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Inability To Express Myself

Question:

I guess I have a lot of “issues” but I am reluctant to see a therapist because many of my issues also are involve inability express myself verbally. I often feel trapped, suicidal, and depressed. I don’t know what to do to change, and moreover, at times I feel as if “changing” would be false, and a defiance of my true self. I am very confused and don’t know what to do to keep myself from utter destruction. Your short little email here is very articulate. I don’t see that you have any great difficulty using language to communicate part of what you are experiencing. Then again, what you perceive and what I perceive are two different things.

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Answer:

If you feel that you are headed for ‘utter destruction’ it would be a good idea to go for some help before that happens. It’s somewhat likely that you’re depressed given what you report here. Depression can be addressed in a number of ways – not all of which involve therapy. You can go to your regular doctor, for instance, and see if she or he will see fit to prescribe anti-depressant medicines for you. Such medicines are safe for the most part, and often do make it easier for depressed people to function. If you can manage it, it would be better still to see a psychiatrist for medicine. A psychiatrist is a specialized doctor who knows the anti-depressant medicines better than regular doctors. You might give therapy a try too, actually. A good therapist can help you to come out of your shell, and there are good therapies out there that don’t require you to take pills to get better. Whichever way you choose is better than what you’re dealing with right now however, so do what will work.

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p> Regarding your feeling that you might be untrue to yourself if you were to feel better. This is a very common way to feel when you are down and depressed. Sometimes it is because you are upset about things that have happened (or things you’ve lost) and you don’t want to be disloyal to those things. Other times it is because you don’t remember ever feeling differently than you do and it seems frightening to think that you could ‘sell out’ to become different. But think about it. It’s not ‘selling out’ to become a more happy person. It’s actually called “growth”, and remaining depressed when you don’t have to is called “stunted growth”. When you’re alive, it is normal and healthy to grow and change, and a sign of disease and trauma to remain where you are for extended periods. Don’t let this mindset of being afraid of change or feeling that it is inauthentic to change stop you from growing into a better, happier you. Instead, seek the help you need to get unstuck.

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Comments
  • Margret

    I am female and 58. I have been receiving psychiatric care for 20 years. Doctors come and go (I've had a dozen) in this small town. New doctor usually means medicine change, even diagnosis (now Bipolar) I read and listen and research and ask quesitons. I worked as a professional (not very effectively those last 8 years on bipolar medicines). I'm just so very tired. In talk therapy I could not think of one activity I would like to do just for me, for fun, for re-creation. I've had 3 feeble attempts with overdose. I don't want to die, I just want the pain to end, someone to hear me or at least see me. I left my first suicide note on my computer in the middle of the day a few weeks ago. When I saw my husband reading it late that evening, he was crying and he said that it was so sad. Then, he made me promise not to tell our adult daughter. That is all. We neither one mentioned it to the psychiatirst 2 weeks later. He goes along if I ask him, too. He is tired, too. He doesn't know what to do for me. My daughter would be embarrassed because she is well known in our little town. I have recognized before that the suicidal feelings have always been stronger at night and I would tell myself to just wait and take my life in the morning. At some time, I would fall asleep even briefly and would feel like "it" had passed. With some rest and light, I was always grateful that I waited. Now, the urges are becoming stronger in daytime. I see the dangers. No one is really hearing or seeing me.

  • Marge

    Hi Margaret:

    I am sorry to hear that you are having so many problems. I understand that you are very intelligent. Maybe you need to get together in the library or book club-share your stories. It doesn't have to be about your disorder. I have a problem with rainy days, and evenings. I love light. The Chinese have such over crowded space that they have a big beam that takes in sunlight because they are not productive in a dark or overcast area. Men to are not always understanding, they give one line answers, or sometimes even one word. They don't understand nor think in the same way women do. You need to get together with girlfriends too. Take off for a weekend. Join a church group. Jesus says, Cast your cares. If I couldn't talk to Jesus, I would be a reck. He also says, lean not on your own understanding, come to me and I will give you rest. Because you are intelligent doesn't mean that you have to act like you are all the time. Let go, take your shoes off and have fun. My husband is intelligent, I am not-we clash alot. He is very mentally abusive. (I grew up with this, and end up with this) It leads to paralysis at times. I can't function. A lot of times in the evening I am more depressed. I pray a lot! It gives me a peace.

  • Karen

    Hi Dr. Dombeck, i have read all the comments and advice. i know that i'm in depression period now. simply because i didn't voice up thing. if i voice up the areas that i would like to highlight, the response that usually i've gotten is either reject or i'm being sensitive. i'm very confident that i have my justifiable reason. ultimately, i gave up in give my thoughts and even voice up thing. i have not been happy for 2 years. what should i do?

  • Anonymous-1

    I have autism so it's hard for me to communicate sometimes.

  • Keenah

    I have chronic major depression disorder. I have had it all my life. I just wanted to say that I understand exactly how people feel when they say that they don't feel like anyone sees them, or cares. I feel that way all the time and because I have been this way my whole life I have found ways around it. I find it hard to articulate thoughts that involve anything personal and as I get older I find it harder still to make sense of the world that I live in. I read a lot so that I can remember ways to respond properly and, like this post, I normally type things out and go over them several times beforehand. The only reason that I've gotten this far is because I'm a rather logical person.

    Speaking on the therapy side, a lot of people out there don't understand how hard it is to even admit we need help, let alone actively seek it out. I have seen several therapists and it always feels the exact same way. I feel like I'm talking to a person who is getting paid to listen to me, nod, and keep asking me the same dumb questions. Circular logic aside, this is not helpful.

    I can only tell you that the only reason I haven't done anything in all this time is that logically, I don't want to die, I just want to feel like there is a reason for my existence, no matter how small. To even feel like I exist would be a miracle in my life at this point. I have a plan that I've been using for this past year.

    This might sound dumb, but I just want to say to people out there like me I've made it a point to see you. I spend a lot of my time alone ~not a good thing~ so I travel in that time to grocery stores, malls, anywhere there are people. As pointless as life may seem, even if I have to fight the urge to just stay in bed and rot away, I do my best and try to get up. If you see a random stranger who says "hi"or tells you that "you look nice" that's probably me. If the only way to identify with others is to commit the rest of my life to just saying "hi" to other people, then even if they don't care, they saw me. They saw me at least once. It's the most pathetic and empty existential purpose that I have found, but at least I can always say to myself that I tried. Even if no one cares, I tried.

  • jenny Woo

    I am learning to express myself better. I feel that it is OK to learn how to take of myself first. I keep practising all the time, I need to love myself first. everyday. I am getting better to feel the joy of being alive. I started a bit by a bit. I cried in the beginning, but I said to myself, it was OK to cry. I accepted myself first before I think of other rejection experiences. I tended to dewell on negative thoughts. I talked myself out of it. I was learning to accept myself NO matter what. I keep doing exercise, even I hate it. But, I force myself to do it anyway. I kept telling myself to be kind to myself, but being firm as a parent to myself. I have been doing over 15 yrs. NOw, I cannot stop doing exercising. I listen to my inside voice than other stupid pop songs. I DO LOVE MYSELF. period.

    I respect people, e,g health professional like y or any patients to express their feelings on different issues. WE are all human beings. NOBODY can live a life without connection.

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