T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 47648
posted 02-20-2012 04:17 AM
Hey Scarleteen. Well, it's been a while since I was
last here in October. I have to say, since then, my life has been pretty rough. Or, at least, it feels that way. There just seems to be a lot more things in my life working against me than working for me, and it's caused me to become pretty depressed about life in general and has really taken a toll on my self-esteem. For starters, the break-up seen in my last thread wasn't really the end of Emms and mys involvement. Essentially, between late October and early January, I was receiving a lot of mixed signals from her, likely both things that she was actually saying and/or doing, and things I interpreted the wrong way. But, quite often it seemed, she made me think she still had feelings for me, but then backtracked and clarified that she didn't, right before repeating the cycle all over again. This caused me a lot of distress because I wasn't really moving on, holding on to the hope that we'd get back together from the mixed signals I was receiving. She didn't finally make things clear to me until late December, but then we made out at the New Year's party we were both at, which she initiated. A couple days later, she told me that she only did that because she was very drunk and would never do that again, so I shouldn't assume anything from what happened. This lead to us having one last conversation where I essentially made a last-ditch effort to be with her in a friends with benefits scenario (desperate, I know...), which she rejected on the grounds that she would just keep hurting me if we engaged in that and that I needed to get over her. She wants (or wanted at the time of the conversation) to have me in her life as a friend right away because we are (or were) very close, but I said I needed time and space to finally move on. So, that was on January 3, and we haven't talked since. She did text me randomly towards late January, but I didn't know how to respond without starting a conversation, which I didn't want to have with her. I don't particularly know how to assess how well / how far along I am in getting over her. And for that matter, how to get over her. A friend of mine told me his personal story of how he's getting over his most recent ex in what he feels is the "right" way: respecting the other person, focusing on improving yourself and doing/finding the things you love, not doing anything destructive, etc. It's easy in theory, but I'm finding it harder in practice. I still find her very attractive and think about the physical aspects of our relationship a lot since she is the one person I've experienced the most with in that department. In fact, her and I were very close to having vaginal sex (we tried a couple times, but she was too tight). I do consider her my first love (as does she consider me), but she also said in our last conversation that our relationship was "just a high school relationship," so I don't know how to really take that comment or how to properly place this relationship since it being "just a high school relationship" means it shouldn't be important to me, but it was / is important to me. I sort of just feel that I messed up the best relationship I've ever had and I won't find someone else that I can have as great of a relationship with. The not being able to find someone else aspect is tied to some other issues I'm having. I am currently 19 years old and a freshman at quite a large university. For the first term, I was living at home and felt miserable. I essentially didn't have a social life for an entire quarter, and didn't feel connected to the people, community, or place that is my university. Because of this, despite the large financial burden that my family and I are still trying to figure out, I moved on-campus for the remainder of the year. I now live in one of the residence halls in a triple, meaning I have two roommates. I lucked out and have what seem like terrific roommates and a pretty friendly and social floor. However, I do feel that I'm still struggling to really connect with the people around me. One of my roommates and I are pretty close, but apparently the other one doesn't feel entirely comfortable around me (according to the roommate that I am close with). And as for people on the floor, since I came in late, it seems that all of the friend groups are already established. At such a large university, it's important to get involved with things so that you can meet and connect with people, which I am slowly doing, but I still don't feel like I'm 'there' yet. Now, I have only been on campus for six weeks and I was away over MLK weekend and the first 12 days of February, so that is likely one of the reasons why I don't feel connected yet. Another related issue to this is that I don't feel like anyone takes me seriously here. I attend a pretty prestigious school where everyone it seems is quite intelligent and talented and capable. What helped me stand out in high school is essentially normal here. More than this, though, is my physical appearance. Like I said, I am 19, but I can easily pass for a 14-15 year old, and most people here seem to think that's how old I am. To put this into perspective, I'm 5'4" on a good day, maybe 115 pounds, and I have a very young looking face, no facial / body hair or real body mass. I'm pretty sure comments along the lines of, "How old are you?", "You don't really go here, do you?", "Who's little brother are you?" come my way at least half a dozen times a week. It's a general feeling of not feeling welcomed or comfortable by the people around me; I feel judged, they feel uncomfortable, and both parties don't know what to make of the other. This seems to