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Getting close to 40, mid life crisis, depression, and finding release
88 points by u2dr on May 17, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 87 comments
I think this question may have already been asked, as one variant or another; but let me give you my situation.

My daily routine involves going to a job I absolutely despise, going home to screaming kids and nagging wife, and then finally going to bed to start it all over again the next day.

I understand that most people have jobs they hate, but you typically have a release when you go home, and that balances things. What if you have no release, and you don't really have any friends because you're new to the area.

How do you cope? I feel like a little bit of me is lost every day, as my mind just spirals out of control. I hate waking up, because I know it will be the same thing over again, day after day.

Most of my career I've been a contractor (software engineering), and the past 5 or so years I've focused more on architecture and start-ups. My most recent job is for a very large corporation, and it's completely not what I normally go for, but it was the only option in the area I live (offering the money I wanted). The wife thinks I should be here at least 1 year, or else it'll look bad on my resume.

Anyone else feel like their life is a prison? I know I have choices, but given our situation, quitting this job just isn't an option right now. I suppose I can look for something new, but this area is very dry when it comes to my kind of work. Remote is an option, but the competition seems fierce (everyone wants remote), and architect roles are typically on-site, unless I go back to development.

In most cases, atleast in middle-class America, life is a prison of your own making. I think a lot of people hope for an external agency to magically take them out of their current situation, when, in most cases the only agency that can help you is yourself.

If you feel the need to provide a stable life for your family at present and not make any dramatic changes (like moving), then the best option to come out of your funk is to engage with the world right around you. Do something hip (even if you make fun of it), play some team sports, engage with your community or neighbors and participate whole-heartedly in activities even if they seem stupid to you and most importantly, engage with your wife and kids, do something that your wife is asking of you, play with your kids without thinking of the other stuff! Ultimately, what I have found for me is that interaction and having mindless fun with friends and family always gets me out of depressing thoughts like you are having.

Even though the grass always seems greener elsewhere or it seems like there are way more things in life you could be doing or achieving, the reality is that feeling good doesn't really need all of that.

Oh, also, on the side, do pursue your idea of getting a remote job that is more interesting, but keep your expectations low. Make the attempt instead of thinking of the various negatives. Good luck!

A precondition for the responses in this vein: Avoid time-suck leisure activities that mess with your brain's reward system and keep you up at night (video games, porn, social media, etc.). You'll claw back some time for hobbies, or, at the very least, you'll get more sleep (which does wonders for your energy level and outlook on life).

I'd prioritise "engage with your wife and kids" over hobbies - a lot of divorces happen when one partner feels they're doing all the work raising kids and feels the other partner is taking up hobbies to avoid it. Engaging with your wife and kids, if treated as an emotional investment (i.e. got to be careful how you do it just like picking stocks for an investment fund), over time will yield dividends in terms of less nags and less screaming.

I was there, although I wouldn't have said "despise" -- more like "dissatisfied". A decade or so later, my wife divorced me.

There are a lot of pieces to that, but I ultimately realized that I had been suffering from long-term, chronic depression -- the kind where you're not necessarily sad, but the world just seems very... flat. And you are irritable a lot.

I want to recommend some things (understanding that I'm just trying to get you to think about them -- I don't know you, so I could be way off course... but). 1) Look into whether you have depression or not. At the very least, see a therapist. Maybe get a pyschiatric or psychological evaluation as well. Because depression sucks, and if you are battling it, you want to know.

2) Start looking at your life. What do you want out of your life? What would you hope for if you could "blue-sky" it? Because you need to make this life count... regardless of what your partner's expectations are. There are lots of books on this subject (random one: "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero).

3) Look at your spiritual life. (I don't necessarily mean religion.) If you are like a lot of us, it has kind of languished. But it's one of the legs of the stool, so you shouldn't neglect it.

