Seeing Changes in Myself

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I’ve begun to notice changes in myself. I’m not as upbeat as I usually am, I’m not sleeping right, I feel unmotivated, overly stressed(and there isn’t really much going on to stress me out), Food has become my escape, I can be extremely irritable and I just feel so empty and lonely. I don’t know why I feel this way. It’s so very frustrating! I just want it to go away, and I have no idea how to make that happen. I try to act like my old self, but even that is becoming too hard. I end up lashing out on people for no reason, and that makes me feel worse. It makes me feel horrible. They didn’t deserve that reaction; they did nothing wrong.

I want to tell someone how I’ve been feeling, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m just looking for attention. I’m not. And I don’t want to annoy anyone with my problems. I just want to stop feeling this way. I want to be my old self again. I miss the way I used to feel: completely happy….
What should I do? How can I get out of this slump? I’m becoming desperate. This has been going on for 7 to 8 months now. I thought it would work itself out somehow, but I’m starting to think that I was wrong. Please, I really need some answers; some advice.

A. You don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling because you’re afraid you’ll be accused of attention-seeking behavior. You’re also worried that you’ll annoy people with your problems. You’re being very hard on yourself. Let yourself off the hook. It seems clear that you’re not making yourself feel miserable. You’re not doing this to yourself on purpose. Most people would not deliberately make themselves feel miserable. The point is that you are not purposefully making yourself feel a certain way just to seek attention. These negative feelings are happening to you, not being caused deliberately by you. Please try to realize this.

The second aspect of your letter I want to address is something briefly mentioned above, which is that you fear you will be an annoyance to others. I get the distinct impression you believe you’re a burden to other people. How did you come to believe this about yourself? If we analyzed your life and those around you we’d probably find that you’re in fact not the burden you perceive yourself to be. Chances are the people in your life would be willing to help you but they may never get the chance because you don’t want to “bother them” with your problems. This may be because you feel inferior and not worthy of their care and attention.

I understand why you are experiencing difficulty: Not only are you struggling to address this problem, but you feel you would be burdening other people if they knew how you felt. You also have the added stress of “lashing out” at others and feeling bad about your behavior.

There are several ways to address this problem. As you correctly pointed out this problem is not going to simply vanish nor is it going to work itself out. You’re going to have to deal with it. This means you have to take action.

The first “action” you could take is to force yourself to think logically. For instance, you have a fear about being a burden to others. In reality, there is a high likelihood that if we interviewed those around you, we’d find that your fears would be unfounded. You would also most likely find that your friends and family would be willing to help you and wouldn’t accuse you of trying to get attention.

The “action” therefore, in this instance, is to force yourself to realize these truths. Just because you feel something to be true doesn’t mean that feeling is correct. Feelings can be misguided and inaccurate, especially when they are based on irrational fears. This is why it’s important to force yourself to be as logical in your thinking as possible, in every situation.

If there is no one you could go to for help or you don’t feel comfortable talking about these issues with friends or family, then you should consider seeing a therapist. This is the second “action” that you might want to consider, which is seeking professional help. I noticed that you are a college student. Most colleges have counseling centers on campus. Generally the services are free and available in the summer. I would suggest you find out where on campus the counseling center is located and make an appointment. If you’re not on campus currently then you can, through your insurance company, (if you are fortunate enough to be covered by insurance) see a private therapist. Generally a private insurance company allows for approximately 20 counseling sessions per year. There’s also the option of trying a community mental health center if none of the aforementioned options are applicable to you.

I hope you’re able to receive help. Please consider writing back and letting me know how you are doing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Seeing Changes in Myself. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/06/seeing-changes-in-myself/