Unbearable loniness/ depression/ frustration


#1

I'm a 21 year old guy, the youngest of four in our family.

I grew up in a small church in a small town... Fundamental Christian Baptist. This religion mainly made me feel guilty and self conscious of how sheltered I was. I attended the christian school in the basement of that church, in which I was enrolled until my Junior year. My father was the principal of this tiny private school, my mother the secretary. Around this time I began to claim agnosticism and strife in my family began. Against my parents wishes I enrolled in the local public school, made a few "friends" I was ashamed to be friends with (unattractive, simple, ignorant)... and graduated mostly lonely.

A few months after graduation I went to a tech school where I lived in a 12th story apt and was paying though the nose for tuition. After 1 semester I realized how MASSIVE a mistake it was to go to this school.

After hearing of my situation, my sister in law's brother offered me a room in his house for $400/ month including food. I dropped out of school and lived with him.

I enrolled in another tech school just outside of a rough city. I got myself a full-time job at a retirement community, waiting tables. I was there for 1.5 years.

I have been attending this tech school for two years now where I have not made one friend, and have come to realize the extreme importance of environment. Most of the students there have no hygene, no class, are latinos or blacks or adults from very broken family backgrounds. Many live in complete poverty and are living off of government aid programs. I respect none of them. The "education" is a joke. I have invested far too much to leave now. No credits are transferable. Nine more months to go.

My parents gave me $1,500 towards school and since leaving home a few months after graduating high school, I knew I would never return.

Nine months ago I landed an amazing long-term full-time job at a (Christian) software company in the wealthiest county in the state of Pennsylvania... at which time I got an apartment. My career in IT has begun. This has been my dream for years. It has come true, and I have done it mostly on my own. I have achieved more in the past few years than I thought was personally possible. However, I am now not sure that the ends justify the means... read on-

I'm 100% independent and financially stable. I skydive, snow ski, work with millions of dollars of production computer equipment as a career... own a motorcycle, a car... and I'm doing almost everything I've always wanted to. I have never touched drugs... and can almost count on my hands the times I have drank alcohol. My self confidence/ assertiveness has increased ten fold since leaving home.I feel entirely too mature for my age, and cannot relate to anyone on the same level unless they are 25ish or older.

I am a perfectly healthy, educated, successful guy, who, I wouldn't say is unattractive in the least. That "success" is only measured in my career situation, though. In every other way possible I feel completely bankrupt. I have worked full-time for the past few years... all while attending school mostly full-time and never once taking out a loan. I have spend well over $25,000 in tuition/ book expenses. To achieve this I have (unknowingly) put myself into a situation for the past few years where I can relate to none of the people I am around. My only friends are two of my brothers, and one girl from my childhood. I have called my parents more than once crying and asking them what I should do. The answer is always "attend a good church, that's all".

In conclusion, I struggle with bitterness of my sheltered upbringing. Having almost no friends... I have almost no guidance for life decisions, etc. I am incessantly introspective on a daily basis. I feel incredibly selfish in every action I take. I am ashamed of my pathetic situation... and the school I chose to attend at 19. I fully believe that my parents subconsciously write me off as somewhat an outsider because of my religious claims. However, they love me and I love them. I feel very defensive anytime I attend any of my brothers churches. Currently, I claim agnosticism... and see Christianity (and most religion) as nothing more than a social thing. Sure, it works... but does this mean Jesus lived and God exists? I have no desire to attend church, but, based on my background, I see it as one of the best ways to not be alone. I has thrown my Christian background to the curb... where did that get me? Even if I am right about my beliefs it seems so foolish to had ever claimed agnosticism. No God is no fun.... life is so much easier/ explainable/ bearable with a God. If I could eat a pill and believe in God, I would. I would almost give anything for that pill.

Looking for insight from some elders or anyone that dug them self out of my situation,

Anonymous


#2

Well, I was at college and had many Catholic friends. I was close to several girls. Then I decided to leave and pursue a career in aviation. I graduated from college online and am the youngest in my field. Most of my co-workers are much older than me. Because I left college and most of my friends at home, I only have a handful of friends and basically no female friends anymore.

I dont know how I would have gotten through the loneliness without God though. God is the only thing that remaind constant throughout. I have sinned often but God welcomes me back all the time.

