Lonliness and depression
November 20, 2009 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Lonely and depressed...need advice

So i haven't been on here in writing about stuff in a while, which i guess is a good thing. I have been making progress on focusing on myself and stoped seeking a relationship, as if it were the only key to happiness. I have been doing better, i have established a pretty good amount of friends who i can trust and talk to and have grown a whole lot of confidence in just about everything i do. This happens to my toughest semester in college as an engineer, and i am effortlessly passsing (almost aceing) all my classes.

As much as things are better though i still feel like many times there is just me putting on a mask of a smiley face at times. I just feel like so much is missing. I have yet to establish a good exercise routine as i am very much out of shape and it is something i wish to work on...but things just haven't felt right lately, no matter what lately i have just been depressed waiting for what more is going to happen. It gets to the point where i just don't want to think, one thing i have found to ease the thought process is alcohol, as i am now 21. I don't drink alot or all the time, but lately i have just found that it makes it so much easier to forget everything by just having a beer or 2 at night.

Things haven't been bad, but then i did meet a girl i liked. and i am pretty sure i went about everything in the right way, but i still got turned down as things in her past that she is dealing with and is not ready for a relationship. I have no problem with it, never really expected to get that girl. But as someone has stated before it seems like i am a person "who feels to much". Things go from a great hope where things feel great and i feel optimistic, is there anything that i could of said different or that i could do different to change the future outcome. I went through one time where a girl told me she needs time before she would want to talk about things before, so i stepped back, within a few weeks she ends up with some other guy. I guess i don't have what it takes to change a girls perspective. I don't know how to explain but it just really hurts. it seems like i always end up in somewhat of the same situation. i again just find myself doing what ever i can to not think, to not think so i don't feel.

I don't really know where i am actually going with all this, i just kind of went on a rant. I would just like any input, opinions, to help get things better, advice.
posted by loser8008 to Human Relations (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you could try volunteering. It's possible that by helping other people with their problems you'll forget about your own.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:10 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Apologies for my rambling but I just got home from a bar and read this so here goes:

Not sure how much this is going to help but take it from someone who has been there. Life is not always going to be like this.

When I was the same age as you I was going through the same thing. I had zero luck with girls, lots of social anxiety, hangups, what have you. Also I should mention, I was a huge jock in high school and college.

Lots of people go through this, so you aren't alone. Just know that things can and do get better.

You will figure yourself out, you will figure your life out. You are doing well in school. Thats great. Thats important.

If I can give just a little advice about school though. Take advantage of the non academic things too. I don't just mean partying but just all the resources you have there. Field trips, clubs, whatever. That's one thing I feel like I missed and it is a great way to meet new people. Even certain classes. If you are almost done with your major then consider some more right brain intro classes like music, drama, arts etc..

Also, not every girl is going to be the one. You gotta remember that. If she was the one, then she would be with you. Don't try so hard, just be yourself and don't settle for anyone that won't accept you for who you are.

Alchohol is fine and all but don't use it as an escape, that is probably a bad way to look at it. Just have a few beers because you like having a few beers.

Also, your mefi name...come on man. Don't do that to yourself. It just makes things worse.
posted by WickedPissah at 9:40 PM on November 20, 2009 [5 favorites]

Thanks every once in a while i just have to here that it's just life, that everyone goes through it at some point it helps out a bunch. All i ever seem to notice is everyone else who seems to be living a much better life. The girl just recently got me down she was the first in a long while, but you are right. I do enjoy volunteering and have done it many times in the past and feel like maybe it is time to start it up again. The mefi name was a long time ago, never changed it or anything.
posted by loser8008 at 10:09 PM on November 20, 2009

One of the things that helps me most when I'm feeling hopeless is knowing that everyone has, at one point, felt the same and there are a lot of other people feeling that way, that very moment. Not in a way that makes it justifiable or validates it, but in the sense that life brings *everyone* to extreme highs and lows -- some more frequently than others.

I imagine everyone that is unhappy at that moment, and the different reasons they might be feeling that way. Then I realize things could probably be a lot worse, and I have a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes this is a 5 minute snap-out-of-it sort of thing and sometimes it takes months and months.

I'm not much older than you, but I remember it being a very difficult time for me for a variety of reasons; my future, my then-boyfriend, my job. That said, when one aspect in my life is going fantastic, another one is taking a nosedive.. and as soon as it looks like they're going to even out something drastic happens and they swap.

I don't really feel so much like I ever "recovered" from my depression as much as I just realized sometimes that's how life goes, so I've found ways to cheer myself up or adjust the way I handle a situation that makes me feel bad so that it happens less and less.

On preview it sounds like I'm late :)
posted by june made him a gemini at 10:15 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I wish I could give you some kind of advice on how to gently ease your way on the road to getting the girl and losing the weight and having millions of admirers, and I wish that actually doing that would make you happier, but the truth is that if you are unhappy within yourself then no matter what situation you're in you will still be unhappy. I have a friend who's got a sexual mistress, a boyfriend on the side, a job doing what he loves, and a house full of leather, and every time I speak to him he's mourning his lot over something.

Hard though this is to hear (and even harder to implement) the bottom line is that you have to be happy with your own company and your own achievements. Take pride in your accomplishments and your talents, look in the mirror and instead of looking for the bits you need to cover up, look for the bits of your appearance that you want to accentuate, look for the bits that make you distinctive. Maybe look for an archetype which you fit into which doesn't rely on anything that anyone but you can measure (Personally I do a lot of art and poetry, so I visualize some unbelievably cool, politically minded wordsmith, then tweak it ever so slightly so it's fat and has curly hair and BAM, that's who I am. It's a good way to get yourself a bit of an ego).

The point is, despite how I know this sounds? Believing your own hype will become a self fulfilling prophesy. If you wake up every morning and think that you're the engineering genius who's dynamic and versatile enough to apply himself to any task, and comfortable enough in his own skin to ask a girl out and take it in his stride if she walks away? Then that's the person you'll project, and if you honestly tell yourself that's who you are, and not just that's who you're trying to be to keep your friends from worrying? Then eventually you'll wonder what ever happened to that lonely boy you used to be.

The other thing you should consider is the possibility that this is a clinical condition. It's entirely possible that your mood swings and low moods are due to a chemical imbalance and you should go and see a doctor over it. Unfortunately I can't give you any more advice in that area though, as I know woefully little.
posted by emperor.seamus at 10:20 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]

I remember you...you got the same advice about your handle the first time you posted to AskMe. Seriously, spend another five bucks and forgo the self identifying loser shtick, a good start to getting you out of this hole. No matter how much of a loser you think you are, other people most likely don't see you that way, and it's time to start agreeing with them. The real losers aren't alive anymore, as long as you're up and about and breathing, blood pumping through your veins, you can and will "win".
posted by telstar at 10:31 PM on November 20, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm sober and I think everything WickedPissah said is right on.

What are your plans once you're done with school? If you aren't too saddled with student debt, consider getting involved in something like Engineers Without Borders or AmeriCorps something along those lines. Contributing time and skills to a worthy cause will have these effects:
  • You'll be making a useful contribution to society. Girls dig this.
  • You'll be participating in an interesting activity. Girls dig this.
  • You'll feel better about yourself. Girls dig this.
So if you have the opportunity, it's win-win-win.
posted by Loudmax at 10:34 PM on November 20, 2009

Change your Metafilter name first of all.

Please realize that all of us go through phases sort of what you're describing. Some of us end up pretty, some of us end up ugly. Some of us end up miserable and some of us end up having a good life.

Pretty? At least half of that is genetic. The rest is suffering with a personal trainer.

Ugly? Well, the truth is most of us aren't really THAT ugly.

