Letter to my psychiatrist to be, 2009

Stockholm on the 12th of February 2009 (original letter)

Dear Henry,

I am now already 26 years old. The reason I’m writing to you is because I feel I have lost the spark of life. I have been thinking about going to a psychiatrist for over a year now to unravel this for me rather unusual situation. Through my parents, I was advised to turn to Pelle and Anne-Cathrine, a couple who are close family friends of ours. After a long conversation with them they advised me to turn to you. With an honest and sincere letter about my life, my feelings and my problems I hope therefore that you will give me the chance to come on a visit.

I was born in a happy family, to the extent that we are well off, my parents are still happily married and I have been growing up with love and, I think, healthy values. Both my parents are very successful. My dad has partially made a political career, been party leader and governor, but also in recent years have entered the business world with good results. My mom is from the beginning a journalist but also she made a political career and is currently the Minister of Culture. I have a one year younger sister who is a very fine person. We have a good and genuine relationship, although we are quite different in personality. My sister has had a quite severe depression, feeling guilty and bad in general. However, I do not think we have the same kind of problems.

To bring some structure to this, I try to start with telling my life story in chronological order and then continue with my personality traits, my wishes and fears in life. I have almost always been a basically happy person. As a child I whistled and sang a lot, as an adult I have been generally positive and creative with many ideas and seeing opportunities. Moreover, I have been lucky to always know what I want and I basically have not encountered any major obstacles along the way. Mathematics has always been easy for me and I knew I wanted to go study science in highschool, I went out with good grades from Östra Real, where I had a fun time. Then I knew I wanted to travel – I lived in Rome for a semester. Then I knew I wanted to do military service as a Combat boat chief – was accepted as a platoon leader in Vaxholm and later selected as boat chief. Then I knew since a long time that I wanted to study Industrial Engineering in Lund – I got accepted and started in the autumn 2003. During my studies I knew I wanted to have time to go skiing one season, “bag-pack” in South America, study abroad and meet lots of people besides performing good results. Indeed, this all happened. I knew, I knew, I knew …

My life has always been very full of activities and I have lots of friends. For some reason I am almost frightened by the thought of not doing anything particularly during a weekend, or that no one will call. Certainly I have suffered setbacks, such as when my last girlfriend behaved so badly that the relationship had to end – but I have been spared major setbacks, if one can compare in such a way. It has been easy to study, easy to get friends, easy to meet girls and everything has been flying at 100 miles / h.

As for career, I knew I wanted to start my own business, since I feel that I am an entrepreneur. One company I have already started, but to get more experience, in 2008 I started working as a Management Consultant and got a dream job at the prestigious, global firm X. I have a wonderful girlfriend who has the best quality you can have, she is kind. The dream apartment has just become mine and when it’s vacation I’m going to either Thailand, Verbier or Sydney. But somehow it is not enough. This hunt makes me feel an almost constant worry. Hunting for “kicks”, the perfect life. I consider myself to live close to my feelings and I have no difficulty to open myself. But for the first time in my life, I do not feel like I have a clear goal that feels meaningful and I do not really know what I want. I do not know what makes me happy.

The first word that comes up to describe how I feel is “bored”. But I also feel that I am drained of energy, it is not at all the same “go” any longer. I’m not happy when I wake up in the morning and have suddenly begun to feel insecure in various situations. At work, I do what is required, but the motivation is for the job, as in many other areas of my life not very high. I think I started to feel like this after I came home from my studies in Australia, in January 2008. It feels so sad, I was the person who bubbled over with excitement. Sure, I can still shine occasionally, but according to my girlfriend who knows me well, I have almost become a different person. She has been suffering which is giving me bad conscience. Feeling guilty, I do quite often. For instance I get irritated on my parents, especially my father, for all sorts of things and then I get a guilty feeling afterwards. Feeling guilty for not working enough, feeling guilty for not keeping in touch with all my friends, feeling guilty that I do not organize more parties and feeling guilty that I do not take advantage of life and do everything I should do. I also get  bad conscience that I complain about my life when everything yet has gone so well for me. I hear my own thoughts – “think of the children in Africa”. But that comparison does not make me into a happier person. It just makes me feel spoiled.

I think I am a person who prioritize adventures instead of security, lack of adventure makes me restless and unhappy. I’m not quite sure if I should really stay in my relationship, but at the moment I love my girlfriend and I think she is the best girl I’ve ever met. The passion is still there and I’m definitely attracted to her, but I’m somehow still bored by the relationship. There is no difficulty for me to come up with things I want to do; go skiing, parachuting, traveling, partying, climb mountains, etc. But one has to do something meaningful in life and once a wise man said to me said to me – “all that stuff is only fun if you’re on vacation from something meaningful”. Life can not just be a game.

I have had this performance anxiety my whole life, many would surely believe it is due to my successful parents. But in such case it is indirect. They never pushed me in terms of school or such, mostly they have just been proud. To seize the day, they have always told me, with the result that I get feel guilty once a sunny morning is wasted. But the greatest pressure has always come from myself.

Trying to sum it up, it feels as if the joy of life has left me. I am not deeply depressed, but most of life feels meaningless and that I think is terrible enough. It feels like the adventures of life is about to end and I often long back to times that have past. Some might think it sounds like an age crisis. Often I wonder if I really should stay in Sweden, but the question is if that is where the problem lies. Of course it is up and down, some days are better than others – but unlike how I have been throughout my life, I am currently not a happy person.

What makes this especially hard is that I do not really understand what the problem is. For once I get no structure. That is why I now take the step and turn to an expert, to sort this out. My great hope is that I’ll find a way to know myself, to know what I feel good about and become happy again. In such a case, I am convinced that I will also be able to make people around me happier.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours

Babyface comment in 2015: I went to Henry 2-3 times per week for 3.5 years…

Babyface's first article published in Swedish newspaper!
Why am I sad when everything is good?
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