which is a big issue of mine.

    Given the time of year I have found myself reflecting a lot and whilst there is some things I have made progress on deep down I think I am even more lost than I was this time last year even though there’s things like graduating, a new job and gaining more social/dating experience that I’ve got this year compared to last.

    I have thought about this stuff and thought how can I feel even more lost when on the surface things are looking like they are progressing. It’s quite a depressing way to feel.

    I thought about this further and sort of how you mentioned try to work out why the actually feeling is there.

    I came to the conclusion that I am a bit ashamed of myself if I’m honest. In my quest to be comfortable in who I am or try find a partner I let pressure of social groups around me and social media or things people I know are doing etc affect my actions.

    I feel ashamed of myself that I did some things that in isolation are not bad but are against what I would do if I was comfortable in who I am and how I naturally act. Therefore there’s a lot of regret and I feel like a bad person for allowing this to happen to myself and for letting myself succumb to the the confusion and pressure and act out of character. Basically I’ve found myself looking back in shame in myself and disappoint that I have lost my way and allowed societal pressures affect who I believe I am.

    These feelings have been quite strong lately and been it’s been hard to manage the shame in myself for acting out of character and against my own principle in some cases

  20. therising
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    17 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Shame is one of the hardest challenges to face in my opinion. It's something that eats away at you over time. It took me quite a number of years to work through shame. There were so many triggers reminding me of what I'd once regarded as shameful moments. Making sense of that feeling known as shame can be quite a process. As mentioned, it can take years.

    Two of the most significant revelations I had when it comes to shame

    1. Shame is a mental program or construct you might say. The shame program can be instilled or installed very early in our life. Stuff gets added to it as we go along. Imagine being raised to be ashamed of your body, hiding it, even in intimate moments with a partner. Now, imagine being raised in an all accepting nudist colony where there's no shame. You can be raised in a particular religion, riddled with concepts that lead you to feel so much shame and fear or raised without that religion, which means you're not going to shamefully 'burn in hell' for what you've done. The list of examples is a long one, seriously long, so I won't go on
    2. If we can find a different word to replace shame (completely eliminating it), things become more constructive. A couple that come to mind, 'awareness' and 'conflict'. So, instead of saying 'I'm feeling shame' or ashamed, you could say 'I'm feeling awareness growing within me' or 'I'm feeling conflict growing within me'

    To wake up to the fact that different circumstances bring out different aspects of us is challenging. To feel conflicted between who we normally are vs who we've become or who we became (during a certain period) is challenging. While awareness and conflict reveal to you something about yourself, all shame is designed to do is lead you to sufferance. Shame is a mental program of sufferance. It's a horrible one that can lead to that feeling of 'hell on earth'.

    So, you could say you've discovered a different side to you, thanks to isolation. Before that, there was little to no comparison. Under those circumstances there's now a comparison. You now know there are 2 sides to you. Perhaps the 2 sides are comprised of the side that's easily led, sometimes based on certain pressures, and the side that cannot be easily led. The side of us that can be easily led is not always a bad side I must add. It can even be handy at times. Personally, I love being led to a healthy and exciting form of wonder. Learning what you don't want to be led to comes with experience. You learn as you go :)

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  21. Daniel12
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    17 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I guess maybe I don’t rephrase or reframe by thoughts like you’ve mentioned before and I think I let certain feelings that would typically be attached to feeling depressed just fester within myself.

    The the feeling of being ashamed I have is sort of like disappointment in myself that I’ve been on this journey of self discovery and somehow feel in limbo at the moment and I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t been able to progress or that I can’t see it if I have.

    For example I look at things like I graduated a 5yr degree, got a new job, gained experience in dating that I haven’t had and I think why can’t I see these as positives and why do I instead focus so intensely on other things like loneliness.

    Im also disappointed in myself for letting certain experiences like dating that girl I mention previously disappoint me so much that I struggled to remove it from my mind and still do to a degree given it was around this time last year it started and it felt like things were starting to turn for me in that area but I was very wrong and I feel a million miles off it now. I’m also disappointed that I let it define me in a way when I me being happy shouldn’t be dictated by this I guess.

