Hello. I think I am depressed. I feel like there is no point in my life anymore. I want out. I cry myself to sleep because I'm scared and I hate the world I live in. I am sick and tired of my crappy life.... I am depressed. Can you give me some tips not to be depressed? Please help me and email me back.
Janet my dear,
I almost didn't choose your question, because you gave so little information about yourself. But then I looked at your age, and I thought, 'How brave of her, how strong she must be to defy her Depression, and find a way of asking for help!' So, I had to try and do something for you.
Janet, I know nothing about your family, where you live, how you were treated as a little child, what pressures there are on you. I am just guessing that your life is no worse than that of millions of other teenagers. So, what I write may not fit, but chances are it will.
Depression is sort of a monster. It sits inside your head and whispers things to you. It's been with you since you were little, so it can exactly imitate your thoughts. When Depression speaks, it feels like the thoughts were your own.
I know, because I've been myself where you are now. I spent YEARS of my life being miserable, simply because I didn't know that help was possible. In fact, you are ahead of me: you know that someone, somewhere, can help you. I didn't even seek help, because I thought that no-one could have done anything anyway. So I just suffered.
And because I suffered, I became a better person. I am a psychologist and help people like you, because I have been terribly depressed myself. You can choose to do something similar. Start now to steer your life towards being someone who can help others to fight their problems. That will give you an aim in life, a purpose, a reason for living.
How did I fight my Depression?
All by my lonely self, I invented a method that I later found to be very similar to something called Cognitive Therapy. Scientists have studied the way Depression affects people, and have developed this method -- and I had done the same for myself. And all this time, I believed myself to be stupid and useless, because that's what my Depression had said to me, and I simply accepted it as true.
Janet, when it is Depression speaking instead of you, the words and pictures going through your head will be different from when the thoughts are yours.
- They will be absolutes:
'I can NEVER do anything right.' Of course you can, sometimes, and muck things up at other times. You did something right in posting this question. There are MILLIONS of kids out there who are suffering like you, but, like me, they don't even consider asking for help. So, you are smarter than I was at your age, smarter than all those other poor kids.
'No-one loves me.' (or something similar like 'I have no friends at all.')
Janet, every time a thought involves 'always', 'never' 'everyone', 'no-one' and so on, it is GUARANTEED to be wrong. The world does not work like that. There are exceptions to everything. I am ABSOLUTELY SURE that there are people in your life who do love you, who feel friendly towards you, who would like to be nice to you. I can't find them, but you can. Look around your life now, and think back to the past. You will find them.
- They will say bad things about you:
My worst one was 'I am an idiot' and versions of it like 'I can NEVER do anything right'. It may be 'I am SO ugly!' or whatever. Any thought that you are much worse than other people belongs here.
Janet, I have never met you, but I KNOW that you have good points as well as bad. People given to depression have a double standard. It's OK for other people to make mistakes, but if I do, that's intolerable and I must beat myself over the head about it. Another girl is allowed to have a few pimples, and still be attractive, but if I do, it proves that no-one could love me. And so on.
- They will paint the world in very dark colors:
'This is TERRIBLE.' 'Everything is so hateful.'
Whenever something bad happens in your world or shown on the news, Depression zeroes in on it and uses it as proof that the world is a terrible place. But when something good happens, when there is joy and beauty and laughter and people being kind to one another, Depression puts blinkers over your eyes so you probably won't even notice it. If you do notice it, Depression will tell you it's just an oddity, or that it's OK for others but doesn't apply to you, or that others have the luck not you. And if despite all this you manage to have a good experience, Depression will make you forget it very soon.
- The worst is that Depression tells you that things can never get better.
This is the worst of Depression's lies. It is the one that drives so many sufferers to suicide, it was the lie that stopped me from seeking help.
Janet, you can beat this monster the way I did. Only, you can seek help. I don't even know what country you live in. I don't know how much (or how little) money your parents have. But somewhere near you, there will be a psychologist or social worker or school counselor who is trained in using Cognitive Therapy.
You have already taken the first courageous step in defeating your depression: posting this cry for help. Now take the second: organize therapy with that person.
If you can't, you and I might be able to work together to defeat your depression. We can use email. Only, first we need permission from your parents, and they will need to pay me a little bit of money for each 'session'.
But working with a helper face to face will be better for you at this stage.
Have a good life,