What to do about low self-esteem and depression !

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susan35
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/24/2006 3:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi ! everybody - I am new to this forum ! Just wanted to say hi ! I am a bit nervous and anxious - have been told this is my low self-esteem which makes me anxious about joining any new venture. Is that true ? Does one never get over having low self-esteem - have had a lifetime worth of problems related to this ?
 
I am currently going thru a very depressed and lonely phase of life trying very desperately to fight it. I am feeling hopeless and feel like I have no one to turn to. What does one do about low self-esteem - any tips that actually work ?

CounterClockwise
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   Posted 7/24/2006 3:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Susan,

I have that, and had real anxiety about posting here -- especially after a bad experience elsewhere. What I can tell you absolutely, though, is that people here are really friendly and helpful.

I've no real wisdom on this question, just a big "I understand" -- but I'll definitely be watching this thread to see what suggestions come up and if I have a brainwave, I'll get back to you. In the meantime, a big welcome to you!

Take care,
Rosie

susan35
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/24/2006 4:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Rosie,

Thanks for the kind welcome. It made me feel good to know that there is somebody there who may be listening and hopefully caring. This forum certainly seems like a nice place.

I have a job which involves being a caregiver t so many people - but at the end of the day I feel so alone - I have a lot of people in my life but no one I can talk to without having to deal with the repercussions. I would love to have a shoulder for me to cry out on - which for some reason i seem to do often these days. I have always believed that when you take care of others your own problems disappear but it does not always work out that way !

The loneliness I feel is very dense and threatens to engulf me - I have thought of getting therapy but cant because I live in a very small town and am concerned about the utter lack of privacy. I know therapists have to keep things confidential but there are the support staff and others who just dont see things that way.

Have always been a fiercely private person and dont like people to see me as helpless or down -it feels like people have always looked at me and waited for me to fail (which is not true I know but I cant help feeling that way)

I have a long-term illness (non-disabling but cosmetically disfiguring) which has left me with very little self-esteem - I have tried hard to overcome this -I worked hard at a career which is a very fulfilling one - but have made a lot of unfortunate life choices in my personal life - I am still dealing with the long-term effects of these !

Has made me unable to trust anybody - makes for very lonely living- safe but very very alone. I need some help but just dont have the ability to feel like I am worth the effort to even try. I am trying to pray very hard for to see if maybe I can find the strength to overcome this horrible phase of my life. For I know I will get better - but the tunnel seems to be sooooo long - I am afraid I may give up before i see the light.

I am sorry for the long kwetching session but do want to say thank you for the welcome !

susan

susan35
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/24/2006 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you atedogs for your very kind and encouraging words ! It has been a tough journey but I have a very strong faith and believe despite all this i will survive and will find my way out of this sometime terrifying maze.

Interactions like these have helped if only to know that there is someone to hear me and help me with my self-realization. I find that introspection helps me - usually it is a comment or a tone of voice which seems to set me off - becoming very aware of my reactions helps me to realise that I need to work on these shortcomings !

You hav helped me by listening and responding like you have more than you can imagine. Thank you !

LondonGirl22
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Date Joined Jan 2006
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   Posted 7/25/2006 2:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi
Welcome to Healing Well

Ive found that seeing psychologist has helped my self esteem.


When i started suffering with anxiety/depression my confidence just went. I felt so low and so unconfident about everything. Things are getting better now. Im taking antidepressants and seeing a psychologist once a week. Support from friends and my boyfriend has helped.

Do you have friends you can confide in and trust??
See your doctor and talk about how you are feeling. Some therapy may help you like it has helped me.

We are always here to listen so post anytime. People here are very supportive.

Take care and keep in touch
cherish all your happy moments....they make a fine cushion for old age


els
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Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 7/25/2006 4:24 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Susan, I also wanted to add my welcome to Healing Well to you.  We are happy to have you join our community here.  This is a wonderful place to find information and support, the people here are always willing to help and lend a hand no matter what they are going through themselves.  I think that is a wonderful thing to see.

