I have been depressed and I know it for at least about 2 years. Maybe more. I feel so lonely and depressed a lot. I dropped out of school because I couldn't wake up for it. I feel that no one loves me. I don't have many friends and I feel so alone. I cut myself with razors because I hate myself and how I am and how I look. I just get so sad sometimes. I hold in all my feelings and I am scared to tell anyone how I feel.
I am wondering what I should do. Should I tell someone? What do I say? I just don't know what to say, or if it even matters.
Dear So sad,
I am very glad that you were willing to talk about this here. Learning to overcome one's fear of talking to others about their difficulties is tremendously helpful to one's well-being. Rest assured that you are not alone in how you feel. There are an estimated 30 to 45 million people in the United States that are diagnosable as "Depressed." Most people, if not everyone, will be able to say that they have experienced depression at one point in their lives. If you are not seeing a mental health professional (i.e., psychologist, professional counselor, clinical social worker), I would highly recommend it.
I would also suggest having your therapist refer you for anti-depressant medication. These medications -- especially some of the newer ones (i.e., Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, or Prozac) have been extremely helpful to many people. These newer medications also seem to have fewer side effects than the older ones. Keep in mind though, medication is not the end-all for your concerns. The best treatment for the symptoms you have is a combination of therapy and medication. If you are afraid to see a therapist and/or take medication, consider the fear, pain, and secrecy around the alternative.
You are in a tough and complex stage in your life. One where your true best friend is yourself. It is very important for you to recognize the good things about yourself -- even if it is only one very small and seemingly insignificant part -- and help this grow and mature. Keep in mind you "matter" and talking about how your feelings with someone you can trust "matters." When you find someone to confide in, what you tell them or how you tell them is of little consequence if you know that you can trust them to respect you and your confidentiality.
As far as cutting on yourself -- I don't need to tell you how dangerous this is -- I believe that you already know. I do want to tell you that the most common reason that I have seen about why people do this is that; by cutting on yourself it allows you to place a specific focus to the generalized and non-specific pain you feel emotionally. A more healthy way to deal with these painful feelings is through talking about them with a confidant -- rather than cutting on yourself. They will still hurt, but they are not as harmful as razors.
Thank you again for having the courage to open up here. I think that you have made the first step in the healing process by telling someone what is going on in your life. Please continue with a therapist and consider anti-depressant medication -- keep in mind that sometimes the right medication and the right dosage requires a trail-and-error approach. Don't let this frustrate you on your quest to feel better.
I wish you all the best. Hang in there -- because you are worth it!
Rocky C. Underwood, M.S., M.A., LCPC
This question was answered by Rocky C. Underwood, M.S., M.A., LCPC. He is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Montana.