I am tall at six feet two inches and have massive feet but am unattractive in every other way physically. I am very skinny. I am very eccentric and prone to do stupid things that are immature. For me at least, if I was more physically attractive girls would go for me more. Be thankful you dont have my problem. I lost 92 pounds and went from 260 pounds to 168 in 6 months time. Now women complain that Im too skinny. Nothing I do is ever good enough.

I am sorry I dont have better advice. I am going through something not entirely different. When you move a lot, people dont like the lack of stability. Women like stability. They marry abusive men just for stability. A woman would marry anyone if it meant she has security and stability. If you build stability and establish yourself then women will go for you.


#3

tlo, our 4th son is 21. he's 4th of 10 kids. he's working his way through a very stringent university 5 year degree program. we can't help him financially. he works and works and works and is carrying a 3.97. he's angry because till this semester, it was a 4.0.

when his peers complain their parents cut off the creidt card till the grades improve, when they gripe about the cost of parking and insuring the 2008 mustang etc., my son feels disgusted.

he has friends but he does have a hard time relating to these kinds of troubles. he works 4-7 nights a week in a hotel. he has for 4 years.

but he knows his GOD loves him. he knows that God will call him to use his gifts and education for the purpose of glory to God and the good of his fellow man. even if the ways he does this aren't according to my son's plan.

when a guy begins to understand that the Triune God--God the Father, God the Son Christ Jesus and God the Holy Spirit-- has always planned for him, has laways planned to redeem him, always planned to provide for him, always planned to LOVE him and delights in loving him-- when a guy begins to know that, things get different.

when he begins to know he's loved by an ETERNAL LOVE, the way a guy looks at the world changes. purposes and direction become clear. people become valuable. poor, addicted, fat, hopeless, scamming, ignorant people all of a sudden look like children of God. all of a sudden, respect happens. a guy begins to see that welfare drop out is a child of the Most High God, too. a child who's been shafted in the resource department and worse still a child of God whose been shafted in the TRUTH department.

if you trust what's true, everything changes. trusting that God has always had you in His mind-- every gift, every goodness, every sin, every weakness about you-- that He always has had you in His mind and that HE MADE you despite the failures and weaknesses-- that He saved you despite all the time you would ignore His awesome gift-- trusting that's true-- that changes everything.


#4

Dear Brother,

That was a long and heartfelt message, one that is difficult to know how to respond to. What jumps out for me is the situation of being at college, how to handle that. Nobody talks about this, but for many people, me included, being at University was a very lonely time. One is tested and refined in the fire of loneliness. Because of the financial strictures you find yourself in, it is very hard to see it this way, I grant you, but you are wrestling fundamentally with questions of identity. Sometimes this can be a positive process, at other times, a negative one ("I'm not my family...I'm not these people around me..."). That whole learning process can be very frightening and disheartening, especially in our cultures, which lack opportunities for young men to answer this question that God/ the Universe throws at them- "Who are you?". Only you can answer the question with God's help and although it seems impossible right now, a time will come when the sun breaks through cloud. It may happen suddenly or so gradually that it's imperceptible, but it will happen. Humanly, I would advise you to find yourself a mentor firstly. If you aren't at a point of readiness for a spiritual mentor, it could be an older man who you can make friends with, who has similar interests. Then, the next step is to find yourself or make yourself a group of friends. Friendship is indeed a lost art in our culture, but one that can be regained. Find a group with similar interests to you. If you read C.S. Lewis' book The Four Loves you'll find that friendship is described there as being all about standing shoulder to shoulder looking together at a common interest.

As far is God is concerned, be of good cheer. Your longing for God to be real is the groaning of the Spirit within you. God is showing Himself to you by allowing you to experience life without Him. Be firm but gentle with yourself, as He is. It's worth taking Pascal's wager- that is, to ask yourself what would be the consequences if I believed in God enough to say "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" and to accept Him on those terms? This is very different from the 'conversion experience' you may have had or heard about in your upbringing. To me though, it is more real. You could try repeating this prayer under your breath or you could add, "Lord, if you are real, I want to believe, help my unbelief".

The Divine One bless you, Brother and may He bring many good surprises your way in the year ahead.


#5

[quote="mjs1987, post:2, topic:224356"]

I am tall at six feet two inches and have massive feet but am unattractive in every other way physically. I am very skinny. I am very eccentric and prone to do stupid things that are immature. For me at least, if I was more physically attractive girls would go for me more. Be thankful you dont have my problem. I lost 92 pounds and went from 260 pounds to 168 in 6 months time. Now women complain that Im too skinny. Nothing I do is ever good enough.

