I feel like I’ve struggled with depression for at least 3 years but I’ve never talked to anybody about it because I’m scared. I have this problem where I always have to seem perfect, and so, I spend a lot of time trying to convince myself and everybody else that I’m fine when I’m really not. I can’t handle somebody thinking there’s something wrong with me. I guess I should give you a bit of background.
My parents got divorced when I was 14, I’m 21 now. My dad was emotionally abusive and a drug addict. I think that has affected me a lot. Ever since this summer, I think it’s been getting worse. I started cutting myself in August and I’ve been doing it more than usual recently.
I dropped out of college a few weeks ago because the pressure of everything is too much for me. I feel like I can’t handle doing anything that a normal person should be able to do. I don’t really have any kind of a social life because it’s always been very hard for me to make friends. I’m shy and I have awful self-esteem. At this point I’ve convinced myself that nobody should ever want anything to do with me because I’m a terrible person. Sometimes I feel so lonely that it actually starts to make me feel physically sick.
As I mentioned before, my self-esteem is very low and a common thing for me to do is to think about every little thing I hate about myself. Right now I can’t think about anything I actually like about myself. I feel like the world would be a better place without me because I’m a burden and I feel like I don’t deserve to live because I’m just a waste. I feel like I’m never going to amount to anything and that i might as well end it all now. I’m scared of dying though so I don’t think I could actually kill myself. i just wish all the time that I would die or that I’d never been born.
I want to help myself to feel better because I want so badly to be happy but I don’t know where to start. I’m so scared to tell somebody about everything. I’m especially scared about telling my mom because she found out about me cutting once already when I first started doing it and I don’t want to upset her.
This is really long I’m sorry but I just wanted some kind of a professional opinion on this.
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Your feel so bad about yourself that you are apologizing for the length of the E.Mail you just sent to me. No need to apologize. What you wrote is direct, honest, thorough and interesting.
It is not unusual for those who were physically or emotionally abused to be convinced that they are no good. It’s as though you absorbed and believe all the things you father said to you when he was on drugs and being abusive. You need to really learn that the things he did and said had nothing to do with you. You just happened to be there. His addiction and other psychiatric problems were motivating him. This is no excuse for his behavior but an explanation to help you understand some of your bad self esteem issues. If anyone was a terrible person, it was your father for mistreating you, albeit with words and attitude.
I also want to explain that, while shyness feels uncomfortable, it us not abnormal. Many people feel shy and learn to work around it. This can be true of you as well. You also need to realize that many women find male shyness to be very appealing and even sexy. In other words, it does not have to be a liability.
You are very depressed and are turning to self cutting as a way to find relief. It may seem like an odd way to find relief but the endorphins that get mobilized as a result of injury actually have a numbing effect. However, self cutting is not a way to resolve your depression. There are a number of things you need to do in order to help yourself:
1. I urge you to enter psychotherapy to get help with your low self esteem and negative thinking.
2. Going out and meeting people can help you to learn how to cope with shyness. It’s a matter of doing the thing that is hardest to do, but, that is why you must start.
3. You are young and exercise would be a good thing for you both physically and emotionally.
4. In my opinion, returning to school after you succeed in reducing your depression would be a really big boost for you.
5. Start making a list of the things you like about yourself, regardless of how small a thing you think it might be. Add to that a list of the good things for which you are grateful in your life. Don’t do these lists all at once. Each day, add more things.
The world would be a sad place without you.
Best of Luck