I'm sending it to them on another forum I frequent, but it applies to a lot of (mostly young) people, and I'm seriously considering editing it to a more generic version and sending it out to other people.
A lot of the things Iím about to say were stolen from other [forum members], mainly because these are things you canít reinforce enough when dealing with depression.
Theyíre also things Iíve wanted to tell hundreds of depressed and suicidal people Iíve known through the years, both online and in meatspace.
First of all, have you ever heard someone say suicide is a ďpermanent solution to a temporary problem?Ē Probably. If youíre anything like me, youíve run across a million anti-suicide sites in moments while Googling ways to end yourself painlessly, seen a million ďexpertsĒ mention it in lists of reasons theoretical people shouldn't kill themselves, and heard the phrase repeated until it lost all meaning. But as they say, cliches are cliched for a reason. There's truth in it.
Now, I know from experience that when you're depressed, the last fucking thing you want to hear is that you don't have it that bad. In fact, you probably want to punch me in the face right now because you think I'm about to say that.
But I won't.
Neither will I mention that abused quadriplegic Harlequin baby with cancer of the AIDS who grew up to run 500-mile marathons with with his leg-stumps to raise money for Jesus, the guy who got his head blown off in Iraq and grew a new one out of pure force of will, all those kids in that foreign country who just died of whatever, or any of those other sob stories smug people drag out when they want to make you feel like a pussy for having problems. But I will remind you that when youíre only 21, able-bodied, and judging by your post, pretty sane, you have more than you realize going for you, and chances are that most of those problems will pass with time.
For example, Iím going to presume that being stuck with your parents is whatís causing a lot of your misery. To steal [the forum founder]'s metaphor: You're not driving your own life, you're tied up in the trunk of your parentsí.
And although that might make you want to die... It may seem counterintuitive, but itís the exact reason you shouldnít. You have to at least live long enough to start driving.
Donít die without knowing what itís like to stomp the gas, play the music you want to instead of having to wince through your parentsí bland Enya CDs, drum on the steering wheel, take spontaneous road trips with your friends, and head out into the city on a day off with no idea where youíll end up - all while having the satisfaction of knowing that you passed the fuck out of your license test and this is where the analogyís gone too far.
It may be a while before you know that kind of freedom, but if your parents will let you out for even a little bit - you can practice it now. Whenever you have a free moment and are feeling trapped, go outside and just do stuff. Take pictures of stuff. Go for a run. Hit things with other things just to see what kind of sound they make. Go to conventions. Set something on fire. (Something small, like a dead branch. No stuff you donít own, cars, explosives, animals, or people.) Do anything that will create a unique memory.
...And no matter how bad things get, try to acknowledge the days when they arenít horrible. Kurt Vonnegut once said that on nice days, when the weather was good and he was feeling all right, his uncle would ask himself: "If this isn't happiness, what is?"
Secondly, I know exactly what youíre going through in school, because oh dear God was I a terrible student. For twelve years, people assumed I was lazy, but truthfully, no matter how much balls-out determination I put into it, I just couldnít focus or keep my eyes open. But although I completely sympathize with you, this isnít a problem I can give any advice on: I dropped out of college because of it. The only thing I can say - it may or may not make you feel better - is that school is just like any other pursuit: No matter how much competitive spirit, or life-defining importance people attach to it, having problems with it does not make you any less intelligent or capable in any other way. Failing to get the right degree in the right field does not condemn you to a life of minimum wage soul death.
But still, Iím going to do the sensible thing and urge you to get help. Iíve heard really good things about this book
for adult ADD sufferers, and second Biffís suggestion to seek help the minute you have the resources.
It seems you leave your jobs when they get hard or you don't get along with the co-workers. This is a problem I can't help you with. I could tell you to just tune out all of their bullshit and focus entirely on getting the job done to the best of your abilities, and donít quit because this economy makes it a bitch to get by without a stable income - but since I really don't know your situation, that might be macho bullshit. Let me know.
But for now, youíre unemployed, and that sucks. Youíre broke, you canít move out, and youíre probably stuck watching people you know get in their new cars and drive back to their own apartments where they have girlfriends, social lives, and disposable income waiting for them. What bastards.
But itís not the end of the world. Even if it is a while before you can find another job - if you have money for food, gas, and essentials, you can make the best of this. Unemployment can sometimes be a good opportunity to get some of the stuff on that big-mental-list-of-stuff-youíve-always-wanted-to-do done - Iíve used my four months of it to work on a book.
Donít torture yourself over it, just keep putting applications in to places - both online and in real life (two a day is a good rule, depending on how long they are and how much free time you have), pursue your other interests, and ignore your inner Tea Partier/drill sergeant/Chinese mother who keeps screaming at you about how the only reason youíre unemployed is because youíre a lazy bastard because you know if that one kid who started that one business was a multi-billionaire with a private helicopter and a Harvard MBA and the worldís greatest stock portfolio by your age then there must be something seriously wrong with you if you canít even get a shitty job at the goddamn McDonalds what the fuck is wrong with you.
That kind of existential shame will eat you alive.
And finally, I'm going to second Samwise's advice and urge you not to give anybody one more dime to teach you anything about socializing.
Instead, I'm going to give you an assignment:
- Google "how to talk to strangers."
- Find somewhere to try doing it.
- Do it.
Start small. On the first day, find someone who looks cool, friendly, or sexy, and try asking them a completely innocuous question, such as "do you know where the gas station is?" This is just to get you accustomed to meeting people in everyday situations, which is the first step to getting cool, making friends, or having sex with them.
Move on to observations. Clever ones are the best, but being able to come up with them takes practice. When you see something interesting happening in public, ask a random stranger if they know whatís going on. Horrific car accidents, street fights, police raids, and house fires are great conversation pieces.
Also, consider pursuing writing. Itíll help you learn how to translate your thoughts into words, which is one of those skills everyone needs but very few people study. It can also teach you how to be funny, which is the best thing ever. Being able to (intentionally) make people laugh is pretty much the height of conversational achievement. Once you can pull that off, everything else is less intimidating.
I'm working on the ending now.