I’m not very busy this summer. I just need to work on my project related to computer which is very important to me. But there is a problem. I can’t. I can’t do that or many other things. My mind can’t stay focused.

I think I’m burned out. These are the sings that you can find in me: Sense of failure and self-doubt, Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated, Detachment, feeling alone in the world, Loss of motivation, Increasingly cynical and negative outlook, Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

It’s making me weak mentally. I can’t find any value in life. I still exercise 4 times a week but I almost don’t see any point in it anymore. I might someday stop exercising which is weird because it was always important to me.

I’m living in a place with a culture and laws against what I think to be right. It’s a small city with not much to do in it. But I can’t leave here for now.
It’s hard to find someone with similar interest here. I don’t have any friend around me. But I sometimes chat with my friends online because they live in a place far away. I live in my parent’s house but I don’t interact with them much.

So now, I’m always home. Bored. I can’t do my work. Don’t see any value in anything. I don’t know how I can fix this. Obviously the solution can’t be having social contact or having fun because I really can’t do them. Thank you.

A. Your situation shares common feelings associated with depression, but no diagnosis of depression can be performed online or in any other way except for an in person consultation with a mental health professional.

What we can say is that you are “unhappy.” A more accurate way to state that, is that your life at this time is not bringing you pleasure or contentment. It once did but it no longer does. Carl Jung, perhaps the world’s greatest psychoanalyst, talks about living a meaningful existence and Abraham Maslow, perhaps the world’s most underrated thinker, believes that the sole purpose of life is living a meaningful existence. Failure to do so, according to both men, will lead to unhappiness and much worse. They would explain your feelings as one’s that you would expect from the failure to live in a meaningful way. The existentialists would say that you are not living an “authentic existence.”

If they are right, the good news is that you can easily achieve a meaningful existence and its’ resultant happiness, by actively pursuing the things that are meaningful to you. Put simply, you need to do those things that you desire to do. I once worked with a radiologist that had achieved great success in life, was the head of his own medical Corporation and whose income was in the multimillion dollar range. According to him, he had everything; respect, money, a loving wife and successful children. Yet, he wasn’t happy even after having achieved every goal he felt was of value. He had everything that society had told him was of importance. However, he did not have happiness. If we hit fast-forward… he did achieve happiness and it came from restructuring his list of things of value.

We are all different, none of us are the same. What was right for your father, your brother, what is right for your sister, none of these may be right for you. The course they took is likely not your course. If your family cannot tell you what is right for you, and they cannot, then certainly your culture cannot. Your path is your own and you must be brave enough to walk that path without the support and encouragement of family or friends. Jung and Maslow would say that for almost everyone who is unhappy, a course correction is needed.

Many people, who are unhappy and perhaps in need of a course correction, turn to drugs both legal and illegal, to feel better. They are “self-medicating.” When the drugs wear off, they feel just as bad and most likely worse, than before they took the drugs. Self-medication is not the answer. A good therapist will help you by simply helping you find your correct direction, your life’s course. Reading Jung and Maslow will help and perhaps that will be sufficient. If not, try counseling.

When dealing with a situation like yours, here’s my advice for picking the right therapist. Admittedly, there are those who would disagree with me and perhaps they are right but I can promise you that what I’m about to say is my most sincere belief. If you find a therapist, who after listening to your life’s description, tells you everything is good and you “should be happy” … find a new therapist. Find a therapist who after listening to all of your life’s accomplishments, tells you that what you have achieved may have produced happiness for some but obviously, not for you. It was the right course, for some. It was the wrong course for you. Perhaps, you have chosen the wrong course. Perhaps, it’s just that simple.

Never doubt the existence of your “right” course. It exists for you and for everyone. Good luck my friend.

Dr. Kristina Randle