. A woman would marry anyone if it meant she has security and stability. If you build stability and establish yourself then women will go for you.

[/quote]

When you decide that you are unattractive... I guarantee that you will be! Add to that the self procolamation that you are immature and do stupid things... That's the problem.

It's not that you have a great job and move around a lot. Surely, you've heard of many married US soldiers. They LEAVE their wives and family for nearly a year at a time, they are waited for and loved upon return. Their wives gracioulsy willing to move to the next base.

I HIGHLY recommend that you, or anyone in this similar situation quit with the self fullfilling prophesy that you are not lovable or rather, that people are looking for only the ONE thing you don't have. To say that women will marry an abusive man to be stable, means you don't have a clue as to what stability is like. An environment that is explosive is not stable. Stability does not mean, does not move. It means that you have someone you can count on. Now, if you don't know where your next meal is coming from, then you're not stable...

It may be that you're not the most attractive guy by GQ standards on first site. But have you NOT heard of women falling head over heals for a guy that has an amazing personality? How do you think odd fellows get the girl? It's more about personality that you realize. A hot body is guaranteed to look 70 when it's 70. A bad attitude stinks at any age! If you don't think I'm right look at guys like DJ Qualls (You want to talk skinny? But hey, this guy models??? Who knew???) , Seth Green (shorter than short!) Just google the words Sexy Ugly... It sounds mean, but these are people that pull off sex appeal, and it's all about personality. Because otherwise, no one is banging their doors down...

To the OP. You mention that you are agnostic, and decided so when you were a teen. You identify your profile as protestant... You say later... "does this mean that Jesus lived or God exists..?"

Do you not know that Christ is accounted for? He's been counted on the census of the time? It sounds like you need to go back and do some new studying... Your belief structure is on the education that stopped at age 17. Could you do the work you do today with that same very limited education? Why allow your soul to rest on the same education? At least consider that just from a logical standpoint.

Within 2 Chronicles 15:1-5 If you seek him, you shall find: but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

I guess I'd ask... How's this lonliness and depression working for you? Do you feel a little, I don't know... Forsaken?


#6

I find it ironic that you would turn to this site, but I suppose in some way that means that you are really seeking to be convinced that faith will and can pull you through your storm...and yes, it can and will.

In the end, I do not believe that you will find happiness until you really know and understand that your life has ONE CLEAR PURPOSE: We are here to love and serve God and we do so by how we love and serve one another.

Once you reach that point, you will find that you will be less critical of yourself, less judgmental of others (for instance, your wrote: "Most of the students there have no hygene, no class, are latinos or blacks or adults from very broken family backgrounds" and sounded VERY condescending) and you will find fellowship which will lead to friendships. And if the later does not occur, you will still find peace.

I will pray for you. I encourage you to take your gift and keep working with them and keep trying to connect with your faith. You are clearly a bright, well spoken young man. You have a lot to be grateful for and will find inner peace if you keep on the path and (I hope!) find catholisism.


#7

You may not like this response.

  1. Count your blessings (write them down, including that ‘sheltered childhood’) and thank God for each and every one.

  2. Find someone in need and help him. Like those fellow students you can’t stand.

These two simple acts work. Praying for you, son.


#8

[quote="tlo835, post:1, topic:224356"]
I have achieved more in the past few years than I thought was personally possible

[/quote]

Is it possible that part of the depression is realizing you kinda did what you set out to do, and now life feels kinda... well, without meaning? You know, the "Now what?" syndrome?

Are there other challenges you're looking foward to conquering or going after?


#9

What you need to do is quit looking at people's looks and get to know them as a person. From what I read in your post, you see that people are a different color, they don't dress well, etc and you don't give them a chance. You will never make friends that way.

I honestly challenge you to start doing some work with people less fortunate. Go work at some shelters in your area. Talk to the people there. You will realize they are human just like you are. Maybe that will help you open up to other people.

So bottom line, quit judging people on their looks. Get to know people.


#10

That "pill" you want? It's as simple as praying to God and being open to His blessings in your life. He's there, and He's never left your side, not once. Even when you told yourself He doesn't exist, He's still been there. If there was some way that you could see Him, it would be great. All the good in your life, His hand is in that. You just being you, is God's decision. He numbers the hairs on every head including yours. He named the starts and he knows you by name too.

You may feel silly asking God to show you His presence, but try it. Try it for a week. Just pray, "God, show me that You are here. I want to believe. Help my unbelief."

I will put you in my prayers. You have so many good things in your life. The poster who told you to make a gratitude list was right on target. That always helps me when I feel so full of self-pity.


#11

I Agree.
Ghandi said; The best way to find yourself, is by losing yourself, in the service of others.

You know for me. I once had material wealth. And my spirit suffered. Today I have just what I need and I’m Spiritaully fit.
May the Holy Spirit guide you.
jesus g


#12

I think the key word that is coming out of this is ‘selfish’, as you described yourself.

By and large you’ve done pretty well for yourself, which is a credit to you. However I’m wondering if God wasn’t talking to you in your tech school years when you rubbed shoulders with people from very difficult backgrounds, and who in most cases would not have had your opportunities.

If I were you, I wouldn’t get too carried away with trying to find an intellectual Christianity, but to first do some work in the service of others. You might be wise to begin with something small, which you can fit into your busy schedule.

Then look around for that area which is suited to you.

While you’re doing this you may find someone else who has a similar outlook on life and from there that could possibly lead to marriage, if that is what you’re after.

The key thing for you is to get involved in the service of others. Until you do, I don’t see much changing.


#13

All, thank you very much for the replies and concern... I perceive it as genuine and I can tell you that it is encouraging and very well received.

I have addressed questions and expounded on your comments by replying to the majority of posted replies:

Mjs1987, women definitely desire stability... I offer that, unfortunately I rarely meet anyone, so that doesn't bode well in the dating/ marriage possibility department. I wish you luck in your search for a partner.

Monicatholic, I wish I DID have that world view. Also, tell your son I feel his pain very well. I know exactly what that is like.

Tybourne, yes, I very much so am "not those around me". I definitely struggle with issues of identity in certain areas. I know what I'm not, but what am I? Unfortunately, I am not at a university, so I can't tell you what that is like... but yes, I'm lonely and I can't relate to 99% of the people at my technical school. General topics of discussion are so far away from my stage of life and view of society that it is laughable. Yes, I had a "conversion experience" when I was young... I can remember it well. However, the "longing" I feel... I'm not sure what the difference is between a longing for god etc... or longing to go back to my roots... or what is "comfortable"... "familiar" ... "secure". Does that make sense? This has been a huge struggle for me in my "search".

Faithfully, clearly the depression isn't working well. Do I feel forsaken? Absolutely... by whom or by what... that I do not know. It simply may be leaving what is comfortable and logical- my childhood teaching and world view. The teaching until I was 17? Well, those facts are the same... my family has talked me me a great deal, and nothing has changed. My perceptions of it has... due to my maturity and age. I have viewed god through new glasses, and I see a social machine (church... religious sects of people etc) that works well. I have never seen or felt anything more.

Taben, yes, religion does work. Unfortunately, for me, I can't just make myself believe it. It shouldn't and doesn't work that way. Not sure how to find it. I began to claim agnosticism... and after awhile asked myself "ok buddy... yes, you are now convinced that you have no idea what is true and and it (religion) may all be a social or mental thing... now what? Ignorance is bliss... if THIS (agnosticism) is true... this SUCKS. I want god to be real again!"

Sailor, you may be surprised, but I do count my blessings and consider myself incredibly fortunate and proud of my upbringing and family heritage. I have learned that in the past 2 years. It is incredibly hard to help and love someone who is lazy, willfully choosing to not work when they are able... and complains that society doesn't give him enough... when, in my book, society owes him nothing. At this stage in my life I simply cannot give of my time or talents to enable that individual. Enabling only hinders. Our government does that enough already. Having worked MY way up from the bottom... not sure where to go with this. I can not decipher between a lazy person... and someone in need. I believe I paint them all with the same brush. Possibly that is my flaw.

mgreen77, yes, I do feel a "now what" syndrome... to a point. Although I am very selfish, I am not excessively materialistic. Very rarely am I wishing I had that "next thing". I AM generally content with what I have... physically. I desire to be content above all. My future goals are to fall in love with a woman and start a loving family... similar to the one I grew up in. Yes, this does include a house of my own. I'm not sure how that is possible until I figure out my own world view and discover who I am.

Noclevername, I understand that it may seem that I judge people based on their looks and skin color. This has some truth (as it does for all of us), but I mainly judge others on the way they talk and act. I start people out on a clean slate. I have lost faith in my classmate at my school, however. see my posts above as my reasons to that end.

Bob, I do wish to find some way to serve others. This is a new desire, and one I will try to cultivate. By reading the responses on this forum I have seen that that is probably the best "first step" for me. However, I refuse enable others. This is a great hindrance for me in the area of service. My time spent with the welfare/ food stamp sucking crowd has turned me off to helping ANYONE. It makes me sick every minute I am around it (laziness/ complaining). I fault myself for this in some ways... and I need to find a place where I can help others without enabling them. I am incredibly biased and judgmental in this area, and I need to get over it. Service may be the best way.


#14

[quote="tlo835, post:13, topic:224356"]

Faithfully, clearly the depression isn't working well. Do I feel forsaken? Absolutely... by whom or by what... that I do not know. It simply may be leaving what is comfortable and logical- my childhood teaching and world view. The teaching until I was 17? Well, those facts are the same... my family has talked me me a great deal, and nothing has changed. My perceptions of it has... due to my maturity and age. I have viewed god through new glasses, and I see a social machine (church... religious sects of people etc) that works well. I have never seen or felt anything more.
.

[/quote]

Ok, so here's my opinion. You can't be forsaken by a thing. Do you think the earth forsakes you? The sky? The stars? It's certainly not the people of the world. People are so absorbed they don't even know you to forsake you. God has placed himself in your heart so that you will seek him. That's a reality. You don't want to believe it. That's fine. That's your free will at work there. But you are seeking something that you know in your heart is there. You just can't figure it out.

And I'm sorry. The facts you learned are the same. But see, I doubt you have all the facts. And as snobby as it sounds, me coming from a Catholic realm on a Catholic website and you from some form of protestant realm... I'm going to boldly say... Buddy, you don't have all the facts. And where men and women study theology for YEARS and they receive Phd's... there's NO WAY you have all the facts. You just think you do. At least, you have enough to base YOUR OPINION on... which is getting you where again?

Ok... let's talk maturity and age. How old are you again? Seems you said 21. Now I know that our gov't is more than happy to ship you off and have you die for our country. But there are not that many of us that would actually consider you all that "mature" and worldly. Especially growing up in a basement school. I don't say this to be rude. You sound like you've busted your hump to get where you are. But I guarantee in 20 years, you're not going to consider your 21 y/o self so mature. And I say this with experience. and I hope that when I'm 60 I will have matured much beyond my near 40 years now...

That said, I get the social machine. Where PEOPLE are involved, so much can be screwed up. The Catholic church has had its share of enduring man kind. It can be hard to follow anything. But I would challenge you to research beyond what mom and pop have to say. And consider for a moment, that you are limiting God to what a Man can understand. You want and wish that God were real. But you insist that he be on your level.Consider for a moment that your creator is WAY beyond what you can comprehend.

Good luck, and hope you feel better soon!


#15

[quote="tlo835, post:13, topic:224356"]
All, thank you very much for the replies and concern... I perceive it as genuine and I can tell you that it is encouraging and very well received.

Sailor, you may be surprised, but I do count my blessings and consider myself incredibly fortunate and proud of my upbringing and family heritage. I have learned that in the past 2 years. It is incredibly hard to help and love someone who is lazy, willfully choosing to not work when they are able... and complains that society doesn't give him enough... when, in my book, society owes him nothing. At this stage in my life I simply cannot give of my time or talents to enable that individual. Enabling only hinders. Our government does that enough already. Having worked MY way up from the bottom... not sure where to go with this. I can not decipher between a lazy person... and someone in need. I believe I paint them all with the same brush. Possibly that is my flaw.

.

[/quote]

My friend, I never said 'enable.'

And I agree with you on that; I am as anti-enabling as anyone you are likely to meet. I believe in personal charity, not government 'assistance.'

Befriend and teach by example was what I meant. So often, just being who you are has an impact on other people that we tend to forget or dismiss. As St. Francis said, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."


#16

#17

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:16, topic:224356"]
Also, something many people have found helpful when they are going through a crisis of faith is just to ACT AS IF they believed, had faith, etc.

[/quote]

I second this!

Ever try to create a whirlpool in a big pool by circling around in the water, running along the outside walls? It's sooooo hard at first, it seems so silly and futile... being this little person pushing against sooo much water. But little by little, lap after lap, the water starts to move with you... and at some point you realize that you've created a current which is actually carrying you along with it. You, the current, the water... all the same thing now.

Try it with belief. Just. Keep. Believing. Whether you believe it or not. And pretty soon you may find that your Belief is carrying you, rather than you needing to "force" it along.


#18

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