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Sorry in advance about this post but I need to vent. I am dumping it all here because this seems like the place to do it.

I feel like I have been depressed for my entire life. Or at least since about 13. I am middle-aged now. That seems a very strange thing to say, inside I feel like I'm 16 years old, at least in my head. I have never been diagnosed or even been to a doctor for this. I think I probably had at least two or three of what were essentially nervous breakdowns in my late teens/early twenties. Again not treated for them, just muddled through. Maybe I am overdramatizing because I am basically pretty functional but I know inside that something is wrong with me and has been for a very long time.

I am a very intelligent person, good grades etc., but never really have had any motivation. I couldn't concentrate or focus on anything, i.e. any particular career path for very long. I have incredibly low self-esteem and self-confidence inside me. Since I am quite smart, I eventually managed to go back to school and get a professional degree some years back, with the support of my parents. I think because of my many anti-social personality quirks I was never able to get a job in my profession and therefore ended up self-employed out of necessity.

I have been hanging in by my fingernails ever since. Some years I do a little better than others but most of the time, just scraping by. I think I am very good at the specific technical knowledge and tasks of my job, i.e. the mechanics of actually doing it, but I basically am horrible at the business aspects--marketing, getting along with people, being organized, etc. I am very responsible though when it comes to keeping committments to others.

I am consciously in a state of anxiety, usually at a constant ever-present level. Sometimes it rises to be quite fearful. The anxiety is not a phobia but is usually focused on worrying about something bad connected to a work situation that I am afraid "might" happen. I used to cry periodically about that kind of stuff but haven't in a while.

I don't recall the last time I slept through the night. I fall asleep OK cause I am constantly in state of exhaustion and fatigue. But frequently I will wake up several times a night and have trouble getting back to bed. If I get up like at 3 or 4 a.m. it's hard for me to fall back asleep and 5 a.m. almost impossible. So I usually start the day exhausted and as you can imagine that does not do much for one's mood.

When I wake up in the middle of the night I immediately start being anxious and worrying about some real or imagined work issue(s). It builds up until I am completely stressing out. My mind goes around in circles.

My life feels like it goes around in circles. I never seem like I can make any progress. Fortunately, I was able to meet and marry a very wonderful tolerant woman who has probably been my salvation. I frankly do not know where I would be without her. I also have children and of course on top of everything else I worry about making enough money to support them, put them through college, the whole shebang.

Obviously if I was SEVERELY depressed I would be on medication. I can get out of the house when I want but I have a strong tendency to not want to unless there's something specific that I need to do. When I do get out around people I can be incredibly shy although I can also "fake it" and be friendly and social. This actually requires an effort on my part. I am not totally anhedonic or anything like that but my natural state of being seems to be introverted, anxious, depressed, and passively immobile.

Objectively my life is not a bad life. We have a little house in a reasonable middle class area with good schools and we are not starving. I have a lot to be thankful for and we are healthy.

It's just that I feel like I could be so much more, and my life could be so much more, if I were not constantly fighting this internal battle. I am constantly questioning my past decisions and reliving mistakes and bad judgments. I am constantly ruminating, sometimes it is pretty obsessive. I am often irritable and snappy and sometimes I get angry because of the way I feel inside.

The worst time is when I wake up at 3 a.m. and the future seems hopeless. Sometimes in the afternoon I feel incredibly depressed, nothing will ever work out right. I often feel incredible guilt that I am the way I am and have not done better with myself.

I really don't have any friends, some professional acquaintances, and some close family. I find it difficult if not impossible to casually socialize with people. (Did I just describe 90% of internet people?:) )

When in a group of people I feel strange, inferior, and different. I do not feel as if people hate me or anything like that; it's more like I have the feeling that I don't exist at all.

I know objectively I have many good traits, which I do.

I know I should probably go to a doctor about this but I am afraid to.

Thank you for listening, if you did. I think I will go and have a good cry now.
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