There was a popular social movement a few years ago in the United States called the “It Gets Better” project. The basic premise was that older people with maturity and wisdom, wanted younger people who were struggling in life, to know that growing up is hard but “it gets better.” They shared personal testimonies of their turbulent life experiences. Many had very tough lives; some considered suicide, but endured the pain and eventually their lives improved. Had they given into their hopelessness, they would not have lived long enough to experience the happy times.
That is the message I want to send to you. You described one time being a “lighthearted little boy.” You don’t feel that way anymore but that can certainly change. When you are in the “thick” of unpleasant feelings and negative thoughts, it is difficult to envision an end to suffering. It has a sort of blinding effect, tricking you into believing there is no hope. You might think “why bother?” or “why not give up?” but those are lies based on false ideas. You are struggling now, as many people do when they are young and unsure of themselves, but it does get better.
Virtually everyone goes through difficult periods but that is a part of life. There are happy times too, just as you have experienced as a little boy. M. Scott Peck, who wrote one of the best-selling, most popular self-help books entitled The Road Less Traveled, discusses this issue in greater depth. It’s his view that people should expect life to be difficult and that they should arm themselves with the necessary coping skills for “when,” and not “if,” it happens. You could learn those skills too. We all can. It is never too late.
You are the ideal candidate for counseling. It will help you through these painful feelings and to see the truth. Counseling is also the ideal place to explore want to do with your life. It’s difficult to know what path we should take in life, without mentors and guidance. In the absence of a mentor, a counselor can fill the gap and help you to move your life forward to a more positive place.
I am not familiar with the mental health services in your country but if you can utilize them, you should. It will help you to feel better and see that you too can get better and feel joy again— like you did when you were young. I hope that you will consider it. Thank you for your question. Don’t hesitate to write again if you have additional questions. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle