Help. I’m transforming into a vegetable.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Can I be helped, or do I continue my transformation to a vegetable? I have been depressed as long as I can remember. For a while I just figured that is how my life is going to be. But I am getting so tired of it, tired of not making any progress with my life and being depressed and friendless. Its extraordinarily depressing now to be getting older, but still operating at the same level I have been for years. I have no friends really. I don’t think I am capable of making friends anymore. I feel so weird about it because everybody else has friends and I don’t so it is hard to go out and try and meet people and be friendly because I know eventually they will find out about me.

I don’t really have stories to tell others. I don’t have anything to say to others. I find I am getting more and more boring all the time. I can’t figure out what to do with myself a lot of the time and I think I am becoming the most boring person in the world, and then when that happens my chances of a normal life will be gone forever. I know that I have never been quite socially normal and there are things I will never know how to do, like strike up a conversation or keep one going beyond the most general pleasantries. I make everyone around me feel completely awkward.

I’m starting to lose hope that I will ever be better than I am. I wonder how I can go on with a life like this, because its not much. I can’t focus, I can’t read books. I used to have interests and things I wanted to get involved with, but I don’t have the attention anymore. If ever I knew how to make friends before, I don’t know now. I hate being by myself all the time and I hate it when people at work ask what I did or am going to do for a weekend. And to be honest, I don’t know where my time goes, I don’t know what I do. I just know I’m lonely and I’ll never be like other people who function and communicate and live.

I’m 27 now and my youth is gone and I didn’t learn how to have real experiences and live life. I really sometimes see no way to go on. I want to get help but I don’t know how. I don’t know where to go. I honestly don’t think I could pick up the phone and make an appointment to try and get help because I don’t know who to call and my problems sound silly. But they’re not. And I don’t even know how I would pay for such help if I ever did figure out how to get it. I can’t talk about my problems without crying either and that is just so embarassing. Other people are out living their lives, but I am stuck inside my apartment most of the time. No one calls. I don’t call anyone. I feel I have nothing to offer someone else. I guess I want to know how to get help. I’m not terribly interested in going on meds. Is there any hope for me to be a real person at some point and be potentially happy?

A: First, your problems aren’t silly. Emotional pain is never silly. You’ve been depressed for a long time which has worn you down. But I have a guess that there is more to it than depression. If you haven’t done so already, please see your doctor for a complete physical checkup. There are many medical conditions that show up as exhaustion and depression. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, that you are eating right, and that you are doing something physical every day. If everything checks out, then we explore psychological issues.

Meanwhile, I have another hunch. You didn’t give me much to go on, but I find myself wondering if you have Aspergers Disorder. Aspergers is characterized by social awkwardness and isolation. The good news is that the disorder has received enough attention in the last few years that more and more therapists are getting training in how to help people who have it. Please go to web pages about Aspergers and see if it fits. If it does, you have a new direction to explore for what is getting in your way of having a more joyful life.

Once you have narrowed down what might be wrong, you will know what kinds of professionals you need to help you. Talk with your doctor to get referrals. And please write to me again and let me know how it is going.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Help. I’m transforming into a vegetable.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/16/help-im-transforming-into-a-vegetable/