Depression: ‘I feel so stuck and lost and empty’

Yesterday (10 October 2016) was World Mental Health Day, a global initiative to highlight a huge problem. the World Health Organisation warns that depression could be the leading illness worldwide by 2030 if more action isn’t taken. To mark the day, we publish here a testimony from someone who suffers from depression.

Christine is 36 years old and lives in New York. She has suffered from mental health problems since her teens, and also struggles with an eating disorder linked to her depression. In the following treatment diary extract, she talks honestly about her feelings and her efforts to keep physically and mentally well while living with her health problems. 

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I feel so stuck and lost and empty and hopeless…is this depression? I was on a call with some people recently, and it was going OK with the help of a Xanax, but I kept feeling more unhappy and upset over time. I think part of me keeps wanting to say I’m scared even when I don’t physically feel scared. Feeling ignored and incompetent was an issue early on in the call, though it definitely got worse as more and more people joined. There were more chances of being unheard, and from my observations, I was unheard and referred to less than everyone else. Maybe I’m just not noticing it when other people are ignored. Based on my partner, that’s probably the case. In the end, I just left, and I can’t seem to get myself to think clearly, even when I’m alone.

I think I also got jealous of my partner laughing at others’ jokes, especially because I don’t think he laughed at mine much, if at all. Every time he talks to someone else, I get jealous. I think it stems from feeling so easily replaceable in so many areas. Not many people will keep their partner away from their friends and isolate them from everything. And this has been going on for years. I don’t know how he’s so “OK” with it.

Plus, earlier today, my physical therapist commented on my weight. I didn’t feel like I could hold myself back well at the moment and ended up getting really scared and defensive. I explained how small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (or SIBO which I’m working on getting rid of) could cause weight loss and nutrition deficiency, and how I’ve been trying to get at least 2,500 calories a day. He seemed depressed by that number, but I didn’t mention all the days when I ate far less than 1,000 due to depression. Honestly, I haven’t even been getting 2,500 in lately. I’ve been focusing on getting calories in a lot lately–trying to keep the amount consistent, though my motivation still hasn’t been great. My daily intake is probably closer to 2,200, occasionally dropping below 1,000.

I just don’t know. I’ve been trying so hard, and nobody seems to understand that. I feel like I appear so disgusting, bony, and sick-looking. Just so desperate to get people to know I’m not doing this to myself and am trying my best. I probably need to give up on that, though.

I feel like I could just isolate myself forever. I kind of wish I was the only person alive in this world. That way, there would be no one to compete with or who would judge me. I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone getting to know me or deciding to leave me. No more mind games. No more grudges. No more feeling indebted to people. And if I did somehow vanish or disappear from everyone, it’s not like they’d notice much anyway. I can see them noticing at some point, possibly being a little sad, then moving on with their lives. Then there’s my partner. I can’t just leave him because he’d probably feel horrible about it, and I don’t think I could get myself to do that for my sake either. I don’t know what to do.

On the bright side (maybe), I’ll probably see my new counselor today. I hope it works out because it takes me a long time to open up to people. Maybe she’ll work on more coping skills before diving into anything. I’ll try not to think about it too much.

Names and details have been changed.  This is a real-life patient experience, taken from www.TreatmentDiaries.com, an online resource aimed at helping people with health issues and conditions share their experiences with a wider community.