warning: narcissism ahead The gap between my expectations and reality is so wide that I can't deal with it anymore. I can't deal with being behind everyone at everything. The only thing that made me feel good about myself in the first place was that I was way ahead of most people in a few things and now I don't even have that anymore. Any positive qualities I may have are offset by the fact that I can't talk to people and can't make any money (the latter follows from the former). I really think there was something extremely basic that I've been lacking my whole life (social skills), which for other people either came naturally or they eventually just figured them out. In school they give you tests on how well you can write an essay or solve a math problem but not on how to talk to or get along with people. And no one can tell me how to fix that. I like to have things spelled out very clearly. Like Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, etc. I've never figured it out, and no one has been able to tell me how to do it. Anything that involved talking to people or cooperation or teamwork was always extremely stressful, so I focused on doing well at things I could do by myself. I thought that once I finished college I would be able to relax a little, work on the things I was having trouble with, and start enjoying life, but it only gets more intense and stressful. Even when I had a job I was relatively ok with, I was depressed and lonely, there was no way to make enough money, and I didn't see any future in it. I cannot imagine living like that for the rest of my life. It's not that I was lazy or didn't want to work or didn't want to apply myself. It's that I hate talking to people and feel like I have no control over the situation when I do. I can never communicate my thoughts clearly enough so that people can actually understand how I'm feeling about anything, and that has been immensely frustrating. The driving impulse throughout my life has been to just stay away from people as much as possible. That may have worked for awhile but there is no way I can possibly make a living that way. I obviously can't even provide for myself, let alone anybody else, and I have no direction. I have huge gaps in my resume, which I resent having to justify to employers when I was just trying to get my head straight and get mentally healthy dealing with something they'd probably never even understand. They want you perfect from the get go with no failures, skills above everyone else, half a decade of specific experience, and a steady vertical progression in whatever mundane, trivial sector of the economy they think is worth dedicating your entire life to. And even if you have all that, which I don't, it doesn't even matter anymore whether you can do a job better than anyone else, all that matters is "networking" and "connections" and "nonverbal communication skills". I spent all my previous time getting to the point where I COULD do something better than anyone else, since that seemed like the most important thing and I didn't have time or even know how to focus on the rest. And it turns out anything I do well pays extremely little. I'm not even going to talk about friends and relationships because they're even worse, and without a steady income they're not even worth putting any effort into. I take complete responsibility for all of this, but every choice I made had a reason for it. Probably because I was trying to fill some gigantic void in myself and compensate for past rejection. People say things like "You have to love yourself first." No you don't. Some people love themselves and never receive any love. Some people need to feel loved by a lot of people before they can love themselves. Some people are better at making OTHER people feel loved than themselves. My situation cannot be explained or summed up with a simplistic platitude about what I did or didn't do, as if all the choices were obvious and in front of me, clear as day, and I simply refused to pick the best one. I tried going to the emergency room (twice). I tried therapy (for years). I tried living with the jobs that I had, getting new jobs, talking to career counselors, applications, interviews, whatever. At this point it doesn't even matter. There is no reason that a simple thing like talking to people, and by extension life in general, should be this hard. I know where this is going and if I keep getting older it's only going to get progressively worse. The last 10 years have been depressing and pointless. I'm tired of feeling like I have to overcompensate so much, feeling like I have nothing to offer people, and not knowing what to put my energy into because none of it leads anywhere. I always feel like people want more from me than I can give them.