Feeling Ignored and Depressed

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’m not 100% sure how to go about this since I seem to have a lot to say that all leads up to my feelings of depression but I’ll do my best so please bear with me.

First off I’m a 22-year-old student and I’m gay. I have never been in a romantic relationship and I have almost no friends at all. I feel I should start here because this is what starts my feeling of depression when I think about it. I used to close people off entirely so that they couldn’t get to know me but a few years ago I decided to change that and be more open toward people and it helped to a point. The thing is I have no problem talking to people or making conversation. When I do it usually works out great, whoever I’m talking to usually talks back for a short time or longer depending on how much time I have to talk. But it’s like after that period of time they act like they’ve never talked to me before in their life. I say hi to them as I pass and they will do the standard “how’s it going?” as they continue to walk by and not really wanting to hear an answer. I always feel bad after, like I did something wrong.

The same goes for my “love” life. I usually always have to start a conversation with someone, or more recently email on an online dating site, since they will never message me first and if they do actually reply, which is about 30/70% of the time, they are either really interested or bothered. Of course I message both types back because I wouldn’t have sent a message in the first place if I didn’t think it would work out. But more on the ones who are interested, we talk for hours or more usually and it’s really nice. But they never talk about meeting or getting to really know me it feels like. I just don’t understand how you can talk to someone for hours and then when you see him or her online the next day not start a conversation or anything. I always have to and then I feel like I’m stalking them or annoying them and that’s the last thing I want to do.

My point on this is that I don’t understand what’s wrong with me personally, that in person or online no one will talk to me. I mean I’m not disfigured, fat, ugly, or incredibly strange. I have a great personality, I’m very easy to talk to, I actually listen and not just hear you when you talk to me and will even refer to past conversations when I try to catch up on how things are going. I just wonder why strangers or even my friends won’t talk to me unless they have a problem and want my advice. I feel like a doormat. My biggest annoyance I would have to say is that people who I know are just rude or nasty to talk to have people I couldn’t get to say hi to me to actually approach them and start a conversation.

I’m sorry if this was really long but I just really have no real solution. I’ve tried just about everything and unless I have a girl or popular person near me, I just can’t get the attention I need. I’m really depressed about it and literally have no one to talk to about it. Seen a therapist once and I really don’t think he could help me with this. If you can help me in any way it would be great. Thanks.

A: My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem. But they don’t really know me. –Garry Shandling

The quote by this well-known comedian helps to highlight the two-way process of understanding what others and we bring to intimacy.

The fact that you used to close people off entirely is likely to be something you’ll want to understand. The reasons for this will most likely yield important information in unraveling your current situation.

I have a bias about how I believe the change you want can happen. One type of therapy is designed in such a way that it typically works better than others. Group therapy, an interactive process for people struggling with different needs and transitions, may be something you’d want to look into. This is more than a support group; this is a dynamic group where the interaction between the members is part of the healing process. But this is not a one-shot deal. You may have to go six to ten times before you will be able to assess the impact it is having, and possibly longer to achieve true change. The reason I am so swayed by group therapy is because the process itself is the intervention. More than individual, group allows for greater therapeutic contact with more people (at a more affordable rate.) Whatever your interpersonal dynamics are the six to ten people in the group, as well as the facilitator or co-facilitator, will shine some light on your interpersonal process.

Imagine trying on a new shirt and pants and going in front of one mirror, then imagine going in front of several multi-angle mirrors with six or more views. What you get is a more detailed and useful perspective with the multiview mirrors. This is the difference between individual and group therapy. Both will help, but group work will give you more feedback about how you are in the world.

The fact that you notice a pattern to the interactions in your behavior is a good thing because it means you have been assessing the common denominator — the lack of connectivity. Group therapy is likely to provide insight on the nature and dynamics of your experiences. Chances are good that, as a student, your university will have a therapy group you can join.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Feeling Ignored and Depressed. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/20/feeling-ignored-and-depressed/