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Old 09-27-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
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Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

This is my first post on this site, so please forgive me if it is long and / or tedious, or if it isn't submitted in quite the right category. It's taken some time to work up courage to actually post this, as I'm somewhat of a shy and reticent person by nature and not given to talking about personal, especially emotional, problems with anyone. I've spent a while on this site much as I have done with several others of a similar vein – that is to say, reading what others have written but not actually joining in.

Again, I hope you'll forgive me for waxing bombastic with this long diatribe... basically I feel that my life is at a standstill. It's perhaps more accurate to say that it never really got going. I know enough essential psychology to realize that I'm fairly deeply depressed, though only have been really aware of it on a conscious level for the past five years or so: but so knowing, can now trace it back pretty far. At the risk of sounding 'whiny' I have extremely low self esteem, and retrospectively, apparently have since childhood. My parents are extremely good ones, affectionate, intelligent, considerate and self-sacrificing and I have no reason to blame them whatsoever or even to consider it as a possibility. (I see so many rotten parents these days, it astounds me how lucky I was.) Further, they are the kind of people I can discuss nearly anything with, and always have been... so I can't blame them.

Around eight or nine years ago, I started becoming really aware of just how deep a depression I'd been in and could trace it easily back to at least the second and third grades of elementary school. When I started having persistent death thoughts I finally broke down and decided to see a doctor about it, and the diagnosis was social anxiety disorder, to be treated with a prescription of Paroxytene (Paxil). I took it and while it did remove the chest-tightening panic attacks which I'd started suffering around other people, it did nothing whatsoever to counteract growing feelings of depression and self-loathing. I managed to slog along this way for several more years, primarily because my family is so loving and I couldn't bear the thought of appearing so discontent with such supportive loved ones. Unfortunately as time passed, that was the only reason I had for keeping going, and still is.

Fast forward, and I'm thirty five. The past few years have been far, far more painful than any which came before, especially since as I have mentioned, it was during this recent time that I really began to come to grips with the sheer scale of this problem. To put it bluntly, I have never felt a more bitter loathing for anything or anyone than I do for myself.

The problem is, I still constantly, daily, trip myself up and fumble at trying to become a better or more positive person. Honestly, I don't really know where I can go or what I can do and contend at every single moment with a feeling that I'm a hopeless case. Furthermore I've been 'out of the loop' for so long... as if I've never really lived. I want to get out, do things, be positive, love and be loved. I adore nature, I'm sensitive, love poetry, literature, and learning. I've been trying very hard to see my friends again (for a year or so until recently, I couldn't even answer the phone or muster the wherewithal to go out even for an hour or two, even at the cost of something so precious and irreplaceable as a friend). I suppose the question really is, is it possible to regain self-esteem and self-value simply by living as if you have them? I've tried, for two years now or so, and feel like I've achieved nothing. I still feel an almost insensate hatred for who I am and it's an incredible effort just to force myself to do the slightest activity.

I've heard depression can affect one's memory and faculties too, and lately that's been a severe problem also; I cherish good books, but cannot concentrate on them, can't even remember the line I have just read... and that is one of the cruelest cuts of all for me. I find it nearly impossible to follow a conversation, just sit there fumbling if I am -ever- called upon to add creative impetus to a discussion, and find myself merely parroting old opinions of others or of myself from years ago, heightening the feeling of 'being in a rut' to an exasperating degree. I feel as if I have lost at least fifty IQ points.

Persisting, long term, utterly unabated loneliness is also definitely an issue here. It's probably much more apropos to another forum thread but as I seem to feel at my lowest when I'm reminded of how lonely I feel, it seemed worthwhile to shoehorn it in here too.

I want very badly to find a mate, but at the same time I'm too considerate of people to want to put them in the position of having to deal with me. I have no girlfriend, nor have I ever so much as held hands with a girl. I can count the number of conversations I've had with a woman on one hand. It makes me feel even more worthless, because I know that I have lots going for me – pretty smart, well read, a fast wit, not -terrible- looks I guess, a sense of taste and a compassionate nature. What's more, I don't even want a girlfriend just for sex, even though thirty five years is a long time to wait... I want something deeper than that; I deeply and sincerely respect women, and just want -someone- in my life.

I have enough self-esteem at least, to know that I deserve one chance at love... even if I blow it, even if I just mess it up, I can at least look back and say “I had a chance, at least.” Why do I see other people that are openly abusive, insensitive, pushy, or trite, and they -always- seem to have someone? Maybe I just project those qualities, out of a sense of (perhaps not completely undeserved) bitterness? I really do try to be objective. I try hard not to fault people for their looks, their intelligence, their background, or things that one just can't help, and perhaps most important I'm aware that ultimately I am the one I need to worry about changing. Still, just looking at other happy couples and being bombarded by the popular media images of sex and dating, causes intense feelings of psychological pain and inward inferiority, to say nothing of bitterness. I tossed out my television years ago.

Sorry for such a long-winded, bombastic text-wall. I just wasn't sure exactly how to ask what I plan to ask, without laying down some background. The most that I've ever gotten, on the rare occasions I've mustered the courage to ask, is “just go do it” or “someday you'll meet the right person” or “you just have to decide you want to be happy”. While I appreciate what is an attempt at help, and is no doubt a truism and completely axiomatic to someone who does not actually need the advice, that just isn't quite sufficient. I really do want to be a happy person, and not be tormented by loneliness anymore, I just don't know where to begin!

So, here are a few things I am eager to gather some feedback upon:

~Would dating help my self-esteem, or should I seek help with self-esteem so that I can have the courage to begin dating? HOW do I start dating since I haven't even mastered the social techniques other people were practicing while they were children? Even in normal everyday situations, now that I'm trying to be more sociable, I seem to commit egregious faux pas all the time and was something of a 'running joke' at my former workplaces (not my current one where many of my friends work, thank goodness!). I try not to be bitter about it, because I know those people just didn't truly know me. But it hurt.

~Is medication absolutely necessary? I have gone without it for some years now, because I'm scared of anything mind altering and I try to avoid drugs of any kind. (Barring the occasional weak drink )

I'd so much prefer to avoid it, as my old Paxil prescription was making me frequently ill, and to my consternation often prone to moments of extreme rage and unprovoked verbal tirades. If I can I'd like to stick to 'being myself' and relying as much as possible simply on my desire to be well.

~Therapy? I plan to finally pick up the phone and see a counselor (if I can: I'm a minimum-wage worker and even the gasoline to get there will be a struggle). I just feel a bit skeptical of whether it will help. I seriously doubt they have a counselor there who can relate much.

Looking back, I am a little embarrassed that I typed this much for a first post. I just wanted to get it out and posted before the courage to do so waned, or it could be months before I do, if ever! Several times I've done this kind of thing, only to leave it on the desktop, and ultimately delete it. I also know I'm dumping a lot of complicated questions all at once, but I'd greatly appreciate any advice on any of them - or even commentary on things I'm missing, prejudices or misconceptions I am doubtlessly embracing, or just a hint here and there to touch on one or two of the things I'm curious about. Of the sites I've visited and read on, this one looks to be one of the better ones for good, well-thought-out advice.

Oh, and of course, many thanks!

Last edited by Dread Penguin; 09-27-2012 at 12:06 PM.

 
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Edited the post for compliance to the forum rules... I'm very sorry, I didn't realize I had missed one and apologize for any inconvenience.

 
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Hello Dread Penguin.

I think seeing a therapist is a good idea. If it's feasible for you, I strongly suggest talking to one. Clearly you have a lot on your mind. I can really relate to the feeling of stagnating in life. I think a real benefit of seeing a therapist is finding one who can help you adjust your perspective from like you're feeling you're hopeless stuck, to finding ways to resolve the problems you can affect, as well as to accept your limitations with the problems you cannot.

Yes, I think finding a mate would really help to improve your quality of life. However, I think it's important to remember you're still going to have problems in life whether you're single or have a significant other.

I think the use of medication is something that varies from person to person. Some people can recover from their depression with therapy and no medication. Others use medication while going to therapy and are later able to successfully function without medication. Other people can try their hardest with therapy and still lapse into a depression when they're not taking medication.

I suggest trying therapy without medication and see how things go for you. If you feel like you're not making any progress after a number of sessions, I suggest getting your therapist's opinion about whether medication could be beneficial for you.

 
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Thanks for the input. Looking into it a bit, and luckily there's a wellness center that's just been built nearby that I plan to call. (Actually I meant to do it today and not procrastinate, but wound up having to work early and deal with everyday stuff!) Hopefully there is a program to help if one can't afford it, or maybe I can see if my health insurance covers it. I'll ask if medication is a viable option or if it's better to take a 'wait and see' approach. Hopefully that won't be the case but if it really does come down to needing meds in order to get past this, then I suppose I'll give it a shot - maybe I'm too stubborn sometimes.

You make a very good point about life having problems whether one is alone or not. I probably started fixating on this, and looking back at how much I put into yesterday's post maybe I'm a bit too fixated on it as being a cure-all or panacea. (I was feeling especially 'down' yesterday, in retrospect, and probably over-did the post. Just wanted to get it out there before I 'chickened out' and avoided posting it. Now that I've taken the first step and it's irrevocably out there in the internet zeitgeist, maybe it'll be a bit easier to avoid rambling!)

Tomorrow I'll head down to the wellness center and see if I can get the process started. Hopefully they'll have someone that can relate to this sort of thing, but honestly I'm not at all sure what to expect and have been really reluctant to walk in. Having someone to talk to is nice, but I have a really hard time just talking to people I don't know, to the point of seeming very unfriendly. It will probably be a few days between going in and actually seeing someone, so maybe it'll give some time to prepare.

And of course, thanks for the reply; I admit I didn't manage to get any sleep after I posted this, and spent most of my day really nervous about what kind of response it might get and wondering whether I oughtn't have posted it. I've been ridiculed for these questions before, and it's very difficult to bundle them all up and put them out in front of a public forum. I greatly appreciate the helpfulness and consideration!

 
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Your welcome.

Does your employer have an employee assistance program? If so, that could be an alternative for finding a therapist that's affordable for you if your other options don't work out for you.

Unless you know you can't function well without medications I suggest following the wait and see approach. Medication can really help with relieving depressive symptoms, but considering the possible side-effects and how long it typically takes for medication to work, I think it's best to wait and see. If your depression starts to lift without taking medication, it's one less thing to deal with.

With your first session the therapist will most likely ask you questions to get to know you more, like how have you been feelings this way, have you felt this way before, has there been any major changes in your life recently, what made you decide to go into therapy, etc.

I'm also a very private person, but I find it immensely beneficial to be able to share my doubts/fears/depression with my therapist and get a different perspective from someone I trust.

 
Old 09-28-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

I'm afraid I don't have the kind of job that gives any sort of benefits whatsoever. I'm pretty much on my own, as far as the financial obligations for therapy. I'd really like to try to pay for this on my own, as my parents are already helping with some of my bills and forgiving me on paying rent (which is extremely straining for them financially - my father, even with his heart condition, had to come out of retirement just to make ends meet and I'm deeply ashamed to ask for help from him when he is having trouble just paying for his own expenses and destroying what is left of his health.) I did make it down to the wellness center today though, and apparently the payments are based on level of income. I'm still nervous about this, because I really can't afford anything. As it is, I can't even afford groceries anymore, and my phone just got turned off again today. The past few weeks I've been eating from the 'to be thrown out' items at the restaurant where I work and trying to supplement it with a multivitamin.

Still you are right, the idea of just having someone to talk to sounds wonderful. I really feel like I have no one I can open up to about this sort of thing.

Part of me still clings to the hope that if I can just get through the worst of this things will turn out better without medication... I mean, even granting that I'm going to have a personally biased opinion on it, being dirt-poor and having no companionship is enough to depress anyone, healthy or not. Unfortunately, I also think I might have been using this as a rationalization for not seeking any help: "Anyone would be miserable like this, so it's not anything I can help" is an easy logic-trap to fall into in retrospect.

The people at the clinic seemed pretty nice, even when I fumbled and stumbled trying to say what I wanted. It's a walk-in facility, which I hadn't realized, so it was a little too late on this Friday afternoon to get in. But I can hang on until Monday, fill out the paperwork they gave me, and see where things go.