4) Quitting is always an option. Telling yourself it isn't is just a way of locking yourself into BS options that may not work for you. Yes, there would be an economic hit. Maybe you'd have to sell your house. Maybe your partner would divorce you. It's OK to consider the drawbacks, but leave the option on the table, because... this is your life, friend. Destroying it for money is a bad, bad plan, and will teach your children the worst of lessons -- that life is a horrible grind for security, despite the fact that we hate our lives. Bad, bad outcomes come out of that lesson.

Take what you like, and leave the rest.

>3) Look at your spiritual life...

This can not be overemphasized in my opinion. The natural result of Atheistic Naturalism is, to me, nihilism and its accompanying depression, so I would encourage an honest examination of your worldview and an openness to faith that provides a sense of purpose.

You don't have to believe in God to have a spiritual perspective -- see, for example, Buddhism.

As it happens, I do believe in God(dess), but what is needed is not religion so much as spirituality -- see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality

>The natural result of Atheistic Naturalism is, to me, nihilism and its accompanying depression,

This is a view of atheism which seems predicated on a common theist belief that morality and "purpose" can only exist through belief in a divine being. Yet there are plenty of atheists who are neither nihilistic nor depressed - and plenty of theists who are.

One can believe that life has value, and that life can have a purpose in the context of humanism, and one can even have spirituality without embracing a belief in the supernatural or the divine. As Douglas Adams said, isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

I don't think there's any harm in giving it a try, even if you decide it's not for you.

Same goes for trying out atheism.

Which of course makes no sense because this is not a brand of coffee.

If you're already an atheist there is no need to "try it" because you are already familiar.

I know, I was suggesting to try out atheism for someone who believes in something else.

All this to say that such suggestions do not make sense, a belief or lack of is not something which someone can "try out". I can imagine that following some major life events, for someone who is inclined to such a change, "trying out" is an option.

Having had all kind of dramatic events in my life I never felt the need to invoque a superior being. YMMV.

That's false though. You don't have to start out committed to anything. You can simply pick up a religious book or attend a religious service and see if it speaks to you.

Are you a believer? Do you think it is enough to just say "I do not believe anymore for the next 2 weeks", really meaning it? If so, it means that the faith was not very strong.

Except for some specific cases, one usually grows with a religion or non-religion and this deeply forges one's perspective.

I'm an adult convert. So what I'm telling you is, I didn't have to start out believing; just curious. Obviously atheism is different because there is no particular doctrine or liturgy to involve yourself in, but you could certainly read atheist polemic.

Please reach out to a therapist. I promise you weeks or months from now you'll be glad you did. I've seen a few specialists in person, but I would recommend starting with Talkspace, which is a great app + way to get going NOW seeing someone.


Be careful about the therapist you choose, and don't hesitate to part ways with them (edit: and find someone else) if they aren't helping you. Being stuck in a dysfunctional relationship with a therapist is worse than not seeing anyone, IMO.

This is the right answer. An internet message board is going to give you all kinds of advice, some of it good and some of it bad, and all of it made without key information about your situation.

> The wife thinks I should be here at least 1 year, or else it'll look bad on my resume.

If the job sucks, just leave. Resume aside, the mental and physical health effects from a sucky job is not worth it.

If your wife doesn't want to listen to you, find someone that will. Tech friends, psychologist, pastor, etc.

And if you're feeling overpowered, just take one thing small that's annoying in your life and change it. Enjoy the fact that you took control of it for a moment. Then move to something a little larger and fix that. Do that enough times, and then being assertive will be a natural reaction to adverse life stimuli.

It’s all about priorities. You’re confused on what matters the most in life and this happens to a lot of people in your exact same situation. Your kids, your wife. Let’s put your job aside. A job is nothing, you’re not a founder you’re not following your own mission so it’s just about the money to support your family. Some people would argue here but these people don’t have a real purpose in life.. again, they don’t follow their own missions AND they don’t value family.

So, focus on your family and try to find happiness by watching your kids growing and learning about new stuff. Screaming comes from a lack of general knowledge. They’re just kids... play your role in being a dad and just learn how to appreciate what you and your wife have created. That is your real mission in life. Love your wife, help your family, inspire your kids.

As others have pointed out negative thinking is a bitch as it always finds ways to reaffirm itself.

