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Fear of failure and fear of success

by dividebyzero

When I’m faced with an uncomfortable challenge in life, I’m always afraid I might fail and I’m usually even more afraid that I might succeed. The only safe option is to not try, so that’s what I often do. That’s why being depressed makes me feel safe, because I know I’m not going to talk myself into taking any risks. And it’s not like I have any life goals or (realistic) dreams that might inspire me to overcome those fears. When I dig holes for myself, I tend to want to stay there.

I fear failure because, well, disappointment and rejection suck. I fear success because when I succeed, people (including myself) tend to raise their expectations and/or give me more responsibilities. That means that when I inevitably have a depressive episode it’s more overwhelming and harder to deal with. I start to see myself as a fraud, or a ticking time bomb, and figure it’s only a matter of time before my emotional instability or lack of some critical skill is exposed in front of everyone.

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whitetiger 4/7/2016 - 9:15 pm

I can relate. very much. it’s a crappy place to be. Maybe there is a small challenge you could face? practice challenges?

DoubleZero 4/7/2016 - 9:18 pm

You say “a ticking time bomb”, I say “grenade”.
I know where you’re coming from.
But we must live. And to live, we must move forward. Ergo, make decisions and act on them. It’s terrifying, I know. Failure is… yup, my bigger fear. But sitting around just watching as life passes by, I mean, ain’t that a failure itself? I’m just starting to adjust to that idea. maybe we both should think about it.

dividebyzero 4/7/2016 - 9:59 pm

Absolutely, sitting around just letting life pass by is a failure. But it’s so familiar that I’ve kind of been desensitized to it.
And “we must live” is well…questionable sometimes. At least for me.

DoubleZero 4/7/2016 - 10:03 pm

I know. Maybe I shouldn’t say “we must” but “we kinda are living, so we should advance…”
Don’t get used to just watch the days go by. We know it gets worse day by day, so let’s do something to change it NOW. If you dare, I dare. What can we do? Let’s try and think of something…

dividebyzero 4/7/2016 - 10:34 pm

We should advance? Why should we, or rather, why should I? There’s that ‘should’ word again. As a teenager it was basically my mantra, but now it pretty much makes me recoil.

I actually am doing something. I’ve been interviewing for jobs all week, it’s just that I’m not sure if I want any of them. They’re all too similar to my last job that I quit several months ago due to burnout and depression. But I don’t know what else people would hire me for, where I would be qualified but not overqualified. After every interview I WISH I could just give up already and go back to watching the days go by, but there’s an annoying part of me that won’t let me.

DoubleZero 4/7/2016 - 10:43 pm

I’m in a very similar position, in pretty much everything, as I already told you.
Just yesterday I had a job interview and the ghost of my last job (SAME as the one I was applying) was all over the place.
You’re right. I don’t know if we (you, me) ‘should’ do anything. It’s my personal point of view, I think I prefer to do something and fail rather than do nothing at all. Anxiety will kick my ass anyhow, so why don’t try it? Since I do have to keep on living, I’d rather try and actually live. Keyword: TRY. Of course most of days I just want to give up and allow myself to lie in bed all day long, there’s a reason I’m here…

dividebyzero 4/8/2016 - 11:51 am

I don’t know if you’ll see this, I had to go somewhere last night right after you wrote your last reply.
Why do you say you “do have to keep on living”? I don’t get that. Either you WANT to keep on living, or you want to die, or you’re somewhere in between like I am where you haven’t found a reason to live but aren’t desperate enough or in enough pain to die.

DoubleZero 4/8/2016 - 12:07 pm

Hello again!
I want to stop existing, but that is not an option for me (right now, for personal reasons), so I have to keep on living. It’s, unfortunately, not about what I want. It’s a fact. I have to keep on living because dying is simply not an option. I don’t see this “in between”: I’m either alive or dead. The fact is that I am alive. So, that’s what I have to work with. Of course, I can just sit around, do nothing, play dead, daydream about being dead, but in reality, I am a living being. So, yeah, have to live. It’s like asking my dad to stop being dead, you can’t change your state without actually changing it, and I can’t do so now.
Again, it’s my own personal point of view. Life and death may have as many interpretations as persons are in the world. And my reasons to stay alive may seems stupid or not good enough for other people, but again, they’re mine (that doesn’t change the fact that I want to die).

distant.road 4/8/2016 - 12:14 pm

I don’t want to interrupt your conversation so I’ll be brief…

You don’t need to explain to ANYBODY your reasons for staying alive. They ARE NOT stupid and they ARE good enough.

dividebyzero 4/8/2016 - 12:14 pm

Hey, no reason to stay alive is stupid or not good enough. It’s a reason to stay alive. I wish I had one.

whiskered-fish 4/7/2016 - 10:39 pm

This is really relatable. And I’m so sorry that you have to be trapped in such a limbo. No matter how safe it might feel.

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