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How much did your struggle hold you back in life?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Surutcra, Sep 7, 2016.

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  1. Surutcra

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    Lately I've been trying to gauge how much of an effect my questioning/denial/loneliness/inner turmoil has had on my ability to achieve professionally and otherwise socially. The timing of this probably couldn't be much worse for me. I've been unhappy with my career path for a while and finally mustered the will to try and go back to school to do something else. Now that I'm here I feel like I don't have the strength to deal with both of these things at the same time, with Exhibit A being that I'm posting this right now while I have other work to do.

    Did you find your mental abilities (memory especially) and resolve improve when you figured yourself out, and when you were comfortable with it? I hope mine can. Still, I feel like I'm such a long way from that. I still daydream about having a girlfriend even though I know I'm probably gay. The denial/bargaining stage won't stop for me right now. I cannot see happiness in this part of my life at any point in the near future at the moment.

    I can get through any particular day with a kind enough face on, but coming home to an empty apartment night after night for a decade has kind of hollowed me out, and left me wondering if all the money and commitment I've put into this next chapter was a mistake.
     
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  2. Mirko

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    Hi there! It sounds like you have started to do things that will help you to get onto a different career path, perhaps one that you will enjoy more than your current one. If you don't mind me asking, how come you were unhappy with your career path?

    Trying to come to terms with your sexual orientation, and how it could influence your life, can definitely take energy out of you and also be distracting. It would be good if you could try addressing it as well. The longer it is not being addressed, the harder things could become.

    In my own experiences, once I started being truly comfortable with my sexual orientation and started talking about it, and let others know, things slowly improved again - in terms of being able to shift my concentration on other matters for a while. Although 'exploring the new side' of me, became something that I had to learn to manage as well while continuing to do things.

    If you haven't had the opportunity to do so yet, I would suggest, encourage you, to try seeing a counselor so to have that support, and also someone with whom you can speak with about things in a safe environment. Getting things out in the open, and while they at times can bring out more concerns in the short term, can help you in creating a path forward that will help you to get things back on track.
     
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  3. I'm gay

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    Hi Surutca,

    I've read through your posts and you said you've been struggling with this for a while. First, what you're going through is totally normal. You're waking up and beginning to come to terms with your sexuality - whatever you ultimately decide it to be. Second, this will take time. My journey out of the closet has been just over two years. I'm newly out of the closet, but I continue to get stronger and more confident daily.

    During my two year long struggle, I fought so many of the same demons you are battling now, including "questioning/denial/loneliness/inner turmoil." I'll add to that fear, shame, guilt, self-loathing and self-hatred. Those were mine.

    Of course it caused me to focus on my own struggles and spend way too much time on all of these difficult emotions. It caused me to lose sleep (I haven't slept a really good night's sleep longer than I can remember), withdraw from people and stop caring about so many things. Mentally I checked out of conversations, meetings, TV watching. It's hard to pay attention to other things when you're freaking out in your own mind, silently but yet screaming. There were certainly times over the last two years when my boss would have to remind me more than once about something I had forgotten to do. How can I possibly focus on work at a time like this? I can't imagine school would be any easier.

    You need to give yourself permission to just be you without thinking about all of this at least for a while each day so that you can give your attention to important matters. That's probably easier said than done. You're right though in what you suspect - so much of that goes away after you accept yourself as gay, bi, or whatever. It did for me. Keep in mind, though, that I'm out of the closet now and I'm still at the computer typing this message at 12:22am when I should be going to bed. I've got to be up soon. At some point I'd like to get back to feeling "normal."
     
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  4. Leah7

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    I just thought about some real good advice parents often give and it applies to us as well ... focus on your education first and the right person will find you as you find yourself!
     
  5. bingostring

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    Because you mention memory problems I wondering if you are getting good quality sleep and if not whether it is to do with anxiety and depression. This is a classic scenario and if you can improve these areas you may find other things fall in to place much more easily.
     
  6. AndyG

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    For me the answer to this question was; A lot.

    I was so consumed with thoughts, anxiety, depression, etc. I slowly isolated myself from long time friends, my family, & co-workers. Once I truly understood how much of my life was devoted to the struggle of admitting the truth to myself, how much energy was spent on fear and sadness, and how devastating the effects were, I was finally in a position where the choice was obvious; Endure the misery until death with my truth securely hidden away, or go down that really scary unknown path with my truth exposed. I chose the later after way too many years... While life is still complicated, my mind is now free to deal with all the possibilities and concentrating on exactly what I want and need.
     