    On the surface comparing to this time last year I should be in a position where I’ve progressed but doesn’t feel that way just left feeling flat. I also feel a lot of guilt for feeling this way and not being able to enjoy my life the way someone in my position should be. Maybe I am tired of certain things, there is a sense of frustration within myself about always doubting myself and who I am, like why I can’t I just be normal and relax.

    One thing I definitely don’t regret is coming on this forum the advice I have been given has been fantastic and I’m sorry if im frustrating to talk with as I bounce around a bit and in disappointed in myself that I potentially can’t see any progress I may have made or not.

    I look at next year being just around the corner and I think back to this time last year where it seemed to be turning and somehow now with all the pondering and different experiences I’ve gained throughout the year I feel annoyed at myself I’m not more comfortable because I feel like I shouldn’t feel this limbo and I need to “smell the roses” a bit more frequently. I’m trying really hard but maybe too hard I don’t know.

    I have lost my way a bit at certain times throughout the year and I just get downhearted on myself for letting it happen frequently.

  22. Daniel12
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    17 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Sorry to add more to what I wrote below just having a pretty bad moment sort of thing and I wanted to try get it down somewhere. This may make no sense but I wonder what the general opinion is on this and I believe I have mentioned it before maybe.

    I feel like my life is generally pretty pathetic and uninteresting. I don’t really know many people and I don’t really see many people or have different groups to hang out with and stuff. I probably have like 2 actual friends and I have to really jump through hoops to see them anyway.

    I see like my two friends for example that have friends from school, friends from uni and then go into a new job or workplace and make friends straight away that they can hang out with or different people ask them to do things etc. I have none of this, my workplace i am the youngest by 15+ years and it’s not that I don’t get along with these people I actually do but let’s be honest I can’t at my age go out with these people they have their own families and lives and that’s completely fine.

    I just see people my age through social media and things like that out and about with different groups and I’m stuck on my bed alone with no plans because the 2 friends I do have usually get asked out by others.

    Im just sat here thinking what a pathetic state my life is in where really I’m not thought of by anyone and I really have an uneventful life. I don’t mean to go climb mountains and all that I actually just mean being able to maybe go out for a drink with a group or something I don’t have these connections like other people around me and never have, I always feel like I’m a loner. It is not through lack of trying either I just find that I must be a forgettable boring person.

    I feel like I’ve just plummeted so far in loneliness I’m just a loner. Like I’ve never just walked into something whether it’s a job or something like that and just made a good group of friends different from other people I know I really have 2 friends and that’s it, everything I do is on my own or I do happen to go out I have to organise it within an inch of my life

    I don’t really know what the point of my rambling is I just wanted to get something down I guess while I’m here on my own again on my bed with no one to talk to

  23. therising
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    18 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I want to start by saying in no way whatsoever do I find you frustrating. Not even in the slightest. Besides you being a thoughtful and considerate person, I find you to also be someone who I can relate to when it comes to that desperate need to progress beyond a certain point. I can relate to the frustration, how depressing it can feel at times, the internal dialogue that can really challenge you and so much more. I think, when we're trying so hard to work something out, it makes sense to rehash the facts, to see whether some revelation eventually comes through. Kind of like 'Maybe if I go over it again, something will stand out this time'. I've found one of the problems with this is while we're rehashing the facts we can reach the same conclusion every time and it can be the wrong conclusion. I recall, during my years in depression, doing this often. I would always reach the conclusion I was a loser or I was defective in some way. In hindsight, I can say I was doing my best under the circumstances back then - the circumstances of low self esteem, a degree of alcohol dependency, a brain in a state of depression, a lack of constructive guidance and so on. You could easily imagine my best didn't look all that crash hot. I've learned to be kinder to myself on reflection. I've learned to say my best is largely dependent on my circumstances.

    Daniel, you can be doing your best under the circumstances and not even realise this is the case. You can be doing your best when it comes to the dating scene. Under the circumstance of constructive feedback from women vs little to no feedback at all, your best will appear different. You can be doing your best to find potential friends. Under the circumstance of a much older group of work colleagues vs a group around your age, your best will appear different. Under the circumstance of initial social shyness vs great social confidence (like when you know people well enough to feel comfortable around them) your best will appear different. As I say, you can be doing your best and not even realise. Our best changes with our circumstances. Sometimes we can be doing our best with limited resources. Becoming resourceful may be the challenge at times.

