Hard Time Coping

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

Now, this isn’t something I’m new to, I’ve suffered from depression for about 1/2 of my life. I’ve been through therapy/counseling, am currently on 2 anti-depressants, and am about to go onto a third. After seeing some 6 different professionals, the basic advice to “cope” while trying to solve the underlying problems has generally been the same. Now, I’ve done my best to do all of this to a tee, I exercise daily, have as regular a sleep schedule as you’ll find, and I eat properly. They also said it’s good to keep busy, and surround yourself with familiar faces, whether it be family or friends. A good part of why I can feel so crappy now has been traced back to my family (my father, specifically), so I’ve never looked at spending time with my family as something other than a chore.

It’s not great, but it is what it is.

I try to spend time with my friends, but it’s getting harder and harder to do. Whether it’s something wrong with me, or something wrong with them, I’m going to ballpark that 80% of the time that I have plans with friends, they always come up with a last minute excuse to not see me. I feel like I’m back in middle school when every single one of my friends tells me they’re too tired, have a stomach ache, or don’t feel like going out, then I find out the next day they all were just ducking me and went out together. It may seem like I’m being dramatic, like it’s a one time thing, but it sometimes happens several times a week. I do my best to keep busy. I play piano and guitar a lot, and make furniture when I can muster up the energy to do so, but you can only spend so much time alone before it starts taking a toll in itself. They all know I suffer from depression, and even though I’ve tried to talk to them about it, desperately looking for support, they just get mad at me, tell me something extremely negative, and I’m back where I started, alone. After talking to my therapist in college I tried joining a TON of clubs, and even a fraternity. More recently after talking to a therapist, I’ve joined 5 (yes FIVE) dating sites to try to meet new people. The haze-happy fraternity world wasn’t exactly a positive experience, and after being on these dating sites for 3 years, you can count the number of messages I’ve gotten on one hand, and haven’t even been able to convince anyone to meet me in person.

I’m not sure what else I can do to help me through this “rough patch” that I’ve been in the last 4 months or so. It’s bad enough that things at work and in my personal life started to turn, it’s worse that my new insurance coverage doesn’t cover therapy and I can’t afford it (but honestly, I can’t say it ever helped in the past), but it’s the worst that any support structure I once had has decided to just cut and run. Going through this physically and emotionally alone is just going to have me slipping deeper and deeper into this darkness. Up to this point, I feel like I’ve done everything right. I don’t know what else could be out there to help me get through this.

A: It does sound like you have taken all the right steps to get a balanced life and are doing what you can to cope. Depression is a powerful foe, and the way you have been dealing with it is exemplary.

The only thing I can add to this is group therapy. My experience with people with depression and the use of a dynamic group therapy process is that group psychotherapy helps in ways that medicine, friends and individual therapy can’t. It works on building real relationships and helps individuals realize their choices and options for functioning in the world. I would encourage you to look for a group in your area, and talk to a therapist with experience in facilitating groups. The find help tab at the top of the page can help you.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Hard Time Coping. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/30/hard-time-coping/