Extremely Depressed and Don’t Know What To Do

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW


I’m 17 and I’ve been depressed for about 4 and a half years. It all started when my grandmother died, and I had to move to a whole new city and go to a new school. I always had a lot of friends, well like two or three, right now that feels like so much. When I moved I developed a social disorder, I can’t talk to anyone and I have severe anxiety whenever I am around a lot of people especially teenagers. I moved when I was in the middle of 8th grade, I went to a new middle school and I didn’t make any friends and I thought, oh its okay, maybe I’ll make some in high school. But it only got worse. Right after my grandmother died I also started pulling out my hair (trichotillmania) so it made me very self-conscious to the point where I thought I was the ugliest person ever which only made it harder to talk to people.

In the 9th grade, it got so bad that I cried everyday after school and every morning before school. I made up excuses to my mother so I wouldn’t have to go and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. Finally I asked my mom to put me in homeschooling, which in my opinion was the worst thing I could have done… but it’s better than regular school only because I don’t have to talk to anyone. I recently found out that because I went into the home school that I am in now, I am not eligible to go straight to a university after I graduate, which makes me feel like more of a failure than I already am. I have no friends, I haven’t for four years. And I feel like I wasted my childhood and I can’t go back. Ive been to counseling, therapy, medication. And nothing worked. And now I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do. Everyday I cry because I’m afraid of dying alone. I’ve never had a boyfriend because I cant talk to anyone. And I’ve always thought about suicide but only recently have I been thinking about it everyday.

I stay up all night thinking about ways to kill myself. I mean, I have nothing to live for. I just don’t know what to do. And this is kind of a last resort for me I guess, I’m just looking for some advice.

A. I’m sorry you are experiencing so much emotional pain. Please understand that while life is very difficult right now, it does get better. Going from a child to an adult is one of the most difficult times in one’s life. Your experiences are universal in that most people struggle with this time period in their life. It may feel as though it’s not going to get better and that there’s no hope but the reality is it will and it does.

When people are depressed it can be difficult to see any positive aspects in their world. Depression can lead to hopelessness. Depressed individuals increasingly believe that life is not going to improve for them. It is important for you to understand that depression prevents you from thinking clearly. Your depression can cloud your judgment and make you believe that your life will not improve. As I mentioned above, many teenagers feel this way. Medication and therapy has not been effective for you but it may be that you have not found the right medication or the right therapist. It may simply be a matter of trying a different medication or finding a new therapist. A change in one or two of these areas could make all the difference in your life.

Social phobia can be treated with counseling and medication. So can trichotillomania. Very effective treatments exist for both of these problems but it’s a matter of finding the right therapist or doctors to help.

It is important to keep in mind that oftentimes depression is situational. Situations change and get better. You have been experiencing depression for 4 1/2 years. The main reasons for your depression include the loss of your grandmother, social anxiety and not having friends. These are very real and serious issues but they can be dealt with. If you learn how to effectively grieve the loss of your grandmother, it would help to alleviate your depression. If you were in therapy to treat your social anxiety then you would feel better about yourself. If you had more access to peers you would likely have friends and a boyfriend. A positive change to any one of the aforementioned areas could make a major difference and decrease and possibly eliminate your depression.

The best way to deal with depression is to get help for it. This involves you being active in trying to correct this problem. Talk to your mother/parents about how you’re feeling. If you are not receiving effective therapy then you need to immediately alert both your therapist and your mother. Talk to the guidance counselor about which school you might attend after you receive your high school diploma. You mentioned that you cannot be accepted into college because of homeschooling but you may have received inaccurate information. There may be other ways to deal with this issue. You mentioned that you feel like a failure because you were told you cannot go directly to college, from homeschooling. You need to be sure that information is correct. If so, the solution might be as simple as taking a simple test. You need to explore this further and find out what your options are. Lastly, I would also suggest volunteering. It would be a great way for you to interact with others, keep busy, prevent continued social isolation, improve your spirit and bring meaning to your life. Helping others might have a profound effect in your life.

Please realize that suicide is never the answer. Individuals who have attempted suicide and who have survived, often report that when they decided to end their lives, they could see no hope. It was an impulsive gesture, one they wish they could have taken back. Their judgment was inaccurate and they did not perceive reality clearly. Suicide survivors uniformly report that their lives ultimately do improve. They are thankful that they have survived. It was simply a matter of time before their lives improved but had they died they would have missed the opportunity to experience the improvement in their lives.

Talk to your mother, the guidance counselor, your doctor, and your therapist and get the help you need and that you deserve. If you feel that you cannot control your behavior and or you might be a danger to yourself or others, go immediately to the emergency room or call 911. I hope you’re able to get the help that you need. Please take care and consider writing back and letting me know how you’re doing. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Extremely Depressed and Don’t Know What To Do. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/18/extremely-depressed-and-dont-know-what-to-do/