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Name: Locut0s of Borg
Gender: Male
Hometown: Vancouver
Home country: Canada
Current location: Canada
Member since: Sat Jan 1, 2005, 09:08 PM
Number of posts: 6,154

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The disillusioned generation. A rant.

Ok so I need to preface this with saying this is a rant. I've been feeling particular low recently and have been thinking about some of this for a while. There is nothing new below, and it's rather darker seeming than perhaps it should, that's just cause it mirrors my own mood.

I'm 31. I belong to what I'm going to call the generation of the disillusioned. I'm using generation rather loosely here as the concept probably covers my generation and the one before it. I spoke of this in a PM to another DUer here but thought like posting a rant about it anyway.

Historically I'm sure you could trace the problem, like so much else, back to the great wars of the previous century. WW II ending with the amazing thrust of the 50s and 60s that saw the rise of the baby boomer generation. A generation that came along just in time to take full advantage of the new post war world. A world full of technological advances, rapid globalization and seemingly unbounded promise for the future. Certainly people lived in fear of "the mighty atom" but so to would this generation be the first where every family had a house, a car or two in the garage, new kitchen applicants for mom and new toys for little Johnny under the tree year after year. Incomes were on the rise, jobs plentiful, the future bright.

And so perhaps for the first time in human history a generation, my fathers generation, was raised in an environment where not only were the basic necessities of no issue, but a 40 hour work week, lots of leisure time, and the ability to follow ones passions were seen as a birthright. And indeed for this generation they were. My father was somewhat typical of the kids of his era, he went to university full of heady ideas of literature, philosophy and the arts. The concept that he needed to get a job, to raise a family, none of this even entered his head. He studied Chinese literature and later met my mother and traveled to china. When it came time to settle down and raise me it never occurred to him that what he had studied was impractical, had shoe horned him into a life of failure. Instead he shopped around at the local colleges and universities and despite never having any teaching experience lucked into a job teaching Chinese at a local college. Perhaps this is a rather eccentric example but the idea holds for so many of his generation, when the hippie party ended and people went looking for jobs many of them lucked into good jobs. Certainly not all of them were great or in a career of their choosing but by and large they didn't have a hard time of it. In this game of musical chairs when the psychedelic music of the 60s stopped playing by and large there were enough chairs for all.

When it came time for my parents generation to raise children of their own they did so with the same positive world view they had been raised in. Why not expect the party to continue? So I like many of my generation was raised with stories of the 60s and 70s and the overriding message of "go out and be who you want to be!". Find yourself. Study Latin as your father did if that's what you want. Study astronomy, philosophy. Enrich your mind because that's what's really important, when it comes time for you to settle down and find a job you too will find there to be enough seats. Little did they know that the decades of the 80s and 90s would see so many of their own generation greedily scooping up all the available seats at fire sale prices. When the reaganization of the world kicked into high gear some time in the mid 80s through the late 90s many of those in my generation were just reaching our post secondary years. And now what?

Now the message had gone from "be what you want to be" to "you better have a fucking plan!". Even those who had a plan suddenly found themselves in a world of sky rocketing tuition, and uncertain job prospects. Of those who would graduate many more found themselves saddled with a lifetime of debt. Debt equal to the lifetime savings of their parents generation. Screw a house, a car, presents under the tree, the American dream, an ideal we were raised to believe should be easily attainable, that dream now consists of staying ahead of debt payments. The music stopped playing a decade ago and we are scrambling for the few seats left. People with 4 year degrees, single moms with little education, teens just entering the work force are all vying for the same job flipping burgers. Companies see the length of the lines and know they can be picky. There was a time when even without a degree you could somewhat reasonably expect to find a job in your career of interest, even if it was pushing the mail cart around the office. So long as you were willing to work hard there were opportunities for advancement. From your job pushing the mail cart at least you could see the desk job that awaited in due course. Now you need a degree in mail cart pushing to get that job, and forget about advancement.

