What should I do? I am 34 years old, unemployed, single, I live with my old parents, I have social anxiety, I am afraid to go out. I have no money for medication and for the therapist. My English is not good to work online, no one is helping me.
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First of all, congratulations. You have survived 34 years on earth. That puts you beyond the lifespan of most mammals, and in fact, most animals. In order to do that, you had to make many friends along the way. You had to give as well as receive. And you had to make decisions to get yourself here.
Second of all, congratulations. You are not homeless. Homelessness is an epidemic, especially in our generation, and you’ve managed to avoid that pitfall by staying in the good graces of your parents (and probably other people as well). This is a credit to your social intelligence.
Thirdly, congratulations on learning English. It’s no small task, and is one of the most unforgiving second languages.
What I’ve done so far is respond to all of the positive points in your post. So this is my advice: Learn to see those things as positives, as credits to yourself. Learn to congratulate yourself. Learn to reward yourself. And when you’ve done that, you’ve almost won the game.
The next thing is to start identifying some keystone habits that will make the rest of your life better if you can change them. These are usually things like bathing, brushing your teeth, and making your bed. They seem benign but they actually put you in a better situation for the rest of the day; ahead of a lot more people than you might think. As you change each habit, reward yourself for the change. Keep rewarding yourself; that’s how you reinforce new behaviors.
Finally, set goals. Write them down. They don’t have to be large goals, but they can be. They can be as big or as small as you want. Never punish yourself for missing a goal or falling back into old habits, and only reward yourself when you get it right.
Do that for a year, and then see where you are and how you feel. I would almost bet you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself, and you’ll have knocked out some of your goals along the way. Then just keep at it until you get to where you want to be.
This will sound harsh, but you have to be bigger than your excuse and get your ass in gear. If you don’t take charge, 5 years will pass, then another 5 years. You’ll be 44. You are still in the prime window to make the correct moves in order to have a meaningful life. At 44, you don’t want to be in the same spot you’re in today. That window will have shrunk from like 75% possible, to like 20%. Put yourself in situations, where you feel uncomfortable. You HAVE to do this to make the changes you need for growth. otherwise your life will be what it is, and you’ll be singing this same tune over and over.
My advice: get all this shit figured out by 40.
You really have to sit down and analyze your life, think about what you want for your future and make a list of short term and long term goals on how you’ll get there. Be realistic about your expectations and realistic about what needs to be done to achieve. From there, work every single day chasing your goals/dreams. There is no magic ferry that can make this all better, nobody can suggest a pill or medication to transform this situation. Nobody has the power to solve this problem but you, it all starts with you.
Good luck, dude. Everyone deserves happiness in this life, and I sincerely hope you find yours. Trust me when I say, it’s out there. But don’t expect it to fall in your lap. Go find it
( sorry if the above seems harsh, but sometimes the truth is what we need to hear. reality won’t flex to help you build your life)
Your problem is not being unemployed, your problem is not living with your parent, your problem is being afraid to go out, your problem Is not even social anxiety
Your problem is you have dwelled so much in comfort. You have allowed comfort to take possession of you.
You haven’t starved, you haven’t gone for days without eating because if that has happened to you, you will be able to pick yourself up and go talk to people about getting a job
Closed mouths don’t get fed but in your case, you are getting fed and you think that is reality and someone is supposed to help you.
Do you want help? this is my help
Go out every day and talk to one stranger for the next 31 days. You don’t need therapy to kill social anxiety you need to talk to real people
Ask people for direction even when you know where you are going, walk into a restaurant and ask the waiter for today’s special. Create conversations with total strangers. Get off your television and spend time in the street
Talk while shaking, do that for a whole month and I am really sure you are going to kill that social anxiety which can make you go look for a job outside and hopefully save yourself out of your parents home
This is your problem again – COMFORT.
A man should be comfortable being uncomfortable so take this opportunity to be uncomfortable for 31 days and go talk to real strangers walking the street.
Oof. That rings too true to my own life for my comfort. I don’t have all of the answers, so I’ll pass on what I was taught.
- Even before we are born, we are preprogrammed with many of our parents’ issues and thought patterns. After that, our parents define our perception reality for years until we become old enough to start questioning everything.
- During our first eight years of life, our brains go through the greatest change and pruning we will ever know. That is why children have such an easier time learning than adults. The thought patterns and lessons we learn during that time are what our future selves are built on.
- If our parents are heavily involved with us, their influence is overwhelming and we will tend to grow up to be just like them, though our outward expression of their thought patterns can be drastically different.
- There is not a single person on the planet who is completely whole and (mentally) healthy. Not one. That includes your parents. …and the sad reality is that that unhealthy, unhelpful thought patterns tend to amplify as they echo through each generation. (You are worse off than your parents were at your age, who were worse off than their parents were at your age, etc. Unless you change, any children you may have will end up worse off than you. Oof.)
- In many cases—possibly yours—parents want their children to stay children—controllable and easy to manage—rather than taking the huge amount of time, effort, and sacrifice that is necessary to help them become successful, strong, responsible, independent adults. (In many more cases, the parents simply don’t bother to do so; they are simply too selfish and self-centred. …as their parents taught them to be, just as in the first case.)
What does all that mean to you? That you are in a horrifically, horrifically Hellish position; you probably have almost none of the many skills which you need to deal with the many responsibilities that always go with a healthy, fulfilling life and can’t do anything about it. Yet. Yet. (That word is one of the most powerful in the English language; while “I can’t.” is a mile-high stone wall that is impossible to get past, “I can’t, yet.” says that there is a door in that wall which you only need a key to. Find the key and you find your freedom.)
What can you do about that? Here is a clue to find one of the keys: seek out the smallest possible responsibility that you can handle, then do that every single day. Once you are comfortable with that, seek another one, slightly larger. Continue this pattern for the rest of your life, while ONLY taking on responsibilities that you can handle indefinitely; taking on things that are beyond your abilities is a recipe for disaster. (You may be able to lift a 25kg weight with only a little struggle, but putting everything you have into lifting a 250kg weight will almost certainly damage you horribly.)
Where can you start? How about beginning by making your bed every single morning. Don’t just assume that you know the best way to make your bed, look it up. Study how the best bed-makers on the planet (hotel maids? army drill instructors?) do it and learn their ways. Sound silly? Perhaps, but what you are doing is deliberately acting out a pattern of excellence; questioning how you do something, seeking out the top practitioners of that ‘art’, then setting a standard for yourself that is as high as you can reach. That pattern can be repeated with any skill you might need. Having the (DAILY!) confidence that your bed has been made as close to perfection as is possible for you will be a serious boost to your mind and is a constant source of solid evidence that you can learn whatever you need to know to improve your life.
…and now continue that pattern of seeking and mastering larger and larger responsibilities. Clean up your room and create a schedule to keep it spotless (don’t allow yourself to go to bed each night unless certain things have been accomplished, like putting everything in its place. (Waking up every morning to a neat and organized room is an excellent start to the day; you start your day in the midst of order instead of chaos and are far more likely to be able to deal with the various chaoses in your life. …and then take on the responsibility of the hall outside of your bedroom. …and then the bathroom, etc. Expand the reach of your responsibilities one step at a time, each time taking the time to learn what you need to know to be able to do it to a high standard. In other words, do what your parents didn’t: parent yourself. Accept the highest responsibility any parent has: that of educating and guiding yourself to be the most useful, trustworthy, responsible, likable person that you can be. (It will take year to get there, so don’t get hung up on how far back you are right now; everyone who enters a race will cross the finish line as long as they don’t give up.)
Your current path led you to Hell; only a different path will lead you out of it. Personally, I would counsel you to become familiar with Jordan Peterson. While he can be difficult to follow at times, he gives solid advice that has literally helped millions to have a better life. His ’12 rules’ books would be a good place to start, as they bring together what he has been teaching for decades.
I will leave you something he said that is both an affirmation and a warning: “Never overestimate who you are, nor underestimate who you could be.”
Shalom (May the peace that comes from perfect wholeness be yours.)
Trying not to repeat previous advice, I did not have the time to read all the answers, I will focus on the way you closed your question: “no one is helping me”.
I will not attempt to give some harsh advice as others have called it but will say that each of us faces different battles, we may not all have to struggle with social anxiety, quite honestly I know little about the ailment, I have learned through my journey though, we all have a mountain to climb, and no one can carry us to the summit.
I would also recommend not to focus on your age, the preset milestones of those living so-called “normal” lives are of lesser importance, if you are climbing a mountain your focus must be on overcoming the most immediate challenges, and on determining the next step to take. Past and future are irrelevant when you are faced with such a challenge.
Inaction makes us feel powerless. The opposite is also true, taking action is inspiringly empowering, take steps out of your comfort zone, and wander every time farther, do not do this to seek help or even attention, focus on your own learning, discover things to look forward to on the way and keep going after them.
Motivation is not always there, sometimes we must rely on habits. Create beneficial habits, train yourself for the mountain before attempting to climb it, first a walk in a park, then a hike, later a trek, know you can decide when you are ready to face the mountain, do not burden yourself before the time has come, all we can do is to prepare for when its time.
I hope this helps you find the way, I must, one last time, reiterate, we must climb the mountain ourselves, the task is hard enough for each of us, so no one can be carried over it, the silver lining is without the climb we would never uncover our strengths, and hope is the light that will guide us to them.
I was reading this and i can strongly relate to how you feel.
First a little something about me: I am also 34 years old. My anxiety disorder began after a very traumatic event at the age of 14. My parents did not realize, then or ever, that i needed help. So my anxieties got worse every year. At the age of 17 I started to take meds. My situation improved. I graduated and began studying medicine. Then, out of the blue, it got very bad. I was afraid of everything and everyone. I wouldnt leave the house, i wasnt able to talk to people, let alone, take the bus. Every time i tried doing something i wasnt comfortable with, my body reacted strongly and i was afraid i was gonna die. So again, i was seeking forr help. All alone, because my parents said, that im not sick, but only trying not to study. But that wasnt true. That was at the age of 21. I was hospitalized for 6 months. And the First half of it felt like hell because i was forced to do everything i was afraid of. So, every day i approximatley 8 times was afraid that i was gonna die right on the spot. But within these months I started being my true Self again. After that, I havent had a single anxiety attack, for ten years. Then my husband nearly choked at night, that retraumatized me, and here I am, struggling with the anxiety disorder again.
Now, Ive read your post and I know you cant afford therapy or medication. Here in Austria, we have health insurance, otherwise i also wouldnt have been able to afford this.
But the upside is you dont nessecarily need therapy or medication to recover.
So now i wanna share some things about anxiety, that i have learned in the process:
- Take some time and think about the reason for your disorder (in my case it was a Trauma and the fear of my beloved ones or my death that triggered my anxiety disorder)
- Your extreme anxiety tells you, that there is something in your subconscious that youve tried to hold back and never want to think about. But this/these experience/experiences are looking for a way to break through. So try to find out what it is and try to work on the subject step by step.
- If there is someone whom you completely trust, ask for help. If not, dont despair, because I can assure you from my experience, that you also have the strenght to do it by yourself! And then start by getting in situations you are really afraid of. (I.e I started by taking the bus. First it was just one stop. And at the end I was taking the bus without problems)At first it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But give it time and never stop trying! You can do this. I assure you that you can get your life together! Give it 1 to 3 months time and you’ll be yourself again and see your goal: To have an independent life and to build a future for yourself!
- Again: You have to face every fear/anxiety until it does not scare you anymore! Your brain has to „overwrite“ your negative reactions to certain situations, in order to fill these situations with positive reactions until it’s an automatism
- I already told you, that after 10 years, my anxiety returned. But you know what? Every day I fight against it and will keep doing so until I’m dead. Because I wanna live and be myself and because I have 3 beautiful children and I want to show them how beautiful life can be!
Ive never became a doctor, but I’m a nurse, which is also a good thing 🙂
If you have any questions or are you in need of emotional support, don’t hesitate to ask me!
Well, the good news is you have already taken your first step, and identified the problems you need to overcome. The next step is developing a game plan for overcoming them. The simple fact of the matter is you cannot rely on someone else to make your problems go away, you have to do it for yourself, but you can tackle each issue one step at a time making it easier to manage.
The first thing you need to do is work on getting employment, because that is going to give you resources to work with in regard to all of your other problems. It is very difficult to do much of anything without having money of your own to work with. You have many options that can help make this easier. You are probably going to have to rely on your parents for transportation until you’ve gotten a few pay checks and can work on being able to handle that yourself, and you may want to primarily aim for jobs that don’t require much direct interaction with customers, like maybe some kind of warehouse job or something like that. Something where you don’t really have to interact much with other other people except maybe just a handful of coworkers.
The next step would most likely be working on the social anxiety, one reason why people have social anxiety is they are too invested and concerned in having the social interaction go a certain way, and they let that concern overwhelm them to such a point, they fear even engaging in the social interaction at all. Start off small, have a little small talk with your coworkers, ask them how their weekend was, maybe you end up making a friend or two in the process. As you gain more experience with social interaction, you will experience the anxiety less.
Save your money, work on getting yourself a vehicle and being more self sufficient, rely on your parents less. Maybe start buying your own food so you can get used to doing that, help your parents with some of the bills, so you can get a feel for what it will be like to pay your own bills. Eventually work your way up to moving out, and living on your own.