That being said. You never really make it. There is no magical "release". You will always have to cope with, all sorts of things that you did not really ask for - that's just part of life. Everyone goes through life like that, even the people on Magazine covers and Instagram.

Life is hard and challenging and all the better for it. With challenge comes growth. You may have to make some hard decisions but being sick and tired of it all is a good place to be. It forces you to think of ways to change.

nailed it

It sounds like you live for the future but don't have any vision of what that future is or know why you are trading your time now for time later.

You could try living in the present more. Alan Watts' The Book is a good way to explore that perspective shift, if you enjoy reading philosophy.

If not, try questioning your assumptions and getting out of your comfort zone a bit. The prison exists because we forget that we made the walls and the bars.

One thing that might help is to talk with a licensed clinical mental health professional. Helping people in circumstances like yours is what they do. Good luck.

Seconding this. It can be hard for high achieving individuals to therapy. Many people have been able to power through life through their intellect, resilience, charisma, or whatever else they have going for them. At some point, that might not work anymore. A licensed mental health professional will help someone work through what is going on in their life. Find someone you are able to connect with and go from there.

If you don`t have "release" at home but feel like you are nagged there, then settle that first! I know my wife for 12 years (we are both 31y old), and we had ups and downs in our relationship. I know when we did not feel like we had support from each other at home, that that spilled out to every other sphere of our lives and we felt miserable. We grew out of that silliness, and are now living the most beautiful times of our lives. Yes, I don`t like my job either for X reasons (software engineer at gambling company), but love and understanding with her is keeping the balance up. Also, one other thing that helped is mindfulness. Just read "Mindfulness in plain English", it is such a wonderful book. Try to practice it both while sitting and meditating and in "real" life. One other thing that insta-leveled my mindfulness and made me more ok with bad/boring/sad things in life is ayahuasca but that is another story.

Ayahuasca should be considered first before you try anything super dramatic. (Divorce, Moving...etc)

It's not as big a deal as its made out to be. It like a very therapeutic yoga retreat where you puke a lot.

Also I wouldn't put quitting in that dramatic move bucket. I quit a job after 3 months and just said (I like everyone here, but I'm not using my full skill set and I could be making a bigger impact somewhere else.)

Honestly I think it made my resume BETTER. And when the company is called as a reference, they actually parrot my line word for word.

Perhaps you should take some time to talk to your "nagging wife" and work out your issues

I was also going to suggest starting here, with your wife. The two of you are the core. If you're not working as a mutually supporting team, it's all going to be 10X harder.

Yes, exactly. And often nagging is a symptom of feeling ignored. Most people don't nag their partners to do something if they're confident it will be done if they ask once.

This would also help with the screaming kids. They pick up on the tension between the parents, and act accordingly.

Hello friend. I was in the same situation as you but it happened a bit later in my life. You need to find something outside of work and outside of the family that makes YOU happy. For me I found reading books I would not normally read (non technical) and shooting at a near by range to be ME time. I look forward to it and that makes all the difference in the world. Currently, I'm reading the whole series of Dexter books. Grab the book and head to a coffee shop... has to be out of the home... enjoy a cup of coffee and a book alone. The shooting has been great too. I now have several buddies (from the job I do not like) that meet at the range every few weeks and we spend a few hours together talking guns and ammo and other things. I hope this helps you. I know that situation well and it can be very depressing.

Your problems were years in the making, and no one is going to solve them in the space allowed in an HN comment. As others have advised, go find a therapist of your choosing and talk it out. I don't know you, you don't know me, anything I have to say is probably just going to be sophistry. If you would describe your spouse as "nagging", I'd suggest couples counseling as well. Sometimes you need that objective, outside 3rd party to help settle your differences.

That said, I think many of us are familiar with what you're feeling: life is just going from one obligation to the next. I'm quite happy and like my job, but I feel the same to some extent as well. And all I have to do is go to work, walk the dogs, keep the not-nagging wife happy (no screaming kids). Still, the weekday is a. go to work b. walk dogs c. time with wife d. go to bed, then start all over. It can be a treadmill even for those of us who have few obligations and are relatively happy. What action items can you take from that? I dunno, but you're not alone nor even relatively rare.

