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Author Topic: Feeling depressed and confused
blueberry
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I've mentioned this in a couple of other posts already, but it felt like the discussion died out a bit over there and I'd really appreciate it if someone still wants to talk about this.


I just feel.. really lonely, I guess. My boyfriend went to live in another town because of his work and most of the people from my uni have already gone home for the summer, including the few friends I've made.

I know there are plenty of people who live alone and are happy like that, but for some reason I just can't handle it. I hate spending hours and hours with no one to talk to and it's making me feel more depressed all the time. I've been planning to do a lot of schoolwork now that I have plenty of time for myself, but I can't really focus on anything. When I do see someone I know I feel like shouting to them that I feel lonely and please come and keep me company, which doesn't seem very socially acceptable and I'm afraid people will see me as clingy and then I'll have even fewer friends.

Part of it may be because I'm not used to living alone yet, but when I've done it before (for shorter periods) I've noticed that I only feel depressed if I actually spend the whole day without seeing anyone, but now I feel that way even when I've been around other people for a big part of the day, or when I'm not actually alone.

I'm also a bit confused about life in general, I really like my course at uni but the social bit has been hard for me to manage, it sometimes feels like being back in kindergarten or at elementary school when you're not invited to the party and everyone else seems to have so much fun (if that makes any sense). Which shouldn't perhaps be surprising, except I'm so tired of it and I thought I had gotten over that already.

(I don't mean to say that I'm bullied or anything -- I just feel like I don't fit in, and I think I may be overreacting a bit because of things that have happened before.)

I always used to think that I was an introvert who'd rather spend time with myself than other people, but now I'm not so sure. All I want to do right now is feel like I belong somewhere and be a valuable part of a group of like-minded people, not just sit at home alone.


I don't want to go and stay with my family over the summer as I don't get on so great with my mum, but I'm afraid I'll go crazy if I stay here on my own... please help!

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Heather
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Well, how about rather than shouting to those people, you just *ask* if they'd like to spend some time with you? Just a thought. [Razz]

When you're at home alone, what do you feel like is bothering you the most about that alone time? What happens in it that feels so uncomfortable to you?

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blueberry
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(Sorry for the late reply! I was away for the weekend and needed time to think.)

I haven't shouted at anyone. But yes, I have tried to tell people how I feel or asked if we could do something together, sometimes it has worked, sometimes not.

But what I meant is that it doesn't feel okay to tell people that you feel lonely, you know? Like saying it out loud somehow makes you a weirdo. (Even here, I get the feeling you think my problem is a bit silly and I shouldn't perhaps have mentioned it, because of how you phrased the first line). Not sure if that makes any sense!

I think what bothers me when I'm at home alone is that I get stuck in all these negative thoughts, like, my life feels empty and meaningless, nobody cares about me, I'm never going to succeed at anything, etc. And at the same time I'm disappointed at myself for having these thoughts because I know they're not necessarily true, and I usually don't get stuck in them if I'm around friends or family.

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Redskies
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Hi, blueberry. I see what you mean about "I feel lonely..." seems like a very uncool thing to say and maybe makes us feel vulnerable. It's a very normal and acceptable thing to have a need for human company, though. What about changing the framing, so instead of a possible negative "loneliness", you put out there something that sounds very positive: "I like being around people". Does that seem doable to you?

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Molias
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Building off of Redskies' idea, maybe when you do see some of those friends you'd like to do things with more often, you could say "hey, I'm going to be living on my own with a lot of free time this summer, I'd love to plan X with you" where X is something specific (which often makes it easier for plans to happen than saying "let's hang out sometime!" does).

It can be tough and stressful to get in the habit of putting yourself out there with people vs. hoping they'll come to you - I struggle with this a lot. But when I moved to a new city a while back I realized I had to work on that skill, and the more I do it the better I am at it. I still take a lot of time to myself but I try to initiate more social contact with folks, especially at times when my partner's away and I don't want to be by myself all week.

Do you have a smaller class schedule, or none at all, this summer? Is there a group or activity you can commit to that will take up some time and serve to get you out of the house and interacting with other folks?

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blueberry
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Thanks so much for the ideas!!

Redskies: "I like being around people" definately sounds better than "I feel lonely"! It feels a bit weird to say too, but that could be because I haven't quite gotten used to the idea that I *do* like to be around people yet, since I've been so shy about other people before. In any way, that's something I'd like to try!

Molias: That's also a great idea, planning more specific things that will more likely happen. Most of the friends I have here are also people I don't know very well yet, so I think planning something specific would make everyone feel more comfortable than just "hanging out".

I don't have any classes at all at the beginning of this summer, except for one week in May, just exams that I have to study for. I'm not sure what activities there will be, but perhaps I could try to organize something with the photography club. And I just signed up to be a guinea pig for some kind of test the psychology students are doing, so that means I'll get out of the house and meet people at least three times a week [Big Grin]

I'm not sure why the summer holidays scare me so much, since I already have some plans for July and August and I don't have to be stuck with my parents all summer like I've been before. I don't know why I'm so scared of being lonely, either.

I think the best thing would be if I could find some kind of routine where I have time to study and do fun things on my own without going crazy, and then meet friends in between.

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Molias
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Having a fairly set routine has been really helpful for me; I work from home and could technically do work whenever, but I always start by a certain time every day (sometimes earlier), work a minimum amount before I can take a break, etc. so I don't feel guilty about when I'm doing something fun. And part of my schedule includes a regular crafting group, because I can be pretty bad at initiating social things with friends and I can at least always know I'll see my friends there.

If you like list-making or checklists, you might find it helpful to set a goal of "do two social things each week" or "meet up with a different friend for coffee every weekend" or something similar.

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blueberry
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I'm so sorry for replying this late again! I've just needed som time to think for myself but this discussion has helped me a lot.

I've started getting used to living on my own now, actually it feels great! Or well, I could be doing a bit better with my studies, and the house looks like a mess, but I don't feel depressed or panicky by the thought of being on my own anymore.

Seeing friends once or twice a week has worked out quite well, and I've seen my boyfriend at the weekends too -- it feels like this is exactly what we need in our relationship right now, some space to think, and then when we do see each other we can focus on all the good stuff.

My parents keep asking me when I'll come and live with them for the summer, but I've decided I'd rather not do that at all. They mean well, I think, but they keep making me feel less independent and more insecure of who I am and what I want -- but I don't know how I could tell them that without sounding mean. And I sort of need this space for figuring out things about myself right now.

I've also been to see the school counsellor, finally. She's great, but you're only allowed to see her 5 times (I've already used up 2)... Today I found myself starting to blurt out everything about my boyfriend's depression and I realized she was the first person I'd been able to talk about that to, so that feels a bit sad, and she thought it sounded like that has affected me a lot. Maybe we could talk about it here?

Thanks for listening! (:

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Heather
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This all sounds like good stuff, blueberry!

You know, there's a book I've found really helpful when I have been involved intimately with people experiencing depression. It's "How You Can Survive When They're Depressed," by Anne Sheffield. I'm not sure you'll find in in bookshops where you are, but you should be able to find it online. I feel it does a really good job, especially around helps with healthy boundaries and avoiding codependence, if you're interested.

What did you want to talk more about?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Thank you! It doesn't seem to be available here, but I found a place where they sell second-hand copies of it online, so it's not too expensive with shipping and all.

I'm mostly worried about how we will work things out when we move back together again after summer, and how I can support him while still figuring things out about myself and getting on with my coursework. And I want to make sure we both have enough space for ourselves while still living together.

But the book sounds like a good place to start with this, so perhaps I could read it first and then come back here, if I still have questions? It's just reassuring to know there is at least someone I can talk about this with, if I need to. (:


(I've also been worried about the antidepressants my boyfriend's been taking, because they were prescribed by an acquaintance of ours who is a doctor but not specialized in psychology at all, and when I told his therapist I was worried about the medicines he (the therapist) was like "What pills?", so I felt there was a lack of control about the whole thing. But my boyfriend just told me yesterday that he stopped taking them when he moved out a month ago and was feeling better now, and didn't plan on starting again, so that's not something I need to worry about right now.)