Now, this is an important one. Absolutely do not worry about being single until you have worked through these other issues, because it is just going to serve as a distraction from what you need to do, and until you’ve got yourself and your situation handled and under control, it is just not the right time to go trying to find somebody else to add into the mix, not only because it will distract you from doing what you need to do, but because it wouldn’t be fair to the other person to involve them in your life if your life is still a mess. Likewise, when you have handled these other problems, and you do feel like the time is right to start looking for a partner, have standards, don’t just take the first opportunity that comes your way. Make sure they got their act together too, because if they don’t it can drag you back down trying to maintain your own situation you’ve worked hard on, and also be trying to pick up the pieces of their life too.
Do not expect it to be easy, it will not be. Do not expect it to be fast, it will not be. Do not put it off any longer, because it is quite possibly going to take you a year or two, maybe even longer, to resolve these issues, even longer than that after that to find a healthy relationship. Right now you have the benefit of having your parents there to help you, but how much longer is that going to be the case? If anything was to happen to them, where would you be? Wherever that is, you grow closer to it every day you put this off. Let that be the driving force to push you forward, because you cannot put it off any longer. If you do, you will never get another chance.
Asking this question in Stoicism, I hope you have done some reading about it as well.
Anyway, first thing to do is accept your current situation. There are millions of people dealing with the same issue. There are millions doing better than you. If you are comparing yourself with others…stop. It’s not the time to feel bad about yourself. It’s time to take your mental and physical health in your own hands.
accept the things you can’t change right away, but what you can start working on right now.
Look at yourself in the mirror. You are who you are. Can you be in better shape? Start working out. Compound movements helps you get smarter. Try it. You have nothing to loose. Unless you have some disability you might need someone to guide you.
focus on learning English. No one is judging you. Some are, but they are really not humans are they. It’s just a language. Human language is kindness and love.
Social anxiety comes mostly from insecurities. What people are thinking about me? Saying bad things about me? Truth everyone is just dealing with their own demons. Get a job at the wear house or as cashier. You don’t have to talk. Just say hi and focus on work. Do whatever you are doing with all the focus. When you are doing something with focus, everything else is working out their own way.
Read the book: The subtle act of not giving a fk. It will help. I can tell you this. As soon as you get out of your house, you will see a bunch of people just like you, and the interesting thing is that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM PAYS YOUR BILLS. So, why the bother? Everything is in your mind, your mind construct the fear, “what they may say about you”, etc. That is the plain truth.
Lots of good answers here, and they all seem to have a common theme. The unfortunate reality is you are the architect of your own life and adulthood; regardless of how you got to where you are, it will be entirely up to you to move forward constructively. At this point, it will be difficult but not impossible.
The short answer: learn to take on some responsibility for yourself. Force yourself to do things that might be uncomfortable, but have significant rewards (with everything in life, nothing worth doing is easy). I would recommend travelling, or perhaps moving out on your own, or getting a part time job somewhere (McDonald’s, perhaps?) Basically, the way to get over the personal issues you find obstructive is to jump in the deep end… but it doesn’t end there.
Here is the crucial part: don’t give up! You WILL fail. The crux is learning from your mistakes and moving forward. Don’t let the weight of failure crush you, because that will only compound your problems. Learn to embrace the possibility of making mistakes, as this is one of the most effective ways of learning life lessons.
You can do it! It just requires will power. Best of luck.
i’m about to turn 34, & i live with my partner & have a job- i still feel like being alive is pretty pointless but i just get on with it. Thats my advice. Things won’t get better if you don’t try to make it happen. Don’t let the bastards get you down. As long as you can still draw breath & have strength in your body you can keep fighting
Get up. Go out. Walk in the sun.
If you need a reason to leave the house, get a dog. You have to walk a dog daily and you will find people will talk to you about your dog and want to pat it. Before long you will have a routine to build on. You will be able to talk to people and plan.
One day at a time, one step at a time.
I was in a similar position but at a younger age. If your really looking to change your life for the better I highly recommend you look up someone name Jordan person and watch his videos on how to put your life together. This is one I would recommend for a start:
He gives a lot of guidance on how to fix pretty much any problem in ones life. My was crippling depression from past trauma and how I can start to fix these problems. Another big problem for me was social anxiety and he also gave me guidance on how to fix this problem as well. Its also good to keep in mind that it will take time to get results. But I am actively living my life rather then just existing in it. I hope this helps you get better.
Here’s what pulled me out… a simple 3 piece “action plan”. I made it my “mission” to focus on 3 things. To spend at least 2h every day to improve 3 things:
- Physical state
- Emotional state
- Intellectual capacity.
