Is this really depression?

Hi, everyone. This is my first post here, I decided to sign up to share my case. Here it goes.

My name is David, I’m 33, I've never had a formal job (I have made websites and logos and gave maintenance to computers and laptops, but on my own, as an informal work, and not on a regular basis), I’ve never had a girlfriend (50% 'cause I haven't found that "special one", 50% because, even while I'm very good to give others advice regarding love, I'm totally clueless on the matter when it's about me), and I live with my parents and my brother (who is turning 30 on January, looking for a job and, like me, with no girlfriend). My parents are very supportive of us and we all get along very well, having similar (not equal) tastes in music, TV series, films and the like. Both my brother and I have college degrees, but he has been unable to find a job despite the fact that he has been actively and seriously looking for one (he graduated in 2007, but you know how the economy has been for over the last decade; if things are hard on first-world nations, here on Mexico, well... the picture is bleak). I temporarily abandoned college in 2005 (disillusioned both by the way the career was being handled by the study programs as well as by some teachers' attitude); it always was my intention to return and finish it but, mostly due to plain lazyness (I won't lie about it), I let the years pass and pass. I finally retook it on 2012, and after a series of administrative issues (one of my pending subjects was only available until last year, and the diploma course required to graduate started until november last year), I got my degree this year on July. During all those years, I focused in expanding my knowledge and learning about a lot of topics and diverse things on my own (people I know, both online and offline, have referred to me as "a walking encyclopedia" in different occasions), as well as allowing many of my hobbies - such as playing video games and surfing the net - to take the role of a job in my time schedule (I won't lie about this either), but socially, this left me sort of alienated, with only small contact with people on the offline world besides my family and a handful of friends I see around Christmas. In all honestly, I was perfectly fine with this and accepted it, on peace with myself (or at least, I felt it this way). Only a few days ago, I still used to joke about it saying that "unlike most people, I retired first, to then work later". This is the background of the present situation.

About a year ago, for around a couple of weeks, my brother depressed due to frustration about his jobless and girlfriend-less situation. This year it happened again, but this time the period was longer, extending over the past month and a half. On both occasions, my parents and I tried to cheer him up the best we could, but a week and a half ago he hit “rock bottom”, having trouble to sleep and staying awake all night long, talking along with my mom, who kept him company. Now he seems to be better (although still somewhat desperate for a girlfriend), looking for a job with renewed enthusiasm. The thing is, after enduring all this, my normally carefree self finally “broke” and the depression migrated to me, so to speak, starting around one week ago. First, by thinking and rethinking over the fact that he doesn’t look almost 30 all (he looks like a 21-22 year old, both physically and, on a lesser degree, his general way of being) and that I still look at him as my little kid brother; and from there, this last week I began to seriously take my own age into much consideration, changing my mindset from “I’m just past 30, I'm still young, I still have plenty of time for anything and everything” to “in 7 years I’ll be 40, I completely wasted my past decade, most of my friends and schoolmates have a job, are married and/or live on their own, while I haven’t accomplished anything”. Indeed, now I am the one thinking almost obsessively about a grim future, with the feeling that is way to late to start and with the recurring thought that I will be left alone at an old age, with no wife, no kids and no place of my own. Ironically, and in contrast to this (our mind really likes to play with us), I don't feel like a 33 year old, but as a 20-something (and, certainly, I look quite young when compared to my peers, who in some cases, are two or three years younger than me; I attribute this to my good health and the fact that I don't smoke and only very ocassionally drink must certainly help). At the same time, I feel like a grown kid that is just pretending to be an adult.

Last Friday night we both decided to join an English academy, both to improve our conversational skills as well as to meet new people; classes began the very next day, on Saturday. While registering, I noticed a theater school located on the very same building, across the hallway; I used to participate on theater club during elementary and high school, and I’m also seriously considering to enroll in order to meet new people, keep busy, and improve my (for the moment) shattered confidence and self-esteem. I also think I must get a formal job ASAP. I have spent all Saturday evening and a good part of Sunday's talking with my family (as well as Wednesday's and Thursday's with my mom, while my dad and brother left on a short trip to visit an aunt), which felt therapeutic, and, even with the depressing thoughts kept on lingering on a corner of the mind, like a pack of vultures flying above your head waiting to strike (you know how this is), as of writing this, I feel a little better, at least for now. Writing this very text has felt liberating and strangely relaxing, too.

Am I really depressed? Is this a momentary lapse of previously unacknowledged frustration and remorse, exarcerbated by society's "standards"? Anxiety? Some kind of panic attack? Most of all, will I ever be the same? I have never been in such a state of mind before, and the feeling, which caught me totally off guard, is rather oppresive. It would be nice to hear some opinions or suggestions about what I wrote. I must add that, laying under the gray thoughts, I really think that, indeed, it’s not too late (just as my former self of still some days ago used to firmly say and believe).

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6 Replies

  • Hi, I'm not doing anything with my degree either.... I wanted to become a teacher on my subject but I failed the teaching course. Never felt worse in my entire life. Plus I was going through a break-up at the time from someone who I thought loved me. So it was pretty damn grim, I actually went on anti-depressants around this time (mostly for anxiety). I was really hard in myself for failing, still am. But teaching wasn't what I thought it would be - horrible job to say the least.

    Sometimes I feel I should be earning more money etc with my degree, but I charge £25/hour for tutoring which makes me feel better.

    Ok, you're 33, not dead, so time to start living!

    Joining the theatre school is a great start, I think you should go for it!

    How is the job market over there? Would you be able to get a job fairly easily? This way you can stand on your own two feet, or at least hold your head high and say you're trying.

    All the best

    WTC x

  • Hello Igniz

    You must have some very understanding parents ?

    If you and your Brother are still at home in your thirties that in some ways may be to comfortable for you both. The idea of joining some form of activity seems to be a good idea especially if the activity is mixed as you both need to step out of your comfort zone and take the world by storm and meet other people.

    When it comes down to the opposite sex, if there is no night life you could use the computer to meet someone through a lonely hearts partner meeting service. You really need to get out there and in some way socialize. It is not a problem not getting married I just feel the two of you not having some form of social interaction so very strange.

    The other problem I see is the lack of work experience again it very unusual. You say you work on computers, could you not start a company and that would sort some work experience. If this is not the case and you do not want or need to work that is your decision, also your Brother.

    With regard again living at home would it be an idea for you both to get a place to live together ?. That may let you see what it is like to run your lives alone from home and parents.

    It would seem to me you are to comfortable living at home, my concern would be if you would loose your Mother and you would need to start looking after yourselves and possibly Father. I understand in Catholic Households in many countries other than UK etc, generations live and stay together in the same home and when married the son would move His wife into His family home, while a daughter would move into Her new Husband address, if this is the case, the situation you find yourselves in is normal.

    If that is the case the situation you are in may be normal and I could be wrong. Is there any women that your family knows who would be good to marry.

    Forgive me if I am wrong in any way ?


  • It certainly is n't too late and reading your long post I think it is quite likely you are not depressed as you seem to have rationalised the situation pretty accurately.

    I'm a bit old fashioned ,and reading between the lines of your post you don't seem too high on self discipline or ambition. I have this problem myself and always found that when I could work from home this was not good for me as I took advantage of the situation to do less.

    My opinion is that if you can get a job,maybe even one that is not ideal, the discipline of having to work set hours would be good for you with the bonus you would meet a lot of new people through your work.

    After I was made redundant after a pretty successful business career my wife and many others thought that I should start my own business . I resisted this as I knew what they did n't. That unless I could find something that was of consuming interest I knew I would n't work hard enough at it to make the business a success. I did work pretty hard for my employers , I just needed the discipline that comes with a regular job .

