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Posted by: Dan Gill | 2007/02/21

A General Feeling of Emptyness

Hey there, I am a 23 year old male, recently graduated from college. Increasingly over the past 5 years I have noticed a diminishment of my personality and my ability to express myself to others.

When I left home at 18 to go to university, I fell into a depression and became increasingly socially isolated and shy, much more than I ever was as a child. When I left University, I came out as a gay man to family and friends at 21, believing that this acceptance of myself would answer the brunt of my problems, and I had the feeling that it was beginning to work.

Just shortly after this turning point in my life, I was head hunted to study for an MA in film design, and embarked on the most lonely, frustrating and upsetting two years of my life (there's too much to go into, but it was a disaster, you'll have to take my word for it). Although not as depressed as I was at University, this new course was very often draining, with long hours and ridiculous work loads, working with many unpleasant people with no interest in the well being and sanity of others (in one particular instance I was put into a seperate room from the rest of my class, due to my tutors fears that my homosexuality may distress other students). Looking back, doing my MA was a mistake in general, but more specifically when i consider that i should have been gaining new 'experiences' and exploring my identity as a gay man, and instead I was somewhat lead into a guilded trap, where we were all worked to the point that we had to sacrifice much of our personal lives (the same tutor suggested that it may be a good idea not to have relationships in my future life, working for film is more important in his opinion!).

To get to the point, although I have grown in confidence to a degree from the cripiling shyness I experienced at Un iversity, I am left feel disjointed from the croud, somewhat dispirited in general and most of all, numb! It is my fear that my personality has been surpressed to the point where I cannot express myself properly - and it's stuck that way!. My voice is naturally varied, but when meeting someone new, I often notice it uncontrollably settles into an unenthusiastic, monotone level, with my throat tightening - perhaps a sign of intimidation? I usually feel somehow seperated from my peers. I understand that my self confidence could still be a work in progress, but i find it impossible to let my self go alot of the time.

I have left my film studies and returned home to friends and family, to try and find what it is that will make me happy in life, and myself. An all consuming career is something that I now know accompanies a happy life, it doesn't make one.

It is important to me to get to the bottom of this, as I have met a nice guy, whom I have started dating. It is my worry that my feelings of numbness and disjointedness may effect my chances with someone special. I often worry that my reserved manner and inability to exert myself may come across as dullness. ( I have noticed a couple of remarks that suggested that people are percieving it that way).

I hope that I have not been too vague or too general, for I fear that I may send you all to sleep with my lengthier slab of writing. I would be greatfull for any advice on this. I would also be happy to provide more information, if required.

Many thanks,

Dan.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Dan,
Well, in life we are often faced with opportunities / invitations which sound too good to turn down ; and some turn out to be marvellous, some disappointing, and som disasterous. What becomes more important is what we choose to allow ourselves to learn from the experience, which is often not what is on the curriculum. The MA sounds like a most peculiar experience. And I can't imagine anything so outrageous and improper as your having been segregated for being gay --- unless you were yourself being annoyingly and disturbingly busy making this an issue that annoyed others, the instiution behaved unconstitutionally and improperly in doing that,
From the sound of it, you would really benefit from a period of counselling with a good local psychologist --- NOT one with Analytical leanings, which is a total waste of time and money, but a more business-like CBT style counsellor, which can be far more practical, and would help you feel more confident and better able to achieve whatever personal goals you formulate. Maybe a local gay organization could help you find such a counsellor who was gay-friendly, in the sense of being sensible enough to attend to your real interpersonal difficulties, rather than assuming there was something wrong about being gay and trying to focus on that.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Shae | 2007/02/21

Hi Dan,

Your post rings a certain truth for me as well and i can very much relate to that feeling of general indifference and internal anger and frustration.

It appears as though you spend allot of time driving yourself up the wall with your internal dialogue and it is my opinion that the first thing you need to do is adopt a different mental process. Now, given that this is definitely easier said than done, it may assist with clearing your 'head space' for fresh and new thoughts - those focussed at the future rather than the past. Someone once told me that you cannot move forward when you're always looking back over your shoulders. I picture myself doing this and see what they mean but it does take some effort to force oneself to not do this to yourself.

The world has many ways to make oneself turn inward because we just dont like what we see on the outside (reference here to society/ human behaviour) and it is much easier to hide inside than be rejected outside (does this make sense?). I dont get the impression that you suffer from low self esteem, i think you've just been hurt, put down and criticised too often by very toxic people.

There is no quick recipe for 'fixing' oneself Dan but i know from personal experience that it starts on the inside. I went through many phases including the 'i hate the world and the hell with all of you' phase, in other words, i threw the cards in the air and let them fall where they will. I contacted everybody that had poisoned my mind and heart against myself and let them have it, told them exactly what they did to me and the effect it had. Then i let the anger go, left it and all the people who had a hand in it behind and spread my wings. In a manner of speaking, i unleashed the person i always knew i was (not the person others expected me to be) on the world.

I dont know if this is helping or even if it makes sense but perhaps knowing that you're not alone in this will mean something. Its still a work in progress but i refuse to live inside this head for much longer, i know deep inside theres the kind of person that this world needs and the sooner i become the person I want to be, the sooner i'll be the person i know im supposed to be.

Dont hide from the world Dan. We only have one shot at this life and if we truely are here to learn the lessons we need to excel in our spiritual lives then learn the lessons and move on, dont hold yourself back from the experiences you are meant to have.

Reply to Shae
Posted by: Jenine | 2007/02/21

Hey Dan, I felt very sad when reading your post. I am not an expert and I can't give you any advice.

I just want to tell you that I really hope things work out for you and that you find yourself and that you can be happy!!
You deserve to be happy in life, to live life to the fullest and to have the best in everything and everyone!!

Good luck, you will be in my prayers!! :-)


Reply to Jenine

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