I just want to get this off my chest, and I truly don’t know if I’ll ever get the answer I want to hear. My entire life, I never felt I belonged in the world… I don’t see the value of any of the frivolous, uhg. My family doesn’t understand me and labels me before even trying to. God has always been a center in my family’s life, but never felt the faith thrust upon me. Every year of school was the same; I was the shy introvert with few friends that still, to this day, don’t know me that well. I constantly mask myself and only show people what they want to see (a trait developed from bullying and fear). Over time, I became addicted to removing myself from my skin in any way possible, I thank God that it hasn’t gotten bad enough to turn to anything harmful. I hate being — well — me, but this shell must still be maintained. For years I put the blame on everyone else and dug myself in a hole my first year of college. For a while I tried to change the way I thought, but never could change the negativity the oozed from from me. I am always told — and try to convince myself — that I am the change I wish to see in the world, but lost passion and can’t find my purpose. I just don’t know if I’ll ever fit in this world, and figure out what about me makes it so impossible!
Just because you haven’t found your purpose in life does not mean that you’ll never find it. At 19 years old, you are only beginning your exploration. You only recently became an adult. In fact, recent research suggests that the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. You are still a work in progress.
You might feel relieved to know that many people feel the way you do at your age. Developmentally, it is the time when people are beginning to discover their own wants, needs and desires. They are breaking away from their parents and becoming independent. It can be quite a turbulent time.
You might benefit from counseling. As you said, you have tried to correct your own thinking and it’s a struggle. Counseling is the process of learning how to make those changes in a systematic and healthy way. A therapist could serve as a supportive and objective coach for you during this process.
If you’re open to counseling, consider a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s an effective treatment for the types of problems you have described.
In the meantime, you might want to try new experiences in an attempt to find your “passion and purpose.” One idea is volunteering. Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, a great book about how to find meaning in one’s life, suggested that volunteering and helping others can be transformative. It can bring new meaning into one’s life. I hope this helps. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle