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November 20, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Mental Health

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Life has stopped


I am 22 years old. I don't have a boyfriend. I suffered a heartbreak which affected my life and personality a lot, in a bad way. I don't have a job. I graduated this year with honor, with 2 diplomas. I really studied hard, but can't find a job. I am at home all the time, doing nothing. It feels like my life has stopped. Everyone else is happy, doing something, and I have no life. I feel so worthless.

What can you do when life seems to have stopped for you?

Lily, 22-year-old woman


Lily my dear,

It seems to me that the heartbreak you suffered has traumatized you. It changed the way you see yourself, and the way you see other people. It changed your expectation of what life is like. And it seems to me that this has changed your ways of doing things. Now, you may have created a prison for yourself, and are staying in it, because at some level you feel that if you come out of prison, you will get hurt again.

I have no idea what resources there are for seeking help where you live. But help is possible. You would greatly benefit from a few sessions with a good psychologist. If you came to me, I would handle your situation the way I approach any other trauma, such as the emotional effects of a car crash or a robbery.

Your life has stopped because you have chosen to stop it. Staying alone at home all day is not going to find you a job, or friends, or a boyfriend. And everyone else is not happy. They experience a mixture of happiness and unhappiness, just like you used to before your heartbreak.

It is time to take charge again. One young man hurt you. That doesn't make all people dangerous. Things went bad in one aspect of your life. That doesn't make it necessary for you to hide from all aspects.

You have good qualifications. I assume you have been looking for a job, sending in applications, maybe getting interviews, but no job. Read the wording of your applications. Does it reflect your sadness and lack of joy? Can you rewrite the application to make it sound as if you were positive, capable, full of life?

If you were to go along to an interview looking like you need help, you'd be guaranteed not to get the job. Would you hire someone so sad and down? No, you'd go for the confident-bearing and smiling face. So, the reason you can't find a job is that you are sending out a message to the universe: "I am no good for anything!" This is false, but you get back what you send out.

How to change it? Come out of prison. For now, while unemployed, you have free time. Use it in ways that will make you feel good. Take on a sport, or other forms of exercise that brings you in contact with new people. Start up a hobby that you find interesting, and again, leads to new contacts. Do some volunteering that benefits other people, or take an interest in church, politics, environment, music, arts... whatever fits with the interests you used to have before life went bad.

Just because one person treated you badly doesn't mean that you deserved it, that you are faulty and no good. It doesn't mean that other people will hurt you. There is a life out there. Start living it again. The prison you are in is of your own making. Only you can free yourself.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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