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    I'm in a situation I'm not sure if many people can identify it but thought it would be interesting to know.

    I'm 18, and on the surface, life looks quite well - my family is fine, everyone is healthy, I do very good at school, and I'm said to be good-looking (which I believe some days, some not).

    However, despite of all this, I keep having a low self-esteem and continuously doubt my abilities, even though I KNOW I should not because I was successful in the past. For example, I'm terribly nervous before each exam even though I usually perform very well and am terribly afraid of failure in any way because this endangers my dream to study at a really good uni. My friends and my family tell me I'm a nice person and good-looking and should have nothing to worry about but often I cannot believe this. I very much know much of my unhappiness is related to my low self-esteem which I still have even though I am aware of what I actually have achieved. It is completely paradox but it just won't go away because for most of the days, I feel like hibernating, not really living. This has gotten worse since I returned from a vacation where I met amazing people and somehow learnt what living is like - how it should be for me. I was completely transformed there and felt as happy as never before.

    I know I must sound like completely arrogant and selfish because I know that I should be very thankful for the life I have, but still, I feel empty and I'm sad very often without a trigger. This upsets my mother a lot but I just can't change it. My friends cannot relate to this at all and it kind of isolates us. I sometimes think that they think I'm just acting unhappy and insecure to get attention or feel better in comparision to them when I realize my doubts were unnecessary. But this is just not the case since I really feel this way. Apart from that, as we graduate this year, differences show more and more, as I'm very ambitious and serious about school and they don't really care. I think this contributes to the impression I assume they have.

    To escape from this situation, which has been going on for 2-3 years, I have been working towards good grades in school for years so I can easily go abroad. I always knew that I would be perfectly happy in a place with a different mentality and culture, such as in some cities in Ireland and the UK. What exactly it is, I do not know, but my stays confirmed it. But now, as my family has financial issues, it is possible that I need to stay where I am because the local university is cheaper, which truly upsets me. I just hate the prospect of my life continuing exactly this way.

    My question is - does anyone have the same feelings of shame, or guilt, for feeling unhappy in a life that seems perfectly fine by most standards?

    Do you think that moving away etc. is irrational because happiness should depend on oneself alone and not on people and place themselves?

    I think that whatever it is you want to do, you should do. As long as you do nothing stupid (such as drugs) to try and overcome your feelings, your family should support what makes you happy. Seeing as your family may not be able to pay for you to go elsewhere, then it might be an idea to try and earn some money of your own that you can save up for your future. I think that happiness is dependent on everything in one's life. The environment that you are in really contributes to happiness. It may be such that you have a mild form of depression, but if particular things make you happier, then do them
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