I think I may be getting depressed. Since my divorce five years ago I have been single with only a couple of casual encounters. My ex was alcoholic and mentally very abusive (not physical) also my childhood was quite abusive with a violent father and a mother (both of whom have died) who was depressed (due to the violence.) Also I have a physical condition called brittle bones, which resulted in me having many broken bones as a child and missing years of schooling. After university and having largely overcome my physical condition I went overseas traveling (in part to test myself and in part to get away from family.) I ended up in the US and married the first person that seemed to care and love me. When I did finally leave my husband after trying to make the relationship work longer than I should I was at breaking point mentally – life held no joy, I was in a low paid menial job and felt that I lacked ability to find something better, that I had no friends and that I was utterly unlovable (my mother told me as a child that she feared no one would love me.) I decided to take a year out and look after myself I went into counseling which was a rewarding and healing experience if very confronting and at time harrowing. I realized that I did have friends who cared for me and as the healing process continued I made many more and feel truly blessed to have these people in my life. My job situation did not improve and after being turned down for another promotion I decided to take time out have a think and see a bit of the world, I spent some months traveling which was mostly wonderful. I returned to the US for the best part of a year and found work with a large company who valued me. I came to realize that as much as I loved my friends in the US I did not have a family and no relationship (and no real hope of one.) I decided to move nearer to my siblings (all in the UK), as with both our parents gone we are all we have. Not wanting to live in the UK I relocated to Germany where I had some friends and as a means of earning money trained as an ESL teacher. Teaching has been a revelation – I never expected to enjoy it but I find it so very rewarding and am motivated to make a go of it and have a two year plan for experience and training (the first time in my life I’ve had such a thing.) My problem is I feel overwhelmingly lonely, when I arrived a friend (who I had feelings for) confessed that he had feelings for me and we began a relationship after two weeks he told me that he changed his mind and didn’t want to continue (but never told me why.) I cannot get rid of the feelings of rejection and that I am doomed never to be or even experience a loving nurturing relationship and that there must be something wrong with me. Despite relocating my relationship with my siblings is almost non-existent – they have made no effort to visit me or reply to my emails. My two sisters are not on speaking terms which meant when I did visit them I had to choose who to see and when, as ever I made the wrong decision and no one sister is not talking to me and the other if she does contact me talks mainly about what is wrong with the other. My brother is the only one of my siblings who even asked about my time in Germany. I feel so lonely and unloved that I often cry (I never realized how much a person can cry.) I have made some other lovely friends since my arrival but as ever they have their own relationships and, well Saturday’s nights and weekends generally are just lonely. I do enjoy the delights of my new home – the museums, art and beauty but it’s always alone. I am at the point where I cannot bear to see people in love (which you see a lot of in Europe!), as it is just a reminder that no one loves me. I know a relocation such as I have undertaken would involve periods of loneliness but I am worried that I may be falling into something more. I don’t seem capable of taking joy in my achievements – relocation, finding a job so fast, finding a beautiful apartment etc. At present I feel as if I could disappear and no one would notice. I am unable to seek counseling here as at present I am only on a part time wage so would welcome any advice you could give me. I apologies as I fear I have taken more than the 400 guide.
Give yourself some well-earned credit. There are two primary forces that motivate us in our lives: moving away from pain, and moving toward well-being. You have been able to move away from what was unhealthy. This is a major and essential ingredient in being able to move toward what you want.
In the past counseling was helpful, and I suspect it will be helpful again. You may want to look for both an individual and group therapist. The advantage of adding group therapy is that you will be able to get feedback and learn from many others in the group.
You have proven to yourself that you can flourish when the right conditions are present. The work now is for you to find the right conditions for your growth. Making new friends, engaging in the process of therapy, and finding a creative outlet will be important ways for you to grow.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Depressed?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/09/25/depressed/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.