    Can't recall whether you mentioned if you have any siblings. If so, do you think you could start hanging with a sibling and their friendship group, even if it's just a little at first. I actually met my husband through my sister's friendship group, many years ago.

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  24. Daniel12
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    18 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I know I have said but my appreciation for all the responses is very genuine and although we haven’t met you have my utmost respect. I admire a lot your ability to think and express yourself critically and clearly, I hope I can get to the stage where I am able to offer up insights like you have been able to. I really believe you would be a fascinating person to talk with.

    I agree with your point about rehashing and I think largely thanks to the lockdowns I have fallen into a trap where I replay the same thoughts but I think about it the same everytime and come to the same conclusion it’s only when someone else might point out different that I think of it differently but then still fall into the same pattern.

    The feelings now are anger, frustrations and disappointment with myself for not being able to see progress I have made or for still thinking about some of the insignificant things I think about and letting it plague me. The frustrated side of me will get angry at myself and think “you’re pathetic you can’t control your thoughts or relax and enjoy life”.

    I do have siblings, a 30 yr old brother and 28 yr old sister and they include me where they can which is good. My sister in particular was recently saying to me that I don’t actually realise the positive impact I have on people and I need to take a deep breath. I think this can be related to what you mentioned about being kind to yourself, I struggle in this area.

    I think this goes back to how I felt throughout high school where I had friends but I never felt I fit in because I was often overlooked when asked to do things etc. it’s festered into my adult life and I have a mindset very much like you would at school that to have 100 friends is to be accepted whereas you have a small number is to be weird. Even writing it out I can see it’s irrational but I can’t seem to stop myself from being affect by it or by things I see and groups out having fun and I think why’s it not me but maybe it is I’m just not allowing myself to see it.

    Also I’m upset at myself that I don’t seem to give myself any credit for things I do and I think to myself because I don’t have a partner I have failed and it really downplays other stuff I have done that should be celebrated and I should be happy about like my graduation for example. Instead I allow the fact that I’ve never had a true connection and feel alone dictate who I am and how I feel and I don’t know the best way to stop it.

  25. therising
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    20 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    You're also a fascinating person, have no doubt. You've led me to many revelations which I'm deeply grateful for. We're not always conscious of things until someone leads us to greater consciousness. You're a wonderful leader :)

    Sounds like your sister sees in you what you can't see at the moment. Doesn't mean you won't eventually see it. There could be something waiting just around the corner which may trigger you to relate to what she's saying, some kind of revelation. Suddenly the Yin Yang symbol comes to mind. You can be focusing on the largely white part, with that little spot of black. Someone who focuses on this sees largely the positive, with a hint of the negative. Someone who largely focuses on the dark side may see only a hint of what is positive (the white or light spot). Someone who sees the whole acknowledges there are 2 sides to life that come together in the process of personal growth. If we wanted to get really philosophical here, you could say 'In the darkest of times this is where enlightenment makes itself known' and then we enter into a time of brilliance and 'round it goes.

    It would be interesting to hear how your sister would respond if you were to say to her 'I want you to prove to me, without a doubt left in my mind, that I am all you say I am'. Would she be able to convince you? Would she have to raise her own level of consciousness to find what would shift your perception. In the process, she may even discover you're more amazing that what she initially thought. She might be surprised. She may say, for example, 'All my friends say you have this amazing way of putting them all at ease. They feel like they can be themself around you. They don't have to watch what they say'. Maybe your sister's friends are regarded by people as being 'a bit weird' or 'out there'.

    Personally I'm 'weird' and I've learned to embrace that in a variety of ways. When once it felt depressing, upsetting and even shameful in some way, now I wear 'weird' as a kind of badge of honour. It's such a relief for me to be able to be myself amongst other 'weird' people. It really is a relief. It can be far too much hard work to be 'normal' at times. I love my kids because they're weird, I love their friends for the same reason. Some of their friends inspire me to embrace my own weirdness and I'm honestly grateful to them for this, helping me grow in such a way. We've even discussed how normal and enjoyable our weirdness feels while we're around each other.

