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Life regrets and accepting my past

  • 04-09-2022 10:00am
    Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43


    I just registered to post this and get some feedback. I will probably delete my account soon. I just wanted to say I posted here as a guest so if this post is familiar its not because im looking for attention, but more I can't remember what the title of the thread was. I want to give more detail on my past.

    I'm still going through depression though its not as bad as it was this time last year, but the loneliness is still hard to deal with. Im still having a hard time accepting my life choices and where i'm at in life today. My biggest problem is how I wasted my youth. I never made any friends in secondary school, its one of the biggest regrets of my life. It took me two weeks to have the courage to talk to anyone, but even after breaking the ice I never came out of my shell. People tried to be nice to me, some would invite to go somewhere, do projects with them or sit with them. However, I turned them all down which I'm still struggling to accept and explain. It didn't help there would be isolated incidents in my year or on the school bus where people would pick such as hitting me over the head with a refill pad or banging my head against something. I also think drifting from my only couple of friends in primary school and always being picked on or left out of activities affected my confidence going into secondary school. As the months and years passed, I was getting worse and worse. When I came back after the summer, I realized everyone had their own friend groups and I was all alone. I stopped talking to people because I was scared, I was bothering them or if they already hated me so I spent the rest of secondary alone, spending breaks alone and even hiding in the bathrooms out of fear. It got worse and worse each year to the point I would angrily lash out at people for no reason because i didn't trust anyone or myself to be around anyone especially when I skipped into 5th year when I was more alone and even made fun of a little. The loneliness was affecting my school work because I just wanted to get through the day and the weekend was a welcome relief to shut my brain off, but Sunday nights were agony just thinking about the next day. I just blame myself all the time for how secondary school turned out for, I should have been nicer to people in my class, but I just couldn't get past my fear of people and I realize now despite some of the bullying I should have been friendlier to the people that were trying to be nice to me. I went to my GP I think in either 3rd year or 5th year, but all they did was chat to me briefly and prescribed me something and I just accepted that was all they could do for me. I didn't know about therapy at the time and nobody recommended it at the time.

    I have all these regrets now from this period of my life because it affected other parts of my life and I missed out on life experiences and just having fun with people. I missed out on house parties, school discos, having fun in class, having girls as friends and having girlfriends. Then I went to college and while it was a bit better I didn't have the full college experience. I managed to make 2 or 3 friends in class, but I never went on nights out or anything apart from when the class went on field trips. I still hard time talking to people. I remember in first year my housemate who was older than me invited me to a house party with his friends, but I just spent the entire night standing in the hallway looking at my feet. I didn't know what to do, I knew what I was doing was not right, but I still had this fear of people especially large groups that I just couldn't express myself even if I wanted to. I tried joining the soccer club at the college to meet new people, but I was chasing shadows and nobody would pass me the ball so that me feel worse. College was better than secondary school, I got a masters degree in this arts course, but there was no job prospects from it especially when during a bad recession, but again I wish got to go to pubs and nightclubs just to experience it.

    From then on things were getting bad again, I was sending CVs out to get a job I even got a professional to help make my CV look more presentable, but I got no job. I think seeing job ads saying experience required put me off, but thats just an excuse, I was afraid of the outside world, but also extremely lazy. I took comfort from playing video games because it was the only time I felt in control and achieving things when in reality I was doing nothing. To be fair I should have done better, I accepted defeat easily and just gave up and went on the dole for a year. I would work and help my dad on the family farm, but nothing that made me feel fulfilled. I felt like a loser and like I never grew up properly. I should have myself, made myself uncomfortable and got myself a job either in a restaurant or doing manual. I went back to college to do a computers course through springboard, but it was a level 8 so left after first semester because it was too difficult. My dads health then declined and helped to look after the farm and do other work my dad wasn't able to do. It was like this for nearly a year before my dad eventually died. I went back to college again for one last time and after 4 years got my degree and after my placement got a job working in a hospital which im still working in. I'm still embarrassed though getting my first job at 27, it makes me feel like a failure and to be honest maybe I am a failure. I have been to therapy twice and chatted to some helplines and they just tell to stop hating myself and stop thinking about the past.

    This is where I'm at now. I have a good job in the HSE earning nearly £40000 per year, I got my car and driving license last year, I'm better at talking to people, but still awful at making conversation, I have about £30000 in savings and I have even travelled a lot this year though on my own to make for not working abroad when I was younger. I have been at the gym and doing running as well and have lost some weight and have ran 3 10k races this year with improving results.