The rest? Let yourself just plain be. Yes, be. There's all kinds of weird looking and thinking people who have great relationships with similar folks. The biggest folly of a young person is to think that he's the first one to feel the way he does. Approximately 3 billion other hominid people of your gender have felt what you're feeling.

Please keep up hope and remember we've all -- every one of us old folks -- have been in your shoes.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:52 PM on November 20, 2009

Someday (maybe tomorrow) things are gonna get easier. My best wishes to you.
posted by emhutchinson at 12:05 AM on November 21, 2009

Do you read much? If your only yardstick of social success is the people immediately around you, it's easy to get in a mental rut thinking that your current situation is the only possible situation. I actually find reading somewhat depressing stories makes me feel a lot better about my own life. Try reading Slaughterhouse Five, reading Vonnegut always cheered me up when I thought life was terrible.
posted by benzenedream at 1:40 AM on November 21, 2009

Yes to changing your screen name. I think you're getting something out of identifying as a loser. Figure out what *that* is (spoken as someone who has been there, done that).

I read what you've written and my thought is, keep up the good work: you're focusing on and succeeding at the right stuff for this time of your life. Friends: good work. Deepen those friendships. The few that make it out the other side of college will be invaluable. Education: excellent work on an important dimension of life. Health: great level of awareness about your current state and where you want to be. Most people don't get there for a while. Reflection/self-knowledge: really good. With time and hindsight you'll learn to be more gentle with yourself.

Have you considered a pet? I'm thinking a leopard gecko or something small but still with a personality. A friend of mine had a lizard through some tough times and knowing he had to care for her was a great source of connection and continuity.

i still feel like many times there is just me putting on a mask of a smiley face at times.
Yeah, sometimes you can fake it 'til you make it, but sometimes the mask is just a tiring reminder of who you aren't yet. The key is knowing when (and with whom) you can let your guard down to recharge, just be yourself. Pick one or two of your trusted friends and give yourself a chance to let the mask down with them. I don't mean freak out, but just know that you don't have to be Up, On, Happy that day or that week. It's a great relief when you realize there are those few people in your life to whom you can just say, "Gah, you know, I'm feeling crap today. I just want to hang out and be mellow." And you're mellow together, and quieter, and it's good.

I don't drink alot or all the time, but lately i have just found that it makes it so much easier to forget everything
There's a trajectory to things you do now. This is one of them. I really, really lucked out in college in that I did not like alcohol. If I liked alcohol then, I'd probably be an alcoholic today, for the same reason you mention. It is so tempting. Keep an eye on it, and ask a friend to help you keep an eye on it. Try to notice the feeling or behavior that occurs just before you want to pick up a drink, and try to slot in some other thought or activity QUICK. It could be a walk, it could be a pull up bar on your door, some "treat" that's good for you and pulls you toward something better than the alcohol.

i went about everything in the right way, but i still got turned down
I guess i don't have what it takes to change a girls perspective.

The girl stuff. In hindsight, it is so less important than you think it is. By "less important" I don't mean it doesn't matter. But think of this as a time when you figure out how you want to be treated in a relationship, and when you build up skill and ease in dealing with romantic objects in general. The skill won't be in changing a girl's perspective, it will be in recognizing people who appreciate yours. So you might not have a lot of girlfriends, but you are nonetheless creating models that will follow you into other relationships. Focus on treating all women with respect, treating potential partners with care and lightness (it may happen, it may not, we're all working on stuff), and true partners (so few and far between for many of us!) with love, compassion and integrity. And from your description of things, it sounds like you're doing this too.

