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  1. Thank you for your response, ChopinLover. I suppose that's what I'm trying to figure out...whether or not this hobby is actually important to me, or if I've just been pretending to myself that it's important in an attempt to feel less depressed and more like a so-called productive member of society. There are many sources that recommend hobbies for those who are depressed but those of us who have been there know that it can be challenging to join up, especially when the expectations for passion and dedication around certain hobbies are quite high. I always feel like there's this ideal person who does my hobby: someone who has the energy to take multiple classes per week, who meets others to practice outside of class, who practices every single day on their own...I've never been like that about anything. Even just the time I spend in one class takes a great deal of energy on my part. I hope that you are able to find your way back to piano one day...or not. Perhaps you will take those lessons you learned from the work you've done there into something entirely new.
  2. I have a hobby that I do from time to time. I've done it for years on and off. But what usually happens is that I'll start it up for several months, only be able to commit so much due to ongoing motivational/energy/financial issues, and eventually drop off from doing it again. As a result, while I am decent at it, I don't really progress to a high level of performance at it. I wouldn't call myself an expert and don't really see myself getting on to a path to become one unless my overall mental health improves. To do well at this hobby would take a larger time commitment (multiple sessions per week and rehearsals) as well as financial commitment (it's performance-based, and involves buying somewhat expensive costumes to perform in semi-professional shows). I think for a long time, I equated having a hobby as showing that I am "passionate" about something and evidence of self-worth. I recall a conversation years ago I had with a co-worker where he basically said "you have to have something" and went on to talk about how his girlfriend at the time was passionately dedicated to this particular hobby. I was dating a lot at the time, but struggled with not feeling like "relationship material"... While the hobby in question was already something I was interested in, I think this conversation may have been something I've latched onto...if only I could make myself into this woman with this passion, then I can be worthy of love. Back to the present - I do this hobby mainly as stress relief and mood booster (it does improve my mood when I go, even if I usually don't feel excited about going out of my house in the evening to do it), though I wonder if, at the back of my mind, I'm still trying to prove my worth by sticking with it. I wonder if, as a person with tendencies towards depression, I can ever feel truly "passionate" about something, at least enough to want to sacrifice tons of energy and money to do it, the way others seem to be able to do. Right now I'm back in a position where I have to cut my finances down a lot...and am thinking I may need to drop even my basic involvement with this hobby once again. But I worry that if I drop it, I will have nothing (it's pretty much my only social outlet, even though it's somewhat minimal) and with increase my risk of slipping back into a more serious depression. For those who have faced similar dilemmas: are hobbies (particularly ones that require certain time and energy commitments) vital to maintaining your mental health? How do you know when a hobby really does good to you or if it's something you're doing to try and feel worthy by external standards? And how do you balance the benefits that come with these hobbies with your limited resources (be it energy, social limitations, financial, mobility, etc.)?
  3. I wrote about this yesterday and, unfortunately, am continuing to feel stressed out (now actually getting into a bit of a very mild depression) over this new tattoo. I keep looking at it and cannot come to love or even like it right now. The placement is weird and it's just too big and bulky for me and my personality type (I like the tiny, gentle, sweet, and somewhat mysterious designs best personally...though others can carry much larger and bolder pieces well). What I have is a too-large, yet too-small basic design that's awkwardly floating in the middle of my arm and doesn't really evoke any emotion on sight...it just looks kinda flat and dull and sits on my arm in a way that it tends to look a bit warped when I move it. It doesn't even read clearly as to what it is unless you already know. It makes me feel maimed, ugly, too masculine and in-your-face in a way that's not me at all...like I've ruined my body...like I'll never feel like myself again...all the things that people always say. I didn't go through any of this with my first tattoo. I still don't know what possessed me to just go for it without any sort of doubt or hesitation. Maybe it was satan...I'm not even joking. A lot of my problems with making choices in the past that I can't tell are for the better or worse are because I don't have anyone in my life at all who I can talk to and trust who will "tell it to me straight"...even one good friend could have said..."girl, do you really want to jump in with a visible tattoo that big right now? At least sit on the design for a little while longer, maybe even a whole year." But I didn't...I "went for it" as society so often encourages, and now I have an additional strain on my mental health that is entirely of my own creating. And sometimes I think we really do have too many options today..."anything goes" so nothing is questioned... I don't blame my artist...they did what I asked for and offered some suggestions/advice along the way...but unless an artist knows you extremely well (ideal situation), they can only advise so much on what will work for your body, your lifestyle, your temperament and personality, your mental health levels, etc. I’ll be frank about this too: I don’t feel ready to be judged by the world as a “tattoo person” when I don’t feel particularly strongly about being representative of “people with tattoos”...yet I feel like the world is suddenly going to treat me like I’m one of those cool confident girls with a full sleeve or several arm tats. And the stigma that comes with it too...I’m already stigmatized in other ways (which is part of why I kinda said “what’s one more way?” with the tattoo initially), but am I ready to feel even more ostracized than I already do in life? As a woman especially...unfortunately there are a lot of stereotypes about women who have tattoos being “just for fun”...which I am very much not into at all at this stage in my life. I can't get my mind off of all this...I've googled many variations of "new tattoo regret"...I've googled local removal places. Well...I've read some things that have mentioned something called "new tattoo remorse"...which this might turn out to be. It's just too soon to say. I just really, really wish I'd stuck to smaller, more delicate tattoos...I've been looking at photos of what I wish my tattoo could be...a cute, tiny little something on my inner forearm, something you'd have to look close at me to see. It turns my stomach to think that this could have been avoided if I just gave it more thought, didn't have some strange lapse in judgement brought on by positive emotions during travel. Other people seem to be fine with spontaneous, even spur of the moment tattoos...so, if this is you, don’t feel deterred, it can still work out...but even sitting on an idea for almost a year has led to what I’m experiencing now as a less outgoing and/or confident person. Something that has put this in perspective that came up in one of the many articles I've read/videos I've watched though is, even if it turns out that I never get used to the tattoo, it's not, by far, the worst thing that could happen to a human body. It's a picture that I don't love...not something that is actually causing harm or ******* me. All that being said...I'm going to be investing in a lot of 3/4 sleeves as I allow myself time to try and adjust to it... I'll try not to just vent here too much if no one is even reading...but if anyone is and happens to know of any good resources for dealing with possible "new tattoo remorse" or full on tattoo regret...please feel free to post or DM. Hope this is helpful in some way to someone, either considering a tattoo or going through something similar...people say “think before you ink” but there aren’t a lot of public discussions of some of the reasons why from those who go through with it (understandably, as I do feel a lot of shame for making what to everyone else must seem like the dumbest choice ever).
  4. Bringing this message back to vent a bit again because...well, I recently got a second tattoo (an evolution of the wrist one I was considering earlier this year) while traveling abroad and have gone into a bit of a panic state about it. The first one is quite small and, 95% of the time is out of my sightline. I became very accustomed to and happy with the whole "I have a private little meaningful tattoo but don't have to be a "hello, world!"-type tattoo person," especially as an introvert who doesn't necessarily like to strike up conversations with strangers about anything, let alone something that has deep personal meaning to me. Plenty of days have even gone by where I haven't even thought about having a tattoo...I just kinda forgot it was there! So...I don't know what possessed me to go all in for the second tattoo idea that I had bounced around in my head before. This one is bigger than the first (about the size of a small cookie or tea biscuit) and on my upper forearm...so it's visible to me about 95% of the time (not to mention anyone else). I had no doubts going in for a consult, finalizing the design, setting the appointment, getting on the table, going through with it...but now that it's actually on my arm...Does it really look OK with my other tattoo or are they mismatched? Is it too big? Too prominent? Does this make me a "tattoo person" now? Just another basic millennial trying to be "unique"? Am I going to have to have 1000 conversations about it per year? Why the heck didn't my introverted behind stick to the one and done subtle and very easily hidden tiny tat life? But...it's here now. I believe with time I will learn to love it, though I'm still debating whether or not to ever show either of them to my family (they're extremely judgmental...it's a long story). The trip was very special and this will always remind me of it, layering onto the meaning it already had. I do love the design I landed on too, even though I am struggling to get used to it just being...there all the time. I really think this is the last one I'm going to get though (at least for a while...like maybe a decade or so!). I have an idea for a series of four but I don't know if the visible tattoo life is going to be for me (even this new one I can easily hide under 3/4 length sleeves as needed). One thing about tattooing is that's it's taught me to accept all that I am, "flaws" and all, and has helped me work on letting go of certain ideas about having to be "perfect/flawless/etc." at all times. I'll be honest...I wouldn't have gotten a tattoo when I was younger because I held on to a whole lot of "what if"s...like, what if I want to become a teacher or a lawyer? What if I have kids? Etc. (not that you cannot have tattoos and do these things - plenty of people do). But now that I've gotten to an age where a lot of the "what if" doors have shut...it's an easier decision to make. I think even if I did consider them when I was younger (even just in my 20s), I'd be really hung up on choosing something that was perfectly unique and "different"...while both of the designs are custom, they're somewhat generic on the surface and more about meaning than standing out. It's also helping me learn to embrace an aging body that's collected a few injury and medical scars along the journey. My first tattoo really does (or did...the second one has maybe made me backtrack a little) feel like just another part of my skin's story. I realize this is a silly thing to be stressed/anxious about relatively speaking...but this is where I am today.
