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Mental illness has made me not live up to my potential


GAJ123

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Basically it pretty much ruined my life & continues to do so. 32 years old now & I have a low wage job & don’t have the energy or motivation to have a full time job. I’ve done almost full time hours in the past but I felt like I was losing it & I snapped at my manager because she was a horrible boss & I walked out. I just think how if I never had to deal with mental issues where would I be right now. I’m sure I would have had a much better life likely with a good job & motivation but now I’m just a shell of my former self. I rarely post on here anymore but it just becomes frustrating knowing how my life has been passing me by due to never feeling well. Other circumstances that I have no control over make it look like I’ll never have any sort of life at this point outside of just going through the motions to get through the days. 

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I'm sorry . i wish I could give you some advice but I feel the same way. This illness is terrible and it destroys your life. I couldn't handle a full-time job either because I got too depressed and I'm treatment-resistant... It was too stressful, in the end I couldn't even handle a part-time job so I gave up. Are you getting help or any therapy? It's not your fault this illness is destroying your life, I didn't choose it, you didn't either. Try not to be hard on yourself, and just do the best you can that's all we can do. I never imagined my life would turn out this way either, but blaming myself because this illness destroyed me is not the answer. The medical field has no answers or relief for me, so why should I be hard on myself? I've tried for decades to live a functional life and I can't. After a while it gets to you. I really hope the medical field looks into mental illness more than they currently are, because way too many people are suffering and it's not fair. I get really mad when some people say its not real, grow up, etc.. I wish there were walks for mental illness to raise money just like there are for other diseases, why can't we count?

 

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32 years old now & I have a low wage job & don’t have the energy or motivation to have a full time job. I’ve done almost full time hours in the past but I felt like I was losing it & I snapped at my manager because she was a horrible boss & I walked out.

to possibly help you not feel so bad here, most people never live up to their potential. heck, had i... id probably be a famous engineer / rock star. many individuals walk out of their jobs in disgust because of horrible managers, and most people are living pay check to paycheck. 

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This may sound trite, but you may need to adjust what you think of as "your potential" to account for the fact that you have a real (and not imaginary) illness. It's no different than any other medical condition, even if some people don't really recognize this. 

I'm bipolar, but was not diagnosed until I had already gone to law school and worked as an attorney. It's a miracle that I survived that long before receiving treatment. But I lost my dream job because of my frequent hospitalizations. The job where I had a ton of friends, was respected and had a real future. Where I expected to spend my entire career. I was crushed, to say the least! It has taken a fair amount of therapy, but I have finally accepted that my illness precludes me from holding certain jobs. But that doesn't mean that I don't have something to offer to the world and that I'm not a valuable person. I'm living up to my potential as a person with a law degree, who also suffers from bipolar disorder. 

I hope that you can find work that gives you meaning. But don't base it on the salary or the "prestige" of the position! Ask yourself if you are doing the best you can given your circumstances (and don't be too hard on yourself!). If you can't find a way to find meaning in your job, maybe you can do some volunteer work, even just one day a month. Helping others is a great way to feel good about yourself!

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4 hours ago, Twitchy1 said:

This may sound trite, but you may need to adjust what you think of as "your potential" to account for the fact that you have a real (and not imaginary) illness. It's no different than any other medical condition, even if some people don't really recognize this. 

I'm bipolar, but was not diagnosed until I had already gone to law school and worked as an attorney. It's a miracle that I survived that long before receiving treatment. But I lost my dream job because of my frequent hospitalizations. The job where I had a ton of friends, was respected and had a real future. Where I expected to spend my entire career. I was crushed, to say the least! It has taken a fair amount of therapy, but I have finally accepted that my illness precludes me from holding certain jobs. But that doesn't mean that I don't have something to offer to the world and that I'm not a valuable person. I'm living up to my potential as a person with a law degree, who also suffers from bipolar disorder. 

I hope that you can find work that gives you meaning. But don't base it on the salary or the "prestige" of the position! Ask yourself if you are doing the best you can given your circumstances (and don't be too hard on yourself!). If you can't find a way to find meaning in your job, maybe you can do some volunteer work, even just one day a month. Helping others is a great way to feel good about yourself!

