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qpwoeiru

Depression, lack of friends, pointlessness

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Okay, I'll just post this as is. I've tried to assemble my random thoughts in a readable order.

I don't have many interests, and honestly don't see much point in life. We're born, we find something to occupy our time, we repeat that over and over, then one day, we're dead. There's no point to life, and we're all just doing things to keep ourselves busy. I don't like thinking like this, and it makes it incredibly hard to bring myself to do anything. Of all my problems, I think this one is the biggest one .How can I change my thinking?

For a short while, I actually tried thinking and saying positive things no matter what my opinion was. My thinking was that too much negative thinking caused me to become the person I am, so maybe positive thinking can turn myself around. That didn't work.

I have depression, OCD, and I'm pretty sure I would be diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder. I've read about it online, and it describes me pretty well.

I have zero confidence, zero self-esteem, and cannot even look people in the eye anymore. It makes me uncomfortable. I'm taking music composition lessons with a grad student and a nearby university, and I pretty much spend the whole time looking away or at the sheet music. I know he's looking at me when talking, but I can't bring myself to look back. I'm paying attention and listening, but it probably appears as though I don't really care.

I don't really have much in common with the majority of people my age, or anybody for that matter. I play the piano, listen to and compose classical music, and like to read. That pretty much sums me up. I can hardly even talk to my family anymore. Yeah..., Uh-huh, yes and no is pretty much how a conversation with me will go.

I'm sick and tired of the same thing everyday. I want and need friends to talk to, but have no idea how to actually do it. I had friends all the way up to high school and never actively sought any of them as friends. It just sort of happened. Now, I would be actively seeking friends and that complicates things because friendships should just happen and not be forced, right? I have no idea how to make or keep friends anymore. Years of being alone has probably eroded my social skills and I am probably a little awkward.

Also, where can I meet like-minded people? I'm not an objectivist, but my views are leaning more towards it all the time.

How can a person in his mid-twenties who has no social life outside of immediate family make friends? I high school it's easy, all you have to do is sit down at a lunch table with people who like the same music as you and sooner or later, you'll be accepted in. But for someone in my situtation, with all my numerous problems, it's going to be next to impossible.

I've been on medicine and tried counseling in the past. I don't like the idea of them automatically telling me I have a chemical imbalance, or whatever and medicating me into happiness, (How would they know? Is there a test?) and I've been to counseling before and they were never able to help, but I'm going to call and try again tomorrow. If anyone has any thoughts, advice, insults, or whatever about the various things I wrote, I'll read them. I need all the advice and help I can get.

Edited by qpwoeiru

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I don't have many interests, and honestly don't see much point in life.

Hi,

1. Get out of your house- right now! Walk your dog, lay out in your backyard, cook some food. Do something, anything that you find enjoyable. Relax and try to appreciate your life a little bit.

2. Enroll in a class that interests you at the university, even if it won't count towards your major (and do it especially if you think it's going to be useless). Take a biology class with a lab, or an archeology class - something totally different than what you're used to. The main idea is to be involved in something exciting, and to get you comfortable around other people your age.

3. Apply for a job. You can't meet anyone if you're sitting alone at home all day. (If you like music, apply for a job at a music store. If you don't, you can apply for an internship in a field you're interested in. There are be tons of opportunities available at universities for people who have little-to-no work experience.) You might need to force yourself to go through the interview process and learn how to tolerate some rejection, but if you work at it you'll definitely get a job- and it'll be worth it. You'll meet new people, make a little money, and most importantly, your successes will help you start rebuilding your self-esteem.

4. As you're doing all of this, remember that you're working to change your life for the better. Remember that you're not tied down to anyone or anything: you can choose what you want to do.. you just have to find what it is you like doing! Also, try to talk to people in your classes and at work. Communicating is a big part of life, but it isn't always easy. Start small and work your way up- friendships take time and effort to develop. As you start getting more involved in things (aka living), communication will get easier and you'll get more comfortable being out of the house. It takes some practice, but you can do it.

5. Tell your doctor that you've been taking your meds, but you are still depressed. (You probably need your dosage adjusted.) Tell him about your day-to-day life, about your isolation, and about your experience with counseling. And be honest- he will be able to help!

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What few interests *do* you have?

I like to play the piano, learn and read about music theory, compose and read although the motivation to do these things doesn't come often anymore. Anymore I just watch movies and youtube videos to escape.

Edited by qpwoeiru

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First, thank you for posting here. Reading the wiki page on avoidant personality disorder it says the disorder includes being very shy, anxious, and reluctant to interact with people, so just getting yourself to give posting here a shot may have required a bit of effort.

As you've probably heard plenty before, loss of interest in lots of things, feelings of hopelessness and therefore pointlessness, and eventually a sort of state of emotional burn-out (further contributing to a sense of pointlessness) are really typical with depression. "For a short while, I actually tried thinking and saying positive things no matter what my opinion was. My thinking was that too much negative thinking caused me to become the person I am, so maybe positive thinking can turn myself around. That didn't work." <-- This is really normal and expectable too. I've read about some study before where they found that not only did the "positive thinking" thing not work, it actually wound up making the people trying it feel worse because they just wound up thinking more about the difference between what they're trying to tell themselves and what they really think and feel, or something similar to that. I wanted to go grab the source for that but, dang, I've probably spent an hour now searching the site I'm pretty sure it came from and there's SO many studies about depression talked about there it is just proving very difficult to track down the one I'm thinking of. :( As for meds for depression, from what my shrink has told me (seeing a shrink and a psychiatrist for depression myself) meds and counseling do better with depression when combined rather than either one on their own. The meds don't really do much to change how you think or feel on their own necessarily so much as they cut down some of the obstacles about how depressed people tend to think/feel that make it hard for therapy to get anywhere. As for the chemical imbalance, I don't know of such a test for diagnosis or confirmation, though for what it's worth on the same site with way too much stuff about depression to sift through I recall reading once that a blood test on people who had been diagnosed with depression by their symptoms showed that these people had unusually high levels of some naturally occurring chemical among other physical differences that have been found to frequently exist in depressed people versus non-depressed people. I'm glad to hear you plan to try again very soon. :) I hope things go well. Mention what meds and doses you've been on before too. If you try any again they'll need to change at least one or the other. It's pretty normal they don't hit on the best med regimen for somebody with depression the first time. There is a genetic test one can get to try to point out which anti-depressants are likely to work how well or poorly for you that perhaps you'd be interested in if the meds still aren't going well.

Personally, I think the internet is a good place to start for forming at least some kinds of social contacts. The thing about the internet is it is easy to find places where there are already conversations and activities going on that new people are welcome to join and you can quickly look up places that are made for people with similar interests. As for offline, I'd suggest looking up if there are clubs in your area or similar things for people that like reading or classical music because they have similar things to make it easier to interact with people as the things I mentioned about the internet. This isn't much and you may have tried these already, but I figure it's a start for some ideas at least. :)

Don't worry, there's nothing insult-worthy in what you wrote. :P People around here aren't likely to be assholes like that anyway sans the occasional, inevitable trolls. If you'd like to talk to somebody some time, feel free to send me a PM. :) Oh, and you may want to try out the chat at the top of the page here too. There's usually people in there and the regular participants are pretty friendly.

Edited by bluecherry

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A few months ago, I thought about getting a stage keyboard (somehow) and joining a band. Being in a band gets me out of the house, puts me in contact with people my age, and in conversing with the band, there would be a lot less pressure than a one on one conversation.

I placed a few ads, but I didn't find anyone that wanted to play the type of music I like. I got numerous replies from people who wanted to play various screaming, screeching, noise-making and thrash around on stage types of music. I'm actually thinking about placing another ad and replying to them. Seeing how I don't actually like that music, it probably wouldn't be a great idea, right? Or is it? I mean, mdeggess suggested I take classes I find useless.

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Other than music there may be some activity that you've wondered about: "Would that be interesting?", but were never motivated enough to pursue. Maybe it is some sport, or learning to shoot, or martial arts. If you're in a large enough town, there may be some meetup.com groups that are interesting enough to check out. You could look for volunteer roles where you can make yourself useful.

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Classical music? I've lately been pretty interested in Franz Liszt lately, personally.

Hmm, it can take some time to find the right counselor, even if the counselor you may find is usually great. People vary and different approaches work better for different problems. There isn't a test for a chemical imbalance that I've heard of. As far as I know, the objective of certain medications is to put levels of brain chemicals at different levels so that certain thought processes are easier to handle. A good psychiatrist won't try to simply medicate you into happiness.

As for socialization difficulties, you have to remember it takes increments. It takes time to make friends, especially really good friends. Going out and about helps, but certainly don't neglect the Internet! And as a possible suggestion, there is the chat for this site. :sorcerer:

...their symptoms showed that these people had unusually high levels of some naturally occurring chemical...

Cytokines.

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I've actually thought about taking fly fishing lessons, weight lifting, trap shooting, and some sort of mixed martial arts class. The only one I actually pursued was trap shooting. I went to a gun club (once), rented a shotgun, and shot two rounds earlier this year. I decided it was an expensive hobby to get involved in.

This whole view of mine that life is pointless and we're just keeping ourselves busy until we finally die, must have been picked up from somewhere.

Most people could read something like that and think, "That's an interesting viewpoint", and not actually let it effect their lives. For some reason, I've dwelt on that thought and let it get me to the point where I think about suicide. It's lingered with me for years off and on, and daily for the last year. I can occasionally push that thought below the surface enough to get something down, but it always comes back. It's shaped my attitude, my opinions, my worldview. Everything.

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<p>

1. Get out of your house- right now! Walk your dog, lay out in your backyard, cook some food. Do something, anything that you find enjoyable. Relax and try to appreciate your life a little bit.

I have recently gone through a similar experience as qpwoeiru. I started walking 30min a day and it really helped a lot. It really helped me clear my thinking. It seems like my best thinking that I do is now when I am doing my daily walk. I am very amazed by the experience.

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Well, to me, life is beautiful. Sunsets are beautiful, great movies are beautiful, human achievements are beautiful, women are beautiful etc.

Let me ask you this: Aren't you amazed at the way the Discovery robot landed on Mars? If not, why not? Is there a logical reason that I don't know about, on why that isn't an extraordinary event?

Is there a logical reason why the engineers who designed and built those devices shouldn't have regarded that achievement as worth living for?

Or let's talk about music: Isn't there a single piece of music that you have listened to, about which you can say: well, whoever wrote this, I'm glad that he was alive. His life had a worthwhile purpose.

Edited by Nicky

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I loved the first two they sent to Mars, unfortunate about the one, but the other outlived their own expectations. Couldn't wait every week to hear the updates on the John Bachelor show.

While I admire the naming sceme of such vehicles, it would be kinda cool if someday they picked Bob.

Edited by tadmjones

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"Well, to me, life is beautiful. Sunsets are beautiful, great movies are beautiful, human achievements are beautiful, women are beautiful etc.

Let me ask you this: Aren't you amazed at the way the Discovery robot landed on Mars? If not, why not? Is there a logical reason that I don't know about, on why that isn't an extraordinary event?

Is there a logical reason why the engineers who designed and built those devices shouldn't have regarded that achievement as worth living for?"

That seems like something I heard about, but I really don't know enough about it as to why that should be considered extraordinary in the first place.

"Or let's talk about music: Isn't there a single piece of music that you have listened to, about which you can say: well, whoever wrote this, I'm glad that he was alive. His life had a worthwhile purpose."

I suppose. But on the other hand, if the guy never lived he would never have written it and I wouldn't know what I was missing out on.

I'd like to see where you are going with this.

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...if the guy never lived he would never have written it and I wouldn't know what I was missing out on.

I'd like to see where you are going with this.

I suppose, the place he's "going" is simply that there are a lot of things one can enjoy in life. One has to figure out what's enjoyable, so start finding out. That's why some of the posts above have suggested that the starting point is to start doing things. The ideal would be to find a career you can enjoy, but you've got to start somewhere. Edited by softwareNerd

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"Well, to me, life is beautiful. Sunsets are beautiful, great movies are beautiful, human achievements are beautiful, women are beautiful etc.

Let me ask you this: Aren't you amazed at the way the Discovery robot landed on Mars? If not, why not? Is there a logical reason that I don't know about, on why that isn't an extraordinary event?

Is there a logical reason why the engineers who designed and built those devices shouldn't have regarded that achievement as worth living for?"

That seems like something I heard about, but I really don't know enough about it as to why that should be considered extraordinary in the first place.

"Or let's talk about music: Isn't there a single piece of music that you have listened to, about which you can say: well, whoever wrote this, I'm glad that he was alive. His life had a worthwhile purpose."

I suppose. But on the other hand, if the guy never lived he would never have written it and I wouldn't know what I was missing out on.

I'd like to see where you are going with this.

I'm not going anywhere. My only point is that there are such things as amazing achievements. The main source of my love and appreciation for life is the knowledge that I too have the potential to contribute to and achieve things like these. (not just to sit around and marvel in them, btw., to actually be a part of creating some of them).

If you don't believe that there are achievements that are worth achieving, then I can't even convince you of the value of my life to me, let alone yours to you.

But on the other hand, if the guy never lived he would never have written it and I wouldn't know what I was missing out on.

It has nothing to do with you. The question was, is creating something great worth it to the author? Is his life valuable to him, because he can use it to do this? That's what matters, not whether it's valuable to you.

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This whole view of mine that life is pointless and we're just keeping ourselves busy until we finally die,...

You're never going to find a purpose in life in the sense a religious person might mean it: not if you use rational thought. One could come up with such a purpose: e.g. "I was put on Earth to clean up God's creation and make it beautiful , or, "I was born to help cure the diseases of the world", or "My role is to be a warrior and fight for freedom", etc. Such "reasoning" will not hold up to rational scrutiny. it's preferable to be honest and say: "I enjoy nature and the outdoors, and I am going to spend my life exploring nature and cleaning it up", or "The human body intrigues me, and fighting against disease and winning is fun", or "I've always loved tales of war and heroes and I want to be a soldier".

A million circumstances could have transpired where I would not exist. Imagine if my grandpa had made this one decision differently, there's no way my mom would have met my dad, and no way I'd have existed. It's all very interesting. It may even have some relevance to my current life: for instance, it may form the background of why I know certain things, why I was introduced to certain games, why I like to cook, why I was introduced into the world of investing, how I got interested in cars, why I play the flute, etc. Still, all that is just background and context... and past. The real question is: given this background and context, and given that I can live for N decades more, what should I do to enjoy my life as best I can and to be happy.

When we explore this, we find that purpose is tied up with happiness. Human beings have a deep need for purpose. There are thousands of examples, and one can see evidence of this relationship (between happiness and purposefulness) very early in life. To set a goal and to take purposeful action to achieve that goal is something that humans obviously need as a species: that's easy to see. Yet, it is equally obvious that any particular man can stay alive with other people doing these things. That particular man can get the same food, the same clothes, and so on... if some other particular people provide those things. What is not as obvious is that *the doing* is a necessary part of happiness.

The best preachers are able to craft a message that encourages their congregation to be purposeful, while also not apologizing for material success. They provide their flock with a specious, mystical basis for purpose and material goods. It is *not* true that God placed people on Earth to choose an occupation that interests them, that can employ their talents to a point that they enjoy, and that can help them get all sorts of material things to add comfort to their lives. Yet, remove the mystical sub-basement and you have a good formula. You can see the same theme repeating itself in all sorts of philosophies and religions. One can glimpse it in the Shakers movement. Each of these religions, philosophies and movements has identified some true requirements for human happiness, but also has its own baggage. The solution is to throw away the baggage and take a rational view of what is required for human happiness.

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Yeah, last post is on about the same topic I had in mind last night, but then was too sleepy to make at the time. When I was almost done typing this up, softwareNerd then added some things to his post which largely may render mine redundant and unnecessary ( ;_; ) , but I spent this much effort on typing this up so, postin' anyway. :P

Those things like "to follow god's plan" then beg the further question of "and why do that? What is the point of that?" That can be further followed out to asking what the purpose is in, I dunno, making that god happy or what the point even could be in following the plan even when you don't know the point or whatever else they may say ? I think the farthest that one could be followed out to would be to make themselves happy and/or to avoid eternal torture. But supposing we're just going to take it as given here that upon death one simply ceases to exist (any objections? Anybody? No? Moving along then . . .) that removes the avoiding eternal torture option. In that case and any of the other examples of non-religious supposed purposes/points eventually all you'll get down to is the part about making oneself happy and it's a dead end there, nothing you can say is some further "point" to that. I contend that thinking as hard as one may one still couldn't come up with any even hypothetical "point" that did not eventually go down the same road of being able to come down to happiness for oneself and then being unable to come up with a "point" for their happiness. Do you have any ideas that don't eventually hit a dead end somewhere where you can come up with no point to something? I don't expect you'll be able to, nobody could. The reason for that is that the very idea of such a "point" is, itself, busted. Points, purposes, these things only exist in relation to achieving some goal and life is the only case where such is possible. One cannot come up with the goal of having a goal and so on and so on, it would lead to infinite regress. First some goal needs to be adopted sans any further thing compeling one to do so and then things can have a point in relation to contributing to achieving that goal. Supposing you are already familiar with Rand's argument for why life is ultimately THE fundamental alternative, to exist or not exist, I think that the very notion of a point is inapplicable to choosing to live or not because no goals can be applied to one prior to existence, nothing can be applied to something which doesn't exist. Yup, points do not apply, cannot exist, prior to just choosing to live, they can only apply once such a choice is made in relation to that goal of living. Points are an idea which arise from a certain context and can't be applied to just any context at all, they lose meaning outside certain contexts the same way the concept of a "taste" does not apply to something like "speed." Redundant, but in short asking about the purpose of life is like asking about the taste of speed.

However, that said, when eventually you whittle everything down to a goal of life and happiness (the two being inextricably related with the latter one being a product of doing well in the former one, so getting the latter requires the same as what getting the former well requires) and that's the end of the line, so what? I don't think anybody really needs to be given some further reason to try to be happy. :P Once one establishes that goal of being happy, living well, one can then have purpose to their choices and actions they take from then on, the point of those things being to get a good, happy life. Establishing that goal and thus enabling what you do to be purposeful and have a point is itself a pretty big step toward achieving it, you won't get this happy life if you don't make at least some effort toward it, in part because it's likely to drive you up a wall doing things without anywhere the actions are trying to take you. So, uh, don't worry, be happy? :P Or try to really anyway. Obviously I can't just command somebody to be happy and poof!, it happens. Hehe

Now, if you believe that for some reason that happiness is unattainable for you, that's certainly a problem that needs taking care of, do whatever you can to try to change that, but that even then is still working toward a goal to be happy, still not entirely pointless, so it is certainly better than nothing for the time being. Life has at least some feasibility to become happy, certainly dying and ceasing to exist has no such chance at all. It has absolutely nothing to offer anybody at all, it can't. There at least some small pleasures you have for now, right? Try to enjoy them, as you probably are, for now while working on things, anything at all of some enjoyment is still closer to happiness than death could ever come. I certainly sucks having so many barriers between you and happiness right now, but hopefully getting down at the notion of lack of a point to life will be relieved since you said that one was a pretty big deal to you. Your actions can be purposeful regardless of how you came to set out to have a happy life and even when the obstacles to that look so big as long as you haven't given up.

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It sounds to me like your problem is a lack of values.  Values are what drive one in life.  Pursuing your values is an end in itself, it isn't "keeping yourself busy".  A human without values is what you describe, an aimless drifter through life aiming for distraction.  When you say there is no point to life, you are only talking about your own view of your own life.  If you said that to someone who was actively pursuing values they would not even hear what you said, it would be like you were speaking a foreign language, you see?  You would never hear a hunting dog complain that he is just keeping himself busy and there is no point to life.  Besides the obvious reason that he cannot talk or form concepts, a hunting dog is completely satisfied with life because he is doing what it is in his nature to do.  When sentient organsims do what it is in their nature to do they become happy and fulfilled in life.  It's only when you lock the dog in the shed that life become pointless.  When you find your own life's purpose, it will be the only gasoline for your engine, so to speak.  You will not even have time to sit around and think whether life has a point or not, you will know in your bones, down to the marrow, that life is not pointless.  It will be self evident.  So basically you need to keep searching for that purpose.

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