For the past 10 years I have felt unhappy

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi
Im 27 and for the past 10 years i have felt unhappy and hopeless.
I think this started when i was 13 and has gradually got worse and worse over the years. Im at that age now where ive thought about the way that i feel and want to do something about it instead of just trying to shut it out.I want to be happy, i want to love life and i want to engage in it and feel good about that and for the past 4 years ive been trying by buying self help books and going on courses, seeing a counsellor, cbt therapist. Nothing works an im really scared that the way i feel wont change and no one can help me.

I also want a boyfriend but with the way that i feel im not much use and just dont feel like i can cope with it. My self esteem and confidence are LOW especially when it comes to men and relationships. I used to want children but now i really feel its wrong because what if they feel like i do? what if they cant get out of it like me?

Ive been the doctors and im going to see a psychotherapist but im really scared that they wont be able to help and then were were do i go from there? ive even tried spiritual practices but again nothing. I never im a million years thought that i would feel like this for this long and this would be my life when i was growing up but it is and i cant escape it. I often get really freaked out by all this and feel histerical.

None of my family or friends know how i feel and when ive tried to explain they just dont get it. Im also in my second week of seeing a life coach but im thinking that its not enough and reinforces my hopelessness. I dont know what to do what if it never changes!?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
and sorry for the lack of paragraphs.

A: I’m so very, very sorry that life has been so difficult for you for so long. Although I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, what you report is consistent with a major recurrent depression. It sounds like you’ve done all the non-invasive, non-medical things one can do. Give yourself credit for how hard you’ve worked at this.

If you haven’t already, please see a medical doctor and get a thorough physical exam. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause or contribute to symptoms like yours. We want to be sure that there isn’t an undiagnosed medical condition. If everything looks fine medically, the next step is to see a psychiatrist. (Perhaps you’ve done this already but you didn’t mention it.) Psychotropic medication may help jumpstart you enough out of the depression that you’ll be better able to make good use of your therapy.

If medication fails, there is ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), once called electroshock treatment. Although a treatment of last resort, it is often effective in treating a prolonged depression like yours. During ECT, light seizures are induced while you are under anesthesia. It isn’t clear just why it works but it is regarded as both safe and effective. Like medication, there is a chance of side effects. You and your doctor would discuss whether the chance of those side effects is outweighed by how miserable you’ve been feeling.

I encourage you to educate yourself about available medications and ECT and to discuss these options with your psychiatrist. There are still some treatment options you haven’t explored. I hope one of them gives you the relief you deserve.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). For the past 10 years I have felt unhappy. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/29/for-the-past-10-years-i-have-felt-unhappy/