Thanks twitchy, that was good advice.....I try to follow that too because I couldn't get into the dream career I wanted to either, but it hurts. You can't imagine how much it hurts. Some days I start crying because I never made it. I am hoping that I will get my anxiety/depression on some type of control soon so I can at least have some type of life. Anything is better than being stuck at home. I'm looking into Ketamine it's my last resort at this point..

BTW, don't you guys get mad that there isn't enough research and funding going into research or anything as far as mental health? In a few years depression is supposed to be like the #1 illness in the world affecting people......I mean I go to retailers and they ask for donations for cancer, or other stuff, but never have I gone anywhere, or seen a national walk to raise awareness aside of NAMI (they national walk they do) unless I'm wrong. That's really messed up considering how many people are suffering.

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Hi GAJ123,
I have been to a third world country where people live in cardboard houses and as long as they have something to eat they are happy. Now, please don’t be offended, I just want to show that perspective has a lot to do with contentment. We are definitely richer than they are but we see other people here who are so much richer than us, better jobs, big houses, and that makes us feel left out in some way.

Maybe you can try to consider learning to appreciate what you have, no matter how small or simple and try not to pay too much attention to others who are doing better, and you might start enjoy what you currently have. Mental illness unfortunately affects your life but it helps better to accept that this is the life you have and you might as well enjoy it as much as you can. Millions of people do not reach their “potential” but who can really say what one’s potential is?

We did not have a smart phone in our family ever since Apple and Samsung came out with these great gadgets. We only got smart phones this year because my son is going to college. But because we decided as a family that we don’t need it yet we stuck with our flip phones for years and didn’t pay attention to what others have. And we learned to appreciate what we had. Going back before the smart phones, I remember a time when no one had a cell phone and we were fine. Sadly, I have friends and relatives who truly cannot afford these smart phones but do not want to feel left out. Sometimes we need to be practical and see simple things in life as good enough.

As you enjoy your life and not stress out on what you could have been, your health might improve with a good and positive outlook in life. Sometimes that does happen. I hope you feel better, GAJ123.

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I feel like I'm in the same boat. I am rarely content with what I have. Now, I don't have much, I could definitely use some extra spending room, have a stable place to live and could really use some love in my life.

I guess in my youth I always felt like I could really be someone. I wanted to rise above the average life, and still do. But instead my life ended up below average. The irony.

But @Here2Help2 has some good advice. But it's hard to apply. And I'm glad I don't live in a cardboard box. On the other hand, I don't think they know any better. It's quite natural to always want more and better though., but hey, in todays world you are being tempted with all kinds of fancy stuff and hot ideals. They make you want it, but you can't afford or get it. That's where my depression kicks in anyway.

I always imagined I'd be someone, that I'd become wealthy. Instead my anxiety and depression is keeping me down. I feel especially terrible about the fact I've WASTED 10 prime years of my life to depression. I'll never get those years back and I will never forgive one in particular who is to blame.

Anyway I think I kinda hijacked this topic so I'll stop. :P [/narcisissm]

P.S. I think people only pay attention to actual life threatening illnesses. Which makes sense to me. I'd rather have depression over cancer for example any time. 

Edited by HL05
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  • 1 month later...
On 5/11/2018 at 10:30 PM, HL05 said:

I feel like I'm in the same boat. I am rarely content with what I have. Now, I don't have much, I could definitely use some extra spending room, have a stable place to live and could really use some love in my life.

I guess in my youth I always felt like I could really be someone. I wanted to rise above the average life, and still do. But instead my life ended up below average. The irony.

But @Here2Help2 has some good advice. But it's hard to apply. And I'm glad I don't live in a cardboard box. On the other hand, I don't think they know any better. It's quite natural to always want more and better though., but hey, in todays world you are being tempted with all kinds of fancy stuff and hot ideals. They make you want it, but you can't afford or get it. That's where my depression kicks in anyway.

I always imagined I'd be someone, that I'd become wealthy. Instead my anxiety and depression is keeping me down. I feel especially terrible about the fact I've WASTED 10 prime years of my life to depression. I'll never get those years back and I will never forgive one in particular who is to blame.

Anyway I think I kinda hijacked this topic so I'll stop. 😛 [/narcisissm]

P.S. I think people only pay attention to actual life threatening illnesses. Which makes sense to me. I'd rather have depression over cancer for example any time. 

