My Lifelong Struggle With Depression and the Lack of Purpose

I just decided to sign up and see how this goes. It’s incredible to see so many individuals opening up, being vulnerable, and getting responses from others who genuinely care and seem to think and speak with the honesty and purpose and intent that I have as well. That being said, it’s confusing for me… always having been someone to help friends or loved ones see a little deeper into themselves and come out of lows or even heavy depression better and being so thankful for any way I may have helped them… and also being someone who can’t seem to help myself…

I’ve dealt with depression since, well, as early as I can really remember honestly. I might have snippets of memory of being a small child before finding this life-long companion I never asked for, but it feels like my memory (what’s left of it) starts with depression. At this point, I’m 32 and married to the person I have longed for since high school… we have a child together, and I have 3 other children with an ex girlfriend (who does not help with my depression and anxiety)… I’ve found myself in a job a genuinely love, I own a house, I have a very few friends I can count on (quality over quantity!), and ultimately feel like I’m in the best place in life I’ve ever been (aside from some real financial struggles).

So why? Or maybe ‘how’?
How can I have so many great things, be so aware of them, grateful for them, and still be feeling some of the lowest lows I’ve ever had?
This is weird to admit like this… but while I still daydream of suicide—not the act per se, but the need to be gone… I think I’ve realised some time ago that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Idk if it’s because I’d feel guilty, I’d definitely feel guilty… or if it’s because I have hope it’ll get better? I don’t know. But nevertheless, I’m more concerned with solving the mystery of why I am so susceptible to this heavy weight of depression, than I am with ever considering harming myself again. It’s negatively affected my relationship with my wife, she struggles with her own anxiety and I have begun to become a cause of it and not as much a solution anymore. And I mean, above how it makes anyone else feel… it continues to make my life feel miserable, and at the best times, tolerable. I’ve spent so much time reflecting and trying to understand myself like I’ve always seemed to be able to understand other people, but with no success. In fact in the past few years, I’ve begun to feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore. And I think the oddest part of what I have realised about myself, is that I can’t tell if I feel the good things for real or not anymore. I’ve never been one to be outwardly excited, but I feel like when I try to take steps to better my mental health, it’s almost like I’m acting in a play. Like I’m just trying to really sell it with a deep, realistic performance, but in the end it’s all just an act anyway. All of these things make me feel trapped or stuck in a way… like my tactic is “fake it ‘till you make it” but I am never truly “making it”. So I’m just on a hamster wheel and I don’t know how to get out. One goal, to start with I guess… is feel more. I need to figure out how to genuinely access my feelings. Not in an act, but genuinely feel myself, my being, my feelings. And be certain they’re real. It’s so lonely when even your own body just feels like an empty tin can with a veneer of all of the potential being a human has to offer. Like inside is just hollow.

There’s a lot to my story, and the feelings I have… as there is for all of us… and I hope to spend time here and learn how to best express them, and help others and be helped. But for now, this is where I’ll start my story and figuring out how to ask for help, and what to ask for help with. I’m confused, and lost, and lonely and I feel pointless… purposeless. I know somehow I’m worth far more than that terrible narrative… but I struggle to see past it. I’m not proud to be me, but… Hi. This is me.


Welcome to heart support and thank you for sharing. It can be a vulnerable place, but I hope you feel safe here.
Gosh your words really strike something with me. It resonates. Those memories of always having this unwanted friend.

Mental health struggles are cruel and don’t discriminate. They don’t just follow us in our hour if need, they spring up to attack even when everything is seemingly going well. That’s what makes it so hard for us to accept that it’s okay to not be okay. We look around and see “I should be happy and grateful, but I feel empty and sad”.

May I ask if you do see a therapist or professional at all? Would that be something that would help you to learn how to express your emotions and maybe more the reason behind them. Usually there’s those awful cut and paste “choose from these emotions and the adjectives that describe them” in the self help guides and personally I don’t think it helpful. It’s redundant to just choose an adjective when it’s not really the sum of who you are.

Those feelings of lack of enjoyment can very well come from depression. I’ve shared those moments where all I would love is to just go to sleep and not wake up because I just don’t want to do the same meaningless shit.
But with the right help things are better. Some days still feel a bit like that hamster wheel like you mentioned, but for the most part I can enjoy hobbies and activities I used to just do because that’s what I did.

Let us know how you’re going

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XtheOnly - wow, thank you. Honored by your post. And I can relate to so much of it - being in the best spot you’ve ever been in but then feeling so hollow. You described it really well - the tin can, faking it, just putting on a show. It’s like you live in the knee deep shallows of an ocean. You know there is more but you are gated, you’re not able to access it / your heart / your self. It is AGOOONNIIIZING. To “know” there is more, to “know” the answers, right? Because you go through the motions, “yeah, yeah, I do this and then that and then I should get better”, but it’s like you said…HOLLOW.

Honestly, I think you’re onto something talking about tapping into your emotions - what emotions do you think you avoid? Which ones are you actually experiencing regularly? Which ones do you want to feel but can’t?

Another thing I’m personally wrestling with is the idea of not having vision - when you get done with all the things you thought you’d do…then what? It’s like an existential float.

Curious to hear your thoughts and what you intend to explore. I believe with you it will get better, and I’m curious how :call_me_hand::call_me_hand:

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Thank you both for your feedback, and I’m really glad that I’ve said things that might help you feel understood, or at least seen and heard. It definitely feels really nice to know that you understand how I feel!

