I had a difficult childhood with emotional neglect and abuse, a breakdown at 11 and then sexual abuse, but as a result of a long period of private therapy I now feel real and able to connect with my own feelings as well as with other people. However I'm still struggling but feel guilty sometimes about writing here as I'm so much luckier than many people. I have a caring husband, lovely house and garden and enough money but still feel stuck in a state of self pity and inertia.
I left school without any qualifications but at 40 went back into education and am now highly qualified in several different areas. Years ago I took voluntary redundancy from teaching within Further Education and trained in the NHS as a psychotherapist - I was lucky someone gave me the opportunity to work unpaid with patients. However after qualifying for national registration I discovered that I wasn't eligible to apply for paid work within the NHS because I don't have a health qualification such as nursing or clinical psychology (it's madness - it was ok for me to work unpaid for 10 years but not to apply for doing the same work but paid!). I became very deeply depressed after that, it seems so unfair, the long training and battle to get accepted as healthy but even that got me nowhere. I looked for other places to work as a therapist but without success. Eventually after being very depressed for some years I did an art degree and technically I'm now self-employed as a freelance artist, but after a bad fall 3 years ago I haven't been able to find the motivation to paint again. I feel stuck in a kind of limbo state of doing nothing except buying and selling on e-bay, writing on websites such as this one, and watching dvds. I feel like I've opted out of life because of finding the repeated struggle and disappointments too much. Now I'm 63 and have no idea what to do with the rest of my life. I sometimes think about voluntary work but feel so angry about the idea of not being paid because I am so very well qualified and experienced, also the kind of opportunities are not really me, I'm more of an applied thinker than hands on helper. It's a bit of a viscious circle and I can't seem to find the motivation to do anything about it. Sometimes I think about joining the gym or taking up painting again but I can't quite make myself do them. I'm no longer deeply depressed and can experience pleasure now in a way that I couldn't before, but I feel as though my heart's not in life any more. My GP suggested a mild antidepressant might help but the side effects were so awful that I weaned off them and won't take drugs again. I see a therapist every week, we're lucky not to have money worries so I go privately, so I realise how much luckier I am than many people who write on the website, but how can I shift this state of inertia. I've been angry, been distressed, been depressed, and now I'm just stuck.