Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor
Below is Dr Matt's Answer
Dear Dr. Matt:
I’m twenty nine and about to begin my last semester of graduate school. I am so depressed and unhappy, I don’t know what to do with myself. I have never been one who enjoys change, I truly feel that variety is the spice of bad.
In my head, I have idealized and romanticized plans for myself after I graduate. I just had the past two weeks off and had a really great time, just being lazy and relaxing, and spending time with my family and friends. But I had lunch with an old high school friend this weekend and the experience made me depressed. She is happy and married and her life is just as it should be.
Classes don’t begin until tomorrow! I know I’ve been through a semester of grad school already and I actually did really well. So what is my problem? Why am I sitting and crying all the time?
I would need to know a few more details about you and your situation, before I might discover the specific "root" of your problem--why you are feeling depressed and unhappy. In general, unhappiness always points to the same basic principle. It's a matter of heart and harmony.
As to your married friend who seems be sailing smoothly through life, the lyrics to a song tell the real story: "in the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see." You may think that your married friend's life is going exactly as it should, and even if it is, I can guarantee that she has daily challenges that are not apparent to you—that's life!
Life if not so easy to do. Why? One big reason is because we battle daily with an unseen enemy—and when we are not fully aware of his wily ways, then this unseen enemy will completely kick your butt.
Another source of your unhappiness goes to the very purpose of life: Our mortal existence centers upon "changing" and growing . . . and you say: "I have never been one who enjoys change" . . . thus, as you dislike change, you are resisting the Divine design of your existence.
Life will become joyful and fulfilling as you are willing to "change" . . . and actively seek "change" on a daily basis. Further, the only change that matters, when all is said and done, is the change that occurs at the core of your character—the change of heart.
To arrive at the willingness to change requires stepping outside of your comfort zone on a fairly regular basis; indeed, "change" is often uncomfortable. But the discomfort of change need not be agonizing. When life is done right, the discomfort of change is like the intentional stress exerted in a work out at the gym. When you get into a regular workout routine, meeting this physical challenge becomes exhilarating and motivating.
Intellectual and spiritual growth can occur similarly. As you grow in strength of character, you will become more and more capable of pushing aside depressing moments—patiently moving beyond them, and growing directly because of them.
All the best,
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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