Dear Dr. Norquist:
I’m a 27 year old single attractive woman who is very lonely, depressed, and does not see the point in living. I have no friends because I believe that friends do not exist, I have no boyfriend because I am picky and the world we are living in is disgusting, men are animals. I have a brother and sister from my mom’s side who I barely have a relationship with. I have a father who lives in South Jersey and never sees me or calls me because he chooses his nasty wife and his supposed son over me. I have trust issues and daddy issues. I live with my mom and my dog. I had two dogs but one of them recently passed. The passing of my dog has left an emptiness in my heart. I loved her with all my might.
I honestly think I will be alone for the rest of my life. The man I’m looking for most likely doesn’t exist. I hate working and want to win the lottery, so I never have to work again. I have a lot of anger. I honestly hate humans. This past weekend I contacted the national suicide hotline because I was losing it. I honestly feel like there is no purpose to my life. Everything consists of pain and deception. All I want is to be happy. I know true love and money would make me happy but what are the odds of attaining those things? Is there anything you recommend or can do to help me? Please and thank you.
Dr. Norquist responds:
Thank you for reaching out. I am very sorry that your life is feeling so painful and bleak currently. It does not have to always feel this way.
I understand that you have been hurt and let down by many people in your life, and in my response, I am not discounting or invalidating that fact. We create our vision of and expectations of the world as a result of our experiences, and it sounds like your experiences have led you to believe the world is disgusting, devoid of possible friends, and full of pain and deception. These are the lenses through which you are viewing the world, and because you are viewing the world through these lenses, this is all you are seeing and experiencing.
The truth is, if you only believe in the dark aspects of life, that is all you will see. If you would like to feel differently about life, you yourself must choose to change your lenses. It is not up to someone else to do this for you. There are people in this world who carry more darkness than light, but there are also many, many people in this world who carry more light than darkness. If you only look for the darkness in others and in the world, that is all you will see.
I am sad that you hate humans. Hating humans deprives you of interpersonal connections that make life rich and meaningful. Connections with others are an essential nutrient in life. You must use discrimination however in who you choose to be around. The people we choose to hang out with have an immense influence on our emotional states. Look for people who have good values and a positive outlook on life.
My suggestion is to try to shift your focus from the negative aspects of your life to a search for a way of giving to life. Look for some way you can be helpful. You may need help, but giving help in some way, as small as it may seem, just may be exactly the help that you need.
The fact that you wrote this letter to me shows that you have hope. I believe in you too.
(Editor’s note: The National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255. Also, if you are having an emergency, call 911.)
Check out Dr. Norquist’s new blog GrowingThroughParenting.com
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.) Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanyacounseling.com or by e-mail at email@example.com. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2018 Chaitanya Counseling Services