Hopeless Depression

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

I am a 25 year old female that cant seem to be happy with anything. My brother passed suddenly a year ago and that sort of triggered a total collapse. I have been to an in-patient week long therapy rehab, which helped while i was there but soon after i got out i started feeing hopeless again.

I have totally changed my life; i stopped bartending and started school again. Im doing well in school, i have a wonderful boyfriend, and a great support group but every waking second I hate my life. I dont understand the point, i dont enjoy anything.

Im sure im driving my parents and boyfriend crazy because i am so negitive. I am currently in therapy and on some mood stabilizers but i have tried all types of antidepressants and narcotics….nothing seems to work. I have horrible self esteem which i think makes me isolate myself, therefore i dont have many friends.

 Every morning I wake up thinking how ugly, stupid, worthless, and useless I am…then i just want to go back to sleep so that i dont have to live another day. The main problem is that i feel i am doing everything that i am supposed to be doing to make myself better, and NOTHING works…i just want all the stress to end. Im not sure why I am writing this because I dont think whoever is reading this can tell me anything I havent already heard….

A: Hello and thank you for your question:

My first thought is that I wonder if anyone has told you how long the grieving process actually takes. You need to know that the “average” time is a year before people start feeling better. But some take up to 2 years to move through the process.  Anniversaries (birthdays, etc.) make the process worse at times, too.

That means that you’re going to feel crappy for awhile, and nothing will be very effective fordragging you out of it. You probably know about the 5 stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance and depression. Without going into what the stages actually mean, we go back and forth between stages before we are “finished” with the acute process.

You are probably working your way through the depression, and while therapy can help and so can meds, you have to do the work that will allow you to heal.

Here’s what I often tell my patients who feel “stuck” at this stage: Write your brother a letter and tell him how you feel. Tell him why it is so hard to get past losing him and how his leaving you has hurt you so badly. If you’re angry at him, say so. The letter is just between him and you.

Don’t share this letter with anyone. You may want to keep it, burn it, or bury it. I had a patient who burned the letter then floated the ashes down a stream. It’s personal, so how you deal with the finished letter is entirely up to you. It may be a paragraph, it may be 10 pages. How long it is doesn’t matter. But make sure you have some quiet time to yourself. Turn off your phone and the TV. Write the letter. It will help.

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Hopeless Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/02/hopeless-depression/

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