As always, thanks for the advice - and the courage-boost.

 
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:21 PM   #7
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Your situation regarding a lack of groceries sounds distressing. I think not being able to eat a healthy and balanced diet can certainly make your mind more susceptible to being depressed. Would growing a garden or something be a feasible supplement to your diet?

I think it's too early to know whether or not you need medication.

I think even though you're in a depressing situation, that doesn't mean you deserve to be depressed or that you have to be depressed. I don't think it's uncommon for depressed people to feel they deserve to feel miserable.

I hope your therapy session works out. Will you be seeing someone on Monday or will you just be dropping off your paperwork?

 
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:28 AM   #8
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Thus far, not really much to say about the therapy. The first visit was given over to the usual paperwork and a lot of insurance/financial arrangements, which I suppose I really should have anticipated. There's still an entire calendar week yet to go before the first session, so just going to have to wait it out until then.

The garden idea is a pretty interesting one, which I admit I hadn't really considered. With the job I have now I have a lot more time for things like that and it would be nice to have a hobby. It's late in the season so starting one might have to wait a little while, but it's one to keep in mind and look forward to.

Much as I'm chagrined to do it, I suppose I'll go apply again for food stamps. I've put it off out of a sense of shame since I absolutely hate asking for hand-outs. Things being as they are, however, it looks like it's not really a matter of choice. It seems they base a lot of it on how much one has in their bank account, so it's worth checking out.

Thanks again, and apologies for a tardy reply.

 
Old 10-04-2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

If you haven't already, I suggest making notes for yourself about things you want to talk about during your therapy session and what you would like to get out of therapy. I think this can be especially helpful if your mind goes blank during the session and to ensure you don't forget to talk about something during the session. It amazes me how quickly some of my therapy sessions seem to fly by.

 
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:00 PM   #10
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Sorry for not having posted here for some time. It's been a very unpleasant past few days unfortunately and very draining. I'm still trying hard to keep a positive attitude as I had been during previous postings, but it definitely seems that despite my efforts I'm slipping very hard into another "down" phase. I still have not been able to get in to see the counselor, because of ridiculous bad luck (A random drug test at work, which happened to coincide - to the minute - with my long-awaited appointment has thrown a major kink into the works just when I needed it most) as well as some other things are making this a hard time to get by. I've totally fallen behind on any hope of paying my bills and am making all sorts of mistakes at work where previously I'd been doing very well. Lack of accuracy and speed, forgetfulness and even an auto accident while on the clock (my first in 18 years of driving). I'm managing to keep up a fairly cheerful front at work, but people have noticed my performance slipping.

Alas, I'm having anxiety attacks with greater and greater severity / frequency. They tend to be very long-lasting and I'm doing my very best to talk my way through them, breathe it out, not to let it cause me to feel depression - but frankly it's very taxing. The re-scheduled counseling is still a few days off and frankly I'm not sure how much it will help. At this point I'm definitely more than willing to get off my high-horse about not wanting medication; I'll do whatever it takes to fix this.

Please, is there anything I can do to even temporarily alleviate this? Anything over-the-counter that I can go and take, or even home remedies that might work so I can make it through the week and see the counselor? As things stand, I'm growing very uneasy about my physical and mental state.

To reply to the previous, I have indeed made some notes about what to say, in fact supplementing them while I write this, and thanks for a good suggestion there.

Last edited by Dread Penguin; 10-29-2012 at 03:31 PM.

 
Old 10-29-2012, 07:47 AM   #11
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

I'm sorry to hear life has taken a turn for the worse for you.

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with over-the-counter medicine or home remedies that could help with your symptoms. I wish I could help you out in this regard. When I have experienced symptoms like yours I usually waited it out and went to my doctor for a prescription if there was no signs of improvement.

I hope talking to a counselor is beneficial.

 
Old 11-10-2012, 06:51 PM   #12
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Re: Depressed, But Hoping to Break Out!

Hello Dread Penguin.

How are things going for you now? Were you able to talk to your counselor again?

 
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