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  26. Daniel12
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    20 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I can say with certainty that it has been a very positive experience talking with you on here, although I might be up and down and scrambled sometimes I believe your words have a very good way of calming the mind and thought process. Your kids are very lucky! My father is good at this also, he likes to use some strange analogies but I find myself using them when trying to help others.

    I think my sister potentially gets frustrated not at me but for me because she has said because I seem to focus intensely on certain areas it consumes my mind and I forget other things. Like the example you use I think throughout lockdowns particularly I have solely focused on that dark side and not allowed myself to see the light side. I think this all comes back to loneliness and not knowing how to manage it so it consumes my thought. I’m not sure if you have ever felt similar but for example with trying to find a partner sometimes I feel I just to wait and my turn will come if I focus on just being myself and comfortable but this gets taken over by those feelings of depression that loneliness causes. It’s like a force that just eradicates any sense of rationality.

    My sister helps me see it but unfortunately I have a problem where when I am on my own this force I described above takes over. I don’t know why it’s so hard to just relax and enjoy moments and not allow something like feeling lonely or having no partner define who I am, the critical thinker in me realises it’s irrational. This fuels the anger at myself and that contributes to where I say I feel pathetic.

    With all the help I’ve received on here and from family I’m very slowly starting to embrace the way I am and see maybe it’s actually a positive that I’m more quiet at first or just more laidback/reserved. The pressure I have felt in the past at social outings for example to overly contribute in fear of being judged I feel is starting to fade.

    I still feel a lot of depression around being alone because I have never felt a connection with someone on the level I am looking for and despite my struggles personally I know I’m ready for it I just seem to be false starting over and over and after a lot this my energy is zapped and I have started to lose hope. I don’t feel I meet people easily so it’s a big effort and I have been doing my best putting myself out there it’s just a kind of energy zapping and hopeless process, I find it hard to constant try stay upbeat that it will happen.

  27. james1
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    20 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hey Daniel12,

    I think I've come onto your post a little late, but your thread title grabbed my attention because it's a feeling that is pretty familiar to me, and one that I've heard a lot recently (probably because of my age). I just turned 30 and I recall that feeling from not too long ago. My sister is 23 and I get it from her a lot now too.

    I haven't been able to read your whole thread, but I thought I'd just jump in from your last few posts, because they touch on something that I've been pondering for a while now. I hope it's okay if I be a bit self-centred and talk about myself briefly, as maybe you'll find something to relate to as well.

    I am -really- introverted and I think I've just been slowly coming to realise and accept this over the last 3 years. I've always known, but even I'm kind of surprised by the extent to which I get exhausted by other people now. So I really relate to what you've said about your energy being zapped by false starts and meeting new people, and how that missing connection can feel so lonely. I don't know if there is a solution, and I don't know how much I believe the whole thing where people go, "you don't need someone else to be fulfilled". I think it's literally true, but I think it misses the point - it's hard not having that connection that is typically shared with a partner. In my case, it has the potential to make everything feel just a little bit worse and a little bit more pointless.

    But as you said you're experiencing, we can learn how to get comfortable with ourselves and find ways to manage. Like you, I went through a change where I just got used to not feeling like I needed to talk at social groups - I still prefer my own company, but it makes those situations a lot more tolerable and even enjoyable with some people. I've also gotten a lot better at just declining events that I don't want to go to, and I can enjoy my alone time without feeling lonely or bad about being alone.

    I still miss having a partner and that does suck, but I can equally hope that I might meet someone one day, and I can enjoy most of my time alone until then.

    I hope you're doing alright today. I'm glad to hear you have found these forums helpful so far, and that you've also got support from family.

    James

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  28. therising
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    21 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    It's great to be able to get James' take on things. Sounds like the 2 of you would be able to relate well to the challenges of being a male introvert. I mention this because I think it's perhaps easier for a female in some ways, being an introvert. It's like we females get away with being 'shy' but it's not always this simple for a guy. I think there are sometimes greater expectations put on a guy, to be more out there. Again, it's great to get James' viewpoint, as someone who sounds like he's a little further along the path of self understanding and self acceptance when it comes to the challenges of being an introvert. You'd be able to see, through him, what a little down the path sounds/looks like. This is something to look forward to.

