Life is based entirely on obsession and apathy?

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In summary, the author is feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed, to perfection, and to do research with a professor that has taken away 100% of their well-being and mental health. They feel suicidal at times and indifferent of themselves. The author has stopped hanging out with friends, seen family, and doing things they enjoy. They have turned to antidepressants as a last resort and they feel they have benefited greatly from it.
  • #1
Hello my EE brethren,

I'm currently working on my Master's with thesis in E&M Engineering, with an emphasis on RF, and I'm absolutely depressed out of my mind. Despite my loving of everything about the science behind the subject and the fact that I'm doing extremely well, I feel that I have sacrificed 100% of my well being and mental health to get to the point I'm at. I'm so obsessed with doing well in school, my job and doing research with my professor that I've completely stopped hanging out with friends, seeing family and doing things I enjoy. I can't even exercise something I once enjoyed doing without feeling the guilt of non-progressiveness, as if there's always work to be done, something to be designed or to be solved.

My obsession with perfection has turned into self loathing as well as loathing of others. I feel indifferent of myself for not being better, knowing more than I know now, and for having any ebbing thoughts of complacency. The enduring stress this causes leads to the rage I have for those who do nothing with their lives and who don't contribute/want to contribute to society in any way. These impressions have had me withdraw from the world. I then feel overwhelming guilt for imposing what I enforce upon myself on others(it's their lives, they can do whatever they want if it makes them happy. Why should they live up to the same precipitous standards I have set for myself?), which then further intensifies my hatred for myself. It's just a vicious cycle of indifference I just can't seem to escape from. I feel at times suicidal, as if what's the point of existing if my life is based entirely on obsession and apathy?

I'm sorry, I know this isn't a psychological forum, but I figured some of you would understand what I'm going through. Perhaps engineering is the culprit of this, or perhaps its my own way of perceiving it that is the culprit? I don't know...

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  • #2
I can understand the pressure to succeed is very high with some people. What you need is therapy. I would ask your doctor for recommendations in your area. Don't give up, you can always make a change for the better.
  • #3
Solving problems can be fun, but is also stressful. If this is all you do your seratonin levels will get depleted over time. I would say that you won't be at your creative best and life balance is really important else it can become a downward spiral. I can understand your dilemma and would recommend taking a good daily walk and using the time to think about your work in a different environment. Don't forget to make time for fun - laughing is important for your seratonin levels too!
  • #4
Thank you for your sage advice friends. I love you.
  • #5
I had a similar problem. They say "beauty requires sacrifice" - I don't entirely agree with that. You need balance. Perfection is perfection, something that doesn't exist, don't set out to seek it either - don't mis-understnad, though. It doesn't mean you shouldn't work hard. I can't see you mentioned a goal anywhere. What others do is not your business, never was and never will be - take care of your own stuff not waste energy on judging others.

Thing is, you mention you have standards and some high-societish attitude, but once again, what is your goal? I don't go to work every day without a goal, my goal is clear - I work hard to satisfy my customers and offer them the best of quality dishes our team can cook. My goal is to get better at making cuisine, I have won several chefs' competitions over the years. So, what is your goal? Don't say you want everything to be perfect, forget about that - besides, once everything IS perfect, then what?

The culprit is your attitude. Take time out, go have fun with your friends, play pool and have a few drinks. Go work out regularly, or jog or swim or ski or skate.
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  • #6
Great advice above. If exercise, healthy relationships, eating, work/life balance and working all that out doesn't help I think there is some precedent for antidepressants.

I think of it as a last resort, but they have helped me greatly. Figuring out if depression is caused by life activities or purely chemical is always hard, since each play off of each other.

For me, when I had my life in shape, relationships healthy, etc. but still more depressed than ever I used antidepressants as a last resort and they have helped me a lot.

I admire your ambition for your career and hope one day to mimic your eagerness to solve problems.

Just remember what they said above; exercise, healthy relationships, and attitude make a big difference. Glad you felt open enough to share it with us!

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