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Section: mental-health, behavior

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a 60-year-old man who doesn't have any interest in anything or anyone. I'm bored with everybody I meet. I am bored with my job and bored with my life. I grew up in an orphanage and am unable to show love because I never had any as a child. It is impossible for me to keep a relationship going. Either I lose interest or the other party does. I wish there were some way I could feel like I did 30 years ago, when I was full of ambition and looking forward to the future. Is there any hope for me, or should I just resign myself to boredom for the rest of my life? Thanks for listening, Ann. -- Bored in Brooklyn

Dear Brooklyn,
You aren't bored; you are depressed. But you don't have to stay that way for the rest of your life. See a doctor, and ask for an antidepressant that will help you. Along with the medication, sign up for some talking sessions with a psychologist. You also need to become involved in activities that will help you feel better about yourself. I'm talking about service to others. Be a volunteer. When you encounter people with real problems, yours won't look so serious. Don't delay. Get going as soon as you read this. And please write again and let me know how you're doing.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Meg's Comment
When I start to feel this way, the problem is usually self-focus. Constantly thinking about your own feelings, problems, frustrations, and issues is depressing. The best way to get yourself out of this boredom is to focus on someone else - how can you cheer someone up or help someone out? I guarantee you this will be a cure to your boredom. Everyone is able to show love, even if they didn't receive it as a child. Love is a choice - a conscious effort to put the needs of someone else above your own. It's not always easy or fun, but it is always fulfilling. Perform random acts of kindness - go out with a friend, pay for a random person's groceries, compliment someone (genuinely), look for ways to be incredibly kind and sappy . . . and you'll find that you're revitalized.

Kennyjh's Comment
Ann Landers insight and wisdom shines. I would take her advice.

WritersWriter's Comment
In addition to medication, emotional support is needed. As opposed to individual therapy, some recommend a process group, especially for people who are struggling to feel connected to others. In a process group a mental health professional monitors the group while participants share issues in their lives. Sharing with other people who could be dealing with similar problems give companionship, empathy, and emotional growth opportunities. Further, my child was having some coping problems due to bullying and the teen process group was by far the most effective activity to improve their self-esteem (much more successful than one-on-one therapy).

Reader Comment
A therapist sounds like a wonderful idea although there are many more options than just antidepressants or "talking sessions". I'm glad Brooklyn spoke up!I'd also very humbly recommend that we never compare issues. Brooklyn has a "real problem" and I'm so happy to hear that he's addressing it.

Brian's Comment
I am in the same boat. I'm 51 and find life to be boring as well. While I have bouts of depression and take medication to help, I don't really have any interests outside of work. I have a pretty positive attitude towards life, in the sense that I don't feel was or overwhelmed by life, as I have before. I don't enjoy being particularly active and I find most conversation to be a snooze fest. I enjoy my work and I also very much enjoy downtime, relaxing. I don't believe much will change (in this sense) for the rest of my life. I am at peace with that. I, very much, enjoy spending time with only myself as I get plenty of public interaction at work. Find something that is mildly interesting. For me, it's watching programs about WW II. I find that I don't always need to be entertained, but content with life as I have made it. There is peace and comfort in that.
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"Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquillity of a lovely sunset."
-Ann Landers