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Almost 24 and feel like it's too late to turn things around.

  • 02-03-2020 11:47am
    Registered Users Posts: 1

    I posted here a number of months ago but forgot my login. I'm turning 24 at the end of this month and I feel totally lost. My life has been on a downward spiral since I was in my early teens. When I was 12, I was taken out of education by my mother who was mentally unwell who had decided I didn't need formal education. I'm an only child and I had been sitting at home in the middle of the countryside with her rambling all sorts of insanities all day every day for months, and the only reaction my father had to this was getting incredibly angry. Among many other things, she took me out of the country at 12/13, made us homeless sleeping on the streets in a country she didn't know and took me to stay with a mentally ill man over there for several months where we lived in a small room never leaving, getting given a sandwich by said man to survive on surrounded by hoard piles. I looked feral at that stage and was emaciated. She eventually took me back to Ireland and after another few months keeping me in her elderly aunts home and taking me back to the family home in the countryside, kicking my father out of the family home in the countryside making him homeless, and staying up day and night she had a full blown breakdown in front of the local town and got committed to a psych unit. While she was committed, I was put back into a different school by my father who spent his days shouting at me. It apparently never once occurred to him that a 12/13 year old girl who has no friends and has had no social interaction with anyone for more than a year other than a severely mentally ill woman might need some help or even be asked if she's okay. I remember making myself sick in front of him (I had an eating disorder as a child that was turning into bulimia) and being very visibly not mentally or physically well in any way and it was all ignored.

    To keep a very long story short, after she got out of the psych ward, everything went to **** again. I was taken back out of school and was told she wouldn't be taking me, and again my fathers reaction was that he got incredibly angry. But this time he decided to leave the country to go and 'work' somewhere else. From the age of about 13/14 on, I fell in with a very bad crowd, got into dysfunctional relationships and went down the drugs and unproductivity path. I think I spent all day every day of the majority of my teen years in various different ****hole accommodations with my chavvy 'friends' becoming an incredibly rough and horrid person. Falling deeper into a certain lifestyle and deeper into anorexia. My then bf went to prison and he became hated and in turn I was hated. I returned to my mother's home in the countryside where I became agoraphobic and didn't leave the house. That continued for a while until I went on an ETB course because I realised I needed to take a baby step towards something other than a life of poverty, but as soon as I joined that course my 18 year old self met a guy who I got into a 3 and a half year relationship with. I let things go right back to how they were. Zero productivity and a relationship full of dysfunction and aggression in various ****hole accommodations around the country getting evicted except by that point my depression and anorexia had completely taken over my life. That relationship ended after almost 4 years when I had a miscarriage and shortly after that I started suffering from health issues which I had surgery for a few months ago.

    As I sit here today I realize the fact that I am going to be 24 in 23 days and all I have achieved in my life is that I am a train wreck. Its beyond overwhelming. I'm fully aware that all of this is my fault. I've brought all of this upon myself. I have zero education to speak of quite literally not even a junior or leaving cert. Zero employment history except for retail jobs that I was either let go from or quit. I have never had any family and the friends I did have are people of the worst kind. A few highly traumatic events happened to me in my teenage years that have left me with severe PTSD and my ED and body dysmorphia are just under the surface. Ive been to many therapists and psychs over the years and honestly I just don't find it helpful. I'm currently still weak from the surgery I had for crohns a few months ago but I'm getting there physically. I'm just totally lost and have no notion of what in the **** I'm going to do with my life from here because it all just seems so insurmountable at this point. The area I'm living in, theres too much history here, too many people dislike me. I'd love a new start but don't know where to begin. Most of the time I don't have the mental or physical energy to even contemplate the reality that I will be forever playing 10+ years behind of catch up with everyone my own age who are all sucessful, functional, happy adults. Everyone my age has got a flourishing career, are engaged or married with their own little family, working towards buying their own home. Or travelling the world with or without their SO and having the time of their life.

    I feel like I'm too far down the rabbit hole and because I have no education and am so incredibly bad at articulating myself because I'm as educated as a toddler I can't even express what I actually mean on an Internet forum that I'm pointlessly venting to. Lol how sad.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,881 ✭✭✭Peatys

    There are entire government departments set up to help you. And your situation is hardly your fault. Everyone is only as strong as the foundations their parents give them.

    Get in touch with a housing agency and get yourself out of your home town. Then see about getting therapy before trying for your jr cert.

  • Registered Users Posts: 684 ✭✭✭zapper55

    You come across as incredibly articulate in your post. And you didnt bring any of what you describe on yourself. That you managed to survive that horror is amazing.

    Can you apply for free counselling through the HSE? Definitely go to your local intreo office, you could be eligible for education grants or help to find work.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,394 ✭✭✭ManOfMystery

    You're being very sore on yourself.

    First off, this is not your fault. Our adult experiences are often formed directly (and indirectly) by our childhood experiences, and your childhood experiences were very traumatic and due solely to your parents lack of care. As a child you had no way to counter that or change things.

    Your entire post is well written and articulate. I work with a large number of people in a professional environment who have degrees and Phds and I often see emails and reports that aren't written as well as your post. So don't undervalue yourself. Education is important, but it's not the be all and end all. My father managed a sum total of 3-4 years in school and can barely spell beyond basic words to this day, but has made a success of his business.

    You can't change your past, what's happened has happened. And much of is was outside of your control or determined by the actions of others. But going forward, you can fully control your life and what you want to do next. Not every career requires a massive 5yr or 10yr buildup, or some specialist degree. Do you have hobbies or interests you can indulge in a professional capacity? Are there evening classes you could take in some area to build up knowledge and expertise, even if it means you have a fairly basic daily job just to pay the bills?

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 2,552 Mod ✭✭✭✭Mystery Egg

    My heart goes out to you.

    I would say it is very hard to build a healthy and happy life while struggling with the distress of disordered eating and addiction. My advice would be to seek ways to overcome those issues as a starting point.

    I would also start to think about what your values are. What is really important to you on a daily basis? Weekly? In the big picture of your life? It is only possible to achieve the things you want when you first of all know what they are. Knowing what you want for example: to be free of addiction, get an education, get a secure job, etc. etc. Maybe your goals are: travel the world, learn to play the guitar. Think long and hard on this. Then work towards one goal at a time, reasoning with yourself which ones are the most important.

    You are very articulate and you might want to consider doing some creative writing as a means of overcoming and processing what you have been through. All you need for this is a pen and paper. Get a library membership (free). Spend some time in the peace and quiet of a local library thinking about where you've been and where you want to go.

    The South Africans have a saying. How do you eat an elephant? One teaspoon at a time.

    Your problems are like an elephant. The issues have to be addressed bite by bite. But you are young and intelligent and there is help out there for you. You have a pair of feet that can walk you around and a brain in your head. You can do this. Good luck.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭cannotlogin

    I'm not very helpful regarding the practical advice other than suggesting you contact every support agency you can, however just want to post to say that your story comes across as one of incredible strength, bravery and survival despite all the obstacles that were put in your way, rather than of a situation out of control.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭cannotlogin

    Some of the organisations below look like they might be worth contacting, especially the Education & Training board which appears to be designed to help people with no formal education.

    It might be worth contacting both them and citizens information to start with. If you start with education, that may lead to a job, then you can rent somewhere etc. but overtime you can build it.

    Keep posting until someone finds something that makes a difference & helps you get started and continue posting and seeking help until you get where you need to be. Can't change the past, only the future and you sound determined to. Best of luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 356 ✭✭Galbin

    You are actually a very good writer and really articulate. If you hadn't mentioned it there is no way I would have thought you had no school exams. I truly think that you should sign up for some form of adult education so that you can sit these exams in the future.

    As for counseling, how is your ED currently? We now know that therapy is basically useless when a person is actively starving as their brain cannot reason properly. That would explain why it hasn't helped you much before.

    Also, some forms of therapy are all about exploring your past while others are about setting goals and moving forward. You might do best with the latter type.

    Sending virtual social distancing hugs to you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,028 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken

    It's never too late to change. You're 24. Life's only starting:)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,142 ✭✭✭Katgurl

    Oh my goodness, what a sad story. You are in no way responsible for any of this, the adults in your life were in charge and let you down entirely.

    You poor thing. Twenty four is so young. You have a lifetime to make your place in the world.

    Keep posting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,457 ✭✭✭✭Kylta

    Childhood can be hard for children because they can't control their environment in regards to the basics, food, love, education etc. But you have survived the hardships of the past the future is now yours. But you have to want change ( ive seen many people come from dysfunctional/drugs/alcohol families, etc childhoods and end up in later years being in relationships with alcoholics/drug addicts/dysfunctionalities).
    Try counselling again and again until you get something from it, it will come it might take a little bit longer than you think. You could try journaling were you write down all that has happened to you in life. ( could be the basis for a book). You might want to move away from where you are and start afresh. I'd try not to get involved in relationships either, you need to heal yourself first. Again with help you will become better and hopefully you will feel of worth to yourself. Take care poster, may your 24th birthday be the start of the rest of your life

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  • Registered Users Posts: 15 SaintPat

    There are more and more people who go to university at an advanced age. Some over 50. And why not.

  • Registered Users Posts: 289 ✭✭kob29

    Your circumstances are definitely not all your fault. And as you know you made some poor choices on the back of them but those choices are over and done, you have perspective now, you have motivation to live something different AND you're ONLY 24 and you seem to be articulate enough to manage a degree!

    So maybe if you don't find therapy useful at this point in your life a better approach would be a more 'life coaching' approach- as in future planning without digging up the past right now. Maybe you'll need to do this down the line or maybe you wont.

    So think about the lessons you've learned to date that will best serve your next move forward:
    1. You probably need to avoid relationships for the time being as they have derailed your education path
    2. You need to focus on getting some qualifications (don't worry about only having retail experience, there's lots to be said positively for that on a cv down the line)
    3. You have an immediate priority of getting healthy- what can you do practically to move that goal forward every day? What is your diet like? What activity patterns have you? Are you smoking/ drinking- what can you do to be your own best friend on that score? Do it!
    4. What's your desired future? Create the vision- would you like to live here or abroad? what kind of work would you like to do? what kind of places would you like to see? You're young with no ties- huge bonus!
    5. So with a job area vision you can pick a course- look at QQI Level5 courses- be in no doubt you're plenty capable of that level to start. Apply for it- don't wait for some mythical perfect time. You'd be 9 months away from your first workable qualification and have relevant work experience into the bargain.

    The ETBs have Adult Guidance Counselling services, avail of it bigtime. There are so many massive success stories from this route from all kinds of backgrounds.

    You said " I will be forever playing 10+ years behind of catch up with everyone my own age who are all sucessful, functional, happy adults. Everyone my age has got a flourishing career, are engaged or married with their own little family, working towards buying their own home. Or travelling the world with or without their SO and having the time of their life"

    This is ABSOLUTELY NOT FECKIN TRUE! There's a pile of 24-34 year olds coming off the back of a recession, with quarter life crisis about career choices, living at home, being single, having kids they weren't ready for, getting married too young, up to their eyes in mortgage debt, can barely eat with the cost of rent....etc etc etc. People who had all sorts of starts to their first 24 years on the planet change direction, make good and bad choices at different stages in life, change their mind and direction. Can you rationally see that this the reality? Why couldn't the person travelling, couch surfing, working abroad...having the time of their life, be you in 12 months? It's your path to create now. The time will pass anyway, why not be selfish and just do you for the foreseeable future.