Very depressed

I have been following WSO for about two years now. I was hesitant to ask a bunch of finance bros for advice, but I have seen a handful of personal posts lately, so I decided to say fuck it. I have made some posts before, so I made this account to be anonymous.

I am currently in my 5th year at a top state school. I switched majors from mechanical engineering to finance when I was a junior, hence the need for an extra year. This spring, I was admitted into the Master of Finance program here that specializes in applied security analysis. The way it works is that I start it this year while finishing my undergrad and then go back for an extra year to get the masters.

I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was 12, I turn 23 on Tuesday. I was suicidal during July and August and probably should have been in inpatient care. I did do an outpatient program that took up the majority of August, so I am feeling a little better after that, but I am still struggling. I just started working out again this week. I used to work out 5 times a week before I started feeling really shitty in July. When I was 10, I was diagnosed with Asperger's, which now would be considered autism spectrum disorder. Being on the spectrum is the main reason that I have struggled with anxiety and depression. When I was in middle school people started making fun of me for being weird, awkward and other adjectives. As I got older, I started to notice the differences between myself and other people. I began to see myself as less than other people and now I pretty much hate myself and have no confidence. Being on the spectrum makes it hard for me to socialize, especially with girls. I have yet to even have a first kiss, yeah I'm that guy. There probably has been at least one time when a girl has hit on me and I didn't even realize it because social cues go right over my head.

My parents also got divorced last year which has been really hard for me because I don't really have anyone else in my life other than them and they had always been my rock. My mom and I had a huge fight last year over the divorce situation and I have barely talked to her over the past year. For my whole life my mom was always the one who I would go to for help so to go from that to pretty much telling each other to go to hell has been hard. So, at this point my dad is basically my only support. Outside of family there is really only one person that I trust and consider to be a friend. We met through a finance club on campus and became friends over the course of 2 years. Her support has been huge for me over the past few months, and I might not be here if it wasn't for her support. I know she has my back, but I just feel guilty for leaning on her so much and putting my problems on her. So overall, I just feel very lonely and think that nothing will ever change.

I am also terrified about being able to handle a career. I tend to get overwhelmed easily and don't adapt well to change. I have read about how equity research and investment related positions can be a good fit for people on the autism spectrum, but I am still nervous about it. The MSF program has 100% placement within 3 months and almost all get into buyside equity research roles. It was a competitive application process; I was told over 100 applied and there are only 15 of us in the program. So even though other people believe in me, I just don't believe in myself.

I mainly just wanted to get that off of my chest, but any constructive feedback is welcome.

Comments (35)

Sep 14, 2019 - 6:11pm

Just keep on keepin on - the MSF sounds like it provides good opportunities - go with that, work a bit - if you don't like it, do something else.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Sep 14, 2019 - 9:59pm

I don't really have any advice. Just wanted to SB and say that I'm rooting for you man and that things will definitely get better even if it's hard to see right now!

if it was fun they wouldn't pay you to do it

Sep 14, 2019 - 10:07pm

A lot of the most brilliant minds in history have been tortured souls. A few things to remember are that:

A.) You are your own worst critic.
B.) Half or more of the other people have some degree of anxiety and/or depression.
C.) Preparation and hard work can help build your confidence and counter your anxiety.
D.) If you bust your ass and try to do everything right, youve done all you can do. There are elements of luck in life and as long as you bust your ass and try to build valuable connections you are doing everything possible to be successful.

Sep 15, 2019 - 5:13pm

I definitely agree with A, C and D. Is B true? I'm genuinely curious as I'm struggling with a light form of reoccuring depression. Sometimes I wonder how common depression (and/or anxiety) is in western societies. I tend to think that quite a lot of people have experienced it or are currently experiencing it, but is more than half of the people a good estimate? That would make me feel both relieved and suprised, with the latter due to the high occurence.

Sep 15, 2019 - 5:24pm

I dont think it's unreasonable at all to assume close to a majority of people are dealing with anxiety or some degree of depression. I dont think a majority suffer from major depression but between job dissatisfaction, relationship dissatisfaction or stress over money, etc. I think many people are somewhere on the depression/anxiety spectrums.

Sep 16, 2019 - 1:27pm

I think it's a lot more common than you think. Happiness is fleeting. It doesn't help when you got an hour long commute and work 8-12 hrs/day trapped in a cubicle farm bathed in artificial light all day. Throw in the 24 hr news cycle, social media FOMO, and Tinder/Instagram and you have a recipe for disaster.

