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Ask A Therapist: I Think I’m Depressed

So five months ago, I moved from Chicago to a new school. I thought it would be great to move to a new school, but I was wrong. It isn’t and I’m still not making any close friends. Everyone already has all their groups and best friends, so it’s really hard for me. I still haven’t found anyone to fit in with. And now, I’m starting to have self esteem issues. I was already having suicidal thoughts a little before I came to this school, but then they kind of died off. But about a month after being in my new school, the thoughts came back and stayed with me for another good 3 months. Even though these thoughts are gone, my self-esteem isn’t as great as it used to be. I cry a lot more often just thinking about my life, and I’m a lot more sensitive than I used to be. I also used to have an eating disorder, where I made myself throw up a few days a week. I barely read anymore, which is something I used to do all the time.
 From this, do you think I’m depressed?

A: The short answer is yes, your symptoms do sound like depression. I suggest that you seek help immediately. The social isolation and low self-esteem, frequent crying, and your history of suicidal thoughts are serious symptoms that need to be addressed. While I can’t diagnose you in this forum, I suggest that you get a thorough mental health evaluation to find out exactly what’s going on, and what treatment you need so you can start enjoying your life. Watch the video below for my complete response. Thanks for writing in.

Take good care of yourself,

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: I’m a 26-Year-Old Virgin with No Close Friends

Q: I’m 26 and very lonely, a virgin and I have no close friends. I’m socially awkward and it has affected me all my life. I’m so alone that I made a time limit in my journal that if I don’t make friends or have sex when I reach 30, I’ll kill myself. Crazy right? I even know it’s crazy. I’m a really nice girl, but quiet. What is wrong with me? I have no help what-so-ever around me. I don’t even know what to do anymore. I’ve tried making friends, but it’s so hard. I’m getting desperate, I’m so alone.

A: Thanks for writing in about your desperate need to connect with others. I hear that your overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are so painful that you have considered putting a time limit on your life. Ironically, putting a time limit on getting close to others will likely increase your anxiety level and create situations that will make it less likely that you’ll create close and successful relationships. Instead of giving yourself an ultimatum (“You get close to someone or else I’ll end your life”), I suggest that you work on seeking sources of emotional and relational support, on self nurturing, and on actively seeking relationship skills.

I strongly recommend that you seek a psychotherapist as soon as possible to get someone on your “team,” someone you can explore your pain with, ease your loneliness, and help you find the tools to connect with others.  Opening up to a therapist may feel very scary; however, therapy can be extremely helpful in resolving emotional blocks that are making it so difficult to get close to others, and help you develop emotional and relationship tools.  Your therapist will also assess for a mental illness that is contributing to the feelings of loneliness or isolation. If you need help to find a qualified therapist please click here. Group therapy may also be a helpful treatment option for you at some point. Groups are a wonderful place to explore your relationship patterns and to practice relationship skills in real time with the support of a therapist. Thank you again for writing in.

Please take good care of yourself.

Julie Hanks LCSW

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