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Tired Of This Depression

Question:

i’m a 19 year old student living on my own, i have a mild autistic disorder which has caused some trouble throughout my life, but I learned to cope with that(more or less). I experienced a depression about a year ago. This was because I moved out of my parent home and I had some trouble adapting to this lifestyle in combination with my autism. My major problem is that before this depression ended is faced another one. This one was cause by a girl which I liked who started a relationship with a close friend of mine. At fist I thought I would get over it in a few months, but it has already been almost a year now. My friends(including that girl) first wanted to help me, but over time things seemed to get worse so they gave up on it. I started to drink heavily and use self-injury to clam myself whenever I get very down by this(2-4 times a week). So I decided to contact the school psychologist, but this has proved to be futile. recently this girl has said that she doesn’t want to return to the kind of relationship we once had(just good friends) because of this situation. And now whenever I see her with the other guy (I can’t avoid them because were in the same social group) I get very angry and cant seem to enjoy myself anymore eversince this is going on. It may be my autism which causes me to be unable to let go, but still it continues to hurt. So please give me some advice, because I’m sick an tired of this depression

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Answer:

Autistic people often do express a strong desire for order in their lives that can cause them to become obsessional in various ways. However, though it might be involved, it may very well not be necessary to blame autism as the cause of your heartache and depression. Many young people have a difficult time adjusting to living apart from their families when they first attend college. Moving away from home is a significant life stress as all your familiar anchors and relationships are no longer present. All by itself, such stress can lead to depression in various forms, including what is known as an adjustment disorder (with depressed mood) and possibly an actual major depressive episode too. Finding yourself with a lasting crush on a girl who isn’t interested in you and who ends up dating someone else is pretty darn common too. It certainly happened to me on more than one occasion. The pangs of unrequited love can certainly contribute to depression all by themselves too. While homesickness, difficulty adjusting to new living conditions and not getting the girl are all extremely painful things to endure, they are in a sense part of the human condition too and unavoidable. They are not signs of mental illness in of themselves.

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p> There are signs that you have a significant problem here, however. Your drinking and cutting behaviors are ultimately self-destructive and can only cause further significant problems, even though you do them to help calm and/or dull yourself from the pain you are experiencing. You are correct in your conclusion that you should have professional help to help you deal with these problems. Your decision to contact the school psychologist was a very good one, even though it seems that it didn’t work out for you very well. If this avenue for getting help isn’t working for you, you need to find and pursue other avenues for getting help:

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p> Most every campus has a chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. Since you are “drinking heavily” I suggest that you start attending those meetings, and set a goal for yourself to become sober. You can’t drink depression away; Drinking only makes depression worse. Getting and staying sober is one of the most important thing you can do for yourself.

<

p> Let your parents know the trouble you’re having so that they can help you find (and possibly pay for) services beyond what your school can provide.

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p> See the medical doctor at your school (or your regular doctor), describe your depressive symptoms, drinking and cutting behavior, and also describe what you’ve already done (e.g., with the school counselor). The doctor should at a minimum be at least able to prescribe you anti-depressant medication to help manage your mood (should that be appropriate). He or she also ought to be able to point you towards other forms of support and therapy that could benefit you.

<

p> Call local therapists in your area until someone can point you to a “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)” group, and then find the funds to attend that group. DBT is probably the best form of psychotherapy for people who actively self-harm. Because it can be delivered to a group of people at once, the cost to participate in the therapy is relatively minimal.

<

p> Find a few older men who will be willing to talk to you about their early awkward experiences trying to date women (or men). While some guys are gifted at understanding how to approach women from the beginning, a very large number of them have to learn it in a painstaking manner through many trials and rejections. Men learn over time to not take rejection personally and to move on quickly, but getting unstuck from crushes isn’t at all easy to do when you are young and inexperienced. If you can find a mentor or two who will talk to you about their own episodes of stuckness and awkwardness, that might help you relax a little bit. These mentors might be of assistance with practical approaches to your dating woes too. In a pinch, an older male therapist can probably help you with this sort of thing too.

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