Sorry if this comes out as a stream of possibly unrelated thoughts. I hope it makes sense anyway. If it doesn’t, or does it poorly, then I’m probably already insane.
I’ve been lying to everyone about my situation with regard to university. I didn’t use to be a blatant liar like I am now, but things have gone out of control. I think the last time I actually showed up for an exam was more than a year ago, maybe two. Since then, I’ve been faking going to exams, only to tell my parents and friends I had failed later.
Despite being in my twenties I’m acting like a child who doesn’t want to go to school, or doesn’t want to take responsibilities in general. There was a time when I genuinely liked what I’m studying at university, but I don’t know if it still holds true now. It’s been a long time since my first year at university and I feel like I’ve lost direction (I should have graduated years ago). Actually, I don’t know what I like anymore, because I don’t have strong opinions on anything. I’m in a loop of denial of my own situation and pleasure-seeking behavior (doom-scrolling, porn, etc.).
I’ve been thinking about suicide for years, but the fact that I don’t act on it makes me think I’m yet another attention seeking person who’s just pretending to be sick in order to avoid responsibilities. It’s difficult to understand what’s truly going on in my head. It’s very possible I’m lying to myself. Suicide is scary, especially because I have no access to methods that are simultaneously quick, painless and lethal. Though it’s possible that I didn’t research enough. Sometimes I think that If I had a gun, I would have already killed myself. The reality is that survival instinct is very strong, and so is the suffering of those left behind.
I often think about life as a big scam: you don’t ask to be born, someone else decides that for you. But what if I realize I don’t want to live any more later in life? I’m literally stuck here because killing myself would make other people suffer. Ironically, it would make the very same people who put me here suffer. It’s absurd that suicide is regarded as selfish, when the only selfish act I see here is giving birth to someone who may not want to live. You grow up surrounded by love and stuff to ease your journey into adulthood, only to realize life’s been a joke all along.
Maybe I’m just an undisciplined whiner: I’m unable to stop eating junk food, procrastinating, or watching (problematic) porn, among other things. There are short virtuously-lived periods during which I sleep and eat well, exercise and read regularly, interrupted by long, dark times during which I’m the worst, letting go of everything. Then there’s a whole bunch of regrets that keep cropping up in my mind (and which happens to increase over time), causing me distress in totally unrelated situations, for example when trying to focus on studying.
I should also mention that I feel like I’m losing my sense of morality lately. Since I started blatantly lying about my situation it seems like a line has been crossed, and the more I go on with life, the more moral lines get crossed. I also have the feeling that there’s no going back from this, similar to the mantra “once an addict, always an addict”, or the opening of Pandora’s box, so to speak. I feel stupid trying to convey some meaning with such poor examples, but I hope you get it. To be really honest, I’ve never been that virtuous, since I have a fair record of bad things I regret having done, especially in my high school years. It’s possible that I’m just noticing it more now.
Yeah, I know: I should see a therapist (am doing), practice meditation (kinda did, want to retry that), yada yada yada.
Again, maybe I’m just whining. After all, I don’t live in a poor third world country. I don’t have any chronic disease (that I know of). I didn’t have a miserable childhood. I consider myself privileged, if you ask me. Maybe I am the result of contemporary society: if I were a peasant in the Middle Ages, I wouldn’t even have the time to dwell on such things. Granted, I would be unhappy in other (probably worse) ways.
Maybe it’s just that being a loser is easier.
Wish you happiness.
I am not sure where you are in the world, but please consider reaching out to a suicide hotline.
Your life is valuable.
I hope this comment gets visibility. I want to thank all those who replied to this topic. I've read your comments multiple times, and for now all I can say is that you've given me a lot to think about. For what it's worth, it's "nice" to see I'm not alone regarding (some of) the issues I'm struggling with.
I'm sorry but I feel like I have nothing to add to the discussion, despite it being encouraged here. I just want you to know that what you've written is really important to me.
Banal as it may seem, I really mean it: thank you.
Disclaimer: Advice colored by own experience.
If you don't want to do what you're currenly doing and if it only makes you miserable have you considered making some drastic changes to your life? I don't mean not eating junk food.
I know there's an immense pressure on all of us to believe that the college track is the only way you can live your life, but think that maybe you don't have to do that. You're young and there are many things you haven't tried. And it might seem like you have wasted a few years but that's just the sunk cost fallacy talking. Experience is more important than a degree anyway. You can do so much. Learn a trade. Become a farmer. Write. Compete. It doesn't matter. Even if you don't want to do anything else, select something you don't immediately hate and give it a try. Even if you don't want to do it for the rest of your life, I would strongly recommend setting your studies aside and getting a job for a while.
Move, if you haven't. I don't mean to a different town. Travel. Go to a different country. Go to a different culture. Get away from the environment that gets you down. Work elsewhere, learn a new language, meet different people. Do volunteer work. If you haven't done this yet, don't immediately discard the idea based on your assumptions of what it might be like or what difficulties might arise. Just give it a try.
If you want to check out you might as well experience other things, right? What do you have to lose?
I just wanted to say that although my orginal advice was predicated on staying in college, this is also a very valid option. For a number of young people with depression, a big part of breaking out of those depressive habits is to break free of the expectations of those who have influence over them, and that's typically their parents.
Sometimes you have to reject the routine and embrace those rock-and-roll dreams! It's important to live for yourself.
I also think that dropping out might be the best thing for OP.
I've been in your situation, and I've felt and done many of the same things. I lied about why my graduation was "delayed" and I've lied about my situation countless times.
This past year I've been doing the same as you, eating junk food, eating a lot of McDonalds and drinking multiple times a week. I've thought about how I don't want to live life, not that I want to die, I just don't think I could handle a real life. I can't even imagine moving out or getting a job on my own. It's a foreign concept to me right now.
I'm still not in a great situation so I can't give out any advice. But, I do hope you don't consider suicide for much longer. Odds are your situation can and will improve. You'll find other things that you like, renewed passions, you'll meet new people you like. As time goes on you might have more regrets, but other regrets will start to fade away like memories do. It's overwhelming, but I think you should hold on.
You acknowledge it and see it happening. So you're in a better place than a lot of people.
Nothing has been wasted. You're learning from these experiences. Maybe slower than you'd like, but you'll get there. Opportunities present themselves throughout life. If you're not ready for the ones in front of you now, maybe you will be ready for those that pop up in a week, a month, or a year.
It sounds so stupid to say, but you just need to make a decision to do what's right for you, whatever that may be. The decision is where people often fail. They decide to do things instead of become things.
For example, "I’m unable to stop eating junk food..." No, you haven't yet made the decision to be someone healthy. That's a far different decision than "stop eating junk food" because that's too easy to break and doesn't leave leeway. Deciding to be healthy gives you the freedom to eat junk food sometimes but maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Same with college. It's easy to fail and easy to decide to do well, which for me, lasted one semester before I fell into old habits. But when I figured out I wanted to be a programmer and the best way to do that at the time, was to get a degree, it was a lot easier to succeed.
I'm scared to touch on suicide so I'll just say no. Deciding to eat junk food is an easily reversible decision, that is not.
I have listened to a lot of people with depression, and while I'm not sure how much it will help you to hear this, this very story could have easily come from anyone; you're not alone in the way you are feeling.
The good news is that this particular flavor tends to be weak to a number of therapies. Even talking to friends about your problems will help. The way out of depression is to understand the way you think, but the problem with doing that by yourself is that you are currently stuck in a loop caused by an internal monologue that is lying to you. Look at what you wrote about how not committing suicide made you feel like you're an attention-seeker. Does that narrative really make much sense to you? You are going through real pain right now, and it should be unmistakable, but you've been in pain for so long that you are starting to believe that it's just how life is. But depression is a liar. There are a million positive things about your life that you just can't see because your depression is not letting you. And that's why it's so important to get help, so you can figure out what's real and how to see the good things in life.
Believe it or not, you're actually extremely lucky right now since you're at school. Your school almost certainly has an entire department designed specifically to help you with your needs. They can not only help you find a therapist for little to no money, but they might even be able to get you a second chance on those exams you missed out on to help you get your life back on track.
I had four transformational experiences.
The first was going sky-diving. I had thought long and hard about suicide, and had decided I wanted to really try living before I tried dying. For me, jumping out of a perfectly good airplane did something that playing chicken with a Mac Truck didn't do. There are consistent stories of instant regret from survivors who jump off the golden gate bridge. I found this true for me also. Plus I really wanted to continue with this. But I needed money. This gave me a reason to live and a reason to study. I am not recommending this for you. You could try a few scary water slides, or diving off a bridge into the ocean? Or more scary still, public speaking? Something to get your adrenaline pumping.
My second transformational experience was moving cities. I think this is covered well by others. It taught me to reinvent myself, and not define myself by my habits.
My third was learning to ride a motorcycle. It taught me to take responsibility for my actions, and to stay in the moment.
My fourth was to speak publicly. It was always my greatest fear. I don't know what it taught me honestly, other than to not sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff.
Of course, I didn't have anywhere near the level of procrastinations/ distractions that are available to us today. Not sure about how to solve that, except I think perhaps you first need to find a reason to live, before you can find a reason to study.
