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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Age: 21
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struggling to cope - June 12th 2017, 01:50 AM

This is quite a long post, my apologies.

All my life I've had to be second best, it's what I'm accustomed to, it's all I know really. So when I do ever finish first and claim top prize, it's a treasured memory.. it's just that moment has only really occurred once in my life and probably the breaking point for my current state.

There's a combination of things that have led me to feel the way I do, like money problems, past relationships, friends, education and work life. For those wondering, I'm an 18 year old male from London.

The last 6-8 months of my life have been the most challenging I've had to experience yet, all of my worst fears have just hit me one after the other and I just don't know what I have done to deserve it..

Most of my primary school life, I participated in a lot of sports and generally enjoyed being active. Doing things I love, making friends, having the time of my life. I thought it was all great but when you are trying your hardest to break into all sorts of sports teams (football, cricket, swimming, athletics, netball...) and realising that you were always just the back up option it really started to take an effect on me. I begun to realise that even though my ability was (I'd say if it was to be ranked between 1 and 10 for my age group, across the board I was a comfortable 7). I was versatile and very passionate as a child, but I digress, I realised that nobody viewed me as the best but just the second best. A good back up option or a scapegoat for when things went wrong.

Looking back at it,moving into secondary school I completely gave all the sports up because I didn't want to be the kid that tried hard with no results, so I adopted a new persona and tried to be the class clown. This was probably one of my biggest mistakes as for the next two years, I wasted the potential I had to be a very successful person to make a few people I no longer talk to laugh. No matter how many times my teachers told me this, I always laughed it off. I felt at the time that being viewed as 'the cool kid' or 'the funny guy' would provide the attention/satisfaction I needed. It didn't, it just made me a very shit person. I remember meeting a girl in year 9 who I just thought was amazing and things were going well for the first few weeks before she decided to cut it off because 'it wasn't working out'. I then went onto find out that she had moved onto somebody else and look, I'm second best again.

This was a stage where I was in the early stages of puberty and about to start my GCSEs the next year, so I got my act together and tried to be the boy I should have been in year 7. I felt like I had dropped my previous experiences as I was now fully focused on what lied ahead. I did my work on time, I studied, I did sports, I matured as person. I felt that I was on my way to becoming the best I could be but I ruined it all, I ruined it all for a girl. We had been speaking for a few weeks now before she asked me to be her boyfriend. With things being different now with my new found confidence, I said yes and we started dating. Probab- no, not probably, I should not have done that because just a few weeks later she had found someone new and I was cut off and made to be second best again.

At the time, I didn't look into it as much and just left it. My friends were supportive and I carried on with my studies. As expected a year later, my first girlfriend came back into my life with a little help from a friend. We hit things off and were dating for 9 months (until the end of my GCSEs). A relief, I thought, we did everything together. She was my rock. Of course, it turns out I was not hers and probably just a past time as she later dumped me and moved onto another boy, again. Naturally I was distraught and I was in a state of denial for a few months after, I couldn't come to terms with what had happened or what I did to deserve it. Why couldn't I just be 'happy' like 'everybody else'? Why do I have to suffer year after year? Will it stop? These are questions that I'm still searching for the answers for.

You may think this is dragging on and I'm sorry I just want to get everything out of my system in this post in hope that it will help.

So now, I've started my first year of college in September 2015, I had passed all my exams with good results and had just started three A-levels in subjects I had strong interest in. Probably the only thing I was actually good at. But as you know, I fell straight into the trap of talking to a girl again, but this time she was older than me. We hit it off, inseparable, I had never felt this way about a girl before in my life and her value to me was priceless and I was to her. I had finally won. I was receiving the attention I so desired, I was doing well in school, I had great friends, I had a job, (I had finally lost my virginity), I had everything I had longed for and all of my lingering thoughts had vanished. For one whole year, I could actually say I was happy.

"All good things come to an end" - Geoffrey Chaucer, 1374 *correct me if wrong*

As you could probably tell, the relationship ended abruptly in September 2016. Not a word was said, I woke up and I was blocked on all forms of social media. At this point, she had moved onto university but still living in London but she refused to return my calls or messages. I remember I missed two weeks of work as I just couldn't bare to face anybody, I was hurting, my heart couldn't take the pain anymore, I couldn't. It was killing me on the inside not knowing why I keep experiencing bad things whilst my friends continue to grow. I felt worthless, I didn't think anybody really cared for me. I felt lonely. By December, I quit my job and gave up with college. It was hard and I didn't want to do it and I regret it a lot now but at the time that was all I could do. I wasn't in a good state of mind but I was too scared to openly admit this to my closest. I suffered in silence, I won't lie I cried at times too. I just wanted to be happy.

