Depression and Helpless

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I think I am suffering with moderate to severe depression and feeling helpless as what to do next. I moved from the UK 3 years ago, to live with my partner, now husband. He had tried to live in the UK with me for a while, but was unable to find a job there, so we moved across here. I didn’t realise at the time, how small his home town is & I have been unable to find a job here, though I continue to run a (struggling) small business that I own in the UK.

I have become very isolated since moving here, no family or friends. My husband has work friends only. I didn’t realise just how much of a solitary/unsocial person my husband was. I pretend to my family back home in the UK, that all is fine, as I do not wish to worry anyone, especially my parents who are in their mid 70′s.

Since moving here, I have slowly sank down into a poor way of life. For a year now, I haven’t left the house and the last time i even stepped outside into my garden was about 6 months ago. I have looked online for information about agoraphobia, but I don’t seem to have those symptoms. My problem is that I don’t want anyone to see me, I feel extremely low about how I look, (always have had issue with my body and looks, even though I know that I am deemed as fairly attractive) but for some reason, I just feel like I am an ugly monster and that people will stare at me. I’m just too uncomfortable to be seen in public.

I know that I should seek help at a doctor’s, but I can’t bring myself to go outside to visit the clinic, we have no health insurance, are struggling financially, but more than anything, I’m angry with myself for being so weak, for allowing this to happen to me, unable to pull myself out of this condition.

I also feel, extremely unhappy, anxious, guilty for not having a job here, having become so dependent on my husband, and feel very hopeless about the future. I have no energy, struggling with back, shoulder and neck pain every day, poor sleep or oversleeping, struggle to focus on anything, even a simple housework task is a heavy chore, and I drink alcohol every 2-3 nights to alleviate boredom/to dull things. It’s as though I have given up on myself completely. I get through each day, by just existing. My way of coping is to try not to feel anything. Most days, my emotions are like a flat line and I don’t have the energy to allow my feelings to come to the surface. From time to time, I will break down and cry alone or during the night when my husband is asleep. As soon as I do break down and cry, it’s too much to bear, within seconds I physically hurt inside, my whole body starts to shake and at times, have vomited. I have tried to talk to my husband about it all, but he just seems to want to pretend it isn’t happening, to bury his head in the sand.

I have always struggled with a low self esteem, feeling unliked or worthless at times. I was a bullied child, throughout my entire childhood at school, where being the only child, I would hide what was happening from my parents, as though I feared to disappoint or upset them. I have dealt with it and always managed to find an inner strength to be a fairly successful and optimistic as an adult. But now .. I don’t even recognise me anymore and I just can’t find any strength within, let alone find myself.

I have never used a help site of any sorts before, so I guess this is my first attempt at trying to look into my problems, rather than ignoring them. Please could you give me some advise as to what might be wrong with me and what help/treatment options might be available to me. Thank you for your time.

A. You seem to match all of the symptoms of depression. This is a very difficult time for you but know that there is hope. The fact that you are willing and open to receiving help is very encouraging. By writing to us, you have taken the first step to access the help you need.

The most difficult challenge for you at this time is making contact with mental health professionals. It’s difficult primarily because of the way you perceive your situation. You seem to hold the opinion that you are essentially a failure because you have depression. It is a very self-deprecating attitude. Not getting help may be your way of punishing yourself for being depressed. If you had a friend with depression, I highly doubt that you would be so critical. I suspect that you would be kind, compassionate and would do everything in your power to help your friend. You would most likely never vocalize the disparaging thoughts to her that you believe about yourself. It is important to understand that people do not become depressed voluntarily. I am certain that you would never choose to be depressed. Depression develops for a variety of reasons. It is not your fault. You deserve to treat yourself with the very same kindness and compassion that you would have towards a friend. Thoughts lead to actions. Change your thoughts and you can change your life for the better.

Even though you do not have health insurance, there are ways to access mental health treatment. Local community mental health centers (CMHCs) are an affordable option for low cost counseling services. CMHCs may charge a sliding-scale fee, which essentially means that they negotiate a payment plan based on what the patient can afford. You should also call the local health department to inquire about what low-cost or free mental health services are available in your community. Explain your situation. They should be able to direct you to the appropriate resources, if available.

I would also suggest calling the United States Department of Health and Human Services National Mental Health Information Center, at 800-789-2647. They may be able to direct you to free or low-cost mental health counseling in your community. You may also be able to locate affordable therapy services by clicking on the “find help” tab at the top of this page.

If you are not ready to visit a physician or a mental health professional face-to-face, you may find consolation in one of our online support groups. In-person meeting is recommended but interacting with other individuals in an online setting may give you the encouragement to seek help. The choice to seek help is in your power. I hope you make the right decision and reach out for help. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Depression and Helpless. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/02/07/depression-and-helpless/