I am a 33 year old unmarried man living in Pakistan. I work in an multinational corporation and earn reasonably well. I use this money to support my family, which comprises of my mother and siblings.
I am writing to you because I am extremely disturbed and have lost nearly all control over my emotions. I don’t know if it is depression or something else. I have been feeling this way for the past two years now. Physically, it feels like my heart is drowning and I get this indescribably sinking feeling. Although I pray five times a day and recite the Quran regularly, this feeling doesn’t go away. In fact, sometimes I even feel extremely depressed while praying.
I believe I am feeling this way because I am unhappy with the way my life has turned out. As a student, I pursued my education in a field that I found quite boring and didn’t want to study but I had no other options available to me because of my family’s financial condition. This led me to my current field of employment which I absolutely hate. Also, I started working a bit late, at the age of 27, and I see people younger than me moving past me professionally because of their better qualifications and experience. As a 33-year-old, when I compare myself to people who are younger than me and better off financially and professionally, I feel very bad and start thinking of myself as a failure.
I want to give up my job and do something else to earn money but I can’t take this risk as I support my family financially. I should mention here that there are days when I feel very positive and get a lot of ideas for earning money but then after a few days, I begin to feel that it’s all useless and there is no point in pursuing my dreams. Eventually, I end up doing nothing.
Another problem I have is when I watch a movie or a play, I end up getting extremely infatuated with any of the female characters in them. I begin to think of her constantly and this reaches a point where it seems like my heart will explode. If I am in the office, I become completely uninterested in my work and wait for the time when I can leave office. I then rush home and find solace by being with my family.
Being with my family makes me feel much better and I am able to relax although the infatuation doesn’t completely subside. I think of getting married but then I keep putting it off thinking it’s too late for me to get married and also what if I keep on getting infatuated with the women on TV. Marriage won’t have solved anything then.
I sometimes think of going abroad but then I begin to worry about who I will rely on for emotional support there. Plus who will support my family financially?
Though I am asking you for advice and I know you will hopefully give it to me, I am still quite sure that I won’t end up following it because of my nature.
Victim of Emotions
Dear Victim of Emotions,
You should visit a medical professional for the diagnosis of your emotional turmoil. Everyone goes through the occasional blues but if your emotional instability has been going on for two years then it’s quite likely that you might be suffering from depression or anxiety. Therefore, it’s vital to visit a doctor and get a correct diagnosis. This will pave the way for getting treatment for whatever you are suffering from.
Warning 1: Please do not take your condition lightly. Ignoring your condition or postponing seeking treatment for it is only going to make it worse. Go see a medical professional as soon as possible.
Warning 2: Do not try to self-medicate. It is vital that you visit a medical professional, get diagnosed, have them draw up a treatment plan and then follow it for as long as it takes for you to feel better and regain control over your emotions, and in turn your life.
If your mind is generating ideas for you to earn money from sources other than your job and you get excited because of them then this means those ideas are valid and doable and thus there are ways available for earning more money. This is a good thing as it proves you have other options available to you. The bad part, which actually can be worked on, is that you lose interest and give up hope without trying. In a nutshell, you have options but you aren’t pursuing them.
The good news is that if you motivate yourself enough (I have written extensively about motivation and how to adopt it in one’s life in my previous columns. Please peruse them.) you can improve your financial condition. Again this is tied to working with a medical professional, who can also help you in finding purpose in life, thus leading to increased motivation.
There is nothing wrong in having harmless little crushes from time to time. People of all ages and backgrounds have them. Also falling in love with a fictional character is not unusual, and many people have found themselves emotionally attached to a character in a book, movie, TV show, or video game. You are not the only person out there who is attracted to fictional characters. Chances are, you aren’t even the only person attracted to that particular character.
The problem starts when these crushes take over some aspects of our lives and start affecting them – as is the case with you where your ever-changing crushes negatively affect your ability to continue working at your office. If you find yourself wanting to get out of social situations, or avoiding real relationships, then you have taken your love to an unhealthy place. Remember that the character isn’t real. In the end, you fell for a character, someone who does not exist. Make sure that is clear in your mind, even if it means stating it over and over again.
Tip: when your infatuation gets overwhelming, remind yourself that this is just something that you do. It’s not indicative that you are completely in love with or can’t live without this person, it’s simply a tendency you have. Coming to terms with that may make you realise that your infatuation is just a habit.
Patterns of infatuation are often indicative of a love addiction. You may have become dependent on the feelings you experience when you are infatuated with a person so you tend to repeat the same behaviours. Talk with a therapist about why you become infatuated with celebrities. They may help you realise insecurities you have about yourself that were temporarily resolved because of the infatuation. They may also help you discover a psychological reason for your infatuation. For instance, you could have borderline personality disorder and not know it. Repeated infatuation could be a sign that you are struggling with this condition.
If you feel frequently embroiled in a one-sided love affair, then you have to wonder about the real reason behind your feelings. My theory is that you have been alone long enough, 33 years, and now it’s high time you get married and settle down. Having a spouse with whom you can have a physical and emotional relationship and develop a deep bond will go a long way in getting rid of your frequent crushes on celebrities.
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note:The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.