I get these episodes.. different things trigger them, sometimes I don’t know what will but certain things do it every time. For example, when my friends or boyfriend smoke weed. They know I don’t do it, and when I notice they did it, I get withdrawn. My gaze gets blurry and I can’t stop focusing on whatever it is that bothered me. I stop talking, I just want to curl up and go to bed, or its like I’m waiting for an apology even though no one knows what they did wrong. The feelings come easier and more frequently as the day goes on, I feel the best right when I wake up in the morning. I want help because my boyfriend’s getting really frustrated, he says I sulk all the time and I know he shouldn’t have to try to appease me all the time. I’ve also been crying a lot and I never usually cry, and I get a helpless feeling because these episodes follow the same path each time so as soon as I feel it starting I know I can’t stop it and I wish I could. I don’t know if its depression or stress or some type of personality disorder but I want to know how to deal with it, because telling myself, “I won’t get upset anymore” isn’t working. Thank you.
A: Thank you for writing. It must be scarey to feel out of control of your own emotions. I don’t think this is a personality disorder and I don’t think it’s stress. From what I can glean from your letter, I think you are maybe in a crisis of values.
Your friends and boyfriend are doing things that you don’t really approve of. You don’t like what they’re doing but you don’t want to lose the relationships. You’re upset because it’s a very upsetting situation. The “solution” your emotional self has come up with is that you can stay in these relationships but you can’t be comfortable.
At some point, you aren’t going to be able to stand it anymore. If you haven’t created a new set of friends, you are likely to feel alone, friendless, and depressed. The alternative is to find people who share your values and who do healthier things than just hang out and smoke weed. I strongly suggest that you get involved in volunteer work or an activity that attracts people more like you. People are generally most comfortable meeting new people when they are doing something they all enjoy together.
Your internal system is telling you that your current situation isn’t good for you. I hope you will listen to what you are telling yourself. It’s good sense.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Feb 2010
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Withdrawn and spacing out. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/02/08/withdrawn-and-spacing-out/