I am recovering from depression and at I am at a point where I am trying to find my purpose, but really struggling.Help!

My life has been steadily collapsing over the last few years due to Chronic Depression that I didn't know I had until I was diagnosed last year when I felt very suicidal.Since then I have made tremendous improvements on my own and just recently with a bit of help from a therapist.I have overcome the suicidal thoughts, the not wanting to do anything (let alone live), panic attacks, and I have my Health Anxiety under control, which was the source of great mental anguish for a long time.My last hurdle is psychosomatic disorder which are very disturbing random physical symptoms that the doctors cannot find any physical causes for.Basically it's my body telling me I need to address repressed memories etc..So I have been doing a lot of emotional processing which has been working very well, but very slowly as I am working on my own with this. I know that in order to rebuild my life completely I need to discover what my purpose is, in the very least a reason for living.But I am so disconnected to who I am that I am finding it difficult to sit down and put it all together on paper and make any sense of this. My external reality has been a mess for a long time, so I have decided to give myself until end of this year to drastically change my life around: because I know one thing for sure I cannot continue my life as I have for the last few years. I was wondering if anyone has been through the same and it would be helpful to know how you got through it? Any insights or feedback on how I can move forward would be so helpful to overcome this resistance that I just can't seem to shift to get my life back on track.

8 Replies

  • Hello

    My depression was caused by family and chronic disability, and a life not of my making. We all get to that stage where we ask why am I here, what has caused this problem and how can I move through the trial that these thoughts leave us with.

    Over the years I have done voluntary work in Mental Health Charity believe me when I say, "Most people with Mental Health conditions are all looking for that magic bullet", many are still looking and are functioning quite well considering.

    One thing I can recommend is do not be too hard with yourself, when we all look for answers, they will eventually confuse you more and make you even more depressed. We all, even those who have no mental illness start having false memories, or you will look at that historic problem in one light only. We can say to ourselves, yes there was a problem there, yes I am stronger, although what are you going to do with that information.?

    In my case it began at home as a child, and a complicated childhood at school, followed by severe problems at college and a possible attempt on my life. followed by people who look at disability as a weakness, including family members

    Eventually I had to leave a very good job because of chronic illness thirty years ago. I am still suffering from that and now I am in my sixties and still suffering physical pains that ruined my occupation so many decades ago.

    You find the reasons, you may eventually disappear from that painful past, You will also have so much talking treatments that you suffer from a very sore throat that seems to last for decades.

    You need to ask yourself what am I going to do with these so important memories when they come back at you in a storm, remember the storm itself can cause damage in its own right so it will them cause more damage that that memory caused those many years before.

    Now I have had to come to terms regarding my past, I still take medications that I have been on or off for many decades, I am still on them now because of chronic pain. etc. If you keep looking these problems will eat you up and you will relive that problem that has past. many many years in the past, why suffer, it is done and dusted.

    With me I have begun a new life and now have started a new life as a retired person, I now no longer have anything to do with those who did harm. I am married and have a Collie dog, where we exercise in the surrounding hamlet where I live, My past has gone, and I spent to much time remembering something better forgot, I am now at peace with myself and that is all that matters. If given the chance your past will eat you up and spit you out in no uncertain terms. Why bring this back to the fore when you begin that new life you may want to make

    My family is living although very dead to me.

    An old CPN told me if you have five severe mental worries the brain cannot cope so why make life hard?.spit it out.

    All I can really advise is do not look back, look forward and make surgical cuts in your past life. Allow pitfalls and learn from mistakes, do not dwell, move forward and learn from those errors. Never take fools lightly and be surgical in your new life



  • Bob, thank you so much for sharing with me. Your reply really moved me.