I spent 11 years working in the mental health field which was very rewarding work for me but at the end of the day I would come home emotionally drained.  Almost as if there was nothing left over for me.  During this time I also was married and it was an emotionally abusive relationship (divorced now).  That also was a huge factor in my depression and isolation from my friends whom none of which do I speak to any longer.  You see, I was always so good at working with my clients and giving suggestions, advice and guidance yet never could I turn that around and help myself.  Caregivers often neglect their own needs and feelings, but it is so important that you listen to yourself and do seek help or counseling when you feel overwhelmed.  Atedogs did have a wonderful suggestion of going to another town to therapy if doing so in your city isn’t an option.  I hope you continue to post here and tell us more of yourself.  This is a safe place and could help greatly.  Take care


Elisha

http://www.healingwell.com/donate


 


susan35
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/25/2006 9:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Elisha and Victoria - this certainly seems like a nice forum from what I read around here. Elisha - I have been terribly socially isolated - and what is disturbing is that work is my salvation which is a blessing but it terrifes me that if for some reason I could not work - I would be lost. I have a few friends and family who have been supportive but I dont think any one really understands - they end up making me feel more piptiful because unconsciously they reiterate my "victim" mentality which I have fought hard against and feel I have managed to resist so far.

Unfortunately equations set earlier in life (the screwball - the black sheep - take your pick!) are hard to live down and people see you in the same light as earlier despite any evidence to the contrary. I refuse to accept these titles though I understand their reasons for feeling this way. They care for me and do not realise what they do so I tend to avoid confiding in them.

I like the camaraderie I see in this forum and look forward to being part of it both as a participant and hopefully to help others too.

susan

LondonGirl22
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1629
   Posted 7/25/2006 11:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Pleasure susan, you can post here anytime and chat to everyone. It helps me a great deal

Take care
cherish all your happy moments....they make a fine cushion for old age


honey
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 7/25/2006 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   

Susan,

I could have typed this post for you a few years ago.  I'm so sorry you are lonely.  Lonliness is so hard because you can't fix it by yourself.  I understand your predicament.  I've always had a lot of friends but, I'm careful and nervous.  This tends to come across as standoffish and reserved. I know I have potential friends all around me but, I've never given enough of myself to become a true friend.   My therapist quoted an 18th century british psychiatrist who said 'To be hidden is good, but a tragedy to never be found.'  It felt true to me.  If I can give you any advice it would be to.

1. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else

2. Set yourself some goals and work towards them. - Then over time compare 'new' self to your 'old' self and you'll know that your not perfect, but your better than you were.

Good luck,

Honey

 


susan35
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/28/2006 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Have another bad day coming on - and am trying hard to stave it off. Started off with the knowledge that the current man in my life is not very supportive of me. I know that my terrible self-esteem keeps with a man who is not at all right for me. He is smart, intelligent but extremely emotionally unavailable - I know he sees other women - tells me he cannot commit imself to one woman. I have tried to be very light about it and maintained a sometimes on sometimes off relationship with him. I know for sure that this is a relationship which is terrible for me - but my loneliness and fear that there may be nobody else in my life keeps me in this relationship. I have no idea how to break this - when I do try it seems to get better for a little while but the minute he comes back he can sweet talk me back into his life. Due to various reasons in my life and his - we can never be legally married and he capitalizes on this. i have managed to convince myself that we have a special bond but often I feel that he is just using me for a convenient backup. Never gets me gifts or plans outings - he will call regularly - about twice a day and claims he cares for me but cannot commit himself. I so know that he is totally wrong for me - I have tried to see other people but somehow we seem to drift back together. I feel ugly and bad abut myself and the fact that I let him do this to me. I am trying to get out of this town because I think that may help me overall.

I seem to excel in such relationships and dont know how to find a different kind of man I recognise my patterns ( have been in a similar relationship before except then I was married to the bozo ! ) but am helpless in stopping it. Does any one have any pointers - i guess I do know the answer but just feel a need to vernt out my feelings. Work is the only wonderful thing in my life but am terrified that if heaven forbid I cannot work anymore I would be lost.

A depressed lonely and broken woman !!

Chuckle.xxx
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 7/29/2006 11:34 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi and welcome to the forum hun. I too think that a therapist could help, if you don't see one already.

