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Help! I’ve Been Extremely Depressed, Anxious and Paranoid for Months Now

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I think I should start off by saying I didn’t have a very good childhood. My parents divorced when I was 5, my dad was a meth addict, and my mom was always busy working to provide for us that I spent most of my time at my grandparents. I was overweight and very shy, and hardly even tried to make friends because of my lack of self confidence that caused me to always assume no one would like me. My mom remarried and we moved to Los Angeles, and my stepdad was very emotionally, physically, and verbally abusive. My mom always took his side when he would attack me because she was scared of another divorce. She wouldn’t let me talk about his abuse to anyone in fear of him getting arrested. I developed anorexia at age 14 and was obsessed with running to lose weight. I became so thin that I was nearly hospitalized. Eventually I came out to my family that I’m gay. I developed a great group of friends, my eating disorder was no more and I have enjoyed as much food as I want ever since. I have lost all of those great friends I made, some because of my own self destructive behavior (I have had a tendency to lie for years now, and am just now trying to change. I haven’t told a lie in 6 months), and some of the friends I lost because they were just genuinely bad people who turned on me. I have been cheated on in every relationship I’ve had. I was a straight A student in high school, having the highest GPA in my grade levels, until my senior year. Suddenly something came over me and I stopped caring. I started skipping school and staying home and sleeping all day. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t want to do anything. I was very depressed. I should also add that my mom kicked me out 3 different times in high school each after my stepdad abused me. She says it was for my safety but I also believe she wanted to make him happy, because he didn’t want me around. It hurt more than I could explain. So I went to stay with my drug addict father who I didn’t have a relationship with, and then to my grandmas house. I just gave up on school altogether sadly. I eventually moved back to LA when I was 17 and my mom hasn’t let me stay home since. She has branded me as a bad kid. My stepdad texts me every now and then and tells me to go fuck myself. Anyways, I have dealt with it all relatively decently in terms of mood. I have always learned to just laugh it off and be the funny one. But 2 years ago I suddenly went through a very dark period in my life. I became extremely depressed, to the point where I couldn’t function. I had disturbing intrusive thoughts, which led me to be extremely paranoid that I had a brain tumor. I couldn’t even go out to dinner with family because I was so paranoid that I couldn’t sit still. There wasn’t ever even a reason for my paranoia or anxiety. It was just there. For months I kept thinking I had something wrong with my brain, because I would have constant headaches and intrusive thoughts and the paranoia/anxiety over everything. Eventually, after months of constantly talking to my mom and her reassuring me I was fine, I felt normal again. It all went away. I began dating a new guy and I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. We were together for 2 years. And recently he moved, broke up with me out of nowhere, told me he was using me for my money and so I could drive him places, and his friends (who had become my friends) all told me they were using me too. I had a complete mental breakdown and I numbed it by smoking marijuana with a friend of mine. I smoked every night for 2 months and I was able to feel fine. However then it all started happening again. The constant paranoia and anxiety, the constant depression. I have begun worrying that I am going crazy, or that I’m skitzofrenic or psychotic even though I have never seen or heard anything that wasn’t there. I am worried about my brain again. I am worried about simple things like going to see a movie, or going to the store, and literally for no reason. The intrusive thoughts and images are back and stronger than ever. And I’m having extremely random memories. Like I’ll see a house on tv and suddenly my brain will remind me of a location I’ve been to in real life that barely looks like it but kind of. And yesterday I was at the hospital visiting a family member and a hallway in the hospital reminded me of a dream I had when I was in high school of a hallway that looked like it. It is all very bizarre and I don’t know what’s happening to me. I moved in with my grandparents hoping that I would go away, and although it has lessened, it is still very much here every day. I need help. I have never had a job and I want one, and I want to go back to school, but I’m so terrified of my anxiety and depression and paranoia getting in the way.

Help! I’ve Been Extremely Depressed, Anxious and Paranoid for Months Now

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing us. I think your situation would lend itself best to group therapy. In group therapy the issues you have identified in your family of origin and with your mom and stepdad would be addressed through the process of interaction within the group. I highly recommend finding a seasoned group therapist and join an ongoing group. This will provide a safe forum for you to both get support and make corrections in you life. The Find Help tab at the top of the page can help you find a therapist in your area or you can look on this site.

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

Help! I’ve Been Extremely Depressed, Anxious and Paranoid for Months Now

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

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). Help! I’ve Been Extremely Depressed, Anxious and Paranoid for Months Now. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/03/11/help-ive-been-extremely-depressed-anxious-and-paranoid-for-months-now/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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