Hi Doc, long time reader, thank you for putting out so much good stuff, you’re a big help for a lot of people.
A bit of backstory for me, I had an interesting childhood, abusive father, bullied in school etc. which really hammered my self esteem. I basically bottled everything up for years until it all exploded. Ended up spiralling into depression, had a passive suicide attempt about 3 years ago and hit rock bottom really. The good news, since then I’ve had 2 spells of counselling and my mental health is now much better. I’ve also worked quite a bit on myself, to the point where I’ve come from never having a date to having a couple of short relationships, couple of casual things and I’ve improved immensely in that part of my life. This is way more success than I ever thought I’d have.
The thing that’s inspired me to write in today is that even though I can see how far I’ve come and all I’ve achieved, I still find everything absolutely, painfully difficult. Socializing exhausts me in general, but especially in bars and clubs. I always seem to be on guard and frankly it’s all wearing me down. There is still this block I have mentally, where I’m so scared of getting hurt again or opening up that I can’t really just let myself go and make the moves I want to, or I shut down interactions/ relationships that could go somewhere due to fear basically. I’m also incredibly nervous about doing anything that would jeopardize my mental health. I left my last job because it was causing me to slide again and I don’t want to risk ever getting near to where I was 3 years ago.
Another thing that’s laying it on right now is that I’m currently traveling. A couple of my friends are absolutely amazing with women, they make it look ridiculously easy and go from one hot girl to the next like they get handed out with the cereal. They are great guys who absolutely deserve their success and I’m happy for them, but it just highlights to me that even after all this work I’ve done I’m still no better than bang average on a good day at all of this. This is what is getting me down. I’ve read all the articles you’ve written about staying internally validated and not comparing yourself to others and it’s all good advice, but I’m struggling to keep everything focused on the right things, which ends up with me taking nut shots to my self-esteem over the frustration.
I’m still young, mid 20s in decent health and everything, so I know I have the time, but it’s just so draining to actually realize how far I’ve still got to go after all this work. My motivation to keep going with the whole self improvement thing is waning, I’ve stopped approaching, don’t do speed dating or anything else that I had success with. I went on a couple of dates with this girl 2 months or so ago and just had no emotional energy left to give. I just see it all as a grind and I struggling to deal with it at the moment. I know you went through similar sorts of challenges back in your “bad old days”, so any advice you could give would be hugely appreciated. How would you recommend I get through this?
Tired of The Grind