Around January, I managed to convince myself that withdrawing myself from everything and everybody will only make things worse so I quickly got back onto my college work and made it my number one priority. Doing this made me feel valued, I can't lie. I was putting all my attention into my education and blanking everything else out. No girls, no work, no friends, just education. By March it all became boring, I had no money and nobody I felt I could trust. I felt myself declining once again but this time heavily. I stopped eating and leaving my house again, I barely spoke to anybody and spent a lot of my time laying in bed, staring at the ceiling asking myself the same old questions: Why does everything I touch fall to pieces? What did I do wrong? What am I being punished for? Please can it stop?

I couldn't cope, I struggled to find the energy for anything, I just didn't care about my life anymore. I've reached a stage where I feel that there's no point in me putting effort into things if they won't work out. So this is April now and I turned to drugs as a possible answer to my problems, I say drugs, it's weed. It put me in a place where all my real world problems vanished for the few hours I was away from it all. So this became and increased habit and I started to smoke more and more just to escape reality but in reality, it just made reality much harder to take when I was sober as my problems haven't vanished.

This behaviour has continued up until now but it just isn't working. I'm struggling to cope with life. I have no money, no job, no education, no motivation. I've had suicidal thoughts in the past but I know that I could never go through with it because I know my family love me and I love them. I just haven't got the courage to sit anybody down and tell them what's going on inside my head. I try not to show anybody this side of me because I don't want them to look at me as a weaker being or suddenly become caring. It's selfish of me to suffer alone and think like this. I don't know what to do in life, I'm scared. I don't want to be second best anymore. I don't want to have continuously live with fear. I don't want to be alone.

Writing this has made me feel like my problems are very small and easy to overcome, they probably are, but I can't get past this mental barrier allowing me to do so. I'm stuck living in the past of my 'happy year' with no plans on moving forward. My computing career that I had managed to get an A* in both GCSE and A-level has gone down the drain and I have only myself to blame, it really hurts. I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy.

I know there's a way out of this, I just don't know how to do it. I need help. I know it may be easy to say focus on the things that matter but I've told myself all the benefits and negatives of my current situation but I just lack that motivation to do anything about it.

I'm tired of feeling empty.
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Re: struggling to cope - June 12th 2017, 03:17 AM

Even if your problems are small to others, they are big for you so that's what counts. I am really sorry to hear about this. I understand what it is like to feel empty... To feel emotionless because everything is overcome with sadness. It takes a really f***ing long time to get over it... But you can do it. PM me if you need to talk, I'm always willing to listen. We care about you and want you to feel better. Don't resort to SH. Again, I'm always willing to talk.
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Re: struggling to cope - June 12th 2017, 07:49 AM

Thank you for writing, and welcome to TeenHelp. I appreciate your excellent writing. Very good job articulating your background, history, which brought you to your current situation.

I see a lack of proper guidance from others has left you trying to navigate on your own. Sorry that happened.

We'll need to assess your personality type, to determine which of the 4 basic personality types you have, which helps greatly in understanding what makes you happy.

That will help you better understand yourself, and what motivates you, and where you best fit in the world. That can help determine if the career path you are on is suitable for you in the long run.

We also need to get you connected with other people. Peers. People like yourself who have been there, who understand where you are now, because they have been there themselves, and they are now in a position where they have recovered and they want to now pass it on to others, because that's part of their continued recovery, and path to their continued happiness. Gathering together with other peers who accept you as you are, broken and second place, suffering, hurting, and empty. And they are going to see past all that, and see your soul, and say, "Welcome brother," and accept you into the group, the moment you walk in.

And I'll tell you how to win the unwinnable game.

But first let's work on which of the 4 basic personality types are you.

I noticed you mentioned sports a lot early on in the post. So I'm going to guess that you may have the "Artisan" personality type. I'll say right off that I probably have only a 35% chance of being right, simply because 35% of the population have the Artisan personality type, and I am very bad at making these educated guesses. Quite often I am wrong. You are ultimately the only one who can say which of the 4 basic personality types you identify with.

The Artisan is the one who likes sports the most. They base their self-esteem on their action performance. Their goal in life is to have fun. They live in the present. They are the "Action Seeking" personality, or the "Sensation Seeking" personality. You can read a description here, and see if you identify with it or not:


If that's not a match, go to "The Four Temperaments" and try the overview of the other three: {Guardian, Idealist, Rational}.

I'm just guessing Artisan.

Artisans are also the ones most likely to have trouble in school, and do poorly in school, because schools are not designed by Artisans. (Schools are designed by Guardians, for Guardians.) Artisans tend to greatly dislike sitting in class, listening to a teacher lecture. Artisans much prefer hands on teaching, where they actually get to do something. (An apprenticeship would be a much better school format for an Aritsan.)

Artisans are also unfortunately most likely to fall into drug use and are unfortunately most naturally prone to becoming addicted (due to their "Sign Tracking" nature, as opposed to other's "Goal Tracking" nature).