As for some kind of outlet or release, I play a musical instrument for an hour a day. And were I new to an area, I'd go find local music "jams" to play with others. And then I make friends. :-) Music, bicycling, whatever floats your boat, and there's probably a local group that does your activity regularly. Go find those folks, hang out with them.

In closing, go find a therapist. That will be far more helpful than what you find here.

> I don't know you, you don't know me

Technically the same is true for the therapist currently.

Well, I'm only 26 and feel exactly the same. I don't have a wife, not even a girlfriend, not a single obligation. But I still wake up every day to go to a job I hate, and come home to nothing, feeling empty, like I am only wasting my time.

Why don't I switch jobs? Why don't I do this or that? Because I've been "switching lifestyles" (switching jobs, moving in with the GF, switching GFs, being single, etc) for the past 8 years, and every time I end up with the exact same feelings: overwhelmed, confused, depressed, stressed. So I've decided to go with the flow for a while and see what happens.

Bottom line is: sorry I can't give you any advice, but I guess life is hard no matter your situation, so I hope this can give you some consolation.

I'm 36 jobless and have swung back to living with my mom after being laid off a few times. Eventually I ended up going broke. Constantly looking for work when you're not employed can do a lot of damage to your leverage and you're more prone to taking another low quality job.

With no disposable money you cannot inject a lot of variety into your life. For me it became a repetitive routine of doing home chores and errands with my mom, followed up with going to a coffee shop with wi-fi just to get out of the home, and applying for jobs online, taking phone interviews or just posting on forums like this one.

Then it starts to suck the motivation out of you, motivation to learn or try new things, work on side projects that you can present to employers, etc. The grind of job hunting without variety in your days is very draining.

I really wish there was a government matchmaking program in the US that would help line up freelance employees with employers.

I am able-bodied, my only "disability" is the ineffectiveness of acing job interviews. I'd rather my government hook me up effectively with a job, than SNAP, medicaid or cash.

It sounds like you have no idea what you want. That's a common affliction, but you can't really satisfy your desires without figuring out what they are.

Yeah, I feel like I never knew what I want. I realize I want something, set myself to get it, but in the process I realize that's not quite what I wanted to begin with, so I have to start again. And again, and again. It's been like this for as long as I can remember. And I have suffered all along the way.

How does one figure out what they want anyway? Do you have to quit life for a while, embark on a spiritual journey into your own mind? Take psychedelic drugs? Spend a month without saying a word?

I know I sound condescending, but really, this is how I feel. I wish I felt different, and I've been working on that. Last year has been a blast, I've learned a lot, I feel like I have made real progress. But I still feel lost.

Take a read of Tao Te Ching. It's written 2500 years ago about spirituality. Find a translation you like. Don't read explanations of the poems - It's designed for you to find the meaning yourself. Once you've gotten a meaning for each of the poems in relation to your life (Chinese philosophy is generally experiential rather than rational, subjective rather than objective), I'm hopeful it will help you get "there" wherever "there" is. I don't think it'd take you more than a few months to a year to get through the book.

So I'd go for "embark on a spiritual journey into your own mind".

My life is completely different than 4-5 years ago. Most of the acquaintances I knew then probably think I've gone nuts, (and IMO selfish to show them how good my life is now), but my best friendships have become even better; I really like where I am right now in my life - every day I wake up and enjoy it - At this point in my life I've spirituality, health, family, finance all sorted. I've met hundreds or thousands of people in my life, have not met anyone else who've got these four things together as well as has happened to me yet (except my wife) - and I don't know if it will last; but it all started when I started poring over those poems.

Anyway - most people these days tend towards an atheist/rationalist point of view and have no interest in books on spirituality & religion from 2000+ years ago, and if you did not ask the question I would not have written this comment. I do hope it helps you on your way.

Same here man, I'm 26 too. Have gotten some good thoughts from HN and other places. But part of me really just wants to quit for a few months and be alone and out in the world, get out in nature and away from social media and the city folk. Meditation has been very helpful. I also wonder about psychedelics. Maybe being with a good, relaxed friend in nature could be a good setting. But I also think, from my experience with the herb, that it might make me even more questioning, paranoid, and unsure.

Your wife is probably as unhappy as you are, maybe more so if she feels like she has even less control over the situation than you do. The "nagging" is likely her way of expressing frustration and telling you she needs help. Try to avoid thinking how much easier things would be without her. Things are likely to be easier with her if you work together.

See if you can start a virtuous cycle: try finding a way to make her life even a little bit easier without expecting anything in return. If you help solve her problems, she might help solve yours, and you can start functioning as a team.

Perhaps you've been making decisions based on factors other than what YOU want. Now you have a life full of things you don't want. I would say take a step back and get to know yourself again.

This is a really simple and insightful comment and one which resonates with my experiences. We are all swayed by our loved ones, friends and family, and sometimes give their opinions extra weight. It is so important to make sure that you do things that set your life plan on a path you like. Otherwise you will end up writing posts like this poor guy on HN.

Personally I decided not to follow certain career paths earlier in life, for complicated reasons which involve other people and their preferences. I've regretted that series of decisions ever since. It took awhile to realize this, and it's too late to go back.

So that's life, right? Some times you make your bed and have to sleep in it. But we can always change the future, which starts right now, every second of the day. I found a few hobbies which give me some of what I was missing.

And exercise is always underrated. When I run into difficult times an exercise regimen is most helpful. It's a meditation of sorts and much more.

Depression is both a cause of and result of hopeless thinking. Once your are on that cycle it can be really hard to break out of it. Consider a checkup with your doctor in case there is something physically wrong in the mix. But more likely you want to see a therapist or psychiatrist to talk through what is going on. They can be incredibly helpful at helping you get out of that cycle or at least stop feeling worse and worse. If nothing else try reading books or blogs about people living with depression to maybe find some help or advice.

Read "Your Money or Your Life." It will help you clarify your thinking on the job front. Some people I know use it as a spark to change their situation. Others find it helps them find peace where they are.

Most of all: you have a lot going on with you right now. If you can find a way to carve out time to do something for yourself and by yourself that can help make the hard parts of your life seem less insurmountable. Try offering the same to your wife. She may be just as depressed as you are and that is part of the nagging.

Lastly, don't worry about the less than a year thing. People understand sometimes things don't work out. When you interview for other jobs don't say why it was awful, just say it wasn't a good fit and have some innocuous reasons to hand for why that was. Preferably some things which your new employer would be doing differently.

It sounds like you have a lot to offer once you figure out where you want to go towards, not just away from.

+1 for Your Money or Your Life - the book that changed my life. I have been recommending that book to everyone who will listen since 2006! :)

Quit your job, your mental health is far more important and tech is in demand anyway; I switched away after 2 months and then again after 7 months. "1 year on a resume or else you're doomed" is bullshit, unless this is your first job ever.

Have a honest talk with your wife, it can save your relationship. Most people I know break up because they don't talk with each other enough. Remember that it's supposed to be her and you vs the problem, not her vs you.

Good luck.

Are you currently contracting or working full time for your current employer? It's not clear. If the former, I don't know what the specifics are of your contract. If the latter, it's up to you to determine whether there is a manager you can discuss your dissatisfaction with ("absolutely despise" is pretty strong).

If you can't speak to anyone there to try to improve things, you're going to have to sit down with your wife and discuss the money / fulfillment / personal sanity / job security dynamics and how it's going to affect your family unit. And I do mean "the unit" - this is affecting everyone in your household. If you're decent at your craft, a single short-term line item on your resumé shouldn't all that harmful to your career - make sure your wife understands that. Convey to her that you need at least an hour or so of peace when you get home to decompress and strategize for routines to make this possible. Remember to acknowledge and show gratitude for her sacrifice in helping you through all this.

If you don't have more optimism and a plan in place within a week or two, get thee to a therapist. Do it for your kids.

11 Months ago, I got married to a woman that I love dearly. At the time she had been going through some family issues and was taking it out on me. Shortly after we returned from our honeymoon, she became extremely irritable and unable to do common tasks on her own. After I literally put her in the car and took her to the doctor, she was diagnosed with major depression. At the same time, my department at work was being investigated due to misconduct on the former director.

At this point, I felt like as you describe every day. Here's what kept me going and will always keep me going:

I believe with all my heart that God is ultimately in control, and that there is something much better coming after this life. I never know why I'm facing the trials that I go through; maybe I'm being conditioned for something else in the future, maybe part of my purpose in life is to be able to be here and help my wife get through this.

All-in-all, I look up to God, because I know He cares. I'll keep you in my prayers.

As an addition to this, I did go talk to a therapist, and I would highly recommend it. Sometimes it's nice to talk to a professional, unbiased third-party.

It doesn't help that the time between the late 30's through the early 40's is the nadir of life satisfaction in general.

You may want to talk to a professional if it is really getting to be too much to handle. A good councilor will help you figure out your own path and help you identify what needs to change.

Ooo like the use of “nadir”, +1

Friend , typically when the present sucks the enterprising human being lives either in the past or the future.

So as others have said; solve the present if you can , and if you can’t then wait it out whilst you consider the future carefully.

Yes this question has appeared here too many times. :(

As someone who went through depression/burnout/divorce at 40 I really feel for what you are going through.

I wish there was an easy answer. The bottom line is don't go through this alone - get professional help.

That said, I've been through a couple of periods of burnout/depression (I'm coming up to 56 now), here's what has helped me:

1) Long walks in the fresh air every day (don't underestimate this one!). 2) CBT. 3) Taking six months off work! 4) Travel and a new hobby (scuba diving). 5) Friends and family, especially my awesome brothers, and my partner of 12 years.

Take it one step at a time. Good luck!

1) Long walks in the fresh air every day (don't underestimate this one!)

CGP Grey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO1mTELoj6o

Very nice!!

You can not find the solution on the internet any more than you could fix an ulcer through google. A therapist will have repeated experience with this problem and it's solutions.

One important point they could identify is the cause of the problem. It may be that distress is clouding your reasoning. For example identifying the kids as part of the problem is possibly erroneous.

If you want to fix it before making an large but ineffective decision based on possibly miss-interpreted causes, I strongly recommend seeing a therapist rather quickly.

First, find a good marriage counselor. Most therapists in the US are actually pretty bad at marriage counseling, focusing mainly on women and children who have been victims of abuse or addiction.

Because they're not used to having to make two parties both engaged in the process, when you and your wife go in, their prescription will be some form of "your wife is right about everything, and you need to be the one to make all the changes", which is ridiculous, because it doesn't get at the root cause of half the problems in the relationship.

Your marriage is your largest asset, and your children deserve to have it as intact and resentment-free as possible. For your screaming kids to be bothering you this much, the marriage is probably a complicating factor (don't yell at him!). So start fixing the marriage first.

If you absolutely loathe your job, devote an hour a day to replacing it. Therapy should help your wife understand that your health and well-being is more important than your career, so keep it on the down low until you have that portion addressed. It won't happen overnight.

I have no doubt your job dissatisfaction is negatively impacting your marriage. Now you know it's there, you can take steps to fix it. As soon as you start, you'll have things to look forward to, and you'll stop feeling trapped.

Finding a new job seems like the minimum you should do - it's where you spend most of your day, no wonder you feel like a prisoner. I left a job earlier in my career after 9 months because it just wasn't working out. They thought they were a startup (6+ years in profitable, etc) and wanted employees to work long hours more often than I thought was acceptable. No one has ever questions the length of my gigs (whether FTE or contracts.)

I hit 40 this year, I have a 6 year old son with a chronic illness (type 1 diabetes) that requires 24/7 attention/care. There are nights we don't sleep, the school calls the house at least 5-6 times a day for advice, my wife and I have had maybe 3 date nights in the past 5 years. We make it work because we have no choice.

