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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
FFAFF Offline
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Post Childhood apathy? Never depressed or abused...just....apathetic about doing things? - June 27th 2019, 11:33 PM

My biggest apologies if this is the wrong thread; this just felt weirdly appropriate to stick in here...not sure why.

I want to preface this by saying that, reflecting back, I think my childhood was pretty damn good.
I was definitely one of the "weird" kids growing up, but my bizarre attitudes/mannerism backfired in the best way possible - I guess the combination of being raised in a foreign culture (my parents are Indian immigrants, but I was born in the United States), politeness, and weird childhood quirks made me, if not appealing to most, at least "too easy" to bully.

Sure, there were rough scrapes here and there, but most of the time the people that would pick on me either had behavioral issues or were universally considered, for lack of any better terminology, "assholes".

I'm 19 now, on summer break from university, and one thought just keeps bothering me:
...from 8-17, I've pretty much just spent my life in an apathetic haze.

I was never upset in my childhood, but at the same time, I never really did anything. No summer camp, no school trips, no "hanging out", or extra-curriculars, or band camp, or parties, or late impromptu nights on the town...nothing. All I did for nearly a decade was just go to school, go home, do my homework, and go on the Internet. It wasn't that I actively disliked other activities, but I just never found the motivation to get up and ask if I could do it.

Now, I partially remedied this in senior year - I realized how extroverted I really was and how much I actually despised staying at home and being on the computer all day. And it was an utter blast. Within the year, I was in choir, I had not only gone on but organized a trip to Boston, and eschewed nights of idly surfing the Internet for musical theatre rehearsal (one of my personal favorite memories), along with all the parties and social interaction that came with them.

I managed to finish high school without any big regrets, I think, anyways, but I still can't help but feel bothered for the other 95% of my developmental years.

It's dumb to focus on missed opportunities, I know, but I can't help but feel angry at myself. At least it would've made sense if I were depressed, or scared, or something like that, but I wasn't. My childhood was as supportive as it could've been, poised to be full of fantastic experiences and learning opportunities and cherished memories, and I blew it all on fucking YouTube.

I'm 19 now, and in university. All I hear from my friends is talk about internships and degree programmes and whatnot, and I hate it. I have nothing but respect for being responsible - hell, I'm so strict with myself that I don't even have caffeine, but damn it, I want to have some fun in my life for once.
(Forgive the obvious hubris of youth, but damn it, we're young! Why the hell is our idea of "small talk" discussing how busy we are for the next five-to-seven months?!)

Being nineteen's a trip, man. You're old enough to have to care about your resumť, but young enough that all you want to do is anything but that. In college anything social pretty much just means "drinking", which I've never been comfortable with and I never plan on it.
Everything that says "maximum age 18" hurts me a little inside - it's like the world telling me "Nice job fixing yourself, now get bent!"

I convinced myself I was the quiet, lonely kid for nine years before realizing how much everyone actually loved me and was ready for me to come out of my self-imposed shell. I slummed it with people that obviously weren't in the same mindset as me, too willing to dismiss everyone outside their small circle as "the enemy", and when I finally got out, I had a small taste of actual happiness before having to let go.

Does anyone else feel like this? That, even without fear, or hostility, they've just isolated themselves for no reason other than because it was habit? Because they were convinced that because they were slightly different, they had to stick to a small friend group and fit all the stereotypical "loner" traits instead of trying to branch out? I know for many what I've just described is what makes them more comfortable, but I feel like I only convinced myself it was what worked for me.
Forgive me if I sound bitter about doing that. It was only for nine years.

Again, apologies about sticking this in the "Mental Health" thread - apart from some compulsions I don't think I'm really neurodivergent, but I can't find any more appropriate place to put this.
   
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Re: Childhood apathy? Never depressed or abused...just....apathetic about doing things? - July 1st 2019, 06:21 PM

Whenever we feel 'different' to the 'norm' and end up being bullied and rejected because of these differences, it can definitely make you feel apathetic about things. It doesn't even have to be about fear of being bullied- when you are used to being by yourself and doing your own thing, it's easy to continue living like this and much harder to break out of it.

It's really good that you have made an effort to get out there and do more things and it makes sense that even though it's positive, you may look back and wonder why you didn't do these things before. It makes sense to regret all the opportunities that you missed out on. Some people's biggest regrets is not what they did do, but what they didn't do.

Try not to be angry at yourself for not taking up those opportunities when you were younger. You don't necessarily need a reason to have not done those things e.g. depression, being scared. Sometimes we fall into patterns of routine and just feel comfortable at the time being unaware of how we may look back with regret. If you had never really had much of a social life, especially during the teenage years, it may not have occurred to you what you might be missing out on.

It makes sense that now you have started to open yourself up more to new experiences that it would feel disheartening to hear everyone else around you talking about internships and serious stuff. But it doesn't mean that you can't have fun and make up for lost time. It's all about balance and making sure that your new found interest in socialising and having fun doesn't come at the cost of your studies and vice versa.

It's also okay if you aren't into drinking. Even though many people feel that a social life revolves around clubs and bars, there are plenty of people who for one reason or another don't want to drink. If you wanted to tag along, you could always order a non-alcoholic drink. I know it's difficult when you feel you didn't really get to enjoy life much when you were younger and are know thrust into the adult world and feel you have to be serious and busy. But really, age is just number and there's nothing wrong with living your life the way you want to (within reason, as long as you aren't hurting yourself or others or doing anything illegal etc).

When we are growing up and developing, it can take a while to find ourselves and figure out who we are and what we want from life. We all grow at different rates and it's okay if you are 19 and feel that you aren't the person you were when you were younger. I'm sure there are plenty of people who love you, regardless of whether you are introverted or extroverted. And it's good that you have moved on from people who weren't in the same mindset as you. I'm sure that now you know yourself more, you will find like minded individuals and you will be able to get that taste of happiness back again!

I can't say I've felt exactly as you have, but I have felt similar. I've always felt I've had to hold myself back in that for some reason I'm just not accepted for the way that I am. I'm slowly breaking down those negative thoughts and trying to find myself and be more true to myself. It's difficult because I never had a life outside of school and the internet either so there's a possibility that when I find things I like, I may end up feeling similar to you, wondering why I hadn't done these things earlier. It's okay to feel bitter about this, thought try not to let it get to you too much!


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