I feel like I have heard all that "why don't you appreciate what you've got" lecture so many times and however it is meant, always just comes across as a criticism — that you're essentially spoiled because you can't be grateful for the good things. And it IS hard to apply, as you say, @HL05 because it is just doesn't work. Or I should say it doesn't work for me. I can see how a person who doesn't suffer from this would think it would work, but as someone who does, I would never in a million years suggest someone do that. It reminds of when people say, "You shouldn't be depressed!!" They mean well, maybe, but it always leaves me feeling like I must be crazy for being depressed on top of being depressed. Yay!

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Everyone keeps telling me that I'm "smart". I've heard that since I was a kid. I sure don't feel smart. I fail at almost everything I try to do. I have a "decent" job but I'm barely holding onto employment because of severe depression and anxiety. I have no self confidence whatsoever.

I'm unmotivated and lazy. My attitude seems to be "Meh. Why bother?"  Decades of learned helplessness.

I'm 58, by the way. Pretty sure I won't see 60.

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I’m sorry you feel that way, @GAJ123. I feel pretty much the same, though in my case I don’t think there was any potential to begin with.

As to doing ones’s best with whatever you have in any given circumstances.. It doesn’t mean much if you end up feeling dissatisfied and lost for your whole life whatever you do. 

I don’t like the “me” I am or has been. I feel fake, I feel fundamentally wrong.  I am a loser and even if I am smart(which I am not) or have any so-called talents (which I evidently haven’t), they have been of no use at all in the world at large. I am perpetually irritated and angry  with myself and the world. I see no way out of any of this. 

@GAJ123,  please don’t give up like I have. I’m a broken 52 year old in terminal despair. And @JD4010 could have meant me when he said:

57 minutes ago, JD4010 said:

I'm unmotivated and lazy. My attitude seems to be "Meh. Why bother?"  

Please keep trying. Don’t give up.

 

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I feel like I'm late to the party, so to speak, but I have company apparently...AND I'm glad you posted again @GAJ123.

You touched on one of the WORST words from my childhood that can still rattle around in my head all these decades later.  It's has a tone of unrelenting judgment and never-ending disappointment spoken in the voice of my narcissistic adopted mother.  I had some success in quieting it a bit when I finally blew her off a couple decades ago.  Apparently it infuriated her.  But, hell, I wasn't around.  Didn't have to listen to it.  She wasn't my problem any longer.

The years since are a mix.  idk if this is at all useful to you, but my standards are now more often coming from within.  Often it sounds like, "Wait a minute.  No.  I don't have to put up with this sh#t."  If no one's said it to you, walking out takes courage and I'd hope you recognize that in yourself.   It also sounds like you knew there would be consequences for choosing your mental health over an abusive boss.  Good choice, imo.  Perhaps those are two thoughts that can help sustain you a little bit.

I'll also add from my own experience that there have been several instances in my 60-something years in which I've walked out on a bad boss/supervisor and come to find out later I was among the reasons that person got canned.  The day I left one job, I heard my supervisor's boss loudly taken to task by a VP who wanted to know why three of us under this super had quit.

 

Edited by MarkintheDark
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6 minutes ago, MarkintheDark said:

I feel like I'm late to the party, so to speak, but I have company apparently

Yes, me too.

 

On 5/7/2018 at 3:23 PM, GAJ123 said:

I just think how if I never had to deal with mental issues where would I be right now.

This is often running through my head as well. I can pinpoint specific instances when my mental health got in the way of something I wanted, and that's on top of all the other ways it's affected my life that I don't even realize.

Anyway, I'm of a similar age (30) and have the same feelings as you. Like JD, I've been told all my life how smart I am. And yet, here I am, with a college degree even, working as a cashier and then an underpaid desk jockey currently. I have definitely squandered my potential. I could've been anything, I know it, but my depression and anxiety got the best of me and I stalled out a long time ago.

I don't yet know how to recover that potential. I'm sure there's a way. We are still young enough, I don't think it's unusual for 30-somethings to change careers, change their lives, etc. For any age, really. There's no age limit to change. But I think we all feel the same hopelessness, and that's what's holding us back.

Like I said, I don't know how to change it, though. I'm in the same boat as the rest of you, adrift at sea.

22 minutes ago, MarkintheDark said:

"Wait a minute.  No.  I don't have to put up with this sh#t."  If no one's said it to you, walking out takes courage and I'd hope you recognize that in yourself.   It also sounds like you knew there would be consequences for choosing your mental health over an abusive boss.  Good choice, imo. 