Of course I speak of those who have not given up. I know many of my generation turned to alcohol and drugs. In the 60s people took drugs to connect with their fellow peers "fighting the man", these days they take them to disconnect, to numb the world. Others developed severe depression and social phobias. Of course the 80s saw the shut down of mental institutions as well. Many lauded this as a positive move and by and large it was, but like so many institutions that were shut down or gobbled up in the crazy move to privatize everything, they were replaced by nothing, or something wholly inadequate. Those with mental issues like myself are no longer thought of as crazy people to be locked away, thank goodness. But the stigma of mental illness has gone nowhere and lacking the support structures that were in place before we find ourselves an invisible people. Lumped in with the rest struggling to find jobs, and make sense of a lonely world.

Never has the world been more polarized. The 1% have more than anyone could use in ten generations the bottom 50% have less than they ever have. The left feels powerless, the right fear we are coming to take their massive collection of guns. In the span of some three decades the system of economic checks and balances put in place in the preceding decades have been systematically removed, ushering in an era where single players on the stock market can trade in nations worth of currency, where deals are counted in the trillions, where irony of ironies the insurance on these huge deals, should anything go wrong, are the lives of the 99%.

Is it any wonder my generation feels disillusioned? Where is this going? Not since the depression has youth unemployment been this high. Sure the stock market has recovered, but was there ever really any doubt that would occur? Jobs have returned, but many of them are temporary, or those at the bottom of the market. Those with jobs understandably hold onto them like the precious gold they are. In Japan, of all places, there is a youth subculture composed of the unemployed young who sleep in McDonalds and internet cafés. Europe still has youth unemployment approaching 20% or higher in many places. I don't doubt the same is true in many pockets of the US.

So what is to become of all this. What happens when a generation of people grow up terribly disillusioned. Saddled with debt working just to make ends meat, or saddled with emotional problems. Or those who have given up on life entirely. One generation begets the next, what does the future hold? I'm not one to wallow in apocalyptic scenarios of the future, nor am I a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe for a second that there is no hope. But nor am I blind, we face some very large challenges and it's been a long time since the future has seemed so uncertain. Need we be reminded that the roots of past terrible global calamities were often rooted in troubles of the generation before?

Update: As several have pointed out my generation is by no means unique in having to face looming obstacles and unfair starting conditions. The Vietnam War, WW I &II, The Depression, all generated generations of the disillusioned and depressed. Most of them went through far worse horrors than anything my own generation has seen. So please know I mean no disrespect nor hold my generation in any special light. I merely speak from my own experiences and feelings.

Sorry for worrying everyone with my recent cryptic posts. Having major issues...

Sorry for worrying everyone with my recent cryptic posts.

I've been having little breakdowns over these past few days. I've had major ones and minor ones in the past, these are pretty major though I have felt slightly worse. As many know I have a LONG history of anxiety, depression and the like.

The progress I made over the summer was significant so I thought perhaps I had most of my issues beat but I neglected to realize that I'd really never even touched my real issues, the perfectionism, self hate, and the like. Moving into the dorms here was really rather uneventful for me which was good as I was worried I'd have difficulties with the socializing aspects etc, this shows I'm better there than I thought. BUT I also thought that it would help solve my anxieties surrounding school which it did nothing for at all really.

As the days have gone by I've found myself getting more and more overwhelmed. Assignments cause me to panic, I look at the material and because I don't understand it right away or there's stuff that looks difficult my mind just shuts down instantly and I don't think. I come back to my dorm anxious and exhausted from being stressed out in class all day and I don't have the mental fortitude to look at the material. This of course just creates a negative feedback loop where I get more anxious because I'm now getting behind others because I'm not spending enough time on the material, which makes me more anxious and less able to concentrate on the material. Snowball effect.

I was bad enough that last couple of days I would hide in the washrooms between class and cry uncontrollably due to the stress. It took everything I had to not show anything during class, which of course further saps my ability to focus. Part of the reason why I clam up like this is I just completely shut my mind off over the summer while I've been working on myself, weight loss socializing getting out on my own (these were all very good), I didn't think about school or the work I did last term for one second and now I find the material distant and hard to access. Some other students meanwhile have been still working on the material over the summer, some had jobs programming, some took summer courses, some just played with code. I'm not the ONLY one who did nothing of course but I'm probably one of the few who so thoroughly shut their brain off, I didn't want to think about something that gave me stress in the past. So I now find accessing some of this material I learned previously more difficult than it should be.

But of course this shouldn't make me freak out as much as I do, the bigger reason for that is my life long habit of absolute perfectionism and taking everything on mentally all at once instead of working on things one step at a time (something I've never managed to learn to do). Logically it makes no sense to be stressed out to the point of tears and semi suicidal thoughts (not something I'd act on) but there you have it that's how my brain works. I'm more than intelligent enough to handle the material, I got a 91% average in the first term and something like a 89% in the second. But perhaps not emotionally intelligent enough. One thing that HAS surprised me that I've managed to do is to pull myself away from the brink of quitting twice now. In the past I would just quit, full stop (I dropped out of university 4 or 5 times in the past due to these exact issues) but somehow I've managed to not pull that trigger even at my worst, YET anyway.

Today I saw my program head and managed to get my course load reduced by 2 courses this term. That MAY help a bit but I'm far from optimistic about it. It still leaves me with 5 courses, and they assign more work in each than your average university course. One thing this university emphasizes above all else is SHIT loads of work, they cram 3-4 years of work at other institutions into 2 years here. Lots and lots of stories of people working 8AM to midnight every day for the whole term. There are some benefits to this place though, they work closely with industry so job prospects are much higher out of this place. But it's not really the place for someone like me, but now that I'm a year in it's difficult to switch, credits here don't transfer easily and besides I'm in the dorm now. One other thing that prevented me from quitting perhaps is the fear of embarrassment from yet ANOTHER failure in my life. I've walked away from so much else but this time I'd have to clear all my stuff out of my dorm here, I don't think I could face my dorm mates and other class mates doing that. I'd also leave my fellow students hanging since we work in groups here. I seriously don't know if it's a good thing for my health to stay, since I still feel like I might lose it, but I know that it's the better decision if I COULD handle it. I've relied on my parents for far too long for everything, including hiding my previous messes when I burned my bridges, I don't want to do that again. Yet I don't exactly feel strong enough to get through this crisis either. I'm exhausted by the effort of just trying to hold myself together.

I have talked to my psychiatrist and have been on meds for years, many different ones, but these efforts have been of minimal impact. I really should, as others have suggested, see someone almost every day plus therapy (some form of CBT). But that takes a lot of will and effort in it's own right. I could do that if I weren't going to school but with school I neither have the time nor energy to do both (CBT gives you daily exercises, self reflection, it's a lot of daily work). I see my psychiatrist again next week so I'll definitely talk to him and see where I should go with this. I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. It's not like there's no hope. With my reduced course load it's POSSIBLE that I can squeeze through mentally, but I'm not confident. I seesaw a lot from optimism to complete desperation, many times a day. It doesn't help that every fibre of my being is screaming at me to do something totally stupid and fanciful like run away to some lala land and forget about the world. Living a sheltered life with enabling parents where you never have matured properly instills this kind of thought pattern in you. The "what if I could just hide from it all" thinking. It's a fantasy world but not something that's easy to undo after 30+ years of thinking this way. The world seems a lot more harsh and unforgiving than it actually is when you aren't prepared with the tools to face it. It's extra difficult if you have to cobble together such tools when also faced with other major stressors.

Sorry for the whole Encyclopedia Britanica, just thought I owed people an explanation should they care to read it.

Hawaii vacation blog...