  5. Tired. Regretful. But...looking forward to getting back into the swing of things after this weekend.
  6. Today I’m feeling...winded. Back in the office after vacation time and in tears minutes after getting right back into one of those “kids” conversations the minute I walked in the door (I’m single and childless). I’ve been following a fandom for some time but have been saying that after a certain event I would need to let it go. For many people the fandom brings community and connection but because I don’t quite fit in with it I only feel more lonely as everyone else seems to make connections easily. I’m tired, back to the routine. I like my job but the structure of sitting in a cubicle every day for x hours does not help with depression...
  7. I definitely understand that relationships are hard work, not all flowers and candy, and are certainly not a “cure” for loneliness (and in some cases, can actually be lonelier). The issue I’m having is less about “well...everyone has a relationship so where’s mine?” than it is about “why can’t I be an acceptable human being just as I am? Why does it feel like I need to have this status to be acceptable on even the most basic level?” The social isolation that I’ve experienced from my late 20s onward has been so bad that I actually went through a period where I thought I might be on the autism spectrum. That’s how difficult it’s become to connect with people. I did my research and am no longer thinking that’s the case, but sometimes I do really feel terrified at just how pronounced and prolonged this is with no apparent way out. With each passing year it becomes more and more unlikely that I’ll ever feel socially normal again. And that worries me sometimes (but actually not most of the time). I look around and see the easiest way that most adults of a certain age connect, and that’s talking about spouse and kids. Since for many casual relationships, that’s the default and it doesn’t go deeper, it’s easy to feel left out from everyday life just for being who I am. And that’s where the anxiety comes in.
  8. I am a single woman over 30 who will likely remain that way...just thinking about trying to “catch up” in that area of my life makes me feel exhausted. In general, I’ve started to feel more and more OK with the idea of being left out of certain experiences in life. But sometimes my anxiety gets the better of me and I feel like there must be something horribly wrong with me to have not even had a chance at a relationship. Why was I never the girl who aunties asked about and urged to find a partner (maybe once or twice, but not nearly what other women experience)? Why did I just completely get cut out when everyone else is going to weddings every summer weekend? How am I going to survive decades and decades of feeling like an outsider when all my colleagues’ casual chats at work revolve around partner stuff or so and so’s wedding or kids? I know that there are some genuine societal factors that contribute to why I’ve been left out (won’t get into too much detail), but when I still have to be in environments every day where no one else seems to have been cast aside to this extent, I start feeling very anxious. I think it’s part of that primal response that comes from being cast out of one’s tribe. I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone else...but also wonder if anyone else out there feels this way in their daily life?
  9. Hello again Sophy Hope you have been doing okay these days. I’m alright, things eased up for a bit for several weeks and I even have some vacation time coming up...but today is one of those “special” days and I’m feeling the strain of loneliness and isolation a bit more than usual. It’ll pass...
  10. It's only been a few months but I'm reading back on what I wrote and it feels like a luxury almost, to have been worried about not being able to have a child by simply missing my child-bearing years. A couple years ago, I started having issues with uterine fibroids. Extremely heavy periods leading to anemia, cramping, etc. I had surgery to have them removed/reduced a little under two years ago and haven't had a heavy period or even cramps as bad as what I've had since I started getting my period since. Well...this month, I had a heavy one. It came as a shock...I always knew that there was a risk of them returning but I'd inwardly hoped that it wouldn't be for another few years at least. That being said, I don't know for sure that they have returned just yet (I set up an appointment with my surgical gyn in a couple of months, so I can see what the next couple of cycles look like before my check up). I am now officially in the perimenopause bracket, for instance, and it could be a hormone imbalance or even just an odd cycle. I've recently had some tests done to check my hormone levels. But as someone with a tendency towards anxiety in these situations, in my mind, the fibroids must be back and it is inevitable that I will need a hysterectomy. Not only that, but I will need one within the next few years. I'd hoped this wouldn't be a decision I'd have to make until after 40 at the very earliest. I think, ultimately, I can make peace with not having children. Given my medical history, I may not be able to have them anyway. Given my current relationship and financial status, it would take a bone fide miracle for me to get into a position to have them within my remaining child-bearing years. So...even if the fibroids aren't back, I may seriously consider it (as I have other serious menstrual-related issues). It makes me very sad sometimes that this is how my life turned out and, as someone who struggles sometimes with finding a reason to live, feels like just one more knock against me. But there is also a certainty and a finality in it, that, in a way, may allow me to go through the difficult mourning that I described in my post above earlier, without the uncertainty of when menopause will hit and those lingering years of "it could still happen" even if it's a snowball's chance in ache ee double hockey sticks. I've been trying to find some resources for women going through this process. Many women do seem to talk about how their quality of life improves afterwards, but the vast majority of these women seem to be those who have already had kids or, at the very least, have a supportive husband who loves them even if they don't have kids together. Has anyone seen anything from younger women who face this decision when they are still single and have not had kids?