Most Helpful
Sep 14, 2019 - 10:20pm

Hey man.

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry that you've had to go through a lot in your early childhood, and presently, but it also seems like we share a lot in common.

I too struggled a lot with anxiety and depression at a young age, my parents were/are divorced as well, I identify with the whole social cue thing, and I've been at points in my life where I had 0 friends (my mental state was so poor, I remember have full blown conversations with myself, as I was going off the edge). The important thing to remember is that none of these things define you, nor are they telling of where your life is going to go.

Events are simply events. The beautiful thing about life is that you can actively choose what the context is; you can say "XYZ happened to me, and as a result, I'm the most unlucky person in the world", or you can say "XYZ happened to me, and you know what? I'm a better and stronger person because of it".

I know that life isn't easy, and a lot of times it seems that things just never go our way. But ultimately, you need to make a decision; are you going to continue to be defined by your circumstances and your thoughts, or are you going to take action and create the life you want for yourself? I asked myself the same question one day a handful of years ago, and I chose to take action. It's the best decision I've ever made.

IMO, life is all about making the hard decisions.

-It's dragging yourself to the gym 5-7 days a week, to prove a point to yourself that your Asperger's doesn't own you
-It's understanding that people made fun of you because they saw something in you that they wished they had
-It's understanding, that sure, you missed out on opportunities with women, but there are tons more out there that would love to meet you
-It's reaching out to your mom to talk to her and tell her how you feel about the divorce
-It's telling your friend how much you love and appreciate her for being there for you

-And lastly, it's having the unyielding self-belief in yourself that you made it into your program for a reason. No one accidentally let you in.

Have the confidence and courage to go after what you want, put your nose to the grindstone, and kick down some fucking doors. Take no prisoners, and don't pay any mind to the external or internal dialogue that might flood your thoughts. How do you help to support this?

-Learn to Meditate (I recommend BuddhistSocietyWA on YouTube as a great resource)
-Hit the gym 5 days a week and really push yourself
-Pick up Muay Thai/Boxing
-Start Running

Regarding social aspects, put yourself out there. Go to school club events, and more importantly, go explore this amazing world. Life is too short to think negatively; every single day is a gift and not something you should spend mentally binding yourself up about. I promise that when you start taking a concerted effort to practice positivity, your entire world will begin to change before your eyes.

Believe in yourself, because everything that is happening to you is happening for a specific reason; one which may manifest itself presently, or in time to come. Just know that I believe in you, and I know that you'll land a role in Buyside Equity Research. If you need to talk, feel free to PM me.

Take action.

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Sep 15, 2019 - 3:25am

Diagnosed with Asperger's myself. I'm a freshman in college now. My anxiety and depression has always been there and my struggle with social situations/anxiety as well like you. In the past few months the depression has gotten really bad. I've recently started therapy and psychiatry, and I'm trying medicine (Zoloft). I highly recommend getting a psychiatrist and see what he recommends. Usually a mix of talk therapy and medication can help people. I'm putting my eggs into those baskets anyway.

Sep 15, 2019 - 4:14pm

Please seek professional help as it is the only way you will be able to live a better life. It's great that you are self conscious of your situation and reach others for help rather than keeping it to yourself but these issues won't go away with advice from family, friends or people in the internet.

I was where you are now and when I look back I only feel bad with myself for not seeking professional help earlier. It's expensive, requires compromise and years but it's worth it.

Sep 15, 2019 - 4:55pm

You need to take care of yourself. Having a job paying career is worthless unless you physically, emotionally, and psychological healthy. I was in the same situation with you, I have always been depressed and have anxiety. I always thought "what am I going to with my life". I recommend seeing psychiatrist and going to therapist. I am not shamed because I know I have problems myself and I need to confront them. Take care of your body and mind. These challenges in life are stepping stones to be successful. Also, please send me a P.M if you need someone to talk to. Everyone and myself included wants you to be successful.

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"
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Sep 15, 2019 - 9:43pm

I have to be honest with everyone here. I overdosed twice on drugs and I woke up with IV in my arms. I drank a lot of alcohol and took a lot of pills. Yes, I did try to commit suicide twice. The cards were in my favor, I survived, I got help and my family and friends help me change my life. If you have a problem or an issue, reach out to someone. Your life is the most important thing you have and you need to improve yourself even if that means admitting your faults. Take care of yourself, you deserve the best in life.

