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Ask HN: I can't think straight, my life is in limbo, and I want to end it now
44 points by goodbyeworld on July 29, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments
I have absolutely no idea why I am still posting this right now.

Maybe I am just less resilient than most people. Maybe I am sick mentally. Maybe I just don't belong.

For the past 20 years, my life has been a joke. I live in B.C, Canada. A few years ago, I traveled 21 hours by plane to see what my father looked like. He didn't want me, didn't even call me his son. My 9 cousins and 3 aunts/uncles don't know I exist. My grandmother died without knowing I existed. My mother and I have moved 30 times, and I've been doing my best to help provide for our lives.

I made the first big mistake of my life and gave up a full scholarship to law school because I wouldn't be able to provide for my mother. I dropped out of college after 1 year so she (being at such an old age) could have a decent standard of living, and see her happy for once in her life.

Then the second big mistake. I took a massive mortgage and dumped all my savings into this apartment, simply because I knew it was my mother's lifelong dream to have a place of her own and move no longer.

29 days ago, I made a third big mistake. I quit my full-time web development job, because the PM (who had authority because of the messed up hierarchy of the company) decided I was not 100% committed to the job because I was not pulling 80 hours a week (like nobody else in the company) and did not bother to update my LinkedIn profile while I was there. It was impossible to reason/discuss these things with him, and so I quit. I quit with a massive mortgage and a mother to feed despite knowing full well it would be a bad idea. I quit a job without having another one lined up. I quit because my ego couldn't take being taken advantage of.

<--Post too long, whole post here: http://pastebin.com/LyabB2gB-->




You need to talk to someone. I don't mean you need to talk to a psychologist, you simply need to talk to someone now. There are many here on this site who have felt despair like you.

Go here: http://www.suicideprevention.ca/in-crisis-now/find-a-crisis-...

Find the number that is most appropriate for your part of BC and call it.

Your first two mistakes don't sound like errors to me, they sound like they were things done out of love for your mother. You have a heart. Your third 'mistake' only looks like a mistake now: life is long.


And you can phone the numbers at any time, 24 hours per day!


First off, Knock it off; Your life isn't a joke, I can guarantee you that.

Second, I can offer you some advice that may or may not be helpful. My father had years of familial strife and issues with his father, brothers, and step mother. One day, after a lot of careful thought, he sat his father down, and told him that he wasn't going to be part of the strife and silly games anymore. My father gave his father a phone number and said "I'll do everything I can to keep this phone number. If you ever really want to talk this stuff out, you can call."

It took about 20 years and a terminal case of brain cancer, but the phone call came. And more importantly, in those 20 years, my father was able to focus on building a family and a career of his own, free of the pettiness, bickering, and abuse of his own family. It's hard to draw a line in the sand and set boundaries. It's hard to admit that a person you love will never give you the praise or acceptance you want so bad from them.

If you do accept it though, and you do draw a line in the sand, I bet you're going to be much better off for it.


This concept is brilliant. It creates a feeling of empowerment, because for once you have taken control of the relationship. You act like an adult where your father cannot. You are who you are. He is who he is. Your mother s who she is. You are the child and they are the parents. It seems that at some point they forgot that. You are allowed to make mistakes and have their support. Good luck.


You shared a great example. Thank you!


Man, I feel your pain. Reading your post gave me strength, knowing that I'm not alone. I woke up this morning wanting to read Viktor Frankl's "Man's search for meaning" because inside I'm crying and I've broken.

I've known rejection my whole life. By my father, by family, by girls, by kids at school. When you give love and get rejection in return, it hurts. I stopped expecting anything in return when I give. I was picked on by every bully that came my way since primary school. My grandmother gave me nicknames all the time. I had no friends growing up and I thought of running away every day. I dropped out of college to support myself, took some financial risks and lost all my money. I quit my job a couple of days ago and I still have to get a new job. I'm on my last dime as I'm typing this.

But I know, somewhere on this earth, there's someone who needs me. I know it doesn't have to be someone I know today, it doesn't have to be my family, the girls that rejected me or my father (he wasn't there for the 20 years I needed him, then he passed away and we never met, having only spoken twice on the phone for no more than 2 minutes each time). Maybe it's an orphan who needs a mentor, maybe it's a woman who will think I'm "the one". Maybe it's a startup that needs another programmer, maybe it's just someone on the side of the road who just needs someone to talk to.

My good man, I just told you my story to show that there's still hope for people like us. We've known the worst, we've known failure and rejection but that's what makes us strong. We know how to give even when everything around us seems like a conspiracy to make us quit. You just gotta hold on. Speak to someone, call the suicide watch line. It will get better if you're willing to speak to someone.

All the best


But I know, somewhere on this earth, there's someone who needs me.

This. No matter what relationships are dropped or attachments are taken from us there is nothing more beautiful than the friendship and love that is waiting for us out there. Hope drives this. All it takes is for us to seek it.


Hope you're okay.


Man, I'd like to let you to know something: it's not about how fucked up you are, but how you deal with it.

Just to begin, I live in the third world and you live the life I wish I could.

So, you can get a job somewhere else. Do it. Now, let's put some focus on your life: YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

I have quit my job also but I got my shit straight by doing college and shit, even though I'm from a poor family and all my class had more money and 'happiness' than me.

You know what? Happiness comes from the inside, from the outlook you have of life. If you created this post right here, right now, that can only mean a good thing: you are striving for the best. I've been suicidal for a long time in my life and thats because I was trying, you know. It was hard as hell, but that made me hard, and this is what you become once you go over all those problems, everything will look small.


I am not going to tell you what to do or not to do. That is something for you to decide. However here are some things to consider:

1. You don't need your father to "want you" or "call you his son" to be happy.

2. You can sell your apartment or drop the mortgage. It is not the end of your life.

3. You can take care of someone else only if you love yourself first. You don't have to take care of your mother.

4. So you quit your job, big fucking deal. You will eventually find another job. Hell, you can find a job making fries. Remember that.

5. Everyone makes mistakes; yes, even mistakes bigger than yours. It is not the end of the world.

Look man, life is harsh for everyone. The world knocks you hard sometimes. You gotta be there for yourself. You gotta love yourself. That is the only way to fight.


Please don't die, someone somewhere needs you, she hasn't had anyone she enjoys talking to as much in 2 years. She nearly lost her mind when she saw your facebook status, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, couldn't focus on work, ditched the dinner plan that she had. Tried to phone you every half an hour but you wouldn't pick up.You never knew it was the most fun game jam and hiking she's been to, and how much she enjoys failing at badminton with you. And how sad she is about going back to college because she won't see you as much anymore. And how she's crying her eyes out reading this. Just don't die, please, i beg you.


When I was really depressed I thought it would be just another failure if I talked to anyone about it. You're very brave.

I noticed you didn't post contact info. If you decide to I'll talk to you. Maybe we could talk to someone more specialized as well if you want to.


You started your post with "I can't think straight", and I think that is something you can maybe focus on. You realise you are not thinking straight, you realise your life is in limbo. Those are not reasons to end it, rather they are reasons to get your thinking straight. As many others have mentioned, there is help available to you, particularly in Vancouver.

I responded to your previous post about your PM, and I'm sorry to hear that didn't work out. Don't give him and the company the satisfaction of knowing they beat you. You're not done, you've still got work to do in this world.

There are MANY, MANY people far worse off than you at this moment, and they're pushing through, and fighting for something better. You're not alone, things will get better, as long as you stick it out, and know that you can.

Get your thinking straight, get out of limbo. You don't need a job or degree to define you. You don't need a father or family to know you exist. Your mother clearly knows you exist, and I suspect she needs you. What will happen to her without you.

Didn't Steve Jobs also not have a relationship with his father? Did that stop him?


One essential skill in life is knowing how to deal with losses. Ever notice how you play hard when you are behind in any game, but if you fall from the top you feel like quitting? That's where you are right now, so it's actually a good sign. You are in a great career field and managed to buy a home. That's ahead of many people already. Recognize that you are actually ahead, and you can fight back from any loss. When you take a break from the game, you realize you can climb back up just as easily.

In your case, you just need to fix your mistakes. First, find another job. Second, decide whether you can afford your house. Losing it is not the end. If it was a mistake, cut it out and lose the stress.

DO NOT LET YOUR HOME BE AN EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT. The fact is, it was not right for you, and not right now. Your mother deserves the best but she would much rather see you happy. Losing a house is nothing compared to losing you.

Bottom line, you feel like you are losing, but you are actually very much ahead. Don't let yourself go, because you actually have much further to fall than you think. Just fix your mistakes and move on.


You have options! If you need to talk to someone call the BC Crisis Line @ 1-800-784-2433 [1]. I have called it on behalf of someone before and they are extremely understanding. You can also go to a walk in medical clinic and they can give you a referral to talk to someone.

Unemployment can be a tough spot when you have obligations, trust me, I have been unemployed too, you are not alone in this fight! BC is a beautiful place to live, and there are plenty of jobs in the lower mainland. I'm not sure where you are, but in Vancouver, you can check out bctia.org Tech Jobs section [2], there are 1215 listings. If you live on Vancouver Island, check out Viatec's Job Listings [3].

I would suggest you call the crisis line and also apply for the BC Employment and Assistance program [4], which will likely help you cover your house payment while you look for work. If your mother is unable to work then you would look at getting assistance for her too.

Also, keep your options open, there are lots of day labor places which you can just show up in the morning and get paid cash. It's summer, so landscaping is an option, etc. There are lots of jobs outside of IT which will help you cover your costs. Constructions is also an option. You can almost walk onto a site if you have boots and a hardhat.

[1] http://www.crisislines.bc.ca/

[2] http://www.bctia.org/Resources/BC-Tech-Jobs

[3] http://www.viatec.ca/job-board/results

[4] http://www.eia.gov.bc.ca/publicat/bcea/BCEA.htm


2 weeks ago I was in a similar situation. I had suicidal thoughts, and was deeply depressed. I've had suicidal thoughts before, but I had never actually planned my own death before. It felt like there was someone else in my head and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the voice to stop beating me up. I was losing it. It felt like who I am was being stripped away from me. I was fine one day and the next I just lost it. I immediately looked for help, and rallied a support group. I went to a psychologist who then talked to my doctor and got me on anti-depressants. By the end of the first day I took my medication I felt 100x better. Turns out I might have been born with low serotonin levels. I had been diagnosed with depression at 17 but ignored it (now 28).

I know you might feel lost right now but you cant give up. Stay positive and seek help. It will get better I promise.


File for unemployment. Find another job. If you are a developer, you will find a new job in a snap.


I spent half my life feeling suicidal, and I'm talking daily graphic suicidal fantasies.

But something I heard once stuck. "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem", and I made it my mantra. And you know what? Eventually life got better and now it's fucking awesome. There is always a chance of that, unless of course you kill yourself, and then you miss out on all that future joy.


You would probably benefit from working all of this through with a shrink. And no, I'm not part of those who believe shrinks are for crazy people.

EDIT: We think we make "mistakes". In reality, they are not mistakes - they are simply the things we logically had to do, given our initial genetic equipment combined with the environment we were born into (everything else is just a logical consequence of these 2). So there's no shame to be had or judgment to be made (judgment is something only uneducated people use).

EDIT 2: If you're feeling depressed, you may also benefit from adequate medication (but you need a shrink to evaluate this point). It can lift you onto a whole new level you may have forgotten it exists.

EDIT 3: And don't forget that every human being has an inherent value which is the same for everyone. You are worth exactly as much as Bill Gates or the slum kid. All the other judgments we make regarding ourselves are just artificial constructs.

EDIT 4: "You would probably benefit" was an error: You will definitely benefit!


Assuming this isn't some kind of juvenile troll, you just wrote like 9 paragraphs of English prose without any obvious spelling or grammar mistakes... that puts you in the top 1% of people that can write. That's something.

Here, listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-WHW-QNswE

There, fixed it.


You are good to be rid of your shitty job. Nobody should have to work 80-hour weeks (unless there is a good reason, but generally there isn't) or put up a boss who thinks you aren't committed to your work because you haven't updated your friggin linkedin profile.

Also, home ownership isn't everything its cracked up to be. I live in BC as well, and I currently rent. I used to own a home in Alberta, but sold it when we moved. We realised that renting is generally cheaper than owning (when you add the fees and cost of having the capital tied up), and a lot less responsibility. In many places in BC (Vancouver, Victoria) owning a home is financially nonsensical.