    While I do understand what you mean about making surgical cuts in life and not looking back, that very approach is what got me depressed in the first place. What you choose to forget and leave behind does not leave you, it gets archived in your body, it stays with you and it can make you very ill in so many ways that you would never begin to imagine.I am a firm believer that trapped memories,hurts and events etc...cannot harm you more than they did originally, they will only be ready to come up and be expressed once a part of you is ready to accept these hurts. I am not talking philosophy here I am talking what I am currently experiencing. I guess what I am saying is that I am no longer willing to "cut out" what is not good about me or my memories or hurts just so that I can live with myself and move on with my life. I think what I am aiming to do is embrace the hurt and pain others have caused me and to learn to live with these without further hurting myself, and that involves having compassion for myself and my fragility as a flawed human being. It is working for me, even though the process is very slow. I feel that is so because that is the speed at which I can process what is going on and the changes that are happening.And won't you know it Bob, just a few minutes after putting out this question, I had an epiphany of sorts. I am still trying to digest it and make sense of it. But I think I might be on to the very answer to my question.

    I think at the end of the day, what we humans seek is to find peace within ourselves seeing as the condition of being human by it's very nature is fraught with anguish. I wish you peace and if I could, my heartfelt wish would be to wave a magic wand(if only these were real and existed)and to remove all the hurt and pain from your life, but sadly that is not a power that I possess.Thank you for reading my post and a heartfelt thank you for taking the time and care to share and respond to what I wrote.

  • Shae, I spent about 7 years in various forms of therapy due to suffering childhood bereavement, parents depression. I haven't done much analysis since but am returning due to current problems. I understand your belief that bodily sensations may be due to repressed emotions and that therapy work can help with this. I suspect the same for myself. At the same time I can sympathise with Bob's point that digging up the past can just make you worse. I'm sorry I don't really have an answer or anything wise to say! If you find one let me know. Curious about your epiphany.

  • Hello Bob here

    Your journey will be long, mine was a long long journey and we really do not want to knock ourselves over the head regarding past problems from brutish conditions long gone

    If you need a chat you know where we are, a problem shared,

    Forgive me how old are you?


  • Hi Bob, I'm 47. Thanks for your kind words.

  • hi shae, I hope you take to heart Bobs reply. Learning from other peoples mistakes always leads to a quicker result, so reread it and try not to reinvent the wheel.

    I've had depression to varying degrees as long as I can remember, I'm in my 40s' now, and things have gone up and down over the years. I've recently got round to asking for help, and have my fingers crossed for the next year, one year at a time.....

    In the past I bought various self help books, but inevitably they were too upsetting because they required more soul-searching than I could cope with.

    Right now I am drawing on the ideas behind c.b.t. It is not so much about looking back at past influences, but asks the person to take a realistic look at the negative thoughts that pop up, I guess it makes me use my logical brain, rather than on trigger happy gut emotions.


    If you haven't explored it yet here is a link where they explain the basic ideas of depression / c.b.t.

    Did you learn any techniques when dealing with the health anxiety, that you can use in your anxieties about your depression? Worrying about something getting worse, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Why do you have to rebuild your life completely in order to find purpose? A raison d'etre? Yes you might decide that a side ways shift in career might be on the cards., but I guess what I mean to ask, is why delay in creating this meaning? You can start in small ways while you are contemplating the big stuff, volunteering, supporting a friend, even just day to day helpfulness. Any thing really that you know helps the small part of the world you are in to be a little bit better.

    But please don't beat your self up for not being up there with Gandhi, of Florence Nightingale.

    Sometimes just holding a door open to someone struggling with their bags is what counts most at that moment,

    Successes is what happens one moment at a time

  • Hi Bev I can relate to your post. If I were to sit down and think of all the childhood stuff In my life, I have had A fair share of stuff in my life. Illness, childlessness. Domestic violence. I try and love myself, I feel I have accepted my past but feel that rehashing all

    That painful stuff would not do me any good. I think it just reinforces that Victim or Poor me mode.

    I think you could go on a wild goose chase looking back at all

    The horrible things we experience, but that would leave me no

    Time to live and love and try and find some joy in life. I would not be able to get up if I go stick In That past. it's history. Life is now.

    I am not convinced at all that dwelling on The past is really helpful

    For me.

