since 2019 everything in ny life has gone down hill/is at a pause , how do I recover?

I am 18. my family isnt doing great(financially). I realky want to make them proud but I have been so lazy and I wanna start earning soon so that I can keep my family and I happy . but ever since 2019 everything in my life had been a pause . I want to loose weight but I workout out for 10 days and forget it . I have body image issues and I dont feel confident in anything . I hate how clothes look on me and I wanna be more socially active but im freaful of putting myself out there . I am a people pleaser but I dont want to be . I feel every lonely these days . and ive been loosing frnds since 2020 and I dont not have one single frnd who I can completely trust or soemone who reciprocates the love n empathy I have for them . Idk what my passion is really but I used to love taking pictures and 15 yr old me was so confident . All I wanna do in my life is provide my family and I a better and luxurious lifestyle and be career focused and be doing what I love . But the fear of not kaimg it till there eats me, gives me self doubt and minor panic attacks . And im so scared of failure too. The thought of not doing well around my peers also scares me a lot . I have emotional breakdowns overthinking things almost 3 days a week. Please help me. Im not in a every good emotional stage in my life rn .
Asked by indescribable
Answered
12/06/2021

It sounds like you have several concerns going on here.  I understand that since 2019, assumingly due in part to COVID-19 impact among other variables, you are having difficulty in several different aspects of your life.  I understand those difficulties to be financial concerns for yourself and your family, loneliness, fear of failure, decreased amount of friendships, lack of trust and empathy from friends, not fully able to identify what your passion in life is right now, body image issues, and not able to stick with healthy goals that you begin, such as your weight loss regimen.  I understand that you are not in a good place emotionally, and view your life as having gone "downhill" or being at a "pause" from moving forward due to these difficulties and concerns.  First of all, you are 18 years old and I want to commend and applaud you for identifying your need to reach out for help!  This is courageous and your first step in learning about your self identity and who you are in the world.  From there, beginning to learn how to cope with these distressing thoughts, feelings, and ultimately change your self perception and behavior to better succeed.  Fear of not making it big with your photography is reasonable but how can you participate in things that you enjoy while earning an income?  It is a good idea to identify what else you enjoy so that you won't feel let down if you don't make it as the next big, famous photographer.  That way, rather than being unproductive while you ponder the fear of not providing and being a huge success in photography, you can shift your focus to how being employed while still being an active photographer is empowering to you.  Recovering from the emotional stress can look different for different people, there is no one way to approach, all treatment should be individualized, as individuals are very unique, therefore treatment plans and goals should be tailored to each person.  However, I will provide some examples of tools or techniques that have helped others who have felt stuck or struggled with low self image and confidence.  It is important to first identify your strengths, I hear that your family is very important to you.  How can you use your closeness to family to how you approach other relationships such as friendships?  What makes you a valued member of your family?  I'm also hearing that you are brave enough to reach out and ask for help.  It is important to identify strengths so that you can move forward in your other expressed dilemma of how to succeed in a career and provide for your family.  What type of jobs would you feel challenged and rewarding?  What type of training or schooling is required?  There are lots of free resources out there to help determine what type of careers may interest you based on your interests and strengths.  Providing for a family and making a huge income at age 18 is not always very likely, so how can you start gaining income while you search what careers to pursue?  How can your strengths help you conquer some of the fears that you expressed?  There are tools such as mindful breathing to help slow down breathing, lower heart rate, and help to reduce discomfort so that you can begin to address the thoughts in your head.  For every negative thought, think of a positive thought to counterbalance the negative one.  It also may be helpful to understand and accept that difficult emotional times happen to everyone.  Rather than trying to stop the emotional conflicts from happening, look for ways to accept yourself as you are when you are experiencing them.  Allow yourself to accept negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions for a while, then let them pass.  It may feel like you don't know the way out of this, but no one knows you better than you know yourself.  The answers of how to cope are in there, quieting your mind, allowing all emotions and thoughts to come and go can help you listen.  Mindfulness, self-acceptance, identifying your strengths, and learning about possible career paths may be most helpful for you now.  Talking one on one to a therapist may also help you learn more about yourself and help build your self confidence.   

(LPC, NCC, SAC-IT)