“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.” -Jack Kerouac

Life can be shitty and downright painful sometimes, especially in these extraordinary and distressing times. Popular media and social media make it look like all kinds of things are supposed to magically happen for you, and social media in particular makes it look like all of those things (a meaningful and badass career, a beautiful life partnership and family of your design, and yearly vacations) are somehow magically happening for everyone else. All of this externally-focused complete fakeness that you’re being bombarded with can actually deepen the pain of sitting with the fact that your life doesn’t look like these other artificial lives on the screen. Why? You make it mean something about you, probably. You make it mean that you’re not “this” enough or “that” enough, or that you’re uniquely cursed. (Did you see the 90s movie, Romeo + Juliet? Remember when Romeo shouts, “I am fortune’s foooooool!!!” after he kills Tybalt? That’s a 1500s version of the same kind of thought.) All of this artificial connection can make you wonder why you still feel so totally alone and lost. It kind of feels sort of like you were supposed to get on a bus at age 21 that already left without you. That kind of feeling can lead to actual depression and anxiety. Add to that the fact that humans need to feel some sense of purpose and meaning in their work and lives, and American culture so often makes it seem like your only choice is to buy into some kind of bullshit (frankly), and you have a recipe for all kinds of existential despair.

The good news is, you’re tough, instinctive and smart enough to light your torch and see the next step, and then the next, even in the darkest and densest of woods. It starts with a level of self-love, self-compassion, radical acceptance, and deep purpose that no one taught you in school. You are going to find your way, and actually have fun creating a life that only you could create. You may even eventually decide it was all secretly perfect 🙂


You do not deserve to feel alone or to be in pain, and it does not have to be like this. You are not alone. I’m an integrative, EMDR-trained, licensed psychotherapist in Hayes Valley. I provide very client-centered, and sometimes charmingly casual psychotherapy that is geared towards getting to the root of what is causing your current distress, and actual healing or shifting that, on your terms and at your pace. “Getting to the root” does involve looking at the past, but we will also look at the present, and get excited about the future. Excellent for people who want lots of insight (into the way the past informs the present, but also at the level of dream work and transpersonal psychology), but who don’t want to be in therapy forever. Video visits and evening and weekend hours available. I have tea, art supplies, oracle cards, and can do your natal chart just for fun 🙂 Free 20-minute consultations offered.

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Annalise Oatman, MA, LCSW 88254
45 Franklin Street, Suite 214, San Francisco, CA 94102 949-533-4651 annalise@awaketherapysf.com