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Heather
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Really, I'd say that looking to manage your boyfriend's medication in any way really isn't your place.

I get that you're concerned, but this is one of those things where being a partner is different than being a parent. he's an adult, so managing his medications and choosing providers is really for him to do, not you. And if he's not telling his therapist what meds someone else is prescribing him, by all means, that's a problem, but it's also really his to manage.


If he asks for help with things, by all means, you can give that if you like, but I'd say otherwise, you're kind of flirting with codependency, if you catch my drift.

Per moving back in together, maybe you figure that it's months until you're at that, so you have time to see how things are going before, and sort out if that's still a good choice for you a little further down the road, and/or start talking strategies of doing that well together over the summer?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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That's true, I get what you mean. It shouldn't be my problem. I've just been worried, and also feeling a bit like he can't take care of himself despite being an adult, sometimes.

It doesn't feel like months, exactly. The renting contract for our flat expires in six weeks, so we'd have to decide before that if we want to keep renting it for another year or not. Also it's really hard to find somewhere new to live in July-August (since all the new students that are starting uni are looking for apartments too). And my work is starting soon, so we won't be seeing each other for some weeks since I'll be living too far away.

But yes, summer is a good time for talking about those strategies [Smile] We did this last summer as well, but then we weren't prepared about how this year would be different from the first year we lived together, so there's still a lot to talk about.

Also... this may sound a bit selfish, but people are always asking me "...so what does your boyfriend do?", and I keep telling them what he's studying, when the truth is that he's on sick leave because of the depression and may not be going back to school at all. And he doesn't want to see my family anymore because he feels a lot of pressure from them to be succesful and so on, which I totally get since I'm avoiding them myself, but they keep asking why he won't come to visit and I just don't know what to say anymore. It doesn't feel good to lie to people but I don't want say anything that I have no right to tell people about anyway, if that makes sense.

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Heather
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How about, "He's on sick leave right now," and if they ask for details, say that's personal and private. And that should always be respected: many people tend to feel health issues are a private thing.

By all means, when we have a partner suffering from depression, it is also going to be our problem in some ways. It's just that what we can't be doing, for everyone's sake, is trying to manage their illness FOR them.

If you are concerned he lacks the capacity to take care of himself, that's certainly something to talk to him about, mind (and obviously something to talk about if you're going to be living together). But honestly, voicing concern about that, and then setting whatever limes and limits you want and need to around it, is really all you can do in your capacity as his equal partner.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Hmm yes, that sounds like a reasonable thing to do with most people. I'll ask him what he thinks. Not sure about my family (apart from my sisters) though, because they usually don't respect it when I say I don't want to talk about something, and my younger brother's been asking for years if he can go to therapy and they've basically just joked about it. On the other hand it's not like I'm seeing them all the time, so there's no reason he'd have to either.

Yes, you're right. I want to support him, but I also need to have space for living my own life. I'll see if we can start talking about some of these things during the weekend.

By the way, do you (or anyone else) have any more thoughts about how I can manage my relationship with my parents (especially my mother) that we talked about on the other thread?
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011865.html

Thanks for replying!

[ 06-13-2013, 04:37 PM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Heather
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Maybe you can first fill me in on where you're at with it -- your relationship with your parents -- right now?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Okay! Well I haven't seen them a lot, I've been to stay with them perhaps two times since I started writing on that thread (once was my brother's graduation and the other time my sister who lives in another country was visiting, so I've been trying to avoid it.) Next week I'm going to see them again because I need to get some stuff for my work from the house and I also agreed to go on a small trip with them (for two days).

So I feel like that's a reasonable amount of time for me to spend with them right now, but they keep asking when I'll come home, and about my boyfriend too (my mother has even been offering to pay for all our train tickets just so we'll come to visit).

I don't want to break off with them completely, I just need some space for myself right now because I need to work on my self-esteem and the way they're criticizing me isn't really helpful.

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Heather
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Okay.

Can I ask how it's gone when you've said to them that you simply need less visits than they'd like as you transition into your life on your own? (Or, if you've said that visits do a number on your self-esteem, and so you're limiting them for that reason?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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