The good news is Artisans have skills, they are just different skills, that aren't always appreciated in academic schools. Artisans may be very "street smart." Which is something not taught in school at all. They may be very good at dealing with other people, which makes them good candidates to be managers.

In careers, Artisans often like outdoor jobs that involve action. My housemate says he started as a computer programmer, then decided he hated sitting at a desk all day, and decided to become a construction worker instead. He much prefers being a construction worker, and is much happier now. (I on the other hand love sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. I am obliviously not an Artisan.)

(here's Finding Your Passion or What Makes a Job Right for You?)


There's links to a whole series of good articles that can help you figure out what sort of career path you would enjoy and be happy with. If you are an Artisan, think "action". (e.g. Emergency Room Doctor, where every day is exciting and unexpected. Or "fireman". When the building is on fire, you don't have time to convene a board meeting to discuss the matter, and take a vote, and consider what to do, you just quickly assess the situation and take action. That's what Artisans excel at, taking action. In cave man days, the Artisans would have been the hunters, always eager for the action of the hunt.)

The second thing is to get you out of this slump, this depression, this just using drugs to escape, which is very common, and very well understood, by those who have been there. You can go to any NA meeting, or Celebrate Recovery meeting, or any similar meeting, and you will be welcomed, and find supportive peers there. Your mind will feel better, because it will think, "I'm with my tribe. Everything must be OK," and it will relax, and you'll feel better. It's a great trick. It tricks the primitive part of the emotional brain into relaxing and feeling better, and you actually start to feel better. It'll take some time, but you'll notice the difference over a period of weeks, if you keep going. The comradery of the group tricks the brain into feeling better, little by little, and you have less desire to use drugs. Plus being less stressed gives you more control over the primitive emotional part of your mind that takes control when you are stressed. It all works great, which is why these groups are so popular, and people go there, and they love to welcome newcomers.

(Getting yourself to go to the first one is the hardest. You can ask a friend to go with you if you have a friend.)

The third thing is how to win the unwinnable game.

This is how to win when you're always second best. Or when you are the best. Actually you've been both. So you're already familiar with the game, and how you can't win.

I used to want to be on top of the mountain, to be the best. But I eventually realized it was a game I couldn't win. If I wasn't on top of the mountain, then I wasn't the best, there were others better than me. On the other hand, if I was at the top of the mountain, if I was the best, then that was a very tenuous position to maintain, as there was only one direction I could go down! It seemed either way I would lose this game.

For a long time I was stuck trying to figure out how to win this unwinnable game.

Then I finally figured it out.

The only way to win the unwinnable game is not to play the game.

So I walked away from the mountain.

I no longer cared if I was the best or not. I stopped grading myself. I stopped comparing myself to others. I stopped comparing myself to myself. I just walked away from the mountain.

And I've been much happier ever since.

OK that's a brief roadmap of where to go from here. There's a lot of further reading at the links above.

Oh, and here's more reading if you're interested in relationships and how to get along with your spouse, depending on her personality type:


Fore more on the 4 basic personality types see the book by David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II. (the II means 2nd edition. It's not a sequel.) This is the seminal work on the subject.

Women dig men who do this inner work on themselves. Go to support meetings, become a supportive sensitive nice person who understands himself and has a kind heart and is able to commiserate with others, and women will flock to you. Women want a man who can see their soul, and accept them despite their flaws, and insecurities, and uncertainties; a man who knows his own flaws, and is willing to bare them to a woman, and allow a woman to accept them, and him, flaws and all.

Thank you very much for writing. My best wishes to you!
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Re: struggling to cope - June 12th 2017, 09:05 AM

I do greatly appreciate the speed of both of your replies and the support, it really means a lot to me. I can't reply at the moment as I'm going to attempt to go into college for the first time in ages, I will be back later on to reply and tell you how my day went.

Thank you again.
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Age: 21
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Location: South London

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Re: struggling to cope - June 21st 2017, 12:51 AM

Hi all,

I would like to apologise for my prolonged absence but it's more of a positive for me, personally. Since I was last here, things have been on the up and I've been in my best mood in months!!! I've been meaning to get back on here to tell you guys that I'm okay but I've been hesitant. I thought coming back on here so soon would remind me of how I've been feeling before so I avoided this thread until I felt I was ready to come back.

This last week has seen me be able to open up to my closest friend about my troubles and he was actually very supportive and I did not expect it. I was offered that reassurance that I think I needed and it would not have been possible without the words both of you have said to me. I know it's very early days but I feel like I'm able to answer the phone to myself and talk things out. I don't want to rush things and I managing this carefully. I'm quite worried that replying here may have an effect however I will only feel worse not providing an update!

In reply to you @del677, I think I would place myself as an Artisan or an Idealist. They fit my personality the most. I don't want to delve into too much for reason's previously mentioned but I do aim to be back every now and again to let you know how I'm doing.

Ideally the next time on here I'm able to have a drink with myself!
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