    I had a spell of unemployment after being made redundant and in my case and I suspect many others ,men need a job , otherwise there is always a nagging guilt that may even be subconscious. Even now I am retired , I am only really happy when I am doing something useful about the house , garden or workshop and when my spells of depression stop a lot of this activity, it makes it even harder to climb out of depression.

    However I always manage it somehow.



  • Thanks for the comments and good wishes, my friends. I'll answer to your inquires in a more precise way when I have the means (right now I'm posting from the cell phone), but to make things quick, I must say that, right now, I feel a lot better and I'm starting to look everything as I used to, but somewhat wiser from the experience.

    P.S. Starting tomorrow, we're also joining a sports and fitness club, both to keep in shape and, as with the other activities I mentioned, to meet new people.

  • You might try reaching out in your community and doing some volunteering using your skills. My son who is in a similar situation as you has found non-profits that need help with their web pages and other computer-related problems. You might make some friends and you'll feel like your contributing to a good cause.

    There are so many young adults in your situation. Here in the U.S. many people get degrees and find they cannot get jobs in their fields. It doesn't help you in any practical way to know that fact but at least know you are not alone or inferior.

    I agree it may be best to try to live independently if at all possible. And, definitely keep engaged in outside activities. It will likely keep your mind active and lift you out of the doldrums.

  • Hi

    I note you are in Mexico (City?) so some of what I say may not be relevant in your situation - but I am wondering why both you and your brother have been unable to make more of the possibilities the world offers, you do not say whether there are other siblings but if so I wonder how they are doing.

    You write about having become disillusioned by teachers attitudes at college but don't say what their attitude was so I have no way of knowing, but I do feel you have a tendency towards exactness and perhaps perfection in the way you express yourself - I don't know whether that is right? If it is then I wonder whether you may experience the kind of depression which stems from having been unable to feel really free to be who you are. You say you enjoyed theatre which may also link with it being easier to be someone else rather than who you are, also you seem to feel particularly free when writing on the website which suggests perhaps you do not always manage to be that free in expressing yourself. You also say you and your kid brother both look young and I wonder whether you have been prepared adequately for adult life. There are a lot of questions in what I am writing as without knowing more I can't know whether any of my thoughts will make sense to you.

    You did well to return and eventually finish your degree whatever the circumstances, but you know most graduates do not manage to get jobs and have to go on either to study further or undertake some kind of skills training or voluntary work. You do not say much about your studies, how you found them, whether they came easily to you or if you struggled, it sounds as if maybe your degree was using IT?

    You say things are more difficult in terms of getting jobs in third world countries and whilst that is true about finding jobs it is also true that you are more highly qualified than most Mexicans (my son in law is Mexican and living in your country) and also in Mexico it is possible to be resourceful and find the means to make money in ways that are prevented over here by all the legislation that exists here. It may be that you feel some of those means do not fit with your experience?

    I think the first thing you need to do is to think about who you are and what you want to do with your life. I hear that you clearly want a home, family, children, but those come at a cost in terms of being an earner and living a full life - nobody is likely to be attracted to a partner who is passively waiting for something to come to him - so you need to think about your personality, character, skills, knowledge and situation. What kinds of things are you good at, how do you apply yourself to them, what kind of working day would you find satisfying and likely be good at. Knowing who you are is the first step towards understanding yourself and your goals in life, enabling you to begin to make choices out of all the many possibilities there are. At the moment it sounds as if you are not earning, why not offer your skills to a company for free for 6 months to gain experience in a working environment - maybe working for an organisation that helps people so that you are contributing something to society - that will give you a sense of purpose and achievement and begin to boost your self-esteem.

    I am wondering how your parents feel about you and your brother still not working and how they have responded to the situation. In Mexico you have no Welfare State so I am wondering who supports you and does not help you to move forwards?

    Maybe you can write some more so that we can begin to help you to make practical moves forward in altering your life?


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