I am not really quite sure about where or how to start this off because “I” believe that there may be other factors than just depression going on, but I am not even sure if I really have it or just hoping that I do so I can finally have an answer for why I feel the way I do.
I will go ahead and start off with a brief description of my past to also aid you in helping me out. As a young kid and up through elementary school I was quite shy. Although this would seem usual for younger kids to me it just seemed to, well, get in the way of making friends or just being a kid in general. I felt more comfortable in my room watching TV or playing videogames by myself rather than being around anyone. I made a few friends here and there but looking back on it, it just doesn’t seem normal. From high-school and up until I was turned 20 things became worse to say the least. More time spent alone by myself doing things and I didn’t go out much at all so I just seemed to gain weight all the time. My self-esteem was rock bottom and self-hate just seemed to radiate from me. The ability to be able to socially interact and make friends seemed to worsen and the few I had would at times become abusive physically and mentally, I seemed to just serve as an example to others. This only further cut deeper into the depression, alienation and antisocial behaviors that I seemed to have. This increased to the point of self-mutilation and lots of thoughts of suicide. This of course was in my late teens and was unsure at the time about how to handle depression and that is all I knew. Eventually my parents caught on and I was taken to a doctor and prescribed anti-depressant medication but eventually stopped taking them. Reaching 20 years old I just seemed to become so disconnected and out of sync with reality that it started to cause real problems with family and what friends I had. Things eventually clicked in my mind and I had an extreme desire to change myself physically and mentally. Going out, going to the gym, starting college, trying to make friends…etc.
While I have dramatically changed from those three years ago when I began. I still feel mentally tortured day to day and at times it gets so extreme I cry myself to sleep. I do a lot of online reading and am taking psychology classes in college in hopes of just being able to understand these things. Although I am unsure if I am making myself believe I have these problems or if I really need to seek help.
I haven’t made the effort yet to talk to a doctor yet because I am really unsure where to start or where to go and I don’t really have the money. I don’t discuss these problems with friends or family because I do not believe they understand. While not every waking moment of my life is torture I would say about 3/4 of the time things are just dull and empty. Happiness doesn’t seem to exist, I almost never smile or find the want to. I easily lose interest in activities and other things that I have enjoyed in the past. Sadness is quite common and am easily pushed emotionally in one way or another. Crying episodes seem to happen quite often as I feel so very lonely, worthless and angered at myself for my failures in the past. Which sometimes become so extreme that I cry myself to sleep some nights. I feel out of energy and can’t ever seem to completely wake up as it feels like I am in a dazed mood all the time. I also at times find it hard to concentrate, especially when I am feeling really down. There is also times that I just do not want to talk to anyone or go anywhere at all, which I believe I am in right now. For an example, today was my birthday and I turned 23. I just really didn’t care that it was my birthday, if I went the entire day without anyone saying or doing anything I wouldn’t of even cared. I didn’t even make any attempts to go out with any friends or to even celebrate at all. I just feel empty and can find no happiness or joy in life.
Although depression is the main issue I believe other factors might as well contribute. While I have made an effort to help myself I still have a rather hard time socializing. I often at times get anxious and stressed in social situations. Especially around those I don’t know and even at times I feel anxious and stressed around my own family members. I have always found it hard to socially connect with anyone at all or finding something in common or even being able to indulge in small talk. I am very shy and most of the time short with people and often feel it might of been better if I just hadn’t even made the attempt to talk to anyone. After reading around it seems that there is a chance I have social-anxiety and if I remember correctly can attribute to depression?
Lastly I have led myself to believe there is a chance that I might be bipolar. The reason for this being is that it seems that I have large mood swings every month or two. This past November and December I slipped into bad depression and continued to stay depressed up through the beginning of January. Then my mood took a swing the other way and it was very uplifting as for once as I actually felt happy and things were going the right way. Although the end of February I believe I began a decline again and as of today I have began hitting a low point again it seems.
I am unsure of any of this as things seem so scrambled most of the time. But I am sure of one thing and that is that I want this mental anguish to end because it is really taking a toll on me. I also suppose I should put forward the fact that I do now and have in the past drank alcohol, smoked marijuana and took painkillers to just get away from it all. I find myself saying this a lot…but I just want to be normal for once. These problems are driving me out of my mind and I just want it to stop. I am unsure where to go, who to turn to or what to do. But I have got to start making steps I believe or I am going to lose control. So for whoever attempts to tackle this, thank you. Thank you very much for at least trying to help me make sense of it all.
A: Hello. I’m so glad you wrote. I hope I can help you out of the spin you’re in. Your letter is an excellent reflection of your state of mind. People who are in distress or depressed often ruminate – meaning that they go over and over and over the reasons they feel bad, the possibilities for why, the many reasons why it’s hopeless, and the equally many reasons they are helpless to change it. You are spending hours trying to figure out what is wrong with you and tracking the history of your feelings. Enough already. You are only going around and around and around and not finding a way out – which only makes you feel worse.
I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, of course. I suggest to you that at this point it doesn’t really matter what the label is. You feel terrible. You can’t figure out how to make things better. You do want a better life.
Please. Give yourself the respect and caring you deserve. Find yourself a therapist. Most colleges have a mental health center where you can at least get an evaluation and a referral. It doesn’t fall on you to have a diagnosis in hand before you talk to someone. That’s what they are trained to do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where to start. A therapist will know how to elicit information from you that will help you both understand you. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have much money. Many mental health centers and private therapists have a sliding fee scale to make therapy affordable. Your college may have clergy who provide pastoral counseling for free. You can also make a start by talking online with a counselor at the Boys and Girls Town National Hotline at 800-448-3000.
If you could have stopped the spin on your own, a smart guy like you would have done so long ago. I hope you will now reach out to get the help you need. You’ve suffered much too long.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Apr 2010
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). I am so very confused. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/04/29/i-am-so-very-confused/