Thank you for offering to provide input.
I apologize in advance that this is a long post.
So much on my mind.
Honestly, I would like to 'just do it'. 10 years ago, I had no dependents, no other priorities. I fell into depression after a abusive relationship where my partner was mentally ill. It took years to recover from that. But I also had no ambition - so I did nothing. Now when I actually feel inspired to make changes, I find myself gridlocked by so many external circumstances that i cannot change. It's killing me to feel like I have to stay put in situations I do not like - when I no longer consider myself powerless.
Right now, I have care-giving responsibilities (for my elderly cat) and I'm doing rehab for a back injury which has severely affected my quality of life. These 2 things have necessitated that I put on hold plans for a different career path indefinitely (insofar as going back to school is concerned). I am at perpetual risk of unemployment because of my generic skill set/profession. It is necessary for me to retrain and to find the right vocation.
My intention has been to work on the things that i can change at this point and facilitate the path towards the career switch. To create a framework, even if I can't take a step yet. But I can't seem to pinpoint a career direction to move into. I thought it was physical therapy - and many here have said it's a good choice for me. But it bothers me to pick a path that's so dependent on physical fitness, given my injury history and age. I made a mistake in the past when I chose my major - which didn't work out. It led me on more than 15 years of living from job to job, without financial security. That's why there's so much pressure now to make the right decision. The fear of failure fits in somewhere here. I want it to be a profession/trade that I'm good at and will be in demand globally.
I've also been trying to find another job for over a year - but the market is slow and I'm stuck at a job/company that is draining me dry. Furthermore, the company is undergoing major restructuring and is unstable too.
On one hand, I feel tremendously lucky that I'm caring for my elderly cat. It is really tiring and emotionally difficult, but I'm grateful for the time i have with him - and I'm willing to be here all the way till he decides to go. I'm happy that I'm doing rehab - although it's taking so long and it's physically and emotionally tough too. I feel that I'm doing the best that I can do at this time. On the other hand, I feel heartbroken and betrayed by my circumstances. I am not able to make any plans of consequence primarily because of the care-giving situation and my back injury. I'm angry at myself for not doing more - but I don't know what more I can do.
I can't even just apply for a job without considering if it can accommodate my care-giving schedule. And that rules out so many options. I know what you mean by changing the perspective. So I've been trying to focus on feeling grateful for what i have now (and it's easy to find the blessings) and just be efficient at everything I need to do. Many days I am ok. But the anger and depression are boiling underneath the surface. Some days I just break down. I don't know how to co-exist with the disconnect I feel. Perhaps this is a modern day malady that most everyone feels.
Deep down, there's fear that if I don't get things moving in the career switch, get another job and eventually get my own place - I'll get stuck caring for my aged parents in the near future. The relationship with them broke down long ago, and I'm only still living in the family home because of my cat - and an inability to afford rent at this point.
I want and need the next part of my life to be for me - where i can take chances and consider my own needs only. Without external noise. If I have to subjugate my needs again, it will be the end of me.
There's so many parts and pieces - I just don't know how to make this work. I internalize because there's no way to externalize this. There's no one I can talk to, and I also don't mean to unload on you or any of the other people here.
I'd appreciate any insight, input or advice you can offer.
There is a heavy weight around you. Your energy feels like depression. You feel trapped and hopeless. I know the feelings but I don't stay there too long. Perspective is your way out. I feel you internalise a lot of emotion that also affects your body. I get the cat thing....I put down 3 very old dogs in one year and yes they need so much patience and care. But it is not a forever thing. I assume you receive some kind of financial assistance. Living with parents can be a blow to your ego but is not failure if you contribute to their life and chores. Be a blessing to them. If they are toxic it could be that they only mirror the way you see yourself. You seem to lock yourself into a loser box with lots of should bes...wouda coulda....too late self talk. You are not kind to yourself. And you define yourself by your achievements. Your perspective about self worth is distorted.You are too isolated and so your spirit does not get fed with the joy of feeling enjoyed by others.. Also you overwhelm yourself into a standstill by indecision. Would it be so bad of you to just stop forcing the future and just live in the moment? Enjoy....play.....read.....garden.....music.....go dancing. All at a pace your back can handle. In fact movement though tough at first is very good for back and joint issues. I sense you are all or nothing. You need goals.....small ones. And that everyone's life like a wheel is up and down. It feels like forever on bottom. You judge yourself a lot and choose the worst perspective. How wonderful your parents give you a home. Don't be ashamed.....make their lives a little easier and have more fun.....you will not attract a better life feeling like you do. Find your joys and partake in fun. Love yourself and love will find you. Join something. If it don't work do something else. I suffered a brain injury and it was very hard......someone recommended a woman who did guided hypnotism.....she was both clinical and spiritual and a doctor said he saint stroke patients there. She really helped me in one visit and gave me my own CD meditation called change is good. I listen to it every night! It has helped me. But I have learned to celebrate baby steps. You need to fight for yourself........the hopelessness you are paralyzed by is not going to go away with out some changes.....no job is going to fix you.....you have been stuck for too long. You have to do something different and not talk yourself out of things. I donot get any future images for you.....spirit says it is your divine will standing at this crossroad. I think spirit says you are too much stuck in the future which doesn't exist. Stay in the moment......make a list of small goals you can cross off. Even if it is as simple as fixing that annoying crack in the wall. Pin the list in sight. You tend to see all your things to do as a crowd....it is too much. Try to do one small thing a day to cross off your list....it switches the perspective to see things done instead of all you do not do. Let your inner child have fun. Spirit says you short side yourself when you can't believe that maybe....what you need will COME TO YOU! But your energy has to be open and ready. You really do deserve that! BLESSINGS! And please do share your list in the future....I'd like that.
Thank you for sharing something so personal - about your injury and how it's still work in progress.
Depression is a bit like an injury. I was ok for 5 years - moved out of that rock bottom place. Then once I took on the role of care-giver in January, I quickly got burnt out because I wasn't receiving enough help from other family members. Then depression started to creep in again. I've actually been taking care of my cat since i was a teenager, but the level of care has increased since early last year, and then exponentially this year. I remember begging my sister for a year to help me, before she finally relented some, about 6 months ago. It's been really difficult juggling work, care-giving duties and my own issues and I'm often exhausted.
It's compounded by a lack of a physical outlet for these emotions. So I do relate to what you're saying about doing activities. I was previously able to - I had a weekly dance class. So there was something to look forward to, and be creative in. But I was on borrowed time, and the injury finally got so bad that I was forced to stop dancing altogether. I can't do any physical activities without triggering pain and discomfort - even gentle swimming. Just 2 days ago, I took a 15 min brisk walk and everything went wonky. The muscles are severely out of balance, so any sustained exertion pulls the joints out of alignment. The therapy exercises are working - but it could take years to sort this out.
It is all so true that I'm too isolated and I've lost the fun in life. I watch Youtube videos and I laugh and all. But it really doesn't match up to the fun I had in dance class. I've not found a way to replace that. I'm quite a loner to begin with, and in my current circumstance, I really don't feel like interacting with my friends much. I've also lost the opportunities to interact with my dance friends since I dont' see them anymore. Many days, I go without speaking, unless at work, with co-workers, or with the cashier, when I buy groceries or food.
There's an intellectual understanding that I'm physically limited, and I do see my fragility. But it frustrates me because I've always perceived myself as physically robust. Not quite an athlete, but hardy. I want there to be no more disconnect between the physical reality, and the true mental image of myself (when it's not influenced by adapting to circumstances).
This mirrors what is going on in my life in terms of the lack of career direction. I know it doesn't help me to live in a future that doesn't exist. But it's also to do with how I perceive myself in my mind's eye. I see myself as more than my current reality. More capable, more purposeful, more confident. And painfully aware of just how long I've stayed in circumstances where I'm not growing enough, and not fulfilling my potential. Maybe I didn't know I was doing it, but I created the life that has encouraged limitations and obstacles to achieving the things i want. And I can no longer bear to leave things as they are. That's why I'm incredibly frustrated and angsty. I need an appropriate outlet of growth where there is clear direction but enough freedom to experiment. So that I can live in the now, and yet be moving towards the future, with more certainty.
It is transformative energy that is fueling the angst. Because of all the external circumstances and consideration, I find it hard to get in the head space that allows the right experiences in. In my mind, a career shift and going back to school seems to be the key that will provide goals and direction. But determining the profession is proving elusive. Finding another job and moving out also seem to be as important.
I did pretty much what you mentioned for the last 15 years - keeping my life open-ended, but it didn't work out because there was no direction. I just went from one job to the job, different roles and industries, one experience to the next, just chasing the pay check.
I've been unemployed a lot because the roles I've got skills in have been becoming obsolete over the years. I'm constantly at risk of unemployment or being beholden to jobs/situations that are not working. And 'beholden' and living in fear, is not aligned with my free spirit. I do not like it. So it's become a must for me to find a career path that can help me become who I'm meant to be.
