I always feel like somebody’s watching me, and I feel like I’m a failure all the time. I feel like neither my parents nor my sister are proud of me, and I feel disappointing. I often have problems staying with a lot of people at the same time, and feel like everybody judges me. I often think about how I would kill myself, and I’m often scared for no particular reason. I haven’t felt comfortable in a long time, no matter where I am or who I am with. Also, I used to self-harm, but I haven’t in 3 months now. I made your online depression test, which said that I suffer from severe depression, but I wanted to ask for a “human” advice. Thank you so much, Francesca.

A. Dear Francesca, I am sorry for what you’re going through. I know it’s difficult. Though I can’t verify a mental health diagnosis over the Internet, depression seems like a realistic possibility.

Your letter indicates that you have a negative view of yourself. You’re also convinced that other people think negatively of you. It’s important to realize that people with depression have clouded judgment, especially about themselves and their abilities. They tend to minimize positive aspects of themselves and dwell on personal characteristics that they believe are negative. I think that may be what is happening with you.

You are convinced that your parents or your sister are not proud of you but have you asked them? My guess is that you haven’t. You probably have assumed these things but if you had asked them, I bet you’d have found that they don’t think negatively of you. In all likelihood, it’s the depression that’s making you feel this way.

I would recommend that you speak to your parents about how you are feeling. Report your symptoms of depression and your thoughts of suicide. Suicidal thoughts should always be taken seriously. Ask your parents for help. Don’t hesitate. They can help you but only if you make them aware of the fact that you are in serious distress. I hope you will take my advice. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle