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Depression, Anxiety, Paranoia, Compulsions

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I can’t find it in myself to look forward to anything-everything is fleeting to me. I can only think negatively about anything as it is too exhausting for me to be optimistic. I constantly think about suicide but know that I don’t have the guts for it. Sometimes I feel like a god- smarter than everyone else and 5 steps ahead, other times I feel suffocated by my thoughts of nothing mattering, oblivion, bleakness. I feel hollow and empty sometimes. I have never experienced a manic episode, the closest would be impulse buys but nothing too bad. I feel like I have episodes of depression where my body feels sore, I can’t think about anything besides death, and wish to be in a year-long comatose or something. Every day is a struggle for me, I wake up with anxiety and when it prolongs itself through the day I feel so exhausted by it then depressed because of it. So many of my issues seem existential and therefore unsolvable to me unless I adopt an ignorance is bliss attitude but I’ve tried and physically can’t. I’m on 100mg of lamotrigine but I don’t know if I am worse or nothing changed at all. I just can’t find anything to stay happy about. Any time I ‘sense’ a disturbance, I immediately speculate the worst-case scenario and convince myself I am going to be broken up with, ghosted, or left alone. I feel like i am emotionally manipulative and have no control over some of the toxic aspects of my personality. For instance, when I feel like my BF is not giving me attention or something I go to the bathroom and cry until he finds me. I think that is awful of me. There are other behaviors related to that that i cannot control.
I feel like I am unbalanced beyond repair.

Depression, Anxiety, Paranoia, Compulsions

Answered by on -

A.

I am glad that you have taken the time to explain all of these uncomfortable and difficult symptoms. I think it is a good start and I want to dive right into your narrative because I believe it holds some important clues about a pathway for your recovery. Let’s start with your first 3 opening sentences.

“I can’t find it in myself to look forward to anything-everything is fleeting to me.” What is striking about your description is that it begins with you in search of you: “I can’t find it in myself…” I don’t want to minimize this because there is a very healthy part of you that is experiencing an unhealthy—or at least non-optimal part of you. That same healthy part then goes on to say: “. I can only think negatively about anything as it is too exhausting for me to be optimistic.” Again, in an important way you are saying that you know how to challenge these unhealthy thoughts by being optimistic—but that it is difficult because it is exhausting. Then you explain this struggle at its very core: “I constantly think about suicide but know that I don’t have the guts for it.”

In each of these opening sentences (and every other one as you review them), there is a healthy you that is being challenged by unhealthy responses. The healthy part is the one frustrated by the lack of progress and the one that is trying to get the right combination of forces together to feel better. It is up against the unhealthy part that, right now, is hijacking your healthy part and having you do things (like manipulating your BF) that your healthy part sees as “awful.”

Your last sentence has gotten it exactly right in the part that says you feel unbalanced—but this is definitely NOT beyond repair. You being able to notice and feel what is not okay tells us that the healthy part is what needs to emerge and grow. I am suggesting you do two things to make this happen.

The first is to learn about your character strengths by going to this website. Character strengths are something that, when used properly, bring us back into balance. They have to do with things like our persistence, gratitude, self-regulation, etc. Learning about them and how to use them is one of the best ways to bring yourself back into balance. Take the character strength survey on the site and follow the instructions about using your strengths more.

Finally, I would encourage you to work with a therapist to help speed this process along. The Find Help tab at the top of this page will help you find someone in your area.

Thanks for writing in and let us know how you’ve done!

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

Depression, Anxiety, Paranoia, Compulsions

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. (2019). Depression, Anxiety, Paranoia, Compulsions. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 15, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/11/25/depressionanxiety-paranoia-compulsions/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Nov 2019 (Originally: 25 Nov 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Nov 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.