For now, yes I agree, focusing on small tasks to accomplish is probably helpful. I want to fix up my room somewhat, install shelving and rearrange things. This is the extent of my list at the moment. But I cannot even find motivation to buy the shelf at the moment. Because I lack the physical ability to lug it home or fix up the shelf. I keep going round and round in my mind about whether I'm willing to pay extra to get someone to do these for me. I'm only driven by necessary tasks like care-giving, buying necessities, and doing my therapy exercises - and trying to save money.
I know I'm really lucky that I've got my own room and a roof over my head. In my country and culture, it is the norm for single adult children to stay with their folks, until they get married. Because it is expensive to even rent, let alone own your own place. So it's not an ego thing. It's actually a space thing. We are in each others' faces too much and our habits and way of life are irritating each other. We need space to do our own thing without recriminations from others.
The caregiving thing has also put a strain on our relationship (although it was already broken). It isn't fair on anyone. I've borne a bulk of the responsibilities and I've accepted that role more than the others. I try to take the 'fairness' out of it and just focus on the tasks - that has helped tremendously. But I cannot do everything and I still need their help - however little - and they are extremely resistant to do so consistently. And it causes spats and ill will. And I keep thinking, if only they would look at the situation objectively - and just focus on the tasks - we would be ok. But I guess they're taking it personally - and fighting against why they should be involved at all. They're entitled to that view. But it puts me in a position of always telling people to do things, when i actually dislike doing so.
I strongly feel that the only way to stop the escalation of things, is if I eventually move out - once my cat has passed on and once I can afford to. My folks need their space, and so do I. My other two siblings live here as well. We need to be able to live our lives as people separately - it's long overdue. We've done as much as we could within the same 4 walls, and tolerating each other's presence and habits - but it's no longer enough. Know what i mean? We're so emotionally detached from one another that being forced to share the same space is suffocating us. And I feel my folks will ask us to leave eventually - even though I own a very minor share in the apartment. I don't want it to get to that point of total breakdown (and it's already in motion).
But I haven't figured out how to afford this, and still get a job I like. And if I intend to go back to school at some point - I need finances for this too. There are so many opposing needs. It's weighing down on me. I remember that years ago, it was relationships that was the issue. Wanting a mate. This has completely dropped off the list of wants/needs. I know that it will never happen for me, and I will attract the wrong person - unless my life is completely sorted out and transformed.
To be honest, I'm not surprised that there is a blank slate in my future. I think I'm meant to shape it, to create purpose and direction. It keeps on going back to a career path and vocation. If I could only figure out what I'm supposed to do with my life...
Radiantsun last edited by
Don't know if you're around a lot.
Could really use some advice
what's your question?
I think I just want to know what I'm meant to do with my life, in terms of a career. Or perhaps what I can do to discover this path.
All the things I thought I wanted to do require a level of health/fitness that I cannot attain due to my back injury - or aptitude that I do not possess. So I think it's best to delink these things from a career choice/re-education process.
As a care-giver, my life is not my own. But at some point, the dynamics will shift. And I need to be prepared to be on my own and on the road towards financial independence. If not, I fear that i may sink even deeper into depression.
I've been stuck in stagnant and trying circumstances for over 20 years, that have dented my confidence and limited my growth and achievements. It's time for me to turn my life around in more tangible ways. And it feels like figuring out what profession to go into is a pivotal piece. I've also been alone way too long, that I'm almost convinced there's nothing and no one to look forward to. But deep down, I still want to meet my mate - and I feel this will only happen once I've sorted my own life out.
tell me about your back injury.
The back injury occured 4 years ago during dance class, and it's been re-injured several times since, including the last tipping point which is 1 year ago. But it's part of a larger pattern of structural anomalies and muscle imbalance that have existed since I was born, and started to unravel when I was in my 20s.
Because of how long I left this untreated, and how long the joints/muscles have been stuck in maladaptive patterns, the neural connection from the brain to the muscles is disrupted. So the joints don't sit correctly, muscles don't work in the right ways and it's hurting my body.
I get pain, discomfort, tightness and twisting when I sit, am unable to lift much weight, cannot squat/bend anymore and am not able to do any form of sustained activity. These issues sometimes cause secondary maladies like headaches, dizziness and fatigue as well. I've hit a rough patch this year, but I'm trying my best to manage my emotions, as I know these affect the body as well.
I can expect to need years of rehab therapy. I may never return to the time when I had full mobility. So I really need to find a career path that is not dependent on it. So that I don't feel frustrated that I'm having to wait to get better.