My life is small and meagre and a burden to the ones I love
Tell Me About It: I have also been recently diagnosed with a serious mental condition
My adult life has involved a lot of sadness
I’m a 28-year-old man and I really need help. My life is small and meagre and a burden to the ones I love. I completed a BA degree and have some money saved up, however at this point I’m an unemployed graduate who’ll be 29 soon. I also tried – and failed – to emigrate and now I find it impossible to find employment.
I have also been recently diagnosed with a serious mental condition that requires monitoring. I know this won’t help my cause because in my experience, employers are only interested in their own ends or the survival of the fittest.
It’s been a year of consistent job-seeking with my having completed a smaller digital marketing course – since it is a sought-after area – and having already a keen interest in digital media and IT.
My adult life has involved a lot of sadness and I don’t have many family connections apart from my mother. My friends have mostly emigrated. Have you any advice to offer?
ANSWERThere is evidence of resilience and capacity in your life as you say you have a degree and a digital marketing qualification. This together with the fact that you have saved money shows that you have the discipline to complete goals and you can focus on a task to completion.
These qualifications should get you into a work interview but then perhaps your confidence needs attention so that you can present yourself in a positive and engaging light.
It is very difficult to present yourself well when you feel so depleted and isolated and this is the area that now requires work. It seems that your friends have all moved on and you feel left behind and this together with your mental health difficulties have left you feeling worthless and unwanted. The upside is that you are motivated to do something about this and if you can sustain some hope and energy, there is a lot that you can do.
Very many people with mental health issues are managing well in the workplace and the main issue here is that you take responsibility to manage your condition so that you can function well.
This might entail working shorter hours or seeking employee assistance support (most works places offer employee assistance programmes where confidential, free counselling is available to employees).
Your confidence will need time to shine through your negativity and thus you might begin slowly by volunteering or doing an internship so that initially expectations about your work are restrained. This would be good use of your savings and there are many charities that would be delighted to avail of your marketing and IT skills. As you gain some work experience, you should begin to be less focused on what is wrong in your life as your attention is demanded by whatever organisation you choose to offer your skills to.
A workplace might also offer you some connections and this might expand your circle of people. This is not an immediate solution to the sadness in your life but with time, you will find that if you spend enough time with people, you get to like them and they you.
You feel a burden on those who love you and this combined with your hopelessness leads to a victim mentality. There are some rewards in this as it garners sympathy but ultimately this attitude leads to a very negative outcome. Focus on your strengths, know that you have skills and capacity that are needed in the world and start to seek what you find attractive in your life.
This might include nature, sports and movies. The aim here is that you join clubs or groups where you share these interests. This will put you in contact with like-minded people in a non-threatening manner and you might find this liberating.
Having the backing of a mental health organisation such as Aware or Grow can offer you a weekly group where you can be understood and supported as you take on the next week’s challenges.
Doing this would demonstrate to those who love you that you are both aware of, and are taking responsibility for your own mental health and it would take the burden of your care off them a little.
All change is difficult so it is important to set small targets and goals. Your ultimate aim is to be fully employed and to have connections with people. This starts with doing one thing a week that will move you toward this aim. Start today and take one action that makes you less of a victim and more the resilient person that you are.