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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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Obviously if I was SEVERELY depressed I would be on medication.

Sorry, this struck a chord with me. Actually, it kind of pissed me off.

YOU *ARE* SEVERELY DEPRESSED. YOU MAY NEED MEDS. Ok, so you're not suicidial. You're still depressed. If you haven't discussed this with a competent professional, you aren't a good judge of how depressed you are.

The apathy you are describing sounds very, very familiar. Right now, for the first time in years I'm not depressed, so I can see it.

When you ARE depressed, it's hard to see exactly how bad it is on the inside.

Let's see:
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.

That's me. When I'm depressed I can get my kid to school, if I have a job I can get there, usually to the grocery store but that's about it. If I don't have to leave, I don't want to leave, I'm "happy" in my cubby hole. But I THINK I'm ok because I'm taking care of the basics, mostly for my daughter, not really for myself.


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.


Yep, that's familiar, too. Again, I couldn't see it all from the inside, it's only now, when my best friend is saying, "you're acting like the person I met 15 years ago now" that I'm able to see it.

I don't want to keep pointing out every point. I see myself in your post in several areas.

I strongly suggest you talk to someone.

Ishtar
(bipolar II, wellbutrin, seroquel)
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Thank you for your thoughtful response, ishtartarte.

I wasn't trying to make you angry, of course.

This is the first time in my entire life that I have ever come out about this, to anyone. So I had to do it anonymously on the internet.

I appreciate your comments and will think carefully about them.
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Hey DoppelerEffect,

I think you should see a doctor. I strongly recommend a psychiatrist trained in these areas and not just a general md.

I think you might be generalizing and projecting some issues onto other parts of your life. I know there is this tendency when a person is depressed. You focus on all the negative in your life instead of proper evaluations.

If you have meds to control the depression and anxiety then you can start to think logically about what is actually wrong with parts of your life. You can then begin to address real issues in your life.

You may find that your history of depression and anxiety has caused some deeper issues of self worth and difficulty having a positive outlook on life even when the depression and anxiety is under control. This could require a bit of reprogramming your mind to think differently.

Please see a doctor.

SoccerDad
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I wasn't trying to make you angry, of course.


I know that. But since I take meds, and likely will for the rest of my life, it . . . rubbed me the wrong way.

"obviously if I was seriously depressed I'd be on meds . . ."

Well, unless you TELL someone, how are you supposed to know if you're seriously depressed or not?

Seriously depressed is defined as symptoms lasting at least two weeks, and symptoms that affect your life.

If you had to start your own business because you couldn't get started in a career in your field, guess what, it effected your life! If it prevents you from running that business efficiently, it's effecting your life! If it's preventing you from enjoying relationships or forming new ones, it's effecting your life.

Please see a psychiatrist.

Ishtar
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DE,

So much of what you say sounds very familiar. Mild or moderate depression over a long period of time can cause problems.

I have family members that are high functioning, successful, intelligent people, who suffer through bouts or phases of similar feelings. It doesn't come and the go away so much, it's more like to what degree it affects them on a day to day basis. It is depression. There are enough times that you can muddle through that seeking professional advice is easily put off for years at a time.

I have seen a clear and definite difference that medication can have. My son, (an adult child), went to his PCP with similar feelings of anxieties and loss of interest in pretty much everything. He had problems sleeping, as well. The Doc prescribed Lexapro and gave him referrals to the Psychiatrists and Lincensed Counselors in the area. It made a remarkable difference quite quickly.

It was a good first step.
I am not recommending you skip qualified professional help , but I feel that the unease of taking any step towards solution keeps many people from seeking the help that is available. There are successful treatments available. If you can get a referral from peers or family to a Psychiatrist or a Counselor, that would be the best thing to do. It's a big help to be able to talk to an unbiased, trained professional.

My viewpoint is that you can equip yourself with as many approaches as you can find to suit you: Medications, therapy, relevant books, meditation and/or physical fitness, even the food you eat... Begin nurturing your mind and body. When you can find some combination that blends well into daily life, you have the recipe to create better habits, choices and a healthier perspective.

There is a bonus to all of this: As a parent you will be equipped to help if/when you see your own children demonstrating similar traits later on. It paves a way for them to follow without so much apprehension and anxiety.

I wish you all the best.

Julie
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Hey I just posted 8 consecutive posts on the LBYM board. Please read them and tell me if I am being manic.
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If you were looking to mix it up - I think there are many on that board that will accommodate.

SD
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Dopeler, yeah, you might be *a little* manic on lbym, but I've done that "back in the day". by the way, a lot of your "wifey" posts sound familiar. Are you my cousin billy?


joycets :-)
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All you need to do is to tell a psychiatrist all that you have told us and you may very well find the key to what you need to do.

Medicine, as several posters have mentioned, is probably one answer. I find it sad that so much of your life has been sabotaged by anxiety and depression. I would get the ball rolling right away.

Your low self-esteem is something that must be addressed. Whether this is part of the depression or independent of it, it must be addressed.

You would not have written to us had you not sought answers to your dilemma, would you have?

Don't let any more of your life go by without getting help. You have some good things going for you, so why not begin working on the process?

Blessings,

Cathy "Cat"
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