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After suffering eating disorders and severe depression I now feel unmotivated and disconnected from people who love me - what's wrong with me?

heart to heart
I am a 23 year old student studying medicine in a reputable medical college in my region. I had to leave my family for my studies and was totally out of touch with them for nearly 2 years with minimal contact over the phone (once in a month or two).

Being young and emotionally vulnerable, I was unable to cope with mounting stress due to the enormous amount of studying and the need to adapt to new people and a new lifestyle and so I sank into depression. Meanwhile I also developed issues with my weight which led to my becoming a severe bulimic and then an anorexic. It was a terrible time and I must say only God kept me from committing suicide, although thoughts of death haunted me every living second.

I gradually found solace in prayers and gained strength through reading self help books and online articles like yours and by expressing my feelings to people and sharing their sorrows. It's been over a year that I've been out of depression (without the need for medications), but I now observe that I have become too emotionally distant! I do not have any feeling of fear nor of genuine care for anyone I know. I still love to help others but I never get emotionally attached. I have lost my motivation to study and do well. I have stopped praying. I feel hollow within. I have no direction in life and I waste away my time doing things I should not be doing, like watching TV instead of preparing for an exam the next day. I'm restless and can't finish my work on time. My room is a mess and I don't care about my hygiene! I shut myself up in my room and will watch TV all day instead of doing something constructive.

I hate myself for being unable to control my impulsiveness and feel terrible wasting my time, when I know that a little hard work would take me a long way and that I will regret this behavior later in life. Please, I urge you to help me find my direction in life, tell me what is wrong, and how I can focus on my work. How do I regain the feeling I've lost for people who truly love me?

Wallace's reply
I can empathize completely with you because I also have had the same feelings that currently trouble you - feeling emotionally distant, restless, unmotivated and disconnected. Like you these feelings came upon me after a prolonged period feeling severely depressed with suicidal tendencies.

Your depression is the way your body and mind dealt with overload. It happened because you could not cope and the fear in you went to an extreme. The eating disorders are an outer manifestation of the struggle you were experiencing inwardly as you fought to control your distress.

All of this happened because you were not psychologically mature enough to face the challenge of life at college, in a demanding course, far from home. When you were put under pressure you reacted with fear, then terror, then eating disorders accompanied by self loathing, leading to depression. By calling on divine power to help, you have emerged from the worst of your depression, but much of the self loathing and fear remain within.

The body is remarkably wise. Your lack of interest in your course is good, because with all that emotional inner chaos it would be folly for you to torture yourself by forcing yourself to sit and study. More than anything else now you need to create time and space to heal. As you do this you will grow in maturity and inner strength.

I strongly suggest you approach your medical school with a view to taking time out from your course. You will feel a huge sense of relief when you do this. Use the open space this time out provides to heal your emotional pain. The way I recommend is to find ways and means to express the feelings you have inside, through art, music, physical expression, body work, talking, writing, emotional release or by any other way you feel guided to explore.

Throughout your healing journey remember that God is always there to guide you as to the next step. He will "speak" to you through inner guidance, which is always present and will never leave you. All you need to do is to learn to tune in to His ever present promptings and follow them with faith and confidence.

As you contemplate changing course it may seem like a huge risk and a journey into the unknown. This is the way God trains you to have faith in Him and Him alone. You need to learn to love God's uncertainty and the challenges this represents. Your troubles might mean that at a deeper spiritual level you are meant to do something quite different with your life. What this is will only become clear after a great deal of inner healing.

If you step out on your healing path, with God as your companion, you will heal and you will be transformed. You will have turned a breakdown into a breakthrough. A new exciting life of much greater inner peace and harmony will result.

Let go and let God's inner voice guide you as to your healing path.

Further Help and Resources
You will find my book Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off an invaluable guide that will take you through the healing, transformation and rebirth experience where you change into a peaceful, sensitive and intuitive woman. I highly recommend that you order a copy today. You will find great comfort and hope within its pages as well as lots of practical help and advice. It also comes with confidential life coaching support (which is free of charge) so if you need help along your healing journey I will provide it by email.

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