I would characterize the way you describe yourself and your situation as harsh and hypercritical. It is unlikely that you would think this harshly of a friend or a family member in a similar predicament. You most likely would have more sympathy for others than you have for yourself. I have sympathy for the fact that you are truly suffering; I would suggest adopting this personal attitude towards yourself.
It is important to understand that having a mental health disorder is not your fault. It does not make you “self-centered” or “whiny.” You also should not feel “shameful.” Just like people do not choose to have cancer, people do not choose to have a mental illness. You are clearly not choosing your way of life. You are desperately trying to improve your life but are having difficulty. If you could help yourself out of this distressful situation, you would.
It also seems as though you are comparing yourself to other individuals your age and concluding that you are in essence a failure, “a 24-year-old deadbeat” to use your words. This is an unfair comparison. As you mentioned, you have been struggling with a mental health disorder since you were a child. You are comparing yourself to people who likely do not have depression or anxiety. Everyone’s situation is unique to their specific life circumstances. No two people have the same set of life circumstances, therefore a comparison of this nature will always be inaccurate.
You are having difficulty identifying the problem and knowing how to treat it. You correctly speculated that I would suggest returning to therapy. You have tried counseling on several occasions without success but that doesn’t mean you should give up trying. Finding the right therapist could make a major, positive difference in your life. The alternative is to do nothing and to continue suffering. Those would not be wise choices. Knowing you have a mental illness and deciding not to treat it is akin to learning of a cancer diagnosis and refusing chemotherapy.
What can you do in the short term? Ask for referrals and recommendations from friends and family. Ask your psychiatrist to recommend highly qualified therapists that have a track record of successfully treating depression and anxiety disorders. Another idea is to call at least 5 to 10 therapists and speak to them about your problem. Ask them specifically how they would help you and in addition ask if they have treated others in similar situations and to describe the outcomes of those cases. Make an appointment with the therapist who you feel the most comfortable with over the phone.
You should also surround yourself with supportive individuals. Fortunately you have supportive friends and family. Do not hesitate to utilize their support during this difficult time. Spend as much time with them as possible.
As for your job, you may want to speak to your boss about this situation. It seems as if she is an understanding individual. She may sympathize with your situation and suggest a short leave of absence. Your honesty with her may help to save your job. A leave of absence would afford you time to focus on your treatment. You may also be eligible for family medical leave. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows employees to take a leave of absence for up to 12 weeks (usually unpaid) to care for an ill loved one or to “take care of one’s own serious health condition.” You could read more details about FMLA here.
I hope this answer is helpful. Please consider writing back and letting me know how you are doing. I hope to hear back from you in the future. I wish you well.