Keep up the good work!
posted by cocoagirl at 4:02 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

fore yourself to gete out, breathe fresh air, look nature, enjoy the rain, or sun, smile to people and see what they do. That will make you feel better.
posted by zulo at 7:38 AM on November 21, 2009

Force yourself to get out, breathe fresh air, look nature, enjoy the rain, or sun, smile to people and see what they do. That will make you feel much much better.
posted by zulo at 7:38 AM on November 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh also, if you are just 21 and out of shape. Do your best to lose the weight while you are 21 and don't wait til you metabolism slows when you are older. Trust me on this one.
posted by WickedPissah at 7:54 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

First off, on the workout front... WickedPissah is right, this is the best time in your life to start getting in shape. Not only are you young and resilient, but you're in college - you probably have access to a free/cheap gym on campus and a reasonably flexible schedule. If you have trouble getting yourself going right now (getting started really is the hardest part), register for a PE class next semester. It's class, so you have to go!

As for the rest - I think you are getting off on the right foot, and you are generally doing all the right things, but you've found that sometimes it's not working 100% and it doesn't always feel authentic. And that happens. Fighting depression really does feel like a fight a lot of the time. And sometimes you give it your all and you still lose the round, and it's really easy to want to give up. All that matters is that you keep going and stay standing for the entire fight. I have depression, and even with all the stuff I throw at it, it still gets the better of me sometimes - and in those times, just the thought "well, I am fucking fighting this with all I've got and I am going to keep fighting" - it doesn't exactly make me feel better, but it keeps me from giving up completely. Remember that you are fighting, and so far you are ahead.

Sometimes I find that if I'm thinking a lot and my mind's going all sorts of places with nothing to really focus on, it will inevitably go back to a depressed or self-conscious place, kind of like gravity. It really helps to get different things going on in your life to throw your thoughts at, to keep them going somewhere interesting rather than just down the vortex. Again, exercise helps with this. Volunteering, as mentioned above, is a good idea too. Drinking is what you're using right now, but using something more constructive will be better in the long run.

You don't mention what your college environment is like, whether it's a large school or in a large city or what. College can be sort of a bubble environment, especially if it's physically isolated, and if you are romantically rejected within that bubble (particularly if the person turns around and starts dating someone else) it can make you really feel like an outsider. If you can, socialize with people who don't go to your school. In any case, keep in mind that this is not the end and you have not exhausted the dating pool.

Good luck!
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:38 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd quit drinking - it's never good to get into the habit of using substances as a coping mechanism. If you need support, AA has worked well for my SO and there are other progs out there as well.

If you're feeling crappy about yourself and looking for a relationship to validate your self-worth, you will always get hit with disappointment so I also recommend taking a break from seeking out others to serve as either a.) a distraction from depression or b.) a barometer for personal awesomeness.

Instead, throw all that energy into getting to know yourself, hanging out w/ yourself etc. Self-ish activities help: therapy, an exercise regimen, cultivating a hobby, taking a class etc. - which is why these are recommended over and over. Volunteering, traveling, doing an overseas goodwill program - all of those will help you figure out how you want to fit into the world.

If you're having trouble with self-motivation (making it to the gym three times a week, for instance) a guided program can help. A co-worker of mine joined the French Legion (I know, I know), another friend did Teach For America, another taught English in Korea etc. You can take up residency at a monastery if you wish.

Point being, it will give you a schedule and you will be forced to have a productive day, both of which greatly help depression.

The point is to be comfortable being alone because, ha ha, you can be your own best friend.

And this is a CRUCIAL thing to learn because no matter where you go, there you are. So you may as well enjoy it.

In three or four years, you won't be who you are now and here's hoping depression will be a lot easier to deal with. Your early twenties more often than not are for figuring yourself out so the ups and downs and wtf am I doings are pretty normal.

In my case, one-on-one therapy was the thing that kick started all the good stuff because basically you pay to spend an hour talking about yourself. And as another person that seems to "feel too much" ... well, my mood stabilizer takes care of that. Meds are another option - they won't change who you are and they won't make the underlying feelings go away, but they can give you breathing space so you can get out of bed in the morning.
posted by HolyWood at 9:56 AM on November 21, 2009

Whoops, just noticed that you're in college. In that case, go to your counseling center and pick up a counselor. Easy peasy.
posted by HolyWood at 9:58 AM on November 21, 2009

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