  11. Thank you for your response, 20YearsAndCounting. In recent years, I have sometimes questioned whether I should seek out a spiritual direction that is more fluid and open and accepting of many things (I actually wrote a long post on a Christian website breaking down many of these things, which I can discuss more via PM). But, as a Catholic, from what I can understand I am beholden to the church for life. I can leave but I would still be a (lapsed) Catholic and, according to the teachings of the church, at serious risk of going you-know-where. The church sees itself as containing the fullest truth available on earth...I’m not saying that I’ve fully internalized any of these teachings myself at this point...but as someone who is generally terrified in general (hello anxiety), the ramifications presented to me regarding leaving the church are very distressing to me. If I pray on it and find that God is calling me elsewhere, however...I am open to following Him.
  12. I'm right back to feeling too selfish to be a Christian or even just a decent person again lately...I think I am really just a selfish person who doesn't have the ability to give things up for others in a big way. As an introvert, I'm very protective of my energy and down time and will not do things if I think they will put me in a state of mental distress. I don't have the ability to change the plan last minute or drop things, especially when it's something I need to restore my energy. Sometimes I even question my ability to become a partner (wife) and parent, as it would mean little to no downtime. There are things that I put money aside for because they give me relief, and I'm not willing to spend that money on something or someone else. I feel like I need these things to survive- downtime, autonomy, that one activity or another...but I feel guilty for not being the type of person who can give those things up, especially as a Christian. Is there something wrong with me? Doing for others does not bring me joy, especially if I feel obligated to do it. I draw lines and set boundaries that are greater than what most people would do. But it's because, time and time again, when I've ignored those limits and tried to do it someone else's way, I've ended up having a mental breakdown.
  13. Thank you for responding...I wish I could go into more detail about specifics...I can over PM if you are open to it. It's not at the point where we're thinking about moving her to a facility, but even in that case, if that were to happen within the next year or so, I would be concerned. I'm not really "established"...as far as work, I was a contractor until very recently and my income is still just enough to survive. I've been on the job market and may need to relocate for an opportunity. I'm in my mid-30s, which feels like way too soon to be dealing with these types of decisions and discussions, especially as I have the career life of a 20 something and don't have the money, resources, or know-how to navigate the medical system and elder care. I barely feel like a "real" adult...now all of this is here, much sooner than any of us expected. On top of that...I've gone through so much already just trying to survive that I just don't think I can take more stress and strain...it seems like the minute I'm on relatively stable ground, the minute things look hopeful, the minute work is good and I even have a date lined up...something like this happens and everything feels like a waste. I know these are very selfish thoughts...but it's where I am right now...just...honestly....If I end up being a caregiver, I just see the last chance at any life, which is slim as it is given the state of the world, as going down the drain. I know the expectation is that we're all capable of being martyrs and giving all up for this kind of thing...but I can't see any light at all down that path given my own precarious mental health. I will say...while it's not a high-level abuse situation, there are some issues that have prevented me from living with or even near her for several years (again, can go into those in PM).
  14. I found out today that my mom is not doing well health-wise and will need major surgery in the future. This is going to read like a horrible post but...I’m in a state of panic and all I can honestly think about is...will I have to drop everything, leave my job and my (relatively low) income and independent life to become a full-time caregiver for her? I wish I could be one of those saintly children who doesn’t hesitate to drop everything and move in with a parent...but I’m not...mentally, I am on a tightrope with just “normal” things like holding down a fulltime job in an office environment. Having flexibility and autonomy is what allows me to manage my mental health. I just don’t think I have the resolve to have no job, no friends, no money, no chance at a relationship and no autonomy...I think it would tip me over the edge with no return. I’ve told my mom honestly about this (without too much detail about my mental health) and she understands...my dad went though an illness for several years, we’ve all been down this road...but this was before the situation got worse this week. I’m afraid that extended family will pressure me into it. Why am I like this? Her being sick doesn’t worry me...whatever will be will be and she’s lived a good life no matter what happens...I’m more afraid of having to be a caregiver than losing her.... Has anyone else felt these things or am I truly a monster?
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