    Inner dialogue can sometimes be the greatest hurdle when it comes to reaching our graduation points/mile stones. If it wasn't for internal dialogue I would easily be able to bring all my dreams into reality. Nothing quite like internal dialogue to talk you out of things or convince you that certain things are unachievable. I believe inner dialogue can come from a variety of resources

    • Past experience/referencing accumulated memories: 'Do you remember the times you failed at this? Well, it's happening all over again. See, you're a constant failure at this and here, again, is proof'. Brutal stuff
    • Different parts of our self: Your intolerant self may insist 'Do not tolerate taking poop from this person. They are no better than you. Don't tolerate their foolishness'
    • People who get into our head: Mum's voice saying 'You're not going out wearing that shirt are you? It's filthy. Go and get changed'
    • The powers that be (whatever they are): 'Have faith in yourself. You are in a process that you can't fully recognise at this point. Have faith that what is happening is a part of the process'

    I recall undertaking some fascinating research not too long ago where I happened across a truly inspirational website. 'Hearing Voices Network' offers an amazing take on...well...hearing voices. As they mention, hearing voices isn't necessarily a problem, the problem can be how we form relationships with those voices in our head or how we perceive them. Their followers include a variety of people, such as those who face the challenges of destructive internal dialogue planted by abusive people, those who face schizophrenia and those who hear divine inspiration and not so divine. It's a mixed bunch of people all supporting each other.

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  29. Daniel12
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    21 December 2021 in reply to james1

    Hi James

    Thanks for your advice and insight I really appreciate it! I can relate to a lot of what you have said you have gone through and experience.

    It’s sort of like I’m hopefully gaining more comfortability in myself but I feel very uncomfortable not having a connection with anyone.
    I know it might be useless to think this way when I think I really can’t see where it’s going to turn but that’s often how I feel.

    I hope to one day find full comfort on my own and in my introvert personality like you have been able to but I know it’ll be a constant work in progress

    Thanks

    Daniel

  30. Daniel12
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    21 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Yes James’ example shows where I hope I can get to in future in terms of self acceptance. I agree with your point that there are sometimes greater expectations on a male to be more out there and larger than life because I think I have been surrounded by this a lot socially within the groups I have grown up around.

    I probably have touched on it before but it’s a combination of social groups, social media and past experiences that form this overwhelming pressure. I’m conditioned to think that to just be a down to earth, quiet/calmer natured guy with a small network is fundamentally uninteresting and unattractive. It angers me at myself that I always fall into this line of thinking. Like you mentioned internal dialogue can often take us out of things and I think this is the case 90% of the time with me.

    I want to think I’ve made some sort of progress in myself but when I just feel completely hopeless with things like where I’m going to find a partner and stuff like that it just feels like I haven’t at all and I don’t actually have the strength of mind to realise when I have. I have been looking at the last year and asked myself what progress have I actually made when I actually feel even more hopeless about it because I have absolutely no idea when/if that will happen and if I’m even deserving of it.

    If I had made progress in myself I wouldn’t constantly fall back into this, it just consumes my thought and instead of looking to 2022 with optimism because I’ve graduated and got a new job and stuff like that I’m actually dreading it in a way because this one thing consumes my thought and I don’t want to go through another year of constantly feeling confused in who I am, where I’ll find what I’m looking for and question myself.

    Theres time where I feel I may have shown progress like at a family Christmas break up this weekend where I didn’t feel the usual pressure to be something I’m not and I felt calm to just contribute to conversations in my own way which is to listen and maybe say a joke if I can or interject when I have something to say but not force it out. But then at the end of it I felt down because I don’t have someone to bring to these events that connects with me and I ultimately feel lonely so what progress is there because I can’t seem to shake it at all.

    Everything seems to gets ruined by my silly thoughts which stem from loneliness 90% of the time and looking forward I struggle to see light at the end of the tunnel.

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