Depression?

by Mel
(Mo)

I have had panic attacks since I was 13 and my step dad committed suicide. I'm now 19 and am a full time college student.


I've always wondered if I have depression but lately things just seem to have gotten worse. I have a lot going on with school plus I'm having to move again and not sure where I'm going to go.

I've also been trying to get a job because I feel as if I can no longer depend on anyone, not even family, but haven't been able to find one. Right now I'm staying with my sister who always pawns her kids(2 yr. old twins) off on me. It's gotten to the point where she doesn't even try to wake up in the morning with them. She expects me to. I don't mind helping out but some times it's to much.

I feel almost paranoid with some other things that have happened to me recently that makes me feel like I can trust no one. I'm scared to get close to people cause I know they're just going to leave eventually or try to hurt me. I feel sad all the time like things will never get better all I want is to be happy but I don't know how to make myself happy. I don't really feel like I can talk to anyone about this so hopefully you can help me a little?

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Mel,

Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you are under so much pressure. Especially being a college student, a young woman trying to find her way. In reading your post, a few things come to mind.

First, you may indeed be suffering with depression. Have you taken a depression test yet? There are several on my site that you might want to consider. Don't use it as a way to self diagnose but consider the results as another data point to help guide you along the way.

Also, I have a page dedicated to depression hotlines. There is no shame in calling one, sharing your feelings and getting some support. In addition, I would recomment finding a therapist in your local area that you can work with. I am a therapist and I see my own regularly! It is a great way to get non-judgemental support and get a reality check from time to time. You mention not trusting people and, probably for good reason. However, you don't want to get "stuck" in this mode. Ideally, you want to have healthy, supportive relationships with people.

Second, it sounds like your sister is taking advantage of you. Asking you, repectfully, to help out from time to time is one thing. However, expecting you to do it all of the time it not good. These kids are hers and it is important that she assumes full responsibility for them. By stepping in for her all the time, you are enabling and condoning her behavior. This is not good for you either because you are giving up your power. Own your power and set boundaries / expectations about what is acceptable to you. Then don't waiver. Hold your ground. In this process alone, you will regain some sense of self worth and empower yourself.

Third, treat yourself lovingly. What do you enjoy? What do you have a passion for? What can you do to give yourself love. Even if we don't receive love from others around us, it is the love we give ourselves that is invaluable. Make a list of 3 - 5 things you can do to claim yourself and take care of yourself. For instance, eating right, take a walk, wash your face at night before you go to bed (sounds silly but it's on my list!), spend 10 minutes writing in a journal.... Whatever you can do to show yourself love.... to get tuned in to yourself.

Also, remember you are an amazing person. Believe in yourself, claim your place in this world and hold on to it with conviction. Remind yourself everyday how awesome you are. Focus on positive self talk and minimize or ignore the negative voice in your head. One exercise I use with my clients is when you hear that negative voice, catch it, honor it and then change it to a positive. So, for instance, "I am so fat". Notice the thought, honor it and change it to "Inspite of my weight, I am an amzing, wonderful human being that deserves to be happy".

Hope all this helps! Come back any time!

Dana

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