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AshLeigh's avatar

What do you do when you're losing your faith, and your interests?

Asked by AshLeigh (14830 points ) September 29th, 2012

Lately, I’ve had no interest in writing, singing, or any of the other things I used to love.
I don’t even feel like going to church anymore. That used to mean everything to me, and now I have to force myself to go.
And I didn’t think about Asher (my friend who died just over a year ago) for a long time, and now I think of him all the time, and I started having nightmares about what happened.
I don’t even feel sad. I just don’t feel anything.
I don’t know what’s going on…
Please refrain from making this all about religion, because that’s not what it’s about, and I don’t want any arguments about it. Thanks in advance.

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20 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Losing someone close to you, for whatever reason, can have a profound impact. What you are feeling may be a latent result of the loss, or it could be just a part of growing up and discovering yourself instead of what your parents have instilled upon you. It may be helpful to seek out the guidance of a counselor.

Sunny2's avatar

Does your church have someone you can talk to? That may help. You sound depressed and a knowledgeable person to whom you can talk may make a lot of difference in the way you’re feeling. Grief can cause all the loss of feelings you’re experiencing. Don’t try to solve it all by yourself.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Sunny2 anyone at church would tell me to talk to Pastor, and to be entirely honest, I don’t feel comfortable talking to him about things.
We never once talked when Asher died, when my parents got a divorce, or through anything else in my life. I don’t see why we would now.

Coloma's avatar

You are growing and evolving and changing. Naturally so, given your age. You are right on schedule, about 17 huh?
You are trying to figure out your own beliefs, apart from your religious programming. You are, obviously, not at peace with what happened to your friend, clearly you have not really dealt with the loss, just sort of stuffed it. Let your feelings be, feel them, don’t run from them.
It sounds as if you are a little depressed.
Never fear, this too shall pass, and all you can do is surrender to what is. What we resist persists.

You are becoming your own person, let it happen my darling. :-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think I’m growing, to be honest.

Jeruba's avatar

You’re sounding to me like someone who’s depressed. If a young person who was close to me were talking like that, I’d be strongly encouraging the person to see someone in a professional therapeutic setting.

You’ve been around here for a good while now, @AshLeigh, and that makes me think you might have had a pretty good idea of the kinds of responses you’d get. I’m thinking maybe you knew what we might say and that’s why you asked—because it would confirm something you were already thinking. Could that be so?

gailcalled's avatar

Echoing Jeruba (which is always a pleasure) there is a description of losing interest in most things, which is a component of depression.

It is called anhedonia.

Anxiety can also trigger psychological numbness, and does severe grief.

These are a lot of fancy words, however, and are descriptive rather than prescriptive.

If you were were my daughter, I’d help you to find a therapist you trusted.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Coloma, my beliefs were never pushed on me by anyone. I was the one who decided to go to this church, and my parents never said a thing about it.

@Jeruba if I knew what you’d say I wouldn’t try to waste my time, or yours, by asking. It makes sense that it would seem that way, but I did ask because I wanted to know what you thought, and what I should do.

gailcalled's avatar

@AshLeigh: Jeruba was very straightforward; viz; If a young person who were close to me were talking like that, I’d be strongly encouraging the person to see someone in a professional therapeutic setting.

You can’t get clearer than that. She is telling you what she thinks you should do.

Her second statement is describing what you are doing in your response to her…being deliberately obtuse and focussing on secondary issues rather than the primary one.

So I’ll stop being subtle. You are exhibiting classic signs of depression (with good reason) and need to find a trained person to listen to you.

(You don’t sound particularly thankful…that is a snide remark.)

AshLeigh's avatar

@gailcalled, I didn’t ignore it. I am aware of what she was telling me to do, and I’m thankful for her response. I was simply clearing something up, and telling her my intentions.

wundayatta's avatar

This may not sound like much, but it’s possible that the changing of the seasons is affecting you strongly. If you have ever had depression, you should know that when there is less light, people start getting more depressed. This is one of the reasons why people in Norway and Sweden and Russia have higher rates of depression. I believe you live in Alaska, and we just passed the equinox. Shorter days are coming on with a vengeance.

Think back to previous years. It’s hard to remember for sure. Maybe you have a diary or something. You could check to see if depressions started appearing in October through December. December is the worst. I’ll be there are more suicides in December than most other times of the year.