All the best.
Believe it or not, you’re experiencing something very normal. Around that age most folks have some sort of existential crisis, whether they realize that the objectives and goals that were set in front of them by society, are never met. These objectives and goals are almost always impossible to achieve, especially because the nature of humanity involves validation, and social media perpetually “raises the bar” of where you should be in life, comparatively to others.
My advice to you is to find one thing that you enjoy. Start small, and grow from there. This one thing, whether it be going for a walk, playing some video game with friends, debating online, whatever. Take some time to reflect on what it is about that thing that you enjoy. Maybe it’s connections with others, maybe it’s using your mind in ways you usually don’t, or just expelling the extra energy you’ve accumulated being a part of “contemporary society” as you mentioned. Whatever it is, just take a moment to think about the parts you enjoyed.
I’m in my mid 30’s and bought a skateboard 10 years to get back into it. I finally bought a full set of protective pads and a helmet bigger than darth helmet. I literally look like the goofiest thing on wheels in the truck-state area. ..And for a moment I wondered what I was doing “I’m too old for this”, “ younger kids will judge me for being a beginner in his 30s”, “am I just trying to be young again?”.
But I decided to do it anyways. I suck at skateboarding, and definitely made full use of my pads and helmet. But I found that it physically exhausted me, and that for some reason it felt really good to go from sedentary to active, even if for only 20 min or so a day.
I think (in my unprofessional opinion) that we as individuals put way too much pressure on yourselves. Something a friend told me a long time ago, that I’ll rephrase for you is...
“Racingkerosone, you don’t actually have to do everything.”
“You don’t actually have to do anything.”
“Yet you have done so much more amazing things than nothing”
“Just to get to where you are (low point) you have gained a world of experience and wisdom.”
“You can do anything that you want to.”
“But you don’t have to do everything.”
May peace and guidance be with guy during these tough times, my friend.
While there have been some great comments about depression, breaking out of oppressive/unhealthy cycles/environments, and finding/setting goals, I'm not sure anyone has touched solely on the matter of lying.
You said that this is self reinforcing, that you feel it has taken you across a line. I would guess, from comparable life experience that lying is responsible for a lot of your depression. You might be blaming yourself for struggling in life and especially academically, when you have been fortunate enough to have such a privileged life. But possibly the act of lying, especially to those who love you, causes the most blame.
First, being privileged in no way means what you are going through is not some serious sh*t. You obviously already know it is impacting your quality of life, and seeing as you have thought about suicide enough to mention it... I think about it like this: happiness might be the improvement over a baseline, and everyone's baseline adjusts for their environment.
So two people, one rich and one poor, can both be happy or sad. I think of depression as getting stuck below your baseline. But for anyone to be considering suicide, their current happiness has to be very far below their baseline. Being fortunate or priviledged in life can never justify someone getting stuck down there. I truly hope you can live more days, more happily.
Second, lies usually feel like they grow and they get worse and they get harder to get out of. They just dig the pit deeper, right? I am still struggling here, so all I can say is, I have come to the conclusion that getting out of the pit is probably the healthiest thing someone could do.
There are multiple ways of getting out of the pit. They may not be equal. If things get dire, I would probably take the fastest way out of the pit, even if it might seem like it would do more damage than good. I'm not there yet, so I'm still working on scaling it. This is probably a mistake, but it is what it is.
I'm lucky enough to know what I need to be at my baseline happiness. It sounded a bit like you might too, but your depression and guilt beats you up when you try to get there. You seem to think your methods aren't totally healthy; I can't speak to any of that. Maybe bring that up with your therapist?
But I know roughly where I need to be, it is just hard to get there, when I'm down in here. I have always been good at planning, but poor at executing. Still, I try not to beat myself up if I get a bit further away, because that isn't helpful.
Consider asking about ways to get out of the pit. Your therapist might be able to advise you on what you could expect from a particular course of action, what the ramifications might be. Probably, actions need to be taken even once out, to build healthier habits that can keep you out.
Others discussed a change of environment. I'm pretty certain I need this. But it feels so out of reach. Actually, the goal is realistic, just things make it seem so far. It isn't. I can actually do it. And knowing that, helps so much, even when I feel bad about not getting there yet, about taking a step back, about slipping a bit. It isn't going anywhere. I hope you might know of, or find, something like that and that it helps you.
Also, others discussed finding someone to talk to, outside of your therapist (and probably not your parents, at least for starters). I made some progress there myself, no easy fix I am sad to say, but it was nice. Definitely ask your therapist to help you do that, if possible! I'd think a good therapist will be able to arrange something that won't put undue pressure on you.