I work remotely (Sr. Software Dev) and while there is competition, more and more companies are allowing remote (or are completely remote) - even architects/directors/etc.

It feels like the most important thing you need right now is hope. There are plenty of remote work sites out there, start applying & interviewing. Right now you feel stuck, once you make the decision to start looking - your perspective might change just a little bit and you may realize there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

You gotta change something and there's really just one option. I'm in a similar situation and recently read about Effort-Reward-Imbalance. Both variables tend towards 0 for me and to fight this darkness and boredom I started my first new project in years, a bookkeeping app of all things boring... Maybe you do miss development or smaller companies to work for. Better you pull the plug now before you burn out over this.

Find a new job, job happiness will roll over into your home situation.

Yeah, it "looks bad" to be at a job less than a year, but if someone hires you, what does it really matter? I'm sure you can come up with a good reason you need to leave the job.

I manage by doing things like riding a bicycle with my daughter after dinner, playing with the dog, reading old novels or reading about computer science (as a hobby, I don't work in IT), and reading stoic philosophy.

> "I feel like a little bit of me is lost every day, as my mind just spirals out of control."

I can relate to that sentence. I've been there. Sometimes it still feels like I am there.

Like others have said, I would reach out to a therapist. While I'm biased because my wife is a therapist, I saw one in college for 2 years and it changed my life. I had many of the same thoughts you are having now. Allowing myself to open up with what I was thinking and feeling was the only way I was able to get myself out of that cycle of feeling powerless over my own life.

Was the reason you took the job or what they led you to believe the job would be different from what you are actually doing? That's a perfectly valid reason to leave in < 1yr. As long as you convince your next employer to hire you, it won't matter. I just met someone who jumped jobs every year or every other year and it's never been an issue for him - as long as you have a good reason.

>>release when you go home

Do some group fitness after work, you need some kind of third space and mental release and this covers both.

When i find it tough, I remember that I am far more lucky, regardless of my situation, that some others in the world. Migrants forced from their country etc. These people always humble my own personal problems, and therefore make me feel better. Maybe this would work for you?

Do what you need to to make yourself happy.

If you don't, you'll be dead soon, or dead inside. And either way that's not sending a good message to your children.

You should show them a happy life, and if you need to make changes at home or at work, than do that—no matter how hard it is.

You may be able to save your marriage and your family and you sanity. Have faith even though contentment seems impossible now.

How's your diet? Do you work out? Take care of your body. Do you meditate? 15 minutes in the morning of sitting and watching your breath can be a transformation.

Have you seen a counselor? Do you regularly go on dates with your wife? Do you have guys nights out with your buds?

There's a lot of little adjustments that can be made. You don't have just ONE problem, you have a lot of interconnected ones. There's no way to fix them all at once. Even if you filed for divorce, moved out, and did freelance basket weaving you'd just have another set of problems. Better to fix what you have than destroy it, we're not cell phones or toasters, we're not disposable.

Stay, fix this one step at a time. It's like a hoarders garage, lots will need to go, some stuff should stay, and you gotta just start slowly at one corner and work you way through it like an infinitely patient monk.

You may also want to try reading the book "12 Rules for life" from Jordan Peterson. There's an audio book too. It's got a lot of well laid out and researched stuff for making life better.

Nagging wife -> bad sign

Job you hate -> bad sign

Probably going to get divorced and leave your job to be honest

> I hate waking up, because I know it will be the same thing over again, day after day.

Change your life. You can't do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

Sounds like you need to identify some activities that bring you joy and satisfaction, and then pursue them more aggressively.

This can actually be problematic because sometimes you can be left not knowing what makes you happy - and chasing past happiness (nostalgia for example) can end up being empty.

Heaping on more activities is probably difficult in the OP's situation.


I was in similar situation, divorce really helped. My ex respects me way more, I travel, spend more time with kid...

Yes, but consider that he maybe wants to keep a family unit together for the kids.

Sure, but it is not possible if other partner does not want to.