Anyway, you can get more light in your life. Spend as much time outside as you can when it is light. You can also get light treatment if a doctor tells you you have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), or if you have bipolar disorder, which is often associated with SAD. Wow. My worst time started going downhill in October, and I nearly crashed and burned in January and February. Interesting. Never really thought about that before.

If it is SAD, there’s plenty to do. Exercise. Be with friends. Meditate. Exercise. Do Yoga. Make music. Get therapy. Maybe meds. Light therapy. Exercise.

Did I mention that exercise is really helpful?

Just a thought.

zenvelo's avatar

There’s a common theme to the answers here: you sound depressed, you are at an age where many people have a lot of emotional growth and changes and it can be upsetting, and you are probably having a delayed grieving for your friend. And each of the three of those feeds into the other two.

If you can, please talk to a counselor at school or find someone to talk to that you are comfortable and don’t feel judged. If you can’t find someone, call a suicide hot line and ask them how you can find someone. (I am not saying you are suicidal, just that it’s a place to find someone to talk to.)

We all want a healthy @AshLeigh and hope you find some help.

AshLeigh's avatar

@wundayatta it’s possible. It has been getting darker lately, which is normal for Alaska. But I know it’s never been this way before.
I’ll try to get more light. Thanks.

Thank you @zenvelo. I will try to talk to my school counselor, on Monday.

Jeruba's avatar

@AshLeigh, I’ve noticed that people often ask questions when they already know the answer, especially when they aren’t quite ready to admit it to themselves. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

In fact, sometimes the wisest responses do nothing but reflect what the asker is really saying, even if he or she doesn’t realize it yet. I know that sometimes when I ask my husband for advice, the very fact that I asked is an answer in itself, and he always knows when that’s the case. I thought you might be doing the same thing. If I’m wrong, feel free to disregard my comments.

However, I did give you my honest opinion, which is what I thought you asked for.

Sunny2's avatar

@AshLeigh I understand what you said about the pastor. As @zenvelo suggested, your school counselor is a good place to start to find someone you can trust and talk to.There should be places in your community to which the counselor can refer you, if the counselor can’t handle it. Be patient with yourself. You WILL get through the situation you are experiencing and you will grow from the difficult times. We’re rooting for you.

Coloma's avatar

@AshLeigh I wasn’t implying your faith was a problem, just that we all need to examine where our beliefs come from. That’s what growth is, taking inventory of what worked in the past and if it is still working now. Usually when we find ourselves in a place of confusion and uncertainty it means we are ready to shed some old skin and morph into something new and improved. :-)

ETpro's avatar

When life starts changing me, I go with the flow. I follow where life is taking me. I don’t “cling to my guns and religion.”

I hope you don’t see that as argumentative. It wasn’t meant to be. It’s just my honest answer to your question.

flutherother's avatar

You were not thinking about your friend Asher because you were suppressing those thoughts as they were too painful. Having nightmares means you are starting to come out of this phase and are coming to terms with the death. I think you will soon find yourself enjoying life once more. You are not betraying your friend by taking pleasure in life. Asking this question is a way of sharing your feelings. You can also communicate your feelings by writing down your memories of your friend or by composing a song in their memory.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree you sound a little depressed. I think @wundayatta makes a great point about the days now getting shorter and more overcast skies. It may not be the full source of your apathy right now for life, but it probably at minimum adds to whatever else is going on.

When I was a teen I had some depression and I see now that a lot of it stemmed from being lonely. I had plenty of friends, but they got into partying, drinking, and I just was not wanting to be in that scene, so I wound up home on the weekends. What really helped me was getting a job. Do you work? I felt good about doing my job well, met new people, liked my coworkers, and had some money in pocket. It took me right out of my funk.

Additionally, when I was an older teen, I think some of me depression came from not having a goal. Goal might be too big of a word, so I will say not having a clear next step, and some fear. Fear about whether to go away to college, uncertainty about leaving my boyfriend. Not sure if any of this rings true for you.

cinnAmini's avatar

There are so many wonderful suggestions in this stream! AshLeigh, as a fellow young girl I have been through exactly what you’re going through, you’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with you. This is a natural part of your growth, as so many have said so well. Be patient with yourself. One thing that really helped me was awakening/rejuvenating the creative force within us (I write and make art and had also lost interest in these things), which is connected to the second chakra. You can look up yoga postures, breathing exercises and other ways to energize that center. Kundalini yoga (and really any form of yoga or meditative motion) is also great for getting that creative “spark” to ignite again.

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