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    Walking through life but not really living
    greencrayon22 posted:
    I've gotten better at hiding my depression from those who are newer in my life, but it's only because I don't allow people to get close to me anymore. I've had most of the same friends since high school and college, and now that I'm 27 I find that I'm struggling to make connections to new people.

    I tend to be preoccupied with relationships, despite my lack of ability to obtain one. The last therapist I went to said that my "love life is like a move", but didn't say what kind. I tend to get involved with men who make me work for their affections and who keep me at an arm's length - which is probably why I now do the same thing to other people. I've even kept having sex with two of my exes just to maintain some sort of connection with another person. I haven't been in a real relationship in about 6 years, and though it is something I crave so badly, I'm not sure I would know what to do with it if it hit me in the face. I feel crippled in this respect, and I feel that I've done it to myself. I've even gone on dates with nice men and self-sabotaged those. One of my best friends (who is a guy) says I'm a great catch but that I don't let people see it. I think he may be on to something there...but I'm still working on accepting someone thinking that I'm "great".

    I'm also very conscious of my looks, and tend to have a medium to low self-esteem. When asked, I might describe myself as a decent looking girl. I stay in fairly good shape and eat pretty healthy. Other people say that I seriously understate this but I genuinely don't believe them. I have what I call "ballerina syndrome" - I am obsessed with being as fit, pretty, and perfect as possible even though I will never be near that level. When I exercise that's the image I keep in my head. I'll never have the grace, strength, or body type of a ballerina but that doesn't mean I can't keep it in my head, right? I'm aware it's completely unrealistic but it motivates me to keep going on days when all I want to do is lay in bed.

    Despite all of this, I am able to have what appears to be a normal life. I go to work, go to the gym, and sometimes hang out with friends. My close friends, however, might say that I'm not always present when we hang out. I tend to be quiet and they wonder where I go in my head. I can usually make it look normal enough on the outside to people who don't know me, though. I just say I'm shy, which I kind of am when I first meet new people.

    Lately I've been thinking about death a lot, and how people might react if I wasn't around. Don't get me wrong - I'm not thinking of suicide. I tried twice a long time ago (when I was 12, and again when I was 15) and failed, so clearly I want to live. I think I just fantasize about it to escape my real life, by which I feel so trapped. I'm trapped in my own head and by my extreme emotions. That's the thing about me. I feel everything so deeply. When I'm happy, I'm really happy. When I'm sad, I'm really sad. The same goes for anxiety and anger. Those tend to be my most extreme feelings. The others are just kind of there.

    I won't take antidepressants, but I do want help. I want to actually live my live instead of just going through the motions. I want to feel like I have a reason to smile once in a while. I don't make much money at my job, so an expensive therapist is out of my budget. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?
    itmatsb responded:
    Yes, why not take antidepressants? You are clearly very depressed. That is the simplest, cheapest thing that you could do that would help you. It's your life, which maybe you've grown accustomed to.

    And yes, therapy would be helpful to you, so perhaps you could get a sliding scale from a therapist. Call your Dept of Social Services to find out about cheaper counseling.
    rohvannyn replied to itmatsb's response:
    I'm echoing the thought about getting a therapist. Local crisis lines might be able to put you in touch with one as well. I understand not wanting to artificially change the chemical balance in your brain, especially since not everyone who prescribes should be prescribing.

    If you aren't able to find any outside help at all, I read a book that helped me. It is great but you have to do the work it suggests to get much help. I believe the title is "How to be your own therapist" or something very similar, and the author is Patricia Farrel, who used to run the Anxiety and Panic forum here.
    tobefree responded:
    Based on my past experience...relationships are very difficult in a time of depression. Sometimes if one has low self-esteem, the relationship fails. I think therapy and self-strengthening exercises would be helpful to make you realize that you are worth more than you think you are. Although it might be hard to open up to someone to talk about your feelings, it is surprising that it does really help.
    frostygal responded:
    You will find that your quest for perfection will always be
    unattainable ,I have never been able to please myself and really you are your biggest critic.Good luck money is why i am hhere however antidepressants can be a big help. i have been where you are up down and all around just wanting to be even,i am sorry i am being so squirrely but i be back when i learn how to enter my thoughts

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