I really hope that you start to feel better soon


Take care
 
Chuckle
 
xxxx
 
 
I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I GOT TO THE POST OFFICE!!!!!!!!
YEAH, I AM SOOOOO WONDERFUL!!!!!


stronglady4me
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 470
   Posted 8/4/2006 11:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Susan, my therapist and I had a conversation about this sort of subject yesterday. What she said to me is
that it is like having a job where you give away apples. You give away apples all day and they are wonderful apples and that makes people happy. If you don't ever go out and pick new apples then your basket of apples will eventually run out. Putting apples back in your basket is a metaphor for taking care of yourself and doing things that are supportive of yourself. People who work in the service of others, especially where great emotions are concerned, often forget to fill their apple baskets. I think that is especially true for "very private" people because it is difficult to learn to trust people. If you don't share yourself others don't get to know how wonderful you are and they never get to learn to trust you either. I know that getting help sounds scary and you may need to work with a few therapists before you find the right one for you but it will be worth the journey. Attitudes toward depression have changed a lot in recent years and the medical community as well as the outside community is learning that we are not weak people. What have you got to lose besides your pain, your anxiety, your loneliness.....?

susan35
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 8/4/2006 3:51 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you stronglady and all of you wonderfully supportive people ! Your words come at a very opportune time - Today has been a very bad day - have been crying all day stopping only when I have been at work. Am getting frightened at the length and intensity of my feelings.  There was a time when these feelings came and left soon but now it seems like they last longer and are more intense. I feel like I am invisible everywhere except for this message board. Like I could disappear without a trace and no one would care or even wonder why I did not show up to work the next day. My family I believe would secretly be relieved at having to not deal with me and my black depression ! Am I really of any use to any body - feeling unloved and uncared for !

I am sorry for being such a downer but I just dont feel like masking my feelings today - I just want to cry and cry till someone hears me and cares ! I am very religious and dont believe in suicide but I do pray that my end come soon so I dont have to deal with this pain any more !

I have tried to pray and find my strength in God - surely He will hear me - I have never voluntarily harmed anybody - maybe this is my penance this frightening horrible lonely shell of a life - but for how long and when will it end ?? I will try a therapist but find it hard to deal with clinical cold attitudes - I need the warmth and tenderness that I once knew and have now lost forever !


stronglady4me
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 470
   Posted 8/6/2006 4:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Perhaps the increase of frequency is your body's way of telling you that it would be helpful for you to seek professional help. Often times our bodies are smarter than our brains about what we need because while our brains can deny issues, our bodies always tell us the truth.

Joan M
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1975
   Posted 8/6/2006 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, stronglady is right. Our bodies are sometimes smarter than we are.

I would try to overlook the meanies and dumbies in your town. There must be some nice people there too (I hope). I mean the whole town does not have to like or approve of you, do they? Do they pay your rent, do your laundry, shop and cook for you? If they are not helpful, don't bother with them.

You are not giving yourself enough credit and that is what is causing the low self-esteem. Some of these meanies and dumbies may get off on making nice people feel bad. You only have to approve of yourself. Take yourself out on a date, treat yourself royally. Enjoy stuff in life, a walk, a tree, a book. If you smile at people, they will be naturally attracted to you. Don't worry if you act a little standishoffish. That's ok. Try to smile, smiling is contagious.

huggels = bundles of hugs

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/6/2006 11:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh Susan, please don't apologise for "being a downer"! -- So many of us have been where you are, and we love to be able to help if someone's down. -- That's what we're here for -- mutual support!

A therapist will really be able to help you with your relationship patterns (I've had similar in the past -- bleurgh!). You seem like such a wonderful, caring person, with so much to give. You should be able to give love where that's appreciated and reciprocated. And the more time you spend with your on-off fella, the less time you are allowing yourself for people who deserve the affection you have to offer, and who will give you that back. You definitely shouldn't be settling for second-best. I know, though, it's a self-esteem issue: you seek out people could only ever underscore your feelings of inadequacy, because they're simply incapable of being in a loving, trusting relationship: so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But *you are worth so much more than that*!!!

I think Strong and Joan are absolutely right on the frequency thing: your body's telling you to take care of yourself and get yourself the help you need to turