Depression and Anxiety

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I’ve been going on path for the last 10 years that has only been going downhill. The first memory is of me and my family coming back from overseas and the feeling of emptiness. At this stage I was only about 10 years old, I was into sports and a promising career ahead of me in soccer, I was also good at school being one of the smartest in my class. I felt I had a very promising future.

Things only got worse once I got into high school, I would find myself wanting to always be around people and I lost my interest in sports, I stopped playing soccer altogether by the age of 15 as I had no want to be there anymore even though I had already played the sport for 8 years by then. Over more time when I felt there was no one there and I felt alone I would start to think a lot about things, obsess. I would always clean my room, or try to find things around the house that I hadn’t seen for years. Sometimes I would find myself crying for no apparent reason the only thing I could think of was the feeling of emptiness.

As high school went on, I withdrew myself from all social activities, I went from being an outgoing individual to someone who stayed home all the time and did nothing. My grades fell, I wasn’t playing sports anymore. I had dreams of going to university and graduating. Now I’m a 21 year old, I’ve completed a TAFE course and worked my way into to university. I started with a Bachelor of Legal Studies and this is when the anxiety part of my life really hit me. I found myself up late one night trying to do an assignment, and for some reason unknown to me this assignment stressed me out so much to the point where I collapsed on the floor crying. But I had to get the assignment done, I spoke to my mum about it the only person I could really and she stayed up and kept me company while I done the work. Things didn’t get better however, I got into Law school the next year which should have been a great achievement for me. But the anxiety only got worse, and this time depression came with it. I dropped out of university that year unable to bear going there, it was something that I felt I couldn’t do, I took the year off hoping that maybe I’d get better went on Aropax for about 8 months. But when I was back at university the next year it all happened again, my doctor doubled the dose of Aropax for me, now I was taking two tablets a day. I also went and saw a Psychiatrist who told me this was too much and diagnosed me with ‘Avoidant personality disorder’, ‘Chronic dysthyomia’ (sorry if it’s not spelt right I can’t read the Dr. hand writing) and Panic disorder. The psychiatrist told me to exercise everyday for a bit which I do and while and after I exercise I feel good but after a short while the feelings of depression etc return.

I tried to go back to school, I’m currently enrolled in an Animal and Veterinary Bioscience as I thought maybe the course I was studying was the cause of my situation, so I change courses thinking that maybe that wasn’t where I wanted to be. I’m now faced with the same problems. I’ve stopped using the medication Aropax as it did nothing to help me only made me feel hyperactive all the time, and gain alot of weight which I am now having difficulty getting rid of.

I can’t do simple things like wake up in the morning and make myself look presentable. Things that other people would do on a day to day basis come as a major effort to me. I sleep more than I should and I can’t sleep when I’m meant to, I can only fall asleep when my body can’t take it anymore and just stops working. I’m 21 and I’d like to finish university so I can get on with my life but I’ve got the feeling like this is never going to happen.

I’ve contemplated suicide as a last resort, the thought has never actually been real but sometimes I feel like I have no other options, it’s either fail at life or don’t live at all.

I used to have so much potential, I was happy, I used to have fun, now I just feel like a loser and I have nothing going for me. My girlfriend does what she can but she’ll never really understand what I’m going through and it’ll upset her if I just lay it out for her, not knowing what to do or what I’m going through.

I’m asking for help, what can I do? Can a psychiatrist help me? Is there any hope for me?

I write this now as I feel there isn’t and I need help.

A. One thing I noticed about your letter is that you have never attended counseling. You’ve tried handling these issues on your own and you’ve also tried medication from a psychiatrist. Neither was helpful. Counseling is the ideal place to address depression and anxiety.

There is an interesting commercial on television about the antipsychotic medication Abilify. In the commercial the narrator states that the majority of people who have depression and who take antidepressant medication still need help. The narrator goes on to suggest that Abilify could help with this problem. The interesting aspect of the commercial is the claim that people already on antidepressants typically still experience symptoms, so much so that another medication is needed to address the untreated symptoms.

It’s often the case that medication alone is not a comprehensive treatment. Many people also complain that it numbs them. Maybe it helps somewhat with their symptoms but too often people never actually address the root of the problem. As human beings, who have the capacity to think, feel, analyze, be logical and to change the way we perceive ourselves, in most cases it is helpful to undergo therapy. Therapy can teach us about the different ways to change our thinking. It can help an individual become more realistic and make better choices about their lives. You have been stuck for years. You are in essence “spinning your wheels.” You need to do something new. Something needs to change. My suggestion is therapy. You need an outside opinion from an objective source.

Please do not believe that there is no hope for you. Depression, anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, and panic disorder are treatable disorders. From my vantage point, you have yet to give yourself a chance. I know it feels difficult and it feels as though there are no alternatives but the truth is that you have barely begun to explore what is at the root of your problem and how to change it. This is why therapy could be so helpful for you. If you’re interested in searching for a counselor please try this resource. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Depression and Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/25/depression-anxiety/