So when I was younger I did years of seeing a therapist and I will say, I’d recommend it to anyone. It helped to teach me so much about myself and I don’t think I’d be quite the person I am (in a good way) today without it. These days I don’t see a therapist anymore, and part of the reason is because when I stopped going, it was because I felt like I was no longer learning and growing. It was still a great safe place to express my thoughts, but it was almost like the positive results hit a plateau. Perhaps if I did go back, and addressed things through the lens I have now, I might see new results… I guess I sort of lost hope. But I am considering trying again for sure.

So, it could very well be a form of avoidance but I’m not sure it’s exactly that. It’s almost like… let’s say my wife plans a really sweet surprise, or surprises me with something I will absolutely be stoked about… it’s as if my brain is aware that I am thrilled but the emotion doesn’t actually come out. I can smile and say how awesome it is, but it’s like I can’t let go enough to be raw with good emotions. It’s like the firework lit and launched, but never actually exploded and sparkled. It makes for an honestly super lacklustre experience in life. As silly as it may sound… I feel like I’m “playing cool” all of the time. Like when you’re too cool to smile or laugh in public or something like that. But I don’t want to play cool, I just want to experience raw, unbridled happiness. I wanna know what it’s like to cry from joy. Hell, I have a hard time crying in general until everything kind of becomes too heavy and I just break. But to know happiness like a kid would? Just innocent pure joy… that would be nice to feel.
I think what you’re saying about the existential float plays a big part too. I’ve always felt like being here is meaningless, because I don’t understand my purpose, or the purpose of life. And I feel like if it’s just to endure being alive then why am I unable to at least enjoy it to the fullest? It makes it very hard to feel good when you don’t even see the purpose in it.


Hey, theonly, I’m so sorry i didn’t get back to you earlier. How have you been?
Have things still been feeling a bit trapped?

Hey thanks for checking in!
I’ve been feeling okay the past few days… made a trip up to NY to visit my wife and son. They’ve been taking care of her parents post-surgery so it’s been a bit lonely around here!
Tried to spend time with my 3 boys that live up there with their mom and she did not play nice. In fact I wound up having to file a police report because she never let me see them and this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue, this time being the worst.

That situation takes a real toll on me. Mentally and physically. It’s one of the only non-physical interactions that can make me truly sick, and certainly brings my mental state to the very edge (and sometimes over that edge) of panic attack. In addition to struggling through that, my wife and I are at a weird crossroads lately it seems… where she’s reached a limit to how okay she can be with watching me struggle so frequently. I fully understand the challenge of enduring a partners seemingly hopeless depression, but it kills me either way, to have her feeling so maxed out. It makes me feel like a burden and more of a problem than a partner. We managed to talk through it and I pushed to take some steps she’s been looking for me to take. It feels good to push and take those steps, but again it just feels heavy to know that if I don’t I’m risking losing a healthy relationship with my wife.
Lately that’s been weighing heaviest on me I think. Not at all separate from the points I made in the original post, but fully in addition to them, the strain it’s put on my relationship, my partner, our family… it feels and sounds like it’s very much because of me and my struggle with depression. That’s a real catch 22… handling depression that cripples your life, and then feel that you’re to blame for crippling other people’s lives as well. It’s hard to make progress and hard to feel hopeful when you watch someone else struggling and it’s mostly you they feel is to blame.
So to bring this full circle… I’m feeling better the last few days. I fought my way through those negative moments in NY, I’m back home now and feel a bit refreshed. Even just in regards to my relationship. Having taken those couple small steps, knocking a few things of my list of what I’ve been needing to do, and showing her that it’s important to me to push through for her, and us and myself included… it feels refreshing. Where I’ve been at the last few years is definitely just “riding the wave”. These days that feel good… I’m gonna ride them out and try and make progress, but I definitely always feel that undertow and anticipate being pulled back out to sea soon whether I like it or not. And I’ll have to ride that wave when it comes in too, but I’m grateful for the ones that feel like this and the chance to kind of find my balance again.

Relationships are a challenge, and maybe that’s a conversation for another thread. But the way you can affect a partner, or be affected by one… that can be pretty scary. I think this is more me saying this to myself right now… but it’s good to remember that as scary as it might be, there’s a dynamic between partners that’s worth time and effort and maintenance and care. It’s too easy to get lost in feeling like a victim to my own consciousness and neglect to pour my energy and effort into maintaining a healthy dynamic with my partner. And it’s not fair to either of us. So to understand that is to understand the importance of getting a better grip on your situation and put that effort in to make it better.


Wow that is absolutely amazing to read. Obviously not the lesser nice parts, gosh I can only imagine the absolute heart ache and emotional/mental exhaustion and heart ache you’re going through just to see your kids. I really hope she sees someone who is trying and wants to be in their boys lives. It’s more than some people do and that in itself is so amazing.

That feeling if being a burden to others because of your struggles is so hard to get around. Like you said it’s a catch 22 indeed. I have to say I’m so very proud if you for the strength you’ve taken to take those steps. Relationships take work no matter the mental state, but sometimes it takes a little bit extra, doesn’t it? When you’re struggling and know that you don’t want to lose the good thing the relationship provides. It’s not all just you giving struggle to your partner. She sees it’s worth the effort because you bring your own value to it.

Well, hello there…thank you for sharing some of you story and struggles. I read some good things in your post: a wife you love and care for, children who’ve stolen your heart, a job, a history of helping others…many things to appreciate and be thankful for…But you’ve also shared some of your inner world. It sounds heavy with confusion and depression, maybe becoming more chaotic as time goes on. Thank you for entrusting some of your story here. I have been finding some comfort in reading the Psalms, today #143, maybe you’ll find some comfort there too. You are a fellow sojourner with the rest of us, making your way. You’re not alone on this journey.