Am I depressed or just pathetic
August 11, 2014 11:08 PM   Subscribe

Hi. I know I've posted about my depression before. But I just don't know what to do about it. I can't get better

I'm 21 years old. I feel like I've had fluctuating low grade depression most of my life. I wasn't happy as a kid. My family life was a mess, My parents were split up before I was born, my mom has really bad schizophrenia and only has a fifth grade education, I lived with my dad who was pretty uninvolved, he got a girlfriend to move in when I was 4 and he told me it was so she would take care of me and my sister, and I pretty much raised myself. I didn't really feel loved or taken care of. I always remember feeling sad and shy and different from other people. Here I am a young adult and I don't really feel much better. I never really had any interests growing up, I feel as if I've just passed through life in angst my whole life or something.

I don't even know how to articulate my mental state as of late but it's really bad. I can't think straight, feel blank, hopeless, alienated, disconnected. I am blank especially around other people, I can't think how to respond, I talk without meanin what I'm saying, I put on a positive face but everyone can tell it's my genuine. I feel paranoid and awkward around people.

I don't know what I'm so worried about. I do but it's senseless things. Like if I'm normal, what other people think of me, I feel so rejected and like I'm a weirdo, I think my family doesn't like me... What if I die wil I have even meant anything to anyone? I see all these people with close friendships and that's what I long for. But I can't express myself like they can.

I think I have anxiety and depression. It comes in cycles. I've been crying really easily lately. The other day I had such a stressful awkward day at work I came home stressed and started freaking out about my life and had a terrible headache, felt sick and threw up because of anxiety. I can't stop ruminating. I try to relax by doing my yoga video or making and drinking tea before bed or listening to asmr videos before bed and that helps. But I don't feel fully well

I've been trying so freaking hard to take care of myself and get better and try in life. I work full time. I just got my associates degree. I just broke up with to boyfriend of five years because I didn't love him like he should be loved, I didn't want to be with him, it was a long time coming and the weird part it I don't even feel sad about it. I feel like that's crazy

I try to eat healthy. I try to work out a couple times a week. I want I get into a routine but I don't know what to do. I need structure. I try to hangout with the couple of friends I do have but I just leave hanging out feeling even more alienated because when we talk about my problems or I try to express myself to them I just feel misunderstood and then I feel like no one really gets me.

I used to go to a counselor. It kind of helped but sometimes I feel like she didn't even understand me. I'm very honest with my emotions. I felt like she didn't really want to help me, she just wanted to do her job and didn't really care.

I had a consultation with a psychiatrist a couple months ago. He asked me what I was feelin and I said I think depression and anxiety. He just treated me like I was way overreacting. He asked if I had any kids or was even living on my own or had bills and acted like I had nothing to even worry about. He was actually pretty rude and I left there feeling really angry and offended.

I don't know what I do with myself. I feel like I can't think straight. I can't focus, I'm never present and my mind is always half somewhere else. I feel like if I've always been kinda depressed what's there to look forward to, I probably won't get better, and sometimes I wish something would just happen to me so I didn't have to endure te pain anymore. I suck at life, I don't know how to do it. I feel like I am trying so hard to just be able to function enough to go to work and socialize with coworkers and excercise now and then and I'm not getting anywhere. I'm sure this post is incoherent and I'll probably regret posting this. But I'm just hoping someone will understand, because I can't see what the solution is from my perspective...
posted by anon1129 to Human Relations (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Anon1129, I understand. I could have written this post, except I haven't had the courage to do it since knowing of Metafilter. I'm glad you're here because this is a great place to be and I'm sure others will give you fantastic advice and hopefully you'll take it. As for my response, feel free to me-mail me and I'd love to chat, if anything to at least get it off your chest so to speak, because I find it hard to take any of the advice I read about. It's not that I don't want to, or that I can't, it just doesn't happen. I expend so much energy just trying to exist that there isn't much left. Good luck anon, I think life was meant to be enjoyed, but some few just haven't learned how.
posted by lunastellasol at 11:14 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

To answer your title question: you are not pathetic at all. You keep reaching out and trying and that takes strength. Lord knows that I know how much strength it takes to keep going every day. To acknowledge that this isn't right and to keep trying. It isn't just a platitude when I say that you are strong and so far from pathetic.

It sounds like you just didn't click with your counselor. Can you try again? Keep trying (I know that is asking a lot but maybe you can break it into small tasks or get someone to help) because when you finally find a therapist you click with it can really help you change your life.

Same with the psychiatrist. Can you try again with someone else? Don't forget your brain is skewing your view of what people say right now so it could be beneficial to go twice and see if the shrink can help. But if he was completely dismissive you don't have to bother. Some of them can be jerks like some laymen can be jerks.

A lot of people get some sort of relief through medication. You can always try that.
posted by kanata at 11:26 PM on August 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's discouraging when the people you go to for help aren't able to help you properly, as was the case with your counselor and psychiatrist. As tempting as it might be to give up, I hope you will keeping trying to find professionals to help you. There are skilled, compassionate therapists and psychiatrists out there who will do right by you; unfortunately, it sometimes takes a few tries to find the right ones.

If you have an insurance policy that includes behavioral health coverage, they might have a number you can call to have them help you find new doctors/therapists. They might even be able to make the initial calls for you to see if the psychiatrist and therapist are taking new patients, and then give you the names/numbers of the ones who are available so you can call and set up an appointment.

It sounds like you are working really hard to do all the right things that are in your control, so I hope you can give yourself some much-deserved credit there. But you don't have to tough it out alone -- it may take time to find good help, but it is worth are worth it. Keep reaching out, keep looking for allies. You will find them.

As an aside: if you are doing any recreational drinking or drugging, that would be something to dial way back or quit altogether. If you aren't, good for you -- and it really is best to stay away from all that when you are struggling, so you don't fall into a self-medication trap.

Hang in there...
posted by nacho fries at 11:41 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If and when you follow the advice to see a counselor or psychiatrist, print out this post and give it to them rather than trying to talk on the spot. It's much more honest than you probably let yourself be in front of them and will be useful to them.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:56 PM on August 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't have anything to recommend, but I wanted to say that growing up in circumstances like that and making it this far, and getting through the associates degree, and having the sense and selflessness to break off a five-year relationship even if you felt unemotional about doing so, is pretty much the opposite of pathetic.
posted by XMLicious at 11:56 PM on August 11, 2014 [7 favorites]

Others are going to have much better answers than me, but here's a great place to start: There Is Help.

I agree you need to try again with different a different counselor and/or different psychiatrist. There are resources in the link I posted above. And yes, you sound depressed to me, as well as lonely, but even if you were just "pathetic", you'd still be deserving of love, and you'd still be deserving of help.

Short term: try taking some B vitamins, and some vitamin D. These can do magic all by themselves in a lot of cases. Do you have health insurance? If so, I'd suggest a full physical to rule out any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or other possible causes like allergies or thyroid problems.

If you don't have insurance or access to doctors currently, try taking Sam E, (but I don't like the Nature Made brand), which is available in the USA in Target, WalMart, drugstores and even supermarkets. Try 200 mg to start, and make sure you take B vitamins, as well.

Get some exercise every day. Outdoor exercise like walking, running or cycling are especially good. Force yourself to get started even if you don't feel like it, and stay outside for at least half an hour each time. An hour is even better.

If you find yourself feeling terribly lonely and have no one to talk to, try a chat room. There's one listed in the menu at the top of this page, and others exist elsewhere.

Try to find something to look forward to. Can you take a class in something that interests you? Ceramics, kayaking, Becoming a Private Investigator, creative writing, it doesn't matter what as long as it interests you and gives you something to look forward to.

Most of all, keep reaching out. People care.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:59 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

That sounds a lot like depression. Even low level depression is very serious. I was depressed for 15+ years, and I finally decided to talk to a psychiatrist. He prescribed me medication, and 2 weeks later I suddenly started feeling a lot better.

That was in December. The last 8 months have been the best that I can remember.

Please do go and see another psychiatrist or counselor. I really encourage you to try medication, because it's likely to help pretty quickly, and you can always stop later.
posted by Renegade Duck at 12:01 AM on August 12, 2014

Oh, I forgot to say… for me therapy never worked. I did it for years and I think I got something out of it, but it never cured the depression. Of course, your mileage may vary.
posted by Renegade Duck at 12:04 AM on August 12, 2014

I've seen websites that are basically a therapist directory: therapists post a description of themselves and their philosophy and techniques. If you can track down a site like this it might help you to find a therapist that fits your needs and personality better.

You can read the descriptions until you find one that feels right to you, feels like someone you'd feel comfortable with. You can also ask therapists if the first appointment can be for you to get a feeling for the fit.

I see others have recommended OTC supplements you can try until you can see a doctor about prescription meds. I'll add St. John's Wort to the list -- it's easily available OTC (GNC, CVS, Target) and can be quite effective for depression - follow the directions on the bottle. Still, you should see a doctor again and find out if you need prescription meds.
posted by duoshao at 12:11 AM on August 12, 2014

By the way, I think they both affect serotonin so I wouldn't try taking SAM-E and St. John's Wort at the same time. Choose one or the other.
posted by duoshao at 12:17 AM on August 12, 2014

If you do try some over the counter stuff, just make sure you tell your doctors what you're taking, as they can interact with prescription meds.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:18 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

You are not pathetic at all. You were dealt a lousy hand in life, with childhood trauma that has affected how you see yourself and the world. Yet you managed to survive, without resorting to more destructive coping mechanisms. You still bear wounds from the experience, and the right therapist can help you come through it.

Here is a directory of health care professionals. Read the bios and find someone who seems promising. Search for "neglect" and see who can help you.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:35 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I definitely agree with the above posters that you should try a new counselor. It can take a while to find a good fit. I also wanted to recommend this book, Chemistry of Joy. It talks about three varying types of depression and how different foods, lifestyles, etc can help/harm the various types. I don't follow it religiously, but I did find it interesting.
posted by JannaK at 4:01 AM on August 12, 2014

With your family history, you do need to find a doctor who will listen to you. Keep looking. If you had a family history of cancer and you found a lump in your breast, you wouldn't be beating yourself up about it and feeling like you were pathetic because you had it. You would find the best doctor in your area and get it taken care of. Mental health issues are as serious as cancer. You are as important as someone with any other kind of illness.

You came from a place where you were not valued. You need to find a place where you are valued. This takes time. Sometimes a lifetime. You are not alone in your search to find your tribe, the people who get you. They are out there. You are not alone and you do have value.
posted by myselfasme at 6:06 AM on August 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Seems to me you've articulated your feelings amazingly well.

Look for a new psychiatrist, and take a printout of this question with you in case you get stuck articulating your thoughts. Some psychiatrists are assholes and/or don't care--that's true in all human endeavours unfortunately. There are lots and lots of good ones out there though. And it doesn't usually take too long to find a decent one.

Good luck. You're not alone. And you're not incoherent in the slightest. If you need more private talking there's lots and lots and lots of us on MeFi who have struggled, or are still struggling, with depression.

Your last paragraph is a bit concerning. If you find yourself in mental crisis, do you have the number for your local crisis centre memorized or programmed into your phone? If not, do so. If you feel you are a danger to yourself, go to the nearest ER.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:29 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

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