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  • Should I leave my family to go on a Spiritual Journey?

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    Old 05-25-2014, 04:08 PM   #1
    olywa1978's Avatar
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    Should I leave my family to go on a Spiritual Journey?

    Hi everyone, my name is Mike. I'm new to this site and this is my first post, so I apologize if I break any hidden codes of conduct or if this is too long for some of you to get through. This decision is tearing me apart and I need some outside opinions from unbiased sources. I'll try to be short and direct. Thank you!

    I SUSPECT (along with my fiancee and mother) that I have been depressed for a very long time, my mom says I've been this way all my life as long as she can remember, and neither of us know why I've been this way. I have always had highs and lows, much like many people in the world I suppose. Not a great childhood, but not a horrible one either.

    In the last five years my behavior, temper, mood swings, impatience, irritability, random acts of rage, everything has increased. This, along with my inability to feel happy, satisfied and content in my life. Every time I think something is the answer that will fill the void in my life I end up wrong and still feel that my life is hollow. I have always talked about wanting a family, kids, dogs, etc. Ever since I was a teenager I've expressed the "need" for this more settled and stable way of life. Four years ago, at the age of 32, I started dating my fiancee, who I met at work five years prior. She is an amazing woman, beautiful, free-spirited, compassionate, smart and driven. She was in nursing school at the time that we started dating. She also had three kids (ages 7,9 and 10 at the time), all from one man. I figured here is a cool woman, who is accepting of me for me and she has kids in need of a positive male influence, since their dad is not in the picture. I was previously through a very unhealthy marriage (as was she) that scarred me in a lot of ways and distorted my view of women, I admit. I had the opportunity to conceive children with a handful of carefully selected partners that I loved and didn't use protection with and it just never happened for me for whatever reason. So, here was a woman who was very complete in my eyes who had kids. Maybe a ready-made family is the path I need to take to feel happy and fulfilled. I met her kids and they gave me a hard time at first, but they warmed up to me and they were great. They are very bright, smart, do very well in school. So, we've been living together for the past three years and I have to admit that going from being just me to living with three kids (now 11, 13 and 14 yo) hasn't been nearly as easy as I anticipated. They are now getting into their teen years, becoming very opinionated, outspoken, hyper, high-maintenance, expensive, etc. It's still getting tougher, but when I am really honest with myself, even though these kids are spoiled overall, have it better than they think they do (better than most kids), feel entitled to everything under the sun and think they are smarter and wiser than me, I still care about them. I let my emotions get the best of me at times and, sometimes when I try to conceal my anger and frustration with them I just ignore them, which is not very good either. Everything they do just stresses me out and adds to the overwhelming weight on my shoulders. It has finally hit me that I really am "daddy" to these kids and this is my new "job". I love their mother deeply, which is why I've had the stamina to stick around and not run away at times.

    I worked in various construction fields for about six years, until getting a job in the dietary department of a hospital. I started out as a dishwasher, went to be a server to the patients and am currently in charge of patient meal production in the kitchen. My original plan was to work there for one year, two tops and move on to bigger and better things. This was the first job that ever offered me any kind of benefits at all and I NEVER had a paid day off before, until I came to work at the hospital. It wasn't very glamorous work, but I was satisfied with the benefits, decent pay and the job-security (tough to get fired from there). It's a "non-profit" Catholic hospital that started out with a positive, friendly, family type of atmosphere. Management acted like they cared about us, would ask about our personal lives, show understanding and compassion for us and if we needed random time off work for personal reasons they were always very understanding and accommodating. They understood that we had kids, lives outside of the workplace and that sometimes things came up. Gradually, the place went into more of a corporate direction that was focused primarily on numbers, the bottom line......profit. There is no longer that feeling of being a valued member of the family at work. Workplace politics are way up, people are fighting and bickering a lot more, management are writing people up for every stupid little thing. Basically, my job sucks now, but I've been there for so long that leaving for another job means taking a significant pay cut and losing my benefits, etc. So, the reason I'm still their is strictly out of necessity, I get no satisfaction out of it at all any more.