especially happen, or I think it happens, with girls. I feel that no girl in college is going to be interested in me because of the way I look and how out of place I am in comparison to everyone else. And when I do make a move on a girl, I think I probably just come off as creepy for the above reasons and since I don't know how to approach girls in college. Ever since my relationship, I have felt that I overemphasize the physical and don't know how to be a 'good' boyfriend, especially in terms of romantic gestures and making the other girl feel emotionally satisfied/happy and mentally healthy/respected. To top all of these problems off, I lack motivation and drive to do anything productive, and it drives me crazy. Currently, because of the trip I took for 12 days (I didn't have a choice in choosing the dates of the trip), I am very behind in school, having to make up a midterm, four essays, and a handful of other assignments. I've had all of last week and this long weekend to even start all of that, but I haven't. I also have not been doing the readings for my classes since the beginning of the term or been putting in any effort to study or pay attention in class. And this isn't just related to school. Since moving on-campus and especially since hearing my roommate talk about improving myself to help move on from Emm, I've been wanting to regularly go to the gym and/or workout, but I haven't done so yet. Even just little things like making my bed or waking up on time or catching up on television shows seem tedious. It's as if I have this perpetual feeling of laziness that clouds everything I need or want to do. I know I'm throwing a lot at you guys here, but I'm honestly not sure what to do with myself anymore. I don't know how I can get out of this slump, or if I even would attempt to because of how much I lack the motivation to do anything. Any help, especially from the staff / volunteers, would be greatly appreciated.
Member # 3
posted 02-20-2012 10:29 AM
It's good to see you, wolfm4n, but I'm sorry it's because you're having such a hard time.
Can I just check in first to see if you think you're experiencing depression? I ask because I'm seeing some things that suggest you might be dealing with it as well as all of this (and some of the hard times might be feeling a lot harder because of it), and if that's going on, getting help with that is likely going to need to be the first thing to do. (Since trying to make big changes, stay motivated, etc. is often really, really hard, if not impossible, if and when we have depression that isn't being managed.)
Member # 47648
posted 02-20-2012 12:42 PM
I do think I might be experiencing depression. Although, I don't necessarily believe in the mental illness model of depression, saying one "has depression" rather than one "is feeling depressed." I think depression as a disease is overly-diagnosed and that the pharmaceutical companies, as well as society as a whole, is seeking the quick fix (and for the corporations, money-making) solution. "Here, take this pill, it won't address any of the real issues you're having, but it might make you feel better. It also might make you want to kill yourself, in which case you're just SOL." On the other hand, however, I've tried traditional talking-cure therapy as recently as September and it makes me extremely uncomfortable. I feel judged and I really don't like delving into my psyche and past. I've also seen people, friends, who have needed to go on anti-depressants just to begin to tackle their depression in therapy. So, I'm pretty conflicted as to how to proceed with all this, but time is running out. Deadlines for all the work I missed is this week, and I don't know if I'm honestly going to be able to sit myself down and do it.
[ 02-20-2012, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: wolfm4n ]
Member # 3
posted 02-20-2012 01:14 PM
I'm fine talking about depression in whatever framework makes you feel most comfortable. You also have other options besides SSRIs and talk-therapy (though if you find you really can't talk about your past even in a safe space, I would also say that in my view, that probably means you should keep getting help with that, rather than avoiding it).
Member # 47648
posted 02-21-2012 05:49 PM
How can I identify that I am indeed experiencing depression? If I am experiencing it, what would you suggest as my next plan of action? What are some of these other options you mentioned? And as to your comment on talking about my past, I believe that it's not that I can't talk about my past in a safe environment, but rather that I do not feel that I am in a safe environment while in therapy. Do you have any suggestions for how I can feel more comfortable in therapy? I'm considering setting up an appointment with my university's counseling service, but I'm not sure whether I want to see a male or female therapist or if I'm comfortable being recorded if I'm being seen by a trainee. Actually, I'm pretty sure I am uncomfortable being recorded. But, being a male myself, can you maybe give me the benefits and costs of seeing either a male or female therapist?
Member # 3
posted 02-21-2012 07:03 PM
You know, whether or not it matters to have a therapist or counselor of the same gender or not to someone varies. I'd say that only you can know if it matters to you, and if it does, why it does. A couple things I can think of, though, that often make it matter to someone are a) if they're simply more comfy with someone of a give gender b) if they feel unsafe or triggered by someone of a certain gender or c) if they feel like someone being of their same gender means they'll understand them more (which I think often isn't true, but it's really about what a patient thinks and feels about that).