By physical state, I mean exercising. Going to a gym. Pushups at home. Especially good are contact sports – boxing, wrestling. Get out there, get my ass kicked. An laugh about it. I’ve lived with suicidal thoughts since the age 10. So, reaching 30 it’s pretty “normal” for me to think low of myself. I know I’m as low and as shit as it gets. But my body… man, what a machine. No matter what I throw at it. No matter what hits it. The weight, the exhaustion, starvation – gluttony… it just keeps going. My weight fluctuates by 20kg (50 pounds) during the year. There are episodes where I get quite fat. There are episodes where it’s near a skeleton. And yet, I’m so used to all types of injuries and physical abuse – from self and others that… I remain proud of my body. It’s an amazing thing to “have something” that you are proud of, wherever you are. At all moments, I know my body is my temple. I can rely on it. That’s a good start point. No matter what life throws at you, there is one thing you can always keep kontrol over – your body. It’s the “vehicle” that will carry you forward. Improve it’s performance. It helps to move forward. Monitor food. Expose it to challenges. It will adapt to it.
Emotional state is internal and external. I force myself to try – again and again – and do the “normal fun things”. It seems I’m not enjoying things “normal” people do. At least, not with the same intensity. Not much joy from food. Not much fun to travel. Not fun to sleep. Not fun to wake up. But… it is worth trying. It “does not make it worse”. And it normally feels a little bit good. The “fun” is not as intense as the daily worry, sadness and stress. But it is “fun”. Also, cleaning my room helps. I rarely do it. But when I can force myself to clean up around me – it becomes a little refreshing. Feels like an accomplishment. Can compliment myself for it. I hate interacting with people, because the interactions take away time and money. Which makes me feel vulnerable. I feel in danger when “socializing”. It is just scary not to be “making profit”. While my finances are “ok”, and have been so for years now, I have no clue if things will stay as they are. I have no control over my income. I don’t know how to make “working more pay more”. Just stuck in 2nd gear… but there are techniques to learn all things. Which brings me to:
Number 3 – intellectual development. Watch Jordan Peterson lectures on YouTube. That was the biggest discovery to me. It opened my eyes to what it truly means to grow up in “over protected” environment. And how to run negotiations better. And how to increase your chances to some form of success… how to live “not for joy” but rather “not to make hell worse”.
Truth be told. I now got a Ph.D. in science, and am regarded as a rather accomplished engineer. I build and operate scientific equipment. However, at any time things can explode. And I have a beautiful girl at the moment. But there have been breakups. And I’m surrounded by people who are similar to me – max education, ok finances, rather lots of spare time even. And yet, feeling stuck. In constant danger. Constantly “grinding” just to survive this “uncertain future”, that’s always “waiting” to hit from a corner that hasn’t been noticed. So, a key lesson is – no one feels safe. We will all die. And the only path I’ve seen working so far is: “do not make hell worse”. Just, accept torture. Try to learn things of all sorts. And reality will keep punishing you for every mistake. And all you can do is try either the same, or try something else… and each time you are correct – reality will mach expectations. Each time you make a mistake – reality will contradict expectations… and so, you will keep going. “Testing” your choices. Making your “guesses”. Making mistakes, and from mistakes – learning wrong lessons, doing the “opposite” of a mistake, can be a mistake too, very often… and… you’re in a shitty place now. And you have a late start. And it will be harder for you than the next person. But notice one thing – reality is perfect. It never makes an error. The choices you make, create all the difference. The problem is not that the world “treats you different”. The problem is that – despite laws of physics working the same way for everyone, some had been exposed and raised with “good habits”. While others… keep causing self damage.
It’s not your fault you were raised sideways, by the “environment”, full of wrong and dysfunctional advice. But it will be your fault if you don’t start to use internet to read books, listen audio books, and make a damn plan… which can be as simple as a 3 stage procedure. Each day spend 2h actively developing each thing:
Physical, Emotional and Intellectual development. Work on these 3 for 2h each (6h per day). And you will not be worse than you are now for sure. Some day, you might even be quite ok, frankly. At the least – better than doing today.
When I was younger I expected a fulfilled life. The truth is we have to work on our quality of life where we are. One way to get perspective is to think of events where people have clearly struggled and had a much worse situation than yours. During World war two the bombing in Britain by the Germans was so bad that parents sent their children to the United States to be adopted. These children were put on trains and dropped off in town after town never to return home. That’s just one example of thousands of events where peoples lives were torn apart. They all had to start over and create a life for themselves.
In your situation you are in a position to care for and protect your parents. In order to create your life within that situation work on your language skills. Go to a hiring center and have them help you. Is there a service you can offer from home. Repairing or building something. It’s time to be creative and not give up. Life is difficult for many of us so you are not alone.