EDIT: you aren't wasting your life, or your 20s. This obviously isn't how you wanted to spend it, and you have regrets, but it isn't a waste. Because you can always improve as long as you are here, and then this sh*t right now becomes another leg of the journey. It isn't a waste. It's the trials and tribulations of any hero's life.
You are in desperate need to open up to someone, that is probably why you are doing so on the internet. But if you have someone you trust in your life and can talk too (that is not a therapist) please open up to them about these issues.
Therapy is important, but it sounds to me that alot of your problems come from fear of society's judgement, if you can open up to someone and they except you as you are then that may help in your personal view of yourself.
This sounds very similar to me, and I sadly wasted my 20s not fully addressing it. I felt like I was living a lie, people around me saw me as a good person but I felt in my heart that I was not. It is only now at 30 that I am making positive progress. It did not change my feelings about myself, but it made me feel like someone accepts me as I am even after knowing all my faults. This combined with therapy and medication to help me feel motivated is what I need to make positive progress.
Do not waste your 20s like I did, this is the number one important thing in your life that needs to be addressed and nothing else should be put above it. I wish you the best and hope you have found this helpful. 👍
I don't think you're whining or are an attention seeker or failure. I think you've been conditioned to think these things of yourself (by society, by grown ups who want you to do what they see fit for you, by grown ups who would benefit from you doing the thing, by grown ups who would vicariously live off your successes, etc/OTHER PEOPLE).
You've lost faith in your interests/major. Did something happen? Something really hurtful that makes you want to avoid doing the thing for fear it might happen again? (I've felt that way, I feel that way about many things. But, tbh, my experience may not help you right now in this feeling. It's the unfortunate thing, you have to walk this road by yourself. The people in your life are there only for support, but they can't walk it for you. And also, only you know what's best for yourself because you know yourself best. Other people would give you advice on what they would do in your situation. But you are in your own situation.).
Which brings me to my next question. Are the people in your life really supportive? And I mean, emotionally supportive. Or are they the ones judging you/filling your mind with "what do you have to complain about, all you do is jack off and eat?"? It's okay to feel that they miss the mark on the emotional support front even though they have helped you in other forms. That doesn't make you ungrateful, it makes you honest.
Suicide is a full stop to the pain. Like you mentioned:
I think your brain is aware that there are other ways to stop the pain and that's why you haven't "done the deed" yet. Your brain is coping and finding ways to make the pain go away: porn, junk food, avoiding responsibilities, etc. (good job brain!) You may be disappointed that these coping mechanisms are on a negative loop and you are becoming aware that you don't like being in this loop anymore.
Personal Rant/Side Bar
I've been in this loop. Want to know what I ate last week in a span of 3 hours? To bad if you don't, I'm telling you anyway: Raising Cane's, Sour Mike 'n Ike's, a slice of pizza, and a banana/chocolate crepe. I hope my husband doesn't see this, because I lied and told him I only had the banana/chocolate crepe and that I was reading... spoiler alert, I was getting high. Haha (nervous laugh), am I the best person to be talking to you/dishing some advice? prolly not. But of course, I lied so that I could avoid the lecture/shame: The Shame Lecture. The "what am I doing with my life" lecture. Hey man, I don't want to be doing this with my life neither bud, but you know, I'm in a lot of pain and I just need to make it to the next day.
It's okay buddy. It's okay to do the "negative" thing sometimes to get you to the next day. And I hear you that you're tired of it. Baby steps can get you there. Their have been countless times I've clawed myself out of depression and I still do. Because I've felt happiness before and I've felt like I've belonged before. I get on back on that horse every single time, weirdly. For a taste of that pleasure again. For me, it's the beach/ocean, or the view on top of a mountain after a hike (I can't hike all that well if I'm eating all that junk food/messing my lungs up with weed), or making my friends/family laugh, or music festivals, or a BTS concert, or the joy of getting a cat I've been training do the thing I've trained them to do, or seeing a cat get adopted/feel wanted again. But what's your thing? Or, at least, what were your things? Do you know why they stopped feeling so great?
A quote from Kim Namjoon from BTS that helps me."You know in your 20s, you have so many thoughts, they're like many branches in a tree. If my brain is a tree, there are so many branches. There's sadness, desperation, devastation, there's happiness, hope, everything. But when you get old, it gets cut... We have to feel pain and have to experience many things. But after that in 30s and 40s, if you got so many branches in your 20s... you will someday become a beautiful tree by your 30s and 40s." - Kim Namjoon
Please keep in touch.
Maybe start with the dishonesty. Be truthful to yourself and others.