I agree fully! Those are two thoughts that I'm trying to hang onto as well.

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Everyone has potential and it's possible to argue that a newly-born baby theoretically has the potential to be a brain surgeon, lawyer or Olympic athlete.  But even if we personally aspire to these things, there are often very good external reasons why we might not actually get there and there's no point in repeatedly blaming ourselves when we don't.  Most of us are doing the best we can and perhaps in western society generally the problem is that the aspirations were often not that realistic in the first place and that the importance placed on achievements, especially of a material nature, causes stress before we even begin.  In my own case, depression has certainly been a hindrance, but education, social class, my poor memory, lack of good looks and shyness are significant factors too, together with a host of others.  I'm 59 years old and regard potential as virtually irrelevant and probably the best thing I can do is look forwards and enjoy what's left.  I often write on greetings cards to other people that the best is yet to come and cling on to the hope that it applies to me too.

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I struggle so much in school and the teachers always look past it. And, it’s not like I never asked for help. I did, plenty of times. But it seemed like those cries went unanswered and maybe because I was their favorite student. 

I mean, school would be much easier if I didn’t spend my nights crying (sometimes for no reason).

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/12/2018 at 2:50 PM, samadhiSheol said:

I’m sorry you feel that way, @GAJ123. I feel pretty much the same, though in my case I don’t think there was any potential to begin with.

As to doing ones’s best with whatever you have in any given circumstances.. It doesn’t mean much if you end up feeling dissatisfied and lost for your whole life whatever you do. 

I don’t like the “me” I am or has been. I feel fake, I feel fundamentally wrong.  I am a loser and even if I am smart(which I am not) or have any so-called talents (which I evidently haven’t), they have been of no use at all in the world at large. I am perpetually irritated and angry  with myself and the world. I see no way out of any of this. 

@GAJ123,  please don’t give up like I have. I’m a broken 52 year old in terminal despair. And @JD4010 could have meant me when he said:

Please keep trying. Don’t give up.

 

I’m just so tired of living like this though. Some days when I go in to work I want to just break down due to how depressing my life is at my age. I make a little over minimum wage being a cashier & it’s so depressing. I sometimes say out loud in my car on my way to work about how I wish I was dead & wonder why I’m even still here like what’s the point. I’m sick & tired of this. I feel trapped in my mind & body & see no way out of this. All I do in my life is either at my s***ty job, on the internet or playing video games. I gave up on the whole girlfriend thing since I’m not realistically well enough to be with anyone. I didn’t feel like coming on here anymore Biotching about something I’ll never have & try not to think about anymore. My life is ruined at this point. I had my whole life ahead of me at one point now it’s destroyed. 

Edited by GAJ123
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It's frustrating to go through life using only a fraction of my potential. It's frustrating to helplessly watch my youth waste away before my eyes.
I try not to think about it. Mindfulness helps me recognize negative thought patterns before they get the better of me.
I try to write at least three things I'm grateful for every day. I try to do the best I can under the circumstances.

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On 6/12/2018 at 1:57 PM, JD4010 said:

Don't give up like me either. I'm a worthless old clod

@JD4010

You're certainly NOT worthless. You brought a wonderful daughter into the world, you care for your cats, and you help so many people here.  We do what we can. 

Like my Mom having to adapt to living with Multiple Sclerosis, and other life events, somehow we find a way to cope. Sending hugs to all of you. 

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On 6/13/2018 at 4:13 PM, wewstar said:

I struggle so much in school and the teachers always look past it. And, it’s not like I never asked for help. I did, plenty of times. But it seemed like those cries went unanswered and maybe because I was their favorite student. 

I mean, school would be much easier if I didn’t spend my nights crying (sometimes for no reason).

I can relate!! Not many teachers or guidance counselors believe in psychology or mental illness . I personally think since they are around students for most of the day they need to know the basics and be informed. Whether you believe it or not, you should be able to notice certain signs of students if they are struggling. Parents put trust in the school system because that's where the majority of the time a kid spends their time in school, so it makes no sense as to why so many teachers, coaches, etc, and people who work in school are not taught or trained in the basic things as to notice those children who are struggling. Many of my teachers looked passed my illness too, very few believed it. I even have had doctors make fun of psychology and anxiety who work in different field, so nothing surprises me anymore.

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