But the biggest thing I'd suggest with feeling comfortable in therapy is to do all you can to really shop for and screen therapists. If you have a choice in who you see, don't pick anyone you don't feel good with, who pushes you too fast, who isn't open to what questions you want to ask to see if they're a good fit for you. Just any therapist or counselor won't be a good fit for everyone: these are relationships like any other in that respect. We don't just feel okay being vulnerable with everyone, you know? With figuring out if you're depressed, if you have been before, and this feels familiar or similar, that's perhaps the easiest way. You can also have a healthcare provider help evaluate this for you. While online tools to evaluate this have their flaws, I think some of them can be okay for this, too, like this one: http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-health-check/default.htm In terms of options with treatment or management, you already know about classical talk therapy and western medicine medications. But there are also other systems of medicine, like Chinese medicine, other kinds of therapy -- like CBT or peer support groups -- and other ways of approaching this, like nutritionally. This article gives a pretty good overview of the range of options: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/depression-000047.htm
Member # 47648
posted 03-04-2012 03:35 PM
Hi Heather. Thank you for your help addressing my depression concerns. I've begun to see the counseling services office at my university on a regular basis to help facilitate and discuss my treatment options. However, I was hoping you might still be able to help me out. In my initial post for this thread, I made mention of my ex-girlfriend a lot. I am still struggling with that breakup, so if you could help me address the issues focused around that, I'd really appreciate it.
Also, I've been trying to access the article, "Boys DO Cry: How to Deal With a Breakup Like a Man," but the site says I need to login to view the article, and when I attempt to login, it doesn't recognize my information. [ 03-04-2012, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: wolfm4n ]
Member # 49582
posted 03-04-2012 04:45 PM
Welcome back wolfman; I'm pleased to hear you're getting some support with this at your university.
However, I'm afraid Heather is out of action due to being very ill at the moment, and I'm just heading off for the night; but I will check in with the other volunteers to ensure someone has a look at your initial post about the break-up. I'm sorry to hear you're having a such a difficult time with it. I was the person you spoke to in your old thread (I was called RaeRay2112), so it's sad to hear you're still struggling, and more painful things have happened. The 'Boys do Cry' article was one we had to take down, I'm afraid - it was co-written by someone we no longer wish to be associated with. However, we're in the process of writing another article, similar to that one, which I hope will offer you all the other one did, and perhaps more.
Member # 49582
posted 03-05-2012 10:48 AM
Hello again; I had a read through, and I'm so sorry your break up with Emm was very messy, and you ending up very confused. When break-ups are anything other than a clean break, we tend to wind up getting much more hurt than we woudl have done otherwise.
I think your friend's advice about doing what you love to heal is pretty sound advice. It's extremely difficult heal from a break-up; especially the first one you ever experience, and with a confusing end, too. Crying is good for healing, as is writing you feelings down, excercising and finding safe ways to release emotion - like writing songs or hitting a punching bag. It was unfair of Emm to call your relationship 'Just a highschool relationship.' of course you don't see it like that, you're trying to heal from it. Break-ups are a huge deal, and are very painful, however old we are; in fact; especioally when we're teenagers and just finding out how we are. I think you're doing fantastic in your healing from this! You've respected your own limits and boundaries and decline having a friendship with her at this time, and you voiced and recognised that you need time and space to heal, and you haven't texted her back, even though she isn't making this easy on you by texting, which really isn't fair. Do you think you can block her number, as she hasn't respected your boundary - until you feel you're in the right place to move to a friendship with her (if that's what you want, that is)? Honestly, these things are MASSIVE when you've had such a severely painful time. You're doing brilliantly. As for progressing on your healing journey; what do you like doing? Or, what do you think you could try, that might help you feel a little better? Have you made any new friendships lately? Is it likely you'll run into Emm? Have you put all the reminders of her away, so you can't be reminded? Is there anywhere you can go to have a change of scenery? Any friends or relatives you can stay with elsewhere? [ 03-05-2012, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: Saffron Reimi ]
Member # 56822
posted 03-12-2012 10:41 AM
Maintaining boundaries is hard when other people don't make it easy. But I agree with Saffron Reimi that you are doing a fantastic job, life can be hard sometimes but you are doing really well in maintaining your health and healing journey. Keep up the great work!
Btw: Saffron Reimi, do you prefer to be called that or "Saffron" or "Ray" or even "Reimi"? [ 03-12-2012, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]