    I still feel like a failure compared to everyone else. I know your not supposed to compare yourself to others, but its hard not to and feel like you are not behind in life. I still live at home and that won't change until next year which I plan to, I don't have any close friends to do stuff with and still feel I have missed all the opportunities to make friends, I have never been on a date or had a girlfriend and I have little life experience. I'm a failure in a lot of ways and still worried for the future has in store for me. I have achieved little in life. I am better than I was last year and I'm trying to improve and leave my comfort zone. I think the lack of close friends and a social life is what I'm having the hardest time accepting at the moment. I chat with work colleagues and they have a long history with their friends who they have known for a long time. They have a best friend and large and multiple friend groups. I have none of that and regret that I didn't try hard enough to make friends in secondary school. It would have been nice to grow up people and watch each other progress through life and share fun times and bad times. I have never been on group holidays, weddings, concerts, drinking in nice pubs and eating in nice restaurants with people outside of family. Its hard to accept to accept who I am and where I am today because the actions I took and the bad choices I made. I have made changes to improve my life and put myself there more, but its hard to accept my past because I'm ashamed of how I treated people and being lazy for most of my life. Its up to me I know, but I'm just desperate for a proper social life and do stuff with people during weekends and have fun with people, but I'm worried I have left it too late.

Best Answers



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,860 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    Hi OP, really sorry to hear this, feel really bad for you😔 it sounds like your past is impacting your present so I think it makes sense why it's hard to process and accept your past, rather than simply forgetting about it and being positive.

    From your post I gather you're in your late 20s/early 30s. You, like most people would have been very different compared to your youth. As in when I was a teen in school I was as quiet as a mouse and super shy, but with life experience and work opportunities, it really helped me come out of my shell. You have your job now, so hopefully that's helping with your confidence.

    Sometimes we do what we need to at a time/situation in our life just to survive from a perceived threat, so like maybe at the time you were invited to a friends house but were afraid for many reasons not to go, perhaps fear of saying the wrong thing or rejection, so in order to feel safe and maintain comfort you opted for avoidance. My point is, your younger self probably did the best they could at the time, so maybe you could look at them with a bit more compassion, they weren't psychic to see what was to come. You're grieving your past self and possible past opportunities and that's understandable and allowed. I think it's great you've been trying to seek support and im sorry the GPs and therapists weren't sufficiently helpful.

    Sometimes it's about reframing perspectives, I'm truly sorry your dad passed away. I also see by not having a typical job and by helping him on the farm, perhaps you got to spend more time with him before his passing and you also helped him out in his time of need, which is truly admirable and I'm sure he massively appreciated it, it may not have happened If you were in a job that required too many hours to handle.

    I took up a career that's beyond competitive, in an area where you're expected to work for free to further your career and have invested so much time to it and in my early 30s am still on 20k-ish salary. I was in a serious car crash that took me out of work for 3 years and have no savings and plenty of college and medical debt. I feel like a failure myself at times, lots of frustration and regrets that I didn't do x, y and z and I should have done this and should have done that, but added guilt isn't going to change it I guess, perhaps we can get another chance at life but this time with added learning and growth along the way.

    Also from the RTA, I did get to spend time with my parents/family where some people don't get that time and opportunity. I'm just giving you my example to compare to because sometimes you can do things 'right' and it still doesn't get you anywhere/where you want to be. I think you're great to have got the job you have and you're working hard on your savings, that's really admirable and something to be proud of.

    Now in terms of loneliness, you now have the opportunity to change that if you're willing. Have you tried the site 'meet up'? Could be a great opportunity to engage in activities and make friends. Also, if you want a relationship, you could try the dating sites like tinder, pof, and bumble for example.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    For those asking I'm 29 years old and will be 30 next year. Its hard for me to meet new people because I live in the middle of the country, but plan to move out next year once inflation comes down and I can find somewhere affordable to live.

    Its just hard to think about the past and all the experiences I have missed out on. I know I'm an introvert and not afraid to do things on my own, but I have been lonely since the start of secondary school that I'm just desperate to have people to hang out with and talk to. Its hard to take when you realize it is your fault for not having friends and having a social life. I wish I realized sooner what I was doing to myself and did something about it. I'm not sure what to do now because I have such poor social skills that I'm not sure I'm capable of making friends or if at my age is it even possible to have long lasting friendships. Its hard not to compare yourself to others when you pass by pubs and restaurants and see people in groups enjoying themselves and I'm just out for a walk alone listening to a podcast.

