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October 22, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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One of these days


I'm 30 and I've always been depressed. The only thing stopping me from ending my life is my 9-year-old son.

I always feel like I'm doing something wrong. I never sleep and I'm never really hungry. No matter what I do, it's wrong. I do the dishes wrong, I do laundry wrong. I no longer believe in God. I have been thinking of cutting myself since I was about 11.

For once I just want someone to understand and help me. I want to cut myself to hurt myself, so that the people around me can't hurt me. I don't even like the sight of blood. All I need is help. I'm a single mom and I have no help anywhere.

Amy Marie, 30-year-old woman


Amy Marie my dear,

You can turn your life around. Other people just as severely depressed have.

I don't know why you are in this terrible state, but in a way the reason doesn't matter. Depression is something you are DOING: it is a complex set of habits going back to childhood - not that easy to change, but they are only habits, not something wrong with you as a person.

Not having enough sleep is enough in itself to drag a person down. Look up http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/firstaid.html and see my recommendation for how to get a good night's rest, whether you are asleep or awake. This requires you to relax, which is probably something you don't know how to do. There is a wonderful way of doing it described at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing10-3.html#peace

I was terribly depressed as a youngster, and fixed it up without therapy from someone else. However, it took me a long time, a lot of effort and many slipbacks. You can do it quicker and easier by finding a good psychologist to work with. If you can't afford it, there may be free services where you live. Various religious and charitable institutions do this, and there are often clinics associated with universities that have a cheap service to the public, as a way of giving training opportunities to graduate students. Doing therapy is the best investment you can make: buying yourself a new, contented, empowered life.

Early on, you found that cutting yourself temporarily eased the misery. So, this unfortunate habit has been getting stronger. The thing to do is to find other ways of easing the misery, new habits you can approve of and benefit from. Here is a list of "natural antidepressants:"

VIGOROUS EXERCISE: Start easy, keep records to encourage you, advance in baby steps. It should be enjoyable and stay enjoyable.

LAUGHTER: Enjoy jokes, little children, birds, animals.

CREATIVITY: This is not what you do, but the attitude of creating beauty. Tidying a room to make it welcoming is a creative exercise that'll make you feel good.

BEAUTY: Seek out beauty, especially in nature. It's a balm for the soul.

LEARNING SOMETHING NEW: A moderate challenge is a holiday from misery. Become involved in learning.

DOING ACTS OF KINDNESS: The more you give, the more you get.

Also, I suspect you are isolated, with little human contact. Use some of these natural antidepressants as ways of meeting new people and forming friendships. The rule is, to have a friend, first be a friend.

Finally, part of the problem is that you know what you DON'T want - your current life - but you don't know what you'd like to replace it with. It's like wanting to buy a ticket to get out of town, but not having a destination. A travel agent can't sell you a ticket until you can say where you want to go. So, design the new life you are going to move into. Design the life of the new Amy Marie, which has in it things you want. Once you have a clear, describable goal, you have a chance of reaching it.

Good luck,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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