Self-made Ivy-League grad -- can't take it anymore

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Recursion, Sep 7, 2012.

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  1. Recursion

    Recursion New Member

    I'm your typical uber-nerd. 2400 SAT, multiple Ivy acceptances, valedictorian in high school -- you name it.

    And I hate my life.

    I grew up on the west coast as a bit of an outsider, even in my own family. Everyone else was a sports jock, essentially. I had a decent circle of friends but none who were extremely close. My family endured some tragedy and I wound up losing my father before I went to college. However, my relationship with my mother turned sour (she re-married to the man she cheated on my father with before he died) as she turned to an alcoholic who now has cirrhosis, and my brother went into a life of drugs.

    I ventured to the east coast... but hated my college experience. I was not rich and/or supported like most of my peers so I spent a lot of time working and worrying about money. Much of the time I'd be working 40-50 hours a week across two jobs while taking a full courseload. In hindsight I should have chosen a cheaper school, but I suppose I was blinded by prestige because I care too much about maintaining an external image, and I felt like I had worked too hard to just piss it all away because my mother decided she'd rather travel to Vegas every other week instead of support her son. I thought going to a top school would open doors for me. Instead, my grades suffered because I was overworked to make ends meet, and I was depressed and lonely. Many people figure out how to make new friends within the first couple weeks of freshman year. Others need a year at most. I couldn't figure it out despite having four years at my disposal.

    I'm not good at making friends even though I come across as a fairly normal, albeit shy guy. I can meet people but it's hard to make the connection last. When I graduated college, I made it out with maybe three or four total friends -- all fairly surface-level. And since I was far away from my high school friends, we all lost touch.

    Now I'm living in New York City, and I've got a loving girlfriend, but I still feel secretly miserable. I've been able to put on a happy face for a while but lately it's been slipping due to apathy. I just have no energy; no drive to do anything. I hate that I took on all this student debt for a profession I didn't even really like (finance) because I thought it'd give me financial stability. Thing is, I hate finance. So I went into a job that was a mix of finance and backend analysis. I make like $65k a year while some of my peers are already clocking well into the six figures.

    I feel like a failure. When I was applying for colleges, I had perfect stats. The perfect scores, grades, acceptance letters, awards -- the entire package. Now I feel like it all went away. Everyone who was once cheering me on... they've long since left my life.

    I don't really expect anyone to read this. I've been to a therapist and it was largely unhelpful. Cost a lot of money but I honestly felt like I knew more than she did in terms of assessment. I understand that sometimes just getting out there and meeting people and making friends is all it takes, but I'm just not good at it. Even if I meet people, I just can't ever get it past that point. My girlfriend has friends that I am technically friends with, but it's not like they're *my* friends that I can talk about common-interests with.

    Every day I go to work feels like soul erosion. My boss works from another state so we teleconference all the time. I work in a large, busy building, but have no immediate coworkers. So I'm pretty much on my own, even at work. I feel like I've been alone growing up, alone in college, alone at work, alone in the city, etc.

    I just feel very isolated with nobody to talk to. I want to write, but I have nobody to bounce ideas off of. I want to explore the city, but it feels so empty without friends. I want to program more, but it becomes uninteresting. I want to game more, but I get bored within minutes. I want to eat more, but I'm already out of shape and shouldn't be stuffing myself. I don't even enjoy sex anymore.

    All in all, I just feel like there's no joy left in life. I've been fantasizing more and more about killing myself peacefully. I don't think I'd ever actually do it since I understand this phase is temporary, but I've been saying this to myself for years. I'd like to figure out how to improve my life. No family, no friends... it's so isolating. I feel incredibly alone. I come home from work and just feel this need to sit on the couch and either sleep or just stare at the computer, click around on the Internet, and do nothing.

    I hate my parents for not supporting me growing up. I feel like everything I worked so hard for was for nothing. I was robbed of the college experience I always wanted. I was deprived of a viable future. Now instead of saving up for a mortgage or enjoying my youth I am wasting my time paying back loans.

    Seeing as there is no life after death, the idea of a peaceful, eternal sleep just seems so appealing. But suicide is oftentimes viewed as irrational. Are my concerns really so irrational, though? Pretty sure they're soul-crushing to just about anyone. So how do I deal with such a shitty hand? Aren't there times when suicide IS the rational decision?

    I just don't know anymore. I don't want to die, ideally -- I want to be happy. But I don't know how to be happy and could really use some help.

