Disappointments Fueling Self-Doubt and Sadness

Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ - http://flic.kr/p/azGZB - For illustration only

Reader’s Question

I’m graduating from graduate school next month, and haven’t been able to find work. I lost a lot of confidence because of the constant rejections and have started to give up. I also struggle with uncertainty about whether I’m following my passion or even know what my passion is.

I also have never had a boyfriend despite dating several people over the years. It is something that has greatly affected my self-esteem and my opinion of myself. I know I’m smart and beautiful, but I honestly don’t feel it. I met and fell in love with a guy I met a year ago, who told me a few weeks ago he loved me but wasn’t ready for a relationship after about 6 months of dating pretty seriously. I’m really devastated, and the combination of these things, along with the fact that he was the one helping me deal with much of my anxiety about finding work, has left me extremely sad.

I’m not comfortable sharing my concerns with friends and family. They constantly tell me not to worry, I’m graduating from law school. But that doesn’t help much. I’ve been crying to the point of vomiting, have trouble concentrating and feel physically ill as well as emotionally unstable. After arguing with the guy I was dating, we didn’t get much closure, and I still want very badly to be with him. I have tried to accept though that he can’t be with me.

On top of the fact that I’ve been feeling inadequate as a result of my recent romantic and professional failures, 2.5 years ago I was sexually assaulted. I don’t think about it much, but when I do get sad, I do think about how I’ve been hurt by men in my past, including the man who assaulted me. Before my current relationship I had fallen in love with a man who I later found out never was in love with me.

I’m not suicidal, but I do almost fear waking up the next day and feeling this pain all over again. I don’t do drugs or drink alcohol excessively. I was a thumb sucker for 23 years and often used that to soothe me, but I recently got braces so I can’t. I feel a lot of anxiety and sadness and feel stuck because I need to talk to someone but don’t really want to talk to anyone.

I feel trapped, and I guess I just want to know what I should do? I don’t think I’ll do anything unsafe, I just dread feeling this sad. Especially when I have to finish the semester, and perform well.

Psychologist’s Reply

Try Online Counseling: Get Personally Matched
(Please read our important explanation below.)

Sometimes, especially when things don’t appear to be going in our favor, we tend to feel disappointed and blame ourselves. This is actually a bit irrational, because in reality we simply cannot control our external environment. Still, when things in our environment disappoint us, we can tend to feel defeated and to inordinately focus on what appears to us to be a personal failure. These are the seeds of depressive thinking. And when something in our external environment inflicts significant trauma on us, the tendency to engage in depressive thinking is even greater.

Naturally, despite an understandable hesitancy to do so, it would be a great idea to visit with a professional to address the issues. But even in the absence of that you can do something to break the vicious cycle of self-doubt. The main thing is to constantly strive to take your mental and emotional focus off your external environment, which you cannot control, and to re-affirm yourself, your worth and all your efforts to find yourself, heal, and find your path. You can even reinforce yourself for making the uncomfortable decision to visit with someone, despite your hesitancy, mistrust, and wariness. Recognizing your real worth always starts with validating and reinforcing yourself for making the tough decisions.

Please read our Important Disclaimer.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by on and last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Ask the Psychologist provides direct access to qualified clinical psychologists ready to answer your questions. It is overseen by the same international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals — with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe — that delivers CounsellingResource.com, providing peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. CounsellingResource.com is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2022.