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Depressed & Lonely

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To be honest I’m not the best at explaining so I’ll just tell you my main conflicts.
1. My whole life has been a social failure. In school I was always treated terrible for being awkward and a little different due to my autistic nature to the point where it felt like I was hated for absolutely no reason. Since then I feel like it’s taken a toll on me mentally and emotionally because all I ever wanted was some friends that actually cared about me but anytime it looked like I was close to something like that I was painfully let down one way or another and due to that I am incredibly shy, uncommunicative, and hopeless that I’ll ever actually gain the social life I’ve always wanted
2. In addition to having some true friends I’d also like to try dating and possibly find my future companion. The problem with that though is due to my terrible social skills and trauma from my social failures, I’m terrified to talk to girls.
3. In my life there is constantly forces being my control impeding me from being as productive as I’d like to be or preventing me from progressing to my goals in life and as a result I end up getting really depressed and feel restless and worthless.
4. I lack self-esteem. Whenever it seems like life is trying to hint me towards something that would improve life or bring me joy I always back away from that help as I’m afraid of the affects it could have on me or my life as a whole. Either that or I don’t have the willpower to try to improve myself or my life.
5.I feel like I’m always at the center of hostile drama between two people in my life and it emotionally exhausts me to say the least.
6. I have a passion in life that I’m more than committed towards making it a reality but with no support and the emptiness I feel I’m practically clueless as to how I turn this dream into my reality.

Depressed & Lonely

Answered by on -

A.

You may be correct in how you have characterized yourself, but it’s also possible that your self-assessment is incorrect. Consider this statement for instance: “my whole life has been a social failure.” That is a wholesale condemnation of your ability to create a social life. That is your perspective, but as you noted in your letter, you are depressed and thus may be prone to filtering all aspects of yourself through the lens of negativity.

What would an objective assessment of your social life look like? Would it match yours? You could benefit from consulting a therapist. They can provide an objective opinion about circumstances regarding subjective matters. Would a therapist agree with your self-assessment?

People tend not to be objective about themselves. They often over or under emphasize certain traits and characteristics about themselves. There are a myriad of cognitive biases and distortions you can read about.

People with depression often have inaccurate views of themselves. They will often think negative things about themselves such as they’re no good, they’re unlovable, they’re complete failures, no one likes them, everyone else is doing better than they are, the list goes on. In short, they tend to see themselves as failures compared to everyone else. However, whenever you examine their lives, in more detail, you often find that they minimize the many good aspects of their lives and overemphasize any (perceived) negative aspects of their lives.

Some of the more common cognitive distortions associated with depression include catastrophizing (predicting that the worst will happen in every circumstance); all or nothing thinking, also known as black and white thinking (believing that only a very limited set of circumstances could occur in any given situation and ignoring all of the possible range of circumstances); overgeneralization (thinking that because something happened in one circumstance that it will automatically happen in all other circumstances); and mind reading (believing that you know what other people are thinking of you even though you have no evidence).

At the heart of it, cognitive distortions involve an individual filtering information through an inaccurate lens. Thus, if you’re using inaccurate information to make a determination, then it’s very likely that your conclusions will be incorrect.

Obviously, I don’t have enough information from your letter to judge whether or not your self-assessments are accurate but it does seem that you are harsh when it comes to yourself and your abilities.

The way you think about yourself also determines how you feel about yourself. If you judge yourself harshly, then emotionally, you’re going to feel bad. That is a very unpleasant way to live.

At this point, it seems that you need more information. You need to know if you are accurate in your self-judgments. It is important to know the truth.

My advice is to consult a therapist who will objectively examine your beliefs and determine their accuracy. Once you have accurate information, then you can act accordingly. Without the truth, you risk making decisions that may not be in your best interest.

It’s also possible to learn new and better social skills. You might choose a therapist who specializes in working with individuals with autistic disorders. Social skills training, cognitive enhancement therapy (CET), and related therapies can assist in developing those important skills.

You also mentioned that you have a passion in life but that you are not sure how to turn your interest into a reality. Therapy can help with this. Research would also help immensely. Research is often a very labor-intensive effort. It takes time, major effort and patience, but it’s well worth your time. You’d be surprised at how much information is available for those willing to search for it. Good luck and please take care. Thanks for your question.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Depressed & Lonely

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). Depressed & Lonely. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/09/26/depressed-lonely/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Sep 2019 (Originally: 26 Sep 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Sep 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.