Day one

First day just coming to a close on our Kauai vacation. Got here at about 12pm after being awake for over 20 hours, more than 24 hours now since we had to get up for a 3am flight and I'm naturally a late sleeper anyway. Did some shopping at a super market to pick up some groceries. We are staying at a resort, not an expensive one, with a kitchen so we will be making most of our dinners here, well eat lunch out. The resort isn't located in any place with special views, and in fact has some industry around it so it's cheaper, but the rooms are very nice which is all we care about. The lady at the checkin counter had one of those wonderful open, welcoming, friendly to a fault, easy going Hawaiian personalities

Just as I remember from our last visit to Hawaii, that time to the big island, fresh produce is very expensive but the prices of most other things are somewhat in line with Canadian prices, with a few odd ball items that are like 5x the price for no apparent reason Lol. We are staying at the Banyan resort in Lihue. Last night I wrote down a rough itinerary for our holiday, no particular order. We have one chartered catamaran trip but the rest of the holiday is rather unstructured which is how we like it. A lot of people plan things down to the last detail. I prefer my holidays to have a rough sketch of must see bullet points and just take it easy and let things happen around these events. Sometimes it means we miss out on stuff but it works for us. We have a rental car so any place on the island is accessible. I'm looking at tunnel beach among other snorkeling destinations, wimea canyon, a couple of the really good hikes, drive to a few of the famous lookouts and a few other things. I'd love to see if I can convince my parents to take a helicopter tour, even with no job I'm more than willing to pitch in about 1/2 or more of the price. Anyway the island is already very beautiful even from the cursory look we have had so far. Looking forward to tomorrow. I'll reply to this thread as a form of vacation blog as I go. More for myself than anything. Please don't feel obliged to read.

Oh and if anyone has any suggestions please don't hesitate to chime in!

Do you identify as a man or a woman?

Just curious what the gender breakdown here is like. The more I post on here the better I know the people, a great community we have here! But embarrassingly I'm still not clear if some people are men or women, not that it matters of course, I'm just curious.

I'm not talking about being straight or gay but which gender do you identify with.

To tell you the truth I just want an excuse to try out the poll feature that I now have access to

Going to Hawaii (Kauai) in a few weeks. Any recommendations?

Don't feel I deserve it given my current mental and other problems, having dropped 2 courses at university and all my other severe depression issues, staying at home doing nothing, but the holiday was booked by my parents some time ago.

Anyway we will be visiting Kauai for approximately 9 days. We visited the Big Island a few years ago and had a fantastic time. I'm not in the loop as to what we have planned exactly but I'm pretty sure we want to see Waimea Canyon for one. I personally LOVE snorkelling if there's lots of coral and fish to see, there were some fantastic spots on the Big Island. I wish I hand't put on as many pounds as I have though, embarrassing.

Any suggestions on what we should see, where we should eat, anything that's a MUST do? Not a huge fan of the overly touristy stuff unless it's really worth it.


Hello. Going through a rough period of my life.

So I've posted on DU off an on for several years but have never introduced myself here despite posting numerous times about my emotional problems. I'll try to keep this as short as possible without cutting out anything important but if I start to ramble feel free to stop reading, lol

So anyway, where to start? I'm 29 years old. I suffer from a combination of serious Social Anxiety, Perfectionism, and Depression (with an extremely low sense of self esteem). To a lesser extent I suffer from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and an "enmeshed" emotional personality with my father. I've always been a shy kid, since early childhood and clung desperately to my parents at all times. School was a nightmare for me from K-12, and university for different reasons. I can still remember being left to cry at the gates of a preschool in Taiwan as I watched my parents drive off (I lived in China, Taiwan and Malaysia for 4 years as a young child). This reached a head in grade 10 when my anxiety peaked and I dropped out for the first time. I managed to go back and finish high school a year latter.