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  7. ERS2016

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    I'd say it almost had the opposite effect for me. I'm 36, still struggling with being gay and completely in the closet to the point where I've never acted on it, have had a failed straight marriage and struggle a little in social situations. But professionally, through a combination of luck and a good work ethic, things have gone very well. I think it's partly because that was the one area of my life where my personal side was not so important and it was something i could really throw myself into and do well at. I do feel that maybe, after so long in the closet, it's starting to have an impact now, however, so I'm trying to get some help.
     
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  8. QuestionMark99

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    I've been chronically ill for over half my life. Right on through my 20s and now into my early 30s. Because I wasn't really able to do life like those my age, I pulled away from them and let them go. I hated feeling less accomplished and inadequate. So, most of my old friends are strangers now.

    But looking back, it wasn't all about the fact that I was sick all the time. It was equally that I was hiding from them. I didn't want to be in situations where I would be scrutinized about why I was single or why girlfriends always vanished after a couple dates. I didn't want anyone to see me, question me, and the fear that someone might say "are you gay?" was overpowering. So I shut down socially and didn't let anyone in. That is a very sad realization and the cost has been massive.
     
  9. peter goose

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    I ignored the fact I was gay and got 15 years of misery,isolation and drug addiction. Now that I'm pretty much openly gay I feel better. I work part time and I am studying to be a historian and have even had my first article published in historical journals.
    Yet,in some ways right now I hate myself for those lost years. I can't blame anyone else. I feel I wasted so much time my life is nearly over. Absurd,I know, I'm 37 not a octogenarian. I just can't get those thoughts out of my head. Right now I'm so bitter towards myself I'm finding each day hard.
    So,yeah. Keeping stuff like your sexuality in and struggling with it really can screw your life.
     
  10. Surutcra

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    I've never been a good sleeper my whole life and have tried most of the remedies, suggestions, and medications. My brain doesn't like to shut its self off. These days I kind of dread bedtime because when it's just you in the dark there's no place to hide or occupy yourself to keep your mind off things.

    Agree with most of this. It also just makes me kind of a selfish, miserable prick to be around I think. I get depressed and so wrapped up in my own crap that sometimes I totally forget about other people and that there are other things in life to focus on and worry about.
     
  11. case121

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    Still an interesting topic; Weather being gay, straight or bi, sexual doubts can consume a lot of time and the fears that come with it can hold you back from reaching certain goals in life. At least, that is what I have experienced myself, unfortunately.
     
  12. Cashew

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    I am 37 and started coming out in my early thirties although I have accepted myself there are still a few people I haven't told which shows I'm not completely there yet maybe.... (planning on doing it this week YIKES...)
    I think everyone is different in how they handle things. Some people may throw themselves into their work. For me I dealt with anxiety all of my teens and twenties and yes it definitely did get in the way of being the person that I wanted to be and do. With all the shame I was carrying I never felt that I truly deserved to do the things that I really wanted to do and ended up doing things just to please others. As soon as I came out to my parents I literally felt that a huge weight had been lifted and I could finally BREATHE. Now I am really embracing myself truly and I am doing all the things that I wanted to do for years. I am very creative and I never allowed myself to pursue this side of myself. So now I work part-time in my career job and I do my creative projects on the side. Yes I lament that I wish I had started these projects in my twenties but I'm glad that I am finally doing it now rather than waiting til I'm 60. Many people never embrace who they truly are. Being born different is kind of a blessing in disguise because it forces you to face up to yourself. If you never go through any struggle in life you may never have this opportunity. When you finally do accept yourself you will have so much confidence and strength and will realise that the struggle was definitely worth it.
     
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  13. case121

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    It is a touching story, thanks for sharing.

    I feel that questioning my sexuality has even held me back to truly feel what I really want to do and accomplish in life. Often felt being `in the survival mode` and mostly taken the easy road and cutting corners...

    I could be wrong about the source of my Career failures, but maybe more people recognize this? And how did you deal with it?
     
  14. NotTooLoud

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    AndyG,

    This is so true. I have given up thinking about how old I am and how much time I have left (or don't have left!) and decided to just focus on living for the present, within reason, and all of possibilities that are available to me. I see people my own age and I think, "Gosh, they can't even climb those stairs!" I work out and am in nearly the best shape of my life (still have a few pounds to lose), I dye my hair, and I *know* I'm 55 (I'm not trying to get away with anything), but I feel *vibrant*, not like my life is coming to an end as some of my friends seem to act.
     
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