Thirdly, it's time for you to start thinking about yourself as well as your Mother. It's good that you care about her, but sometimes you can burn yourself out by doing too much for other people and not enough for yourself. What good will it do your mother if you stress yourself out so much that you kill yourself?


Im in BC too, would be happy to chat, just msg me or reply to this comment with a way to reach you, what do you have to lose? =)


Been there, done that. 1st off you have a chemistry problem in your brain. Not your mind your brain. This is a chemical imbalance that can be readjusted. A good 1st move is to printout a copy of your post here and hand it to a doctor. They have the antidepressants that will reset the brain's balance. You haven't done anything wrong and there are many people that are in your situation. We over-pressure ourselves creating a continuous stress that wears the brain down. When it happened to me the world actually turned grey. Amazing. You'll come out of this and then one day you'll be making a post that will help someone else. Oh,one other thing. About quitting that job, good for you. You have courage to speak your mind, that's a rare thing nowadays. You still have your skill-set and something better is just ahead.


If you received a full scholarship to law school, then you must have a good head on your shoulders.

Talk to someone, keep your chin up.

Contact that law school and explain you needed to provide for you mom and see if they will let you in now! I have no idea if something like that would exist but doesn't hurt to explore it.


A lot of the comments are really condescending and unhelpful. There's a lot of posturing Silicon Valley bullshit on this forum, and it really sucks. If you can't say something genuine, shut the fuck up!

You aren't weak. Everyone can break, and everyone breaks in their own way. If you head down this road, always realize that the people telling you to suck it up are the ones who have their own problems they haven't dealt with. The vast majority of humanity are like piranhas to pain, wanting to rip apart yours in an attempt to fuel the broken soul inside of themselves. Your pain matters, trust me. You matter. You just need some help. You aren't a pussy, a fag or a loser. In fact, the people who don't offer help or make you feel bad usually have the dumbest reasons in the world for acting that way.

Sucking it up and soldiering on is exactly what has lead you into this mess. Now is the time to examine your life, possibly on your own or with someone who cares. It isn't easy and it may take years, even if you "know" what the problems are.

You are an adult man caring for your mother and she treats you badly. Something tells me you aren't the bad person here. You obviously know that somewhere if you felt the need to tell us in that way, and you just wanted it confirmed. I'm confirming it for you. Narcissistic parents suck. Please realize that your parent, despite how you feel for them emotionally, are a person like any other whom you didn't get to choose. Your dad also sounds like he needs his ignorant, posturing face knocked in...no offense.

Your problems are environmental. Maybe you have mental health issues too, but you're describing a toxic life with a forfeited opportunity, a terrible job, a useless, cruel father and a mother who needs a reality check.

If you die now, you never get to see it get better. You never get to experience reciprocated love, discovering new parts of yourself or pursuing a dream. You never get to live , which it sounds like you haven't done much of.

Don't do it.


Hey man, I missed this, but I'm also in BC. I hope you are still following this.

First of all, you should really contact professionals or a suicide line.

There was a time in my life where I felt exactly the same way as you do. My life was worthless, I'm inherently broken, the same stuff you say to yourself. These thoughts and feelings take a toll on us. I got on the phone with a counselor and I could barely answer any of their questions about what day I should schedule an appointment.

You're not broken or less resilient than others. Many people have similar problems. You just can't tell from their public face.

A professional is your best bet, but in addition to that - if you just want to hang out and talk about stuff, tech, life, otherwise, contact me anytime. I'm in Vancouver. neilk@neilk.net.


Your life is not a joke. You've sacrificed tremendously to help someone who doesn't even seem to appreciate it. Your desire to sacrifice repeatedly for someone else is incredibly meaningful and rare - and such actions are far from mistakes. Empathy and compassion are the essence of meaning and you have an incredible ability to provide this love even when it is not reciprocated. Someone who lives this way could never be a joke.

You deserve happiness and you deserve to have your tremendous compassion recognized and returned in kind. I hope you will be able to put yourself in an environment that is free of negative individuals, because anyone lucky enough to be exposed to your tremendous selflessness could not help themselves but to respond with love and appreciation.


There are some good answers and advice in the comments here. One thing that appears to have been missed is - there is an underlying issue that you may or may not have identified yet which will have a major impact on your psyche. Being rejected by a parent is one of the most soul-crushing things that can happen to a person. Our sense of self worth and our relationships with others is largely defined by our relationship with our parents ... the one people who are supposed to love us unconditionally.

I have seen its impact on friends and family, and it remains as a major influencer all throughout life if not addressed. I recommend speaking to a specialist about this.


I'm up in mackenzie brushing minimum wage, sometimes less, it is piecework; nothing like physical labour, to motivate yourself. We've got work till Aug 12. You will be stung by hornets everyday and we work from 4am till 3 PM. There is a significant cost outlay to get a brushing saw, so I don't recommend this job. 25 bucks a day camp cost. Treeplanters and brushers pretty chill. Just in case you don't have enough hours for ei.

Edit-- also fathers don't really matter that much, for happy lives.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5721653


I am so sorry you're going through this. Remember, you can always procrastinate ending it all, and do it later while you examine other options.

There is a community at DevPressed[1] of developers who struggle with depression.

I am a developer and gave a talk on my struggle with depression and the greater issue of Developers and Depression [2]. Email me if you'd like to chat - greg at baugues.com

1. http://www.devpressed.com

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFIa-Mc2KSk


Call 604.872.3311 or 1.800.SUICIDE or go to http://youthinbc.com/about-us/contact-us/ for online chat.


You sound like you have a Narcissistic parent, you sound like me no too far in time, this is a phase, don't do something stupid.

Read this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_parent check this subreddit http://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/ and call a help line or talk to some stranger in a park.

Please talk to someone, get help with a shrink.


Given your ID, I know you probably won't see my reply. But still, here's my 2ยข's worth:

> I have entered this world unknown to all except 2 people, both of who do not care if I existed or not.

Why exactly is that relevant? Your life can be worthwhile for you, whether or not anyone else knows about it. If you got to eat the best meal ever, would it taste any worse to you if no one else knew about it?

> soon I plan to leave this apartment and just walk.

Sounds good to me. I mean... the ending of toxic relationships. Do take care of yourself.


I have had some worse situations, friends leaving, people dying in the family one by one struggling to find a job, finding acceptance and so on. I just began to think in the same way. Think about your mother and about the bright future, not on your past, start afresh. Even Gold has to go through fire to prove its purity. Just wait for things to fall into place and hustle, life will be awesome soon.


You do belong! but need to clear your head. you will think more clearly if you do the following 4 things:

1. get good sleep. 8-9 hrs for at least 5 days. 2. go to the gym. run. lift weights. 3. eat healthy. no sugar. 4. try to reduce your stress.

also may want to consider seeing a psychiatrist. they may add 5-9, but will start you on 1-4.


I didn't see this post until now... Please don't do it. I don't want to go into things about life and goals; others have already said enough of those.... But I live in great Vancouver area!! I can meet you up if you want!! And I sincerely want to meet you! Email me or add me on gtalk.


One more thing:

If you do suffer from depression (and it sounds like it), you also need to know the following about it, before doing anything else:

Depression happens when your brain doesn't have enough neurotransmitters, such as serotonine, dopamine and some others (= some chemicals).

Where does that come from?

It can be a genetic predisposition and it can be your life circumstances (such as toxic people, toxic work conditions, a couple of "bad habits" or emotionally heavy events in your life) and often it's a very individual cocktail of those things.

But the take-away is this: In the end, it all comes down to A FEW MOLECULES IN YOUR BRAIN that are (temporarily) missing and that COMPLETELY WARP your vision of things. In other words: your brain is lying to you! How can you make the right decisions with that? You simply can't. And nobody can judge you for that.

You now probably see why taking one's life is not necessary, when you can correct the issue with meds almost instantly (within a few hours) and then get your shrink to help you back on track for the long term.


It sounds like you have a lot of upside. You're smart enough for law school and a good enough programmer to get hired by a company.

Now you're going through a down cycle in your life. That's only natural. What you need now is to identify what resources are available to you. Find your safety net: are you eligible for employment insurance? Social assistance? Where is the local food bank?

Identify what you may need and start making phone calls and visits.

Your situation isn't much different than a severe storm warning. You know a storm is imminent. You need to calmly and purposefully make preparations. Bunker down. You'll survive and be wiser for it.




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