    I know what I want, but I don't know how or the confidence to do it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    I have contacted a therapist. It will be online, but hopefully it turns out better than the last two therapists. I'm also going to do group therapy at the same time just to hear other peoples struggles its just hard to find anywhere during the weekend.

    Hopefully this is the start of something better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    I can't reply properly because its not working for me, but in response to the person that said its sad I don't like myself believe me I hate that I hate myself, but there is just little to love about myself. I'm struggling for an identity, I feel I don't have a defined personality it feels as if I have not grown up from the child in secondary school and its holding me back a lot. Everyone I talk to seems so far ahead of me and connected and it makes me feel so inadequate like I feel I don't deserve to be in the same room as them. I know I can't change the past and have to accept who I am, but when I now realize what I did wrong and what I could have done different its hard to take.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 333 ✭✭NiceFella

    Here look after yourself. You're not alone, I've no friends from school either, mostly because none of them were to my liking. There was a lot of anti social behavior in my school

    The concept of failure is a funny one. The greatest people who ever lived (and I mean ever) wore their failures with pride. Look at any award acceptance speech, it takes many failures to get there. Michael Jordan thought of his failures as part of a equation that he needed to perfect.

    Making conversation is definitely an art, but your issue is you are too focused on yourself. You are hyper critical of all you do. Let me tell you no one remotely gives you that much thought, so you need to get over yourself . I'll say it again, nobody is judging you half as much as you think thay are. Look at all the issues you have, many many if not all people have similar problems maybe with certain people in their life. School can be a tough time for many people. The good thing is adults tend to grow up and have a bit more cop on.

    Know that your fixation on yourself, saying that you hate yourself is a type of narcissism. Why, it's because you are giving an overly emotional reaction to your person. You are only human, we are all deeply flawed ( many unconscious of there flaws but that doesn't make them any better just means that they are foolish). Life goes on.

    If you want to enjoy life, stop giving yourself such a hard time! Your past is long gone, so get over it. It's tough to say, but that's it. It doesn't define you as a person. I know loads of people who couldn't give two f**ks about hope school went and are flying it now, myself included.

    I do empathise with you because I had similar problems and if you feel that you need to go to therapy, of course do so. I'll recommend a book that helped me immensely. "The laws of human nature" or "Mastery" both by Robert Greene. In fact anything by Robert Greene. I've been through a lot of self help and found that Robert Greene to one of the few truly remarkable in that field.

  • Registered Users Posts: 249 ✭✭Feets

    It sounds like you really learned a lesson...which is a big deal in itself. You are aware now of the consequences of not creating your community or safety net. You are still so young and you can start from scratch...whether its something simple like colunteering in somthing you enjoy or doing a sport. U will always find like minded people if you do something you consider enjoyable. I am still finding new groups of friends or colleagues...I have no expectations of them...I dont pry into their maybe hope that the same wont happen to you. I find it soo refreshing to hear honesty in people...people who do open up...i now gravitate towards dont be afraid to show a little vulnerability. Section that chapter off in your young self and constantly separate it as 'just a chapter' from your now life so you can stay positive. Fyi..other people who look like they have it together in their twenties...can lose it so easy in their forties.

  • Registered Users Posts: 372 ✭✭embracingLife

    Hello Op sorry to hear about your struggles. Anyway you need to see a psychologist, "therapists" in general aren't as qualified to deal with your self esteem issues. A psychologist who is registered with IACP Ireland as they will know exactly what's wrong with you and help you overcome it. Best of luck.

    Post edited by embracingLife on

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    I know I can't change the past, but it just has such a powerful hold over me. Its like I have ptsd or something because I constantly get flashbacks to moments in my past which just drag me down because they feel like missed opportunities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    I think the lack of belonging to a particular group of people or community is my biggest issue at the moment. I rely too much on people at work for my social interaction, but its not sustainable because eventually people move on and leave. Thats why my past from secondary school has such an impact on me because it feels like most people made their long term friends in school. There is a sense of shame when I reflect on that period of my life. I treated terribly without realizing it until now. I know it sounds easy when saying it, but talking to people is just so difficult for me. I can't banter and everyone wants to talk about what social activity they got up to and I have no experiences like that.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭Tork

    OP, I don't think anybody on this thread is qualified to help you in the way you need. It's a no-brainer that you need to stop living in the past and stop hating yourself. The thing is, you don't have the tools to do this. All you have is lots of hurt, regret and loneliness. This fixation with the past is both hurting and comforting you I think. The hurt part is simple. The comfort - my take on it is that you have idealised your younger years. You've decided that doing something during these younger years is what would've solved your current problems. Have you decided retrospectively that they were the solution? It's very easy to think this when you know you can't turn back time. It feeds into your self-defeating narrative and your love of living in the past. You can't or won't accept that the vast majority of people don't give a **** what you were like at school. It's also bullshit to claim that most people made their long-term friends in school. Do you know this for certain or does it suit you to think this?

    Somebody upthread suggested you should seek out a psychologist; perhaps that is the way to go. Your issues are way too complex for laypeople on a boards forum to help you with. At the very least, try counselling using your work's EAP but that may not be enough to help you.

  • You are young enough just about to get out there and still experience the benefits of being young and doing things you can’t do in let’s say in 5 or 10 years.

    Living in the middle of nowhere is a serious disadvantage. Would you consider taking a sabbatical from work and using some of your savings over the next year to have interesting experiences? Maybe travel, volunteering and live somewhere cool like a big city (obviously not Dublin maybe somewhere in Europe like Barcelona or Berlin). You could study and read as well during this time.

    A lot of people struggle in silence in school. Stop being so hard on yourself. The thing about nights out in college is overrated. A lot of people booze the hell out of it in college and regret it as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭farmerval

    Would joining a group or organisation be possible?

    If you were in a structured setting e.g. attending things, helping in a drama group, would it take pressure off you in the whole starting conversations piece, maybe even a book club? Actually getting involved in something with mixed ages as in adults of every vintage has great advantages, it dramatically reduces pressure on you compared to being in the company where flirting or initiating contact would be required.

    The important thing here is that by getting on well in work you've proven that you can thrive when you're in a stable situation, probably where people have defined roles and duties, there's less pressure on you than in social type situations.

    Maybe instead of running or in addition start doing some fitness classes or a boot camp. Some people simply need structured settings to allow them shine.

    I recognise lots of what you say above and would only add that experiences are only experiences. they are often greater in value in our minds because we haven't done them than they are often in reality. You are in a position to expand the good things that you are doing now, to make things better.

    Focussing on what you don't have and assuming that everyone else has what you don't is as old as the hills. For lots of reasons people are on their own and wish that they weren't. I see in the rural community where I live that lots and lots of people of your age have no tie to the community, no contact with others they were in school with or played sport with etc etc. It's actually very normal in the modern world.

  • Registered Users Posts: 249 ✭✭Feets

    Joining a volunteer group like a food bank place or an animal shelter or a youth group as a leader will give u a sense of busyness and fulfilment but eventually u will feel part of that community. Just a thought.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    Don't know why previous comments are getting deleted without notice?

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    Any suggestions in regards to organisations and drama groups?

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,726 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Mod Note

    OP - I split out your posts re volunteer opportunities to the Volunteerism forum as I thought it might get responses geared more specifically to volunteer opportunities there.

    I have now deleted that thread. Apologies for causing confusion.

    All the best


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,637 ✭✭✭cute geoge

    I taught this was going to be someone raving at the end of their days .Chin up ,you ain't making such a bad hand so far .My advice is keep your eye out for a suitable partner ,loosen up a bit and enjoy what you have acheived up to this

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    Thank you. I thought I did something wrong, apologies if I came across a bit snarky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    Thank you. Its tricky and I still get emotional thinking about it, but I'm deep in the process with a therapist to confront and let go of my past. I guess I'm better than I was 5 years ago which is the way I'm trying to look at things.

    If I figure out my social life, hobbies and find somewhere to rent closer to Galway then I'm flying it for the rest of my life just need to stop procrastinating and just get the wheels in motion.

    How do you loosen up a bit out of curiosity? I go blank if there is silence or if someone doesn't text back if I feel offended them in some way. Do you just brush things like that off and move on quickly? Is that what you mean by loosening up?

    Finding a first girlfriend at my age will be the final boss on this journey. The Banshees of Inisherin has oddly inspired me not be alone forever.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,637 ✭✭✭cute geoge

    imo you are taking life too serious ,your analysing too much details of your past .Nearly everyone has up and downs all the way trough school and life .example i have plenty regrets from my past but then i compare with what I acheived so I dont feel too bad about myself.The truth is life is too short for regrets .A hell of alot of people would love to be in your shoes at the beginning of the most exciting part of your life with a car and a good job but you can be sure you will get plenty of headaches from the opposite sex as well

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,021 ✭✭✭Daisy78

    I mean this in a well intended way but you seem to be feeling sorry for yourself to such an extent that it’s keeping you stuck in the past and preventing you from making any meaningful changes in the present. Not everyone makes or keeps friends from their school days or indeed college. Everybody’s circumstances are different, for some the opportunity to forge meaningful relationships, be they in the romantic sense or otherwise, just don’t arise. That doesn’t mean you close the door on future possibilities forever. I’m not sure therapy will help you move forward on this, you seem to be stuck in a self reflective mood that’s bordering on rumination , taking up all of your mental energy which could be put better use as regards how you can make things better in the here and now. The biggest favor you can do for yourself right now is draw a line under it and accept that you behaved in a way that felt right for you at the time.

    Also progress in life is not usually a continuous upward trajectory, there are peaks and troughs along the way. So what if you were 27 when you got your first job, the important thing is that you enjoy it and take satisfaction from doing it. I know plenty of people who stayed on in third level education and didn’t enter the workforce until they were in their late twenties or early thirties. I know more than one person who gave up good jobs to change careers and find themselves at the so called bottom rung of the ladder again. Same with relationships, not everyone meets the right person in their twenties.

  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭pnott

    I am so sorry to hear you are going through depression. It is a horrific thing to experience. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Depression feeds itself and you feel trapped. Depression is a hidden illness that most people dismiss as being you need to stop whinging and get on with things. I have been through the wringer with depression and anxiety. To this day I still struggle with it on a daily basis. Like you I constantly feel like a failure and I don’t deserve anyone’s attention. I also hate talking to people even my own family because I feel like I am going to say something stupid or say something in the wrong way. You have good job, your own car. You are 29 going on 30. That’s still young. You have plenty of time. You have done so many great things such as travelling, going to the gym regularly, losing weight, running 3 10km races! They may seem small and insignificant to you but believe me they are wonderful achievements. I know from experience life seems so hard and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. Trust yourself, acknowledge the things you like about yourself, give yourself a hug, celebrate the achievements you have made, surround yourself with things you love. There are people out there who will like you for you and will want to spend time with you. You just have find them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    I thought I would use this thread instead of creating a new one.

    I'm doing better by the way for anyone that has read this thread. I have tried to put myself out more and make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen with some success, I have continued to travel and managed to get fitter and healthier.

    One thing that has been bothering me though is my work situation. I work in a pharmacy in a hospital. It used to be a great place with a good work culture and good interaction between all members of staff, but its getting increasingly more political and toxic lately. People are leaving mainly pharmacists and we are struggling to replace the staff we lose. The place just doesn't feel right at the moment and I'm concerned with the direction the place is going in. I know people come and go, but at the moment there is more people than usual going and no sign of them being replaced.

    I don't know what to do to be honest. I wish there is something I could do to change the work culture, but I can't stop people from leaving either. I have contemplated leaving myself, but there appears to be a shortage in all pharmacies in the country. Its just been getting me down lately compared to when I first started it was a place I looked forward to going to work, but now I think to myself who is going to leave next.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    Also I know there is an option to change careers, but I have only really started my pharmacy career so its not something I want to consider yet. For anyone that has read this thread they would be aware I struggle with talking to people, but my current job at least helped me to come out of my shell more, but it would be a shame if I lost that due to staff shortages and people leaving.

  • Registered Users Posts: 888 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    I'm glad you're doing better.

    Why would you change careers? A shortage is better than too much surely, you'll always have a job and have more leverage in negotiating salary. Don't worry about the uncontrollables in work, do your fair share and get on with your life. Such is the nature of work friendships/acquaintances you can spend a lot of time in someone's company daily and then never see them again if they leave. It's how it will be with the vast majority of colleagues in your life, don't get too attached or emotionally caught up in "how it used to be".

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭mojesius

    Hi OP, you mentioned you've started running as a hobby, would you consider joining a running group near you (you can usually find them on Facebook/local group pages etc.). Running groups have a nice array of ages, personalities, goals and a really great way to improve your run times and make meet new people. Many people from the group I was in 7 years ago, I'm still friends with and some of them went on to join the local running club.

    It's hard when people you like leave a job but the changes make you stronger. There will be new people replacing them that will need your help, chats and guidance :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Forest43

    I actually work for the HSE so I will always have a job, but I can't negotiate salaries. I'm on about £42000 per year so I'm not rich, but not poor either. I guess your right in regards I can't control what other people decide to do with their lives. Its just there is a crisis of recruiting pharmacists from a HSE point of view and there is no sign in the short term of it getting better. It makes might job a lot harder than it should be. I like taking more responsibility at work, but if I have no pharmacists to work with then its harder for me to meet patient needs. However, you are right I should not get too attached to work colleagues, but would be nice to know if when colleagues do leave then they are replaced.