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With no hopes or ambitions, how do I find a reason to get out of bed in the morning?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
Life was meant to be easy, but if you screw up your health then it cannot ever be easy. Faith? Agnostic.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
I have none, since I know that those things that I really dream of cannot come true, and the few aspirations that take into account my present situation are not what I really want.
Except for being a wife and mother, I once had everything that I had dreamed of having, but because of my stupidity in not grabbing the chance to get married and have a child, when they were offered to me, because I did not think it was the right time, I suffered a major stroke, which lead to fibromyalgia, so I lost, or destroyed, everything that I had achieved. These illnesses are not curable, so I have been left with chronic fatigue, short term memory loss, a right hand and arm that do not work with any degree of normal dexterity or strength, and an inability to lose weight, except through surgery, as well, I cannot get an endorphin rush, so I find pleasure in nothing, and have not been able to love anything or anybody. Life is, and has been for the last 12 years, meaningless, worthless, and miserable.

Your suggestions on how to improve one's life do not work for me, because, mostly, I am not able to carry out the actions, either through disability, fatigue, or the discrimination of society in general to disabled people. And even if I am capable, then I get no lift due to the lack of a positive emotional response. Yes I have tried anti-depressants, CBT, which is, obviously, useless, and a support group.

I can think of nothing that I CAN do that could give me pleasure, as a result that is why I have no hopes and aspirations, no dreams, since they cannot EVER come true, at least, not the way I would want them to. Helping those less fortunate than myself? I cannot think of any person less fortunate than myself who would really appreciate my company or help, and I can do very little to help others due to my fatigue & disabilities. My financial situation does not lend itself to financial aid, which is all that most people or organizations want from me.

So, with no hopes or ambitions, how do I create dreams, and have something to work toward, to give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Please do not offer inspiring stories of other LESS disabled people.

Wallace's reply
Wallace What a sad and depressing email enquiry! Do you want me to support you or do you want to just be able to complain?

In these replies I do not give out medical advice but I felt moved to check some of your medical statements with a friend of mine who is a doctor. She told me the following:

  • Suffering a major stroke is unrelated to deciding not to get married, (the likelihood of getting a stroke are related to high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol or having a family history of stroke).

  • Having a stroke is unrelated to getting fibromyalgia.

  • Weight can be controlled by reducing calorie intake.

  • An endorphin rush happens with athletes or people who exercise regularly and if you do not exercise endorphin is held at a constant level - an endorphin rush can alter one's mood positively but is unrelated to finding pleasure in life and to being able to love anyone or anything.

My doctor friend went on to say that she had many patients with similar symptoms but who had a positive attitude to life!

I am hovering between being quite hard on you and asking you to stop feeling so self pitying, and with sympathizing with you. I both want to both shock you into giving up your "poor me" mentality and reach out to hold your hand in love.

You see I know the place you are in very well - I spent 8 years in that place myself. I know that when I look on everything negatively then I am my own worst enemy, (and I also make pretty glum company for those around me who care about me). However I also know how insidious such a mental attitude can be - how I can allow it to get hold of me and form a kind of persona or false self which I come to believe is true and, as a consequence, find very hard to shake off. Before long, living in such a mental black hole becomes the norm and I convince myself there is no way out.

Also, although you might be loath to admit it, you do get some bizarre payoffs from being in the pit. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • You become the centre of attention

  • Most people will sympathize with you which makes you feel loved (in a bizarre sort of way)

  • You don't have to be responsible for anything much and can choose to hide away from life

  • People will do lots of things for you and help you a lot which can also make you feel loved (in a bizarre sort of way)

  • You can convince yourself that you are helpless and so deserving of this support and attention

To give up your negative mental outlook is also to give up all these "payoffs" and become more responsible for yourself, which you are reluctant to do. However do this you must, both for your own sake and for the sake of the people around you, who have to listen to all your grumbling and complaining.

Luckily there is a power within yourself that will come to your aid and help you out of the pit. This power is your inner guidance. To access inner guidance you need to become aware of all the negative self chatter that is going on in your head and look beneath it to deep within your heart where, if you are attentive, you will discover small, quiet, yet persistent promptings, that are guiding you in simple positive steps you can take. This still, small voice is God calling you out of the pit of despair. What you need to do is surrender your life to that "Voice" by following it - one step at a time.

There is still a wonderful life waiting for you. It may be a life with different dreams than before and with different goals, but that life is waiting for you - all you need to do is listen and surrender to the "Inner Voice".

When I was in the pit, with suicide my predominant thought, I could not conceive that my life would change for the better. I could not imagine that by listening to that "Inner Voice" gradually I would be led out of the pit, until today, although I still have schizophrenia, and can only work two to three hours on a good day, and although I still get depressed and unwell at times, God has found me a soul mate to whom I am happily married and lifted me out of "the pit" placed me on "a hill" where all can see my work and benefit from it. Furthermore, in the work "The Voice" has given me, I am able to use the tough experiences I had in my life to benefit others. The joy this brings me far outweighs the limiting effects of any disability with which I live.

So I say to you, linger in "the pit" no longer. You have been there long enough. A new vibrant happy Self is waiting to be discovered. All you need to do is listen, surrender and act on promptings. The world needs your beauty and power. Your friends and family need your beauty and power. Deny them this no longer.

I wish you well with your new beginnings.

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