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"
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Sep 16, 2019 - 9:54am

Good luck my friend. It's probably a good idea to seek help, it helps to talk and get things off your chest, your campus may offer something. Other than that just know we are all our own worst enemy. The thoughts in our head can torture us for years. I'm not clinically depressed but I do suffer from getting lower lows and less frequent highs, maybe that's just life.

>The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it's impossible to turn back.
Hnery Rollins, The Iron

> "They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for."
~Thomas Edward Bodett

Sep 16, 2019 - 12:46pm

Please feel free to DM me.

I HATE that in finance there is the BS prestige that makes humans think they can't act like humans. I have taken medication for years for depression and if I didn't I would probably be dead. Not everyone has to understand and that's okay. Their brains are not wired the same way. You are going through a lot and I know how that feels, it can be so hard to even clean your room or get out of bed, but you are still doing a lot for yourself and that on its own is something to be proud of.

While my situation is a bit different, I can still relate on a deep level. Seriously though, feel free to DM me on here for anything. I am glad you have a place to go and speak with others. If anyone here says negative things don't even entertain it.

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Sep 16, 2019 - 5:35pm

You seem very self-aware about your career choice and others (like the admissions folks at your masters program) also seem to think you're a good fit for that path. So you should trust your insticts more and just run with it.

Investing is, almost by definition, about trusting your instincts because you'll never find a good trade that many others like. To be a good trade, you need most people to hate it or at least be disinterested, or it wouldn't be available to you at a good price. You need to get comfortable with the fact that there won't always be someone else around to support your thesis. So start trusting your instincts.

Sep 16, 2019 - 10:50pm

Thank you everyone for the encouragement and advice! Even though you all are just a bunch of random people on the internet, it means a lot. Part of the reason that I don't have many people in my life is because of me not trusting others and being vulnerable. So while this may be anonymous, it is helpful for me to open up to others and not be ashamed of myself.

Sep 17, 2019 - 7:46pm

I would just add that while I know it can be very hard to think this way when you are depressed, try not to think of things in grand, judgmental terms. If you don't have a clear path to a specific job you want, it isn't because you are a horrible failure and screwed everything up. You just have to think of stepping stones to the next logical move and try to learn and have fun along the way. If you have issues in your relationships, you (almost certainly) haven't permanently alienated everyone. You just have to work on them and try to make new friends or personal connections (really of any kind, even online if that makes you less uncomfortable). There is no rubric in life on which we are graded and there are no points accumulated. We each have our own path to follow that inevitably is full of joys and sorrows. Failure isn't fatal, success isn't final, and the journey matters far more than the destination. Rather than looking at your life in macro terms, it can be helpful to focus on discrete manageable tasks. We can't fix everything all at once, but when we do our best at one thing at a time, things suddenly start to feel within your control.

Sep 21, 2019 - 11:04pm

This is a week late but here it goes... I used to be in a very similar situation that it gives me the chills how similar you sound to me.
1) Borderline Autistic spectrum (highly suspected)
2) Never kissed a girl (until sophomore year in college, although it was a drunken hookup and I regret it) + I was mildly traumatized and the thought of any sexual behavior freaked me out. (it still does occasionally)
3) Suffered from depression ages 15 ~ 20
4) Always felt different from others
5) 0 confidence until I turned 18 (I couldn't even make eye contact with people until I turned 18)
6) My mother is my adviser in both career and life.

So writing down how I handled my situation helps
1) Social Front: It's possible to learn social cues. It takes trial and error and a considerable amount of thick skin. But it's possible to learn how to behave in social situations, you've just gotta put yourself out there. Trust me, there's science to it. If you learn it well, you could be one of those people who are "bit quirky but charming".

2) Dating Front: Luckily, it turns out that I inherited great genes. But a chiseled face is not the only part of the formula. What's more important is confidence. It's also possible to learn how to be yourself and be charming. Confidence and charm is learned, not natural.

3) Feeling Different: This is your edge. I learned to accept my difference and own it 100%. Now I play that card in my advantage. People think I'm this "mysterious and academic type with nice long hair". Now that everyone I interact with are 22+ and out of college, being different can play out in your favor.

4) Depression Front: Keep yourself busy doing what you enjoy and there will be no place for depression. At least for me, once I found what I really enjoy doing and what career I'd like to pursue, all the sad thoughts went away. I still occasionally have this weird emptiness (depressive thoughts), so much so that it overwhelms me. But I always find something interesting to do (ie. Playing poker, reading an interesting book, learning new math topics, etc...)

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