    My family and I have accumulated a TON of stuff in our time together and we are getting very tired of moving from place to place. We have very little help and I find that I pretty much do it all. We want to buy a house, but we both have made a lot of financial mistakes and our credit is in the low 500's. We have no money for down payments, no savings, no one to borrow money from, etc. We moved into our current house last August, with the understanding that we could live here for two years while we get married and work on our credit. Our landlord said this was a good plan and that we could renew our lease for another year when the first one ends this August. Knowing this we have arranged to be married in September. We dumped a good amount of money into the wedding already and were only halfway through our plans and all our guests were informed, etc. Then last month our landlord tells me that he has a dilemma and needs his house back "asap". We know that we don't HAVE to move until our lease ends in August, but we feel compelled to leave sooner, so we've been looking for a new place. For the type of place we need to live comfortably, we need about $4,000 for the move-in costs we can't swing it, so we had to cancel our wedding because of this. Not only that, but we are having a hard time finding a place that will let me keep my dogs. I have a very deep relationship with dogs, especially MY dogs. I love dogs and these two ARE a part of my family.

    As I've gotten into my 30's I've been struggling with my views on the world, life, my life purpose, what do I believe in spiritually, do I have any concrete beliefs, what is my role here on earth, stuff like that. Deep stuff. With everything going on, I cannot even begin to create the brain space to figure any of that out. I've been feeling so overwhelmed in all aspects in my life and I feel like I'm sinking, every day is the same. I'm just in this continuous mundane rut of misery. I get up, tend to my dogs, do whatever chores I can squeeze in before I go off to the job I hate, come home to loud, obnoxious kids screaming and singing at the top of their lungs, my fiancee telling me about the latest activities that she has enrolled the kids into (there's already too many for me to keep track of). Every day I come home, get a drink and head to the garage (my space) where I put on the loudest and scariest music on my ipod, lift weights and kick the living crap out my boxing bags. My moods are a constant revolving door of sadness, hopelessness, despair, impending doom......then I'm calm and mellow for a while.....then something trivial sends me into a rage and I'm completely filled with adrenaline and want to break everything......then I feel happy. I've been looking into various mental disorders, because I am aware that SOMETHING is definitely going on in my head now. I've heard that bipolar disorder stems from severe depression, something I've apparently had all my life on and off. Every symptom I've come across seems so familiar to me. The craziest one to me is the mania lol. There are times when I come up with BRILLIANT ideas on new projects or ways to improve my life, bring in more money, etc. and I am completely focused and it all seems within my grasp. I brainstorm lists on how it's all going to work, I tell everyone, I'm SUPER EXCITED.......then in the blink of an eye I get the depleted feeling of disappointment and letdown. That everything I've been thinking about is out of my reach, that I am destined to fail.....again. I can't explain it clear enough. Some days I look at my family and I'm the happiest guy in the world, because I feel like I have it all. Then in a flash, I'm feeling in over my head, bitter and resentful toward the kids, frustrated with my lady.

    I suppose your first question for me is, have I been to a counselor. The answer is no. I guess I'm one of those guys that thrives on being self-sufficient. I don't like to run for help whenever I have a problem. If the car breaks, I fix it. If the house has a problem, I fix it. If I don't feel well I treat myself. I haven't been to a doctor in the last four years, since I got the flu just days after getting my first flu shot ever, which lasted three months and resulted in pneumonia AND bronchitis. I don't go to dentists, I brush and floss twice daily, use mouth wash, and I clean my own teeth with my own set of tools. If there is anything I don't know how to do for myself, I look it up on the internet and teach myself how to do it. With this issue, however, it has worried me a little, to the point where I feel like I could possible lose my family if I don't deal with my issues. I have broken down and looked into getting therapy, but just don't have the extra money for this. We make decent money, but we also have a lot of bills already. My insurance covers it, but my health plan sucks and has a $1,500 deductible, so basically I'd be paying for it all out of pocket anyway.

    I thought of an alternate approach to start with. I've always wondered what it would be like to just drop EVERYTHING and just leave. To take a sabbatical and go on a hiatus to another country, hike the appalacian trail, climb a mountain, just get away from it all and take the time to go out and do something extraordinary. There is obvious risk involved in quitting your job, cashing out your retirement and abandoning your family, so it's been nothing more than a fantasy of mine for years. The other day my Fiancee told me (with a straight face) that, once we get moved into another house, I should quit my job, cash out my retirement, leave her a little money for bills and leave for a month, three months or even six months. To just go off and do something amazing for myself, to get lost in the middle of nowhere and seek the answers in life that I'm looking for. I do a lot of reading and the vast majority of the people I've read about that have done things like this have come back completely different people with completely different views on life. It could be a very life-changing and enlightening thing for me for sure. The thing is, it has made a great fantasy in my head and the thought of actually doing it is a bit scary. I've always been a bit conservative in life and never been a big risk taker. I guess I am a little scared of the unknown. What will I do when I get out there? Will I be able to get another job when I get back? Will my family be ok while I'm gone? Will they welcome me back or will they have moved on? The kids, my fiancee's mom, my mom, my brother, everyone thinks it's a crazy idea and are a bit shocked by the thought of it. I guess it's more like something they hear about people doing in books and movies, but not real life.

    Is this something that can actually make sense and do me good? Would it be too selfish of me to do this? The answers I'm looking for are much deeper than money, my job or even my family, to be honest. We are born into this world alone and, despite those we have around us, those we love, we each have our own life to live as individuals. It's our own individual existence that just happens to merge with the existence of others, right? Our own mission? Our own purpose? We all have an individual mission on earth, I believe, and it's up to us to figure out what that mission is. If that means we have to get away from all the trivial, stressful and mundane things that distract us and get in our way, in order to free ourselves up to potentially receive some kind of message, then doesn't it make a little sense? My fiancee says that she is willing to support me in this and let me do whatever I need to do to conquer my demons, find myself and get my answers, but that she wants it all figured out before we get married.

    Am I being stupid here or should I take advantage of this opportunity?

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    Old 06-15-2014, 02:30 PM   #2
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    I'm sorry to hear you are having these issues. I know you posted this almost a month ago but I just wanted to say that you should remember that some mental issues are caused because the body is unable to produce a certain chemical. Diabetic people lack the ability to produce some or all of the insulin they need. Without medicine, the diabetes is not necessarily fixed. The same can be said for bipolar disorder, depression, and many other illnesses. If you are lacking a chemical in the brain, you may need to supplement it in order to feel better. Your journey may be the best thing you ever do but it may not necessarily fix the problem permanently.

    Good luck to you. I hope you feel better.

    Old 06-15-2014, 03:28 PM   #3
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    Re: Should I leave my family to go on a Spiritual Journey?

    I think you might have a couple of things going on. One may be a depressive disorder that may require some kind of professional help. You sound like me- I won't go to a doctor unless I'm dying, but if there is a chance you may lose all you have worked so hard to find all your life: your family and kids, then it would be worth it to at least investigate a little. There are a lot of docs out there that aren't the greatest, so try to get a recommendation from someone for a counselor, and it doesn't hurt to try, right?
    Secondly, as I have always been told by different people, if you don't care for yourself first, how will you be able to care for your family? I think your fiancee realizes this, and wants you to feel better, so that you can come back to her, a more complete individual. That is why she wants you to do something for yourself. If you do decide to leave, make sure you let the kids know what you are doing, tell them how much you love them. Just realize, this will affect them. They may not understand why you are leaving, and feel you are not coming back. But on the other hand, if you are angry and irritable with the kids a great amount of the time, maybe being away from them is best, for a while.
    Third, spirituality is something you can pursue without having to leave your family. You can open a Bible anywhere, and praying to God may be done at any moment, especially when you are having a bad day and need a big shoulder to lean on. If you need alone time to get away, maybe you could go away for a weekend to the mountains, and just say you need a little alone time. If you go away for a couple of months, things may not be the same anymore. The kids may feel they cannot trust you anymore to be there when they need you.
    Unfortunately, this world in which we live has a lot of negatives, and these things soon deplete our inner resources if we don't have coping strategies, or change our way of thinking. Keep your mind and heart open, and maybe something will grab your attention and help you to be able to cope with life's problems.
    Best wishes, K.

    Old 06-16-2014, 06:47 AM   #4
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    Re: Should I leave my family to go on a Spiritual Journey?

    I think that it is very natural to have these feelings. You are being faced with so many important life decisions and worries that your body’s natural reaction is to flee and run. I don’t think that what you are asking for is selfish. If you know that doing this will make you into a better man for your fiancée and future step kids you should pursue it. Take three weeks and really do something that you have always wanted to do. You also have to try to determine the cause of your unhappiness. Is it just your job? Is it your deep questions about life? Is it your family? Once you have identified what is truly making you restless you can devote your efforts to changing it. Don’t be reluctant to work with a professional in getting help. There are always programs or classes you can attend free of charge.

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    bipolar, depression, healing

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