In university I was much freer and bullying and ostracization by other kids weren't the issues they were in HS. But years of social anxiety and self ostracization meant that I had none of the social skills necessary to build the kind of emotional support network, friends, needed to thrive in a post secondary environment. I've never dated, or come close to doing so, am a virgin etc.. This combined with my perfectionism and lack of good study habits born of years surviving solely on my intelligence would prove to be a nasty mix, I had a 4.0 GPA coming out of HS and did well in most courses at University even without studying. The following years I would drop out of university and start again 4 or 5 times or more. Eventually I'd had enough of it and looked to get a job while I worked things out, or so I told myself. My mother was an assistant manager at 7-11 and she helped me secure a position there.

The next 4 years I worked happily at 7-11 working my way up to assistant manager and eventually acting manager for a short time. At the end of this period though my anxieties reared their head again and I quit and started drinking heavily. Somehow I managed to stop drinking after several months and managed to secure a job at NCIX, a computer hardware retailer, where I worked for another year fairly successfully. Again though my anxieties returned and I quit that job too. This time I said I'd return to school, but one class in I realized I couldn't do it and dropped those courses. I went back to NCIX for a short period, 2 months before quitting that job for good. So here I am now looking at getting a job at a supermarket as a clerk. The only real positive of all this work experience is I've managed to salt away about $70k in savings over the years, but that's mostly due to living at home with my parents rent free. Being in Canada with universal heal care certainly helps too. I'm only so-so with savings as I've spent a good 10k or more on my electronics and computer hobbies, Thankfully my parents are extremely supportive.

In the longer term I've signed up for going back to BCIT to get a post secondary degree, already been accepted. But I need to make much headway on my emotional problems between now and the start of the semester in Sept. Or else I'm simply going to repeat history yet again. The supermarket positions that I'm looking at getting will be temporary jobs between now and the start of school again in Sept and I'm trying to tell myself that this isn't quite the setback it feels like and I CAN'T quit this time. I MUST stop running at some point.

As far a therapy and medication goes. I was on Paxil for several years in the past and it helped me a lot. I credit some of my success at 7-11 to Paxil. However about 2 years ago it started to loose its effectiveness despite a doubling of dosage. I weaned myself off that and have been on several different SSRIs since then. Currently I'm on a combination of Cymbalta and a low dose of Abilify as a booster. They seem to help a little but, not much. I've been seeing a psychiatrist now for about a month and 1/2 but I don't really get along with him all that well and don't feel all that comfortable opening up to him. He HAS however given me a referral to a different psychiatric group which does group therapy and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), so I will be changing psychiatrists some time in the next few months.

I'm just not sure what to feel at this point. I'm about to turn 30 and here I am where most people are at 18. Doing grocery store jobs and just starting a post secondary education again. And I have so much experience with running away from my problems that I fear that I will do so again at any moment. I'm quite anxious EVEN over getting this new clerk/teller position, though why I should be is beyond me really. I'm tired of running but terrified of the alternative as well.

UPDATE (AUGUST 21): I never did do the grocery store job and spent the last 6 months or so at home. However the worst of my anxieties has subsided leaving me with medium to high level constant depression. As bad as that sounds its a marked improvement. Still not confident about school in the Fall. Oh well we'll see what happens.

Doing better.

I'm sure no one remembers but I've posted here off and on about my emotional struggles. Have been semi suicidal in the past and posted here a bit during these dark times.

Well I'm far from solving my problems, but I'm glad to announce that I have been doing better of late. Been back working at NCIX (a computer hardware retailer) for the past month and I'm just about to start a night class today. Just one class to ease my work load next year when I go back full time. I'm exercising every day, 40mins, and losing weight, I've lost 30+ lbs. I'm also seeing psychiatrist and I'm on a couple of meds which seem to be helping. I'm still anxious every day at work and off work but it's at a more manageable level, and it feels good to be back in the real world.

Course I've been here before under almost the same circumstances. I've lost weight before and was working, taking meds and felt better before slipping. And I've slipped emotionally quite a few times in the past, so this is no guarantee I won't again in the future. BUT at least things are looking up instead of down.
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