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I'm 23 and I hate myself.
Before you read this, just know that I know it sounds whiny and a bit Catcher In The Rye-y which is ironic since I hated that book way too whiny for me. But I actually just don’t know how to express myself to the people around me since I’m too much of a coward. This is probably a bit scattered as I’m a bit scattered right now. Also have never been the greatest writer in the world.
I’m 23 and I hate it, by it, I mean me, by me I mean everything. By hate what do I mean? I don’t know… the formal definition of hate is an “intense or passionate dislike” but that would require an intense feeling or passion, can’t say I’ve ever had one of those(This will be hypocritical and disproved as you read on). Why am I writing this? Why do I feel so shitty writing this? Maybe the problem is that I’m repressing everything. Maybe this is the first time I’m actually doing the right thing to remedy these feelings.
When I was very young my parents got a divorce. I remember moving to California with my dad and two brothers. (Sidetrack but Video Games/Fantasy books have been a large part of my life since this time) I don’t remember a lot of things from then, a happy memory is we lived across from a Whole Foods and they had these amazing teriyaki chicken wings. A bad memory hiding under the kitchen cabinet holding a kitchen knife to my own chest contemplating death at the age of somewhere between 7-9.
Bonus Memory since I’m writing this more for me than you, I remember cheating on a spelling test in maybe 1st/2nd grade. I was sitting in my parents bedroom writing the words on my arms in something like sharpie thinking to myself something like “man i'm a genius”. My teacher at the time caught on, the next day she gave me the option to pull my desk out into the hallway and retake the test. That's when I broke down crying. I wonder how much events like that actually influence you growing up.
Fast Forward to middle school, an uneventful time other than probably close to the beginning of a (short) lifetime of using video games to escape and suppress emotions. The first game I ever was fully addicted to was probably MW2. I was the 10-13 year old quick-scoping you. I was living with just my dad and two brothers at this time as after my parents divorce my mother was out of my life for ~6 years. This was relevant because my Father is a good guy but extremely opinionated and eccentric. He really didn’t make any of us do things that we didn’t want to. Another side note as it's relevant to my general life story and again this is more for me than you. My brothers are both older than me, we are 3yr and 5yr age difference. Growing up they we’re not pleasant to me can I recall any specific events? Not really as it's probably one of the many of thousands of things I’ve forgotten/repressed. This isn’t my own perception influencing my opinion on this either. Many times has one of my brothers given a heartfelt apology to me for the way they treated me growing up. Near the end of middle school my mother came back into my life, and I would go stay with he and her boyfriend of the time(now husband) for weekends. When Highschool rolled around I officially moved in with her and her husband. My mother did her best to get me out of my depressive state, but being an angry, shitty teen I was not the best to her. She was doing her best to help. Any way during highschool not a lot changed I would still stay up till 4am a lot of nights playing Counter Strike: Source with a group of friends I’d made over the game(One of these people is still one of my best friends and I went to his wedding last year). In junior year I got rejected from the soccer team and that hit me harder than I would’ve thought. At some point I missed so much school due to “being sick” that my biology teacher brought it up to the principal. If I didn’t start going to school I would have been charged with truancy. Obviously at the time I absolutely despised her for it and thought “I’m none of her business”. Looking back, that was one of the most caring things someone has ever done for me. High School was uneventful, it was me going to classes coming home and gaming until the next day. The weekends were the same gaming all day.
After highschool I moved back in with my dad, I attended a university for a semester. I was going to classes everyday doing my best, and doing well. Until my dad left for a month or two for a contract job a few states over. During that time I stopped going to classes again, too much stress I suppose. I’ve realized the way I deal with a lot of stress is just general shutdown mode, go back to video games and books, things I know and that are familiar. After that obviously I wasn’t learning anything and would have failed those classes if a huge snowstorm didn’t hit during the finals week and since there was no way to make them up they just gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and gave the highest grade from the other tests to your final grade. I remember thanking God profusely the night I got that email. I did not attend a second semester, for years after that I went back into my old ways of doing nothing but playing video games all day. This is hard to see when you’re at that age because everyone you knew seems to be growing up and enjoying themselves. When I was around19. I changed things up a bit. I moved back in with my mom and played games till I was 20~. Got my first job ever as a receptionist at my Mom’s clinic.(My brother was working there before me and I feel as if he and my mom planned it but they slowly tricked me into completely taking over for my brother. He asked me to cover him for a week, a week turned into covering him for 6months to a year.)
Break in the story so this is clear. I know that playing video games was not sustainable and obviously not healthy. But actually just forcing myself to break away and stop myself from playing never worked. This had and still has a large impact on my self loathing. Doing something you know is bad but still not stopping yourself is one of the most demoralizing things. Such is the nature of addiction I suppose.
During that time I learned absolutely how much I hate customer facing jobs. But because of this I realized again there's more to life and I don’t want to be trapped doing this for the rest of my life. I remember I got to the point one night where I was driving back from work late one night and had a serious moment of detachment and almost just drove myself into a median at full speed.
After a while of working there I started taking Tai Chi classes and signed back up for a semester of community college. This was a huge pivot in my life, at age 21 I’d finally decided to do something. I passed all those classes with a 4.0 GPA. At that point I realized I like learning but I don’t want to do it at college as it’s too slow. Expressing these concerns to my father(who has been a software engineer for 40+ years) he told me about boot camp programs. So I signed up for a data science bootcamp program. I went through that for 3 months which was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done. 90% of the bootcamp was at least 10 years older than me and a third of them had PHD’s. I almost quit in the middle of it, felt stupid as all hell and like I didn’t belong. But luckily I stuck through it and because of that I met some of the best people I’ve ever met. I started hanging out with friends consistently for the first time in my life at this point. Maybe the closest I’ve ever been to happiness.
I got my first real job from this bootcamp, I’m currently employed as a data scientist at a small start up company. For the first 6 months of employment I enjoyed immensely the freedom to build the company's product, the awesome coworkers, and the actual feelings that I was contributing. But after that work slowly dried up as the startup is a very niche business and there was not a whole lot for me to actually work on. I started playing chess on my phone a lot during work. Since there just wasn’t anything relevant for me to do, perhaps that's my fault as if I had more intellectual curiosity maybe I could have researched more and looked for things to contribute. But I believe I just don’t have any actual interest in the sector the company is a part of. Since day one I suffered thoughts like “Why the hell am I here? I have no idea what I'm doing”, “Someones gonna call me out for shit work and slacking”. But the opposite happened. My manager kept giving me huge praise for the work I was doing. I’ve never been super good at accepting compliments. I always feel they’re insincere. Because of the imposter syndrome and the inability to accept that someone could compliment me this put more and more stress on me. After awhile I started to get burned out and actually planned a vacation with just me and my brother and his girlfriend. (My first real trip without at least one parent) It was supposed to be to Italy this April. For obvious reasons that didn't happen. Shortly after that we hired an actual very senior software engineer super smart guy who I really like and he started building up an actual back end for the company. Since there hasn’t been any real data science work I’ve been sucked in entirely to the software engineering side of the company. At first I was excited cause I’ll actually have work to do again. As I actually started to progress through this work I started getting more and more stressed since I felt so inadequate doing it. I still feel so far behind on all of it, I feel like I’m dead weight on the team. This brings me to now. I’m just horribly unhappy. I decided to write this as I was getting an urge to just punch the wall next to me out of pure frustration and inability to rationally understand emotions. I’m 23, I have a job I’m not happy with but also am angry at myself for being too much of a coward to just quit and take the risk of not finding something new. I feel as if a large part of my problems is that I’m too rational. With thoughts like “Why would I quit right now, I’m making good money. Plus I might not be able to find another job since I have no college degree.” I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs. I’m probably still addicted to video games. I often look back on my past and hate myself for all the time I’ve wasted playing games which if you're looking for a number of total time I would not be surprised if it's in the range of 15000-20000 hours of my life which is 2.3 years of my life. Literally 1/10th of my life I could have done so much more. Sometimes I see those memes “You’ll never be 13 and have a summertime GF again” and it just hits way too hard. I feel as if I’ve missed out on so much of my life by being the antisocial depressed shit I am. Still now even when I’m fully cognizant of the mistakes I’ve made in the past, I still can't break away from past patterns and I hate myself for it. I had two girlfriends in highschool and once it started getting sexual I broke it off. The first one I ghosted like a piece of shit. The second one I broke up with over text with some bullshit excuse cause I was too much of a coward to express my actual feelings. I think that I’m lonely but I really shouldn’t be. I have plenty of friends to talk to and want to hang out with me. I think my biggest problem is that I don’t know who I am, and I’m too much of a coward to find out. I think I have a lot of courage in the sense of facing death defying things, I’ve done freesolos before(I’m no Alex Honnold but ya know still scary). But it really takes a different kind of courage to actually open yourself up and let people in. I fear that I lack that to an extreme. I’ve been so locked down in myself for so long that I don’t know how to break out of it.
Because I’m so lacking in self confidence I fear that I’ll never find a suitable partner because I think that my own hobbies are uninteresting/bad and I don’t like talking about them. When people ask me what I do for fun I always steer it away from video games and fantasy books since I’m ashamed of it.
In summation I feel as if I’m an Egotistical(In the sense I want everyone to think good of me. If you think about being a people pleaser is just being egotistical because you couldn’t deal with someone not liking you.)
Selfish(I really do my best to try and not get in other people's way and let them live their own lives, but I’m selfish in the sense of how I treat people who get close to me.)
Uninteresting(I’m ashamed of my own “hobbies”(addictions) and I’m not someone who talks about something they know nothing about. Also I just generally don’t care about a lot of things most people do, sports/politics etc…)
Stupid but not Stupid( This ones harder to explain, I’m constantly told by people that they think I’m very smart. One of my friends once told me that he thinks “I’m the smartest person he's ever met”, even the CEO at my current company has said “I think you’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and you’ve made me rethink my stance on college degrees”.
I hate bringing this up because it feels like I’m trying to boost my own ego here. But I think its an important thing for all you reddit psychiatrists to see, I still feel as if I’m not expressing myself in the way I want to in this section since my guts churning just writing it)
submitted by throwwayAway100