Other option is to let wife work for a while, and you stay at home with kids.

A lot of people here are suggesting professional help. What do you guys suggest if you're poor?


What if you're poor AND atheist?

Volunteer. Find a way to help other people with worse problems than you in order to get out of your own head.

Mindfulness. This way you can meditate without any god beliefs

Try playing Paintball. You'll likely meet new people and you get to shoot them!

I would like to meet and shoot people

Travel the suburbs. Meet interesting new people, and shoot them!

Ha! I know it sounds stupid guys, but I actually think paintball is a really fun environment to meet people and build friendships. Now to be fair there are some clubs that are bad where people don't talk much and their play style is "buy a lot of our paint and lay down so much fire nobody can move around the field" because it supports their bottom line. Find a group of players that want to have fun and enjoy the game.

Ha! I know it sounds stupid guys, but I actually think paintball is a really fun environment to meet people and build friendships.

I wasn't trying to put you down. I was just trying to call back to the old joke. A coworker of mine is into paintball.

No worries I never down-voted you (can't do that anyhow) Enjoy your Friday and the weekend!

A lot of this resonates with me (new city, kids, wanting to quit but can't). It is a really tough spot. Especially having to suck it up all day at work and then finding it hard to unwind at night.

By the way, aren't the kids asleep at some point? Can you get some alone time then? This can be a spiraling place too, by the way (alone at night) but handled constructively can be a place to recharge.

Also, I'd echo everyone who says make improving your relationship top priority and to consider therapy.

I'm not out of the woods yet but things have gotten a litte bit better for me last six months or so:

-Took the mindset, "I'm going to take a year just to be less intense about work and improve my health and well being outside of work and tip the life-work balance much more toward 'life'. A year of just healing and self focused improvement." When I was younger everything was about drive and going above and beyond at work. I decided to just turn inward for a while and let that go. I realized I had had kids, moved, and never rebuilt my self care routines. Or any routines, really, except for some unhealthy ones.

-Stopped drinking at home at night after everyone went to sleep. This was hurting my sleep (I stay up later when I drink), my health generally (eating lot of crap due to booze, missing morning workouts), my attitude at work (due to lack of sleep, being hungover). I am reasonably sure I am not an alcoholic; quitting was somewhat surprisingly not a struggle — but I was definitely using alcohol as an escape and crutch and just bad habit.

-With my wife on board, carved out time, and more importantly personal dedication to, working out 3x week. For me it's a group exercise class I really like but I also enjoy running and would do that if I didn't have the group stuff. This helped my mood a lot, although you need to watch for exhaustion issues, especially when you first start exercising. (I had been working out roughly 1x/week for couple years then 2x week for couple months before I went to 3x.)

-At work, focused on putting one foot in front of the other — picked my battles, stopped trying to "save" the company from bad patterns, narrowed my job focus as much as I could, avoided speaking up in meetings on things that didn't directly concern me as often as I could bite my tongue. Tried to honestly assess where I have room to improve and things to learn (even if there is institutional dysfunction/injustice in my way). This made work less about misery and discontent and more about an opportunity to grow.

All this has helped give me more patience and energy with my kids and spouse. I am not perfect (I still can be defensive and snippy) but it's improved a ton from when I was maximally stressed and feeling powerless and stuck. And I find as my mindset has changes, and with help from workout endorphins and more sleep, I am more appreciative of how great my kids and wife are. (I always knew this and often expressed it but now I'm wasting less time feeling tired, angry and distracted on weekends about work crap, etc.)

Hang in there, it will get better.

(Also how old are your kids? are you getting sleep? The sleep situation improves a lot every year for the first several years!)

Same situation only a bit later in life (I've got good genes, knock on wood...) In fact, I already had a mid-life crisis in my 30s, coz my first wife told me I would die at 60 (she was a palm-reader.) So my advice to the youngsters reading this: have your mid-life crisis before your first hemorrhoid, it helps. Regarding the wifey and kids, I found a partner who knows my situation at home and we do crazy things with her just to blow the steam. Then I confess on Sunday and it's all good.

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