  2. tbunny

    tbunny New Member


    I can relate to a lot of your story. I am also studying Finance at a University (I'm in Australia) where I am one of the very few less wealthy students that has to work long hours to support myself during semester, and commute long distances as I cannot afford to live near camus. I understand how hard building strong relationships can be in this situation.

    You say you have been dealt a "shitty hand". Do you really, objectively think that is truthful. You are clearly bright given your academic record. Your post shows you are highly articulate. You have a loving girlfriend. There are people out there that would truly envy those things.

    You also seem a bit angry, specifically at your mother and her actions after your father's death. Anger is much like sadness in that not much good usually comes out of it. Both are the antithesis of happiness. If you want to be happy you have to let go of the resentment you have towards your mother. I know - easier said than done. Being angry is not going to accomplish anything, it won't transport you back in time and give you all the luxuries you desire. And even if it did, you have no guarantee that you would have ended up more happier now.

    Something you could try is to take a risk.

    Say, tidy up your resume and apply for some jobs that seem more appealing than the one you are doing now.
    If you like writing, perhaps there is a writer's group/club/association somewhere near you? Most writers also like reading so perhaps there is a book club?
    Contact somebody from your past that you saw some friendshi potential in, whether from college or high school.
    Try a new hobby.
    Smile at a stranger. Start a conversation with them.

    All these things are risks because there is a fair chance that they will not work. The old friend could completely brush you off, or worse still rub in how much more successful they are than you. You could be rejected in every job interview. But maybe, just maybe a door will open. If you keep doing the things you are doing, you will only get the results you are currently getting.

    Any Finance professional should now that there is no high return without risk.
  3. three44

    three44 Member

    Recursion I care. I care about you, and I understand how lonely you feel. I have been there, and understand. Please do not choose to die, you are right it is a temporary solution. You are also right, you can see many of the pieces to the puzzle.
    I wonder often about suicide being a rational decision. The problem is there may only be 1 chance at the decision you make, and if the decision or choice you make ends up being the wrong one, it may not be a re-do.
    Your concerns are not irrational, they are how you feel, and who you are right now. And that is ok. Your feelings are soul-crushing, and the only way to address this is to keep talking about it and work through the issues. See your doctor as well. And talk with your girlfriend. Suicide option is there, but it sounds like you need to look to all of the other solutions first before choosing one that is irreversible. And you have not done this yet.
    Above all else, realize that you are seeking something more meaningful in your life, and you are the only one that can figure it out (with the help of others if you choose to let them in). This world is deep and rich in what it has to offer, and it sounds like it is time for you to dig in and see what is there.
  4. dragonfly70

    dragonfly70 Well-Known Member

    I think there is some great advice up there, so I won't reiterate what they have said. Just know that I agree with them completely.

    What I do have to offer you is this:

    I was recently in a writer's group myself after taking a memoir class. It's a wonderful exchange of ideas. It helps you not only with your writing, but also with social connection. It's a good place to make some friends. I can only imagine the loneliness you feel - I am also lonely, but live in a rural area, so I sort of justify it by saying "well, there's nobody out here in the sticks" - but it must be very difficult to be surrounded by millions of people yet feel alone. Try the writing groups. If nothing else, it will get you out of your head and doing something you love. It will also give you a creative outlet, which will help balance the left-brain analytical world you are in most of the time.

    The other thing I'd like to stress that so far has only been briefly mentioned is seeing a doctor. Very often, depression is a medical illness, fully treatable with medication. If you had high blood pressure or high cholesterol, wouldn't you seek treatment for it? And wouldn't part of that treatment potentially be medication? Depression is no different. The only difference is that it is our brain instead of other organs that is in a state of ill health. They have proven over and over that depression is a physical illness and slowly society is making the attitude shift towards that fact. But we still have a ways to go in the fight to end the stigma. But please don't let the stigma of going on medication for depression allow that option to be removed from the table.

    You can feel better. And no, you're not being petty.
  5. nicesinging1

    nicesinging1 Well-Known Member

    Hi, Recursion

    I took my time to read your entire post. It was eye-opening to read personally. My siblings are Ivy-league educated and I used to think that smart and educated people are too smart, proud and confident to feel suicidal let alone depressed. By the way, I am from NYC as well.
    As you know, times are very hard right now even for people in developed countries like US and UK. Many people are losing hope in finding jobs, paying mortgages, paying bills or even putting food on the table. And I can understand about your upbringing as I, myself had difficult childhood without father since 15. What I want to advise on your difficult times is this. You need to be patient and develop more perspectives on life. Things indeed get better and turn around. It is indeed true that life is unfair, cold and harsh for many people but we only live once. We might as well make the most of it and go down fighting. Like a warrior. Look at the forest, not the trees. Look at the big picture and expand your horizons. Focus and try your hardest on things you can control. Don't waste time on things you can't control or that have already happened.
    I want to leave you with a final note. It is for giving you more inspirations on life. When times are really hard and my depression is beyond torturous, I think about those 50-70 million victims of WWII. I think about what those generations went through, endured, and suffered so we can live in fantastically privileged times today. If you recall interviews of few Holocaust survivors or POWs, hope kept them alive. Those people who thought there would never be rescue or better days ahead died. But people who believed there will be a rescue survived. Never lose hope. Even in the lowest times. Remember those sacrifices. They died so we can be here.

    Try your hardest to make a difference and contribute to the society.

  6. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    Many people would envy you of your job and the isolation from others and independence. For an aspiring writer, you're in the perfect location. I am a published writer myself (magazines primarily though I sold one screenplay) and NY is definitely second to none, except maybe L.A. There are many writing groups you can explore to make partners with others who write to bounce ideas back and forth with. Try a Meet Up group, or check with the WGA to see what they have going on as far as groups.

    You have to focus and pursue your interests and dreams and make them what you want from them. Life is not about what is around you, it is about what you make of yourself and of the things that are around you.
  7. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    :hug: I believe you feel like a failure, but I most certainly cannot say that you are one! Although you might not accept your graduation and getting a job as success, getting through an Ivy League education at all is a major achievement...And then getting a job (in this economy!), another achievement! To have worked two jobs while in school, well that makes you an uber-achievemer in my eyes. If I were interviewing you for a job, I'd be impressed that you did that. It shows determination and stamina. GPAs don't always explain the candidate's merits and a good interviewer and employer knows that.

    Your work and course schedule at uni probably interfered with having a "great social life." That doesn't mean you failed at that, it means that there wasn't a lot of opportunity for you. Making friends takes some time, and it's never too late to make them in new circumstances. If you are shy and feel you need some help with this, there are often "interest" or "self-improvement" courses at colleges or school boards. I took a very popular public speaking course. I also took an "improv comedy" class at a studio - because it would force me to interact, EVERYONE there was supposed to make things silly/funny, so it was low risk no matter what I said...Both courses helped. (The improv was a lot more laughs, but didn't offer the professional insights about interpersonal communication techniques the way the other one did. Both were worth taking.)

    And you don't have to be limited to those kinds of courses or groups. Colleges also offer other types of interest and development courses. If you are into gaming, maybe join a gaming group. Maybe you could take a course in game development. Perhaps there is a cause that lights your fire, and you could volunteer in some way. (Hint: people who volunteer their time are usually nice folks, so it's easy to meet people.) In my city, to find interest groups, all I have to do is google [city name] meetup - and you can look at what different groups are doing. You might need to spend a bit of time doing some of the activities before you are one of the gang, but you will have a common interest as the basis, which is helpful. Here is the New York City meetup link so you can poke about and see if anything is of interest:

    The low mood and other things you describe sound like things associated with being depressed, but only a doctor can tell for sure. I'd highly recommend making an appointment to see if you have some physical cause (e.g., anemia can make one feel "depressed") or if you might benefit from meds/talk therapy.

    There are so many good things about mentioned earlier, you are articulate, intelligent, a go-getter to have achieved so much without the kind of support you wanted and could have used. It would be so sad if you tossed all your energy and time spent away. I hope that you see the light at the end of the tunnel and can get yourself checked by a doc and then maybe look into some of these ideas if they are of interest. Please keep us posted. :smile:
  8. Mckownm

    Mckownm New Member

    I understand how u feel. I was the overachiever and person everyone thought was perfect. Except nothing is or was perfect. I went to a top law school, have a great job, have a beautiful car. But here i sit wanting to be dead because i am 39 and alone. No one to share with. Had a boyfriend who i thought loved me to no end. But just decided one day last month he wanted to be by himself and has devoted his life to ghost hunting. I was the girl of his dreams. Out of his league. But i wasnt good enough to keep him. So i sit in my house and cry trying to figure out what went wrong. I just want to throw myself over thw side of a bridge but i cant do it. Fear of messing it up or going to hell forever. Im sorry im a downer, but at least you know u r not alone.
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