    Kind regards


  • Thank you for everyone who took the time to respond. I respect everyone's need to deal with their depression how they see fit.I am always happy to learn from other people(which is the reason I put up my question here), and I understand everyone's journey is different and what might suit you might not suit someone else.Everyone's reply has been valuable to me in different ways.So thank you so much.

    One of the many reasons I became depressed is because I had the attitude not to want to dig up my past and analyse it to death and just wanted to move on with my life.So what I kept doing was ignoring my emotions and repressing them. I stuffed down a lot of hurt and pain, but unfortunately what you resist persists and my body started to speak to me loud and clear with the random health symptoms I have been experiencing on a daily basis. In answer to 'gardengnome's question when I mean that I need to rebuild my life I mean exactly that, it became so bad that I came to a point when I had no job, no friends, no money etc...(you get the picture) .This didn't happen from one day to the next this happened over several years when I thought I was having a very long spell of bad luck and while several bad things had happened to me. What was happening as I look back was a mixture of ingrained negative thinking that I learnt from my parents as I was growing up (which didn't help) along with me trying to cope in the very best way I could with what life threw at me. I was coping the best I could at the time.

    However since having been diagnosed with depression, I had read every book I can find on the matter and I have started to implement from them what makes sense to me, and it was in doing this that I managed to get my panic attacks and health anxiety under control, with very simple breathing exercises that have helped me so much. I tried CBT but that had limitations to helping me, however I still use a couple of the modules that I feel have helped me. Lately what has really helped me is not the talking therapy, but rather having read Tolle's "The Power of Now" and staying present. (mindfulness)This is hard to do, but with persistence, I have noticed a massive improvement with not allowing my mind to go off on a tangent but focusing on the moment. In the meantime I have been doing my own emotional processing which involves self massage and also getting in touch with deep held emotions. I came to a point of my counselling that I felt sick and tired of talking about things: I felt I always had the defense mechanism of being logical and making sense of things and I knew this part of me was not going to help me heal.I was starting to feel frustrated because the counselling was not making me feel better but worse and I didn't want to risk becoming so depressed that I didn't want to get out of bed again.Because quite frankly I had done a lot of work to get myself better and I couldn't risk going back to that darkness. So I made the decision between sessions to do the emotional clearing. I had no idea how to do this but I just went along with my gut instinct that this felt right.Sometimes nothing happens so I meditate and I don't push for anything to happen. However I have had two sessions when I got in touch with 2 very deep held emotions and it was scary allowing myself to feel fully what that emotion was but the next day I felt amazing. It felt like a massive weight had been lifted from me.And something changed but I cannot say exactly what it is but I felt and still feel different.It's scary and exciting at the same time. I am at a point when I need to discover what my purpose is because I think for me one of the many reasons (and there were a few) I stayed depressed for so long is because I didn't have a reason to get up in my morning. My life had no meaning, so now it feels intuitively right to pursue that.

    I guess as many of you said it helps not to beat myself up and try not to make improvements too fast.But for me this also shows me how far I have come. A year ago, wondering about purpose and meaning would have been so far from my mind and not at all relevant. What Bob had to say was incredibly insightful: as he so coherently said it doesn't help anyone to keep reliving their nightmares and traumas. But for me it was about finally embracing and finding peace at being able to live with those sides of me that I tried so hard to reject.Yes the journey will be a long one ( it has been a lifelong journey for me up to this point)but what is important to me is that I can move my life forward and start to heal, which I feel I am slowly starting to do. In reply to what 'gardengnome' said so eloquently: no I am not trying to reinvent the wheel and I am certainly not trying to beat myself up for not being up there with the likes of Nightingale and Gandhi. I am simply doing all I can to reclaim my life. And yes I have started doing the "small stuff" like helping someone with their bags, or holding the door for someone etc...and you know what? It feels great, and it's something that I now do more actively every time I get a chance.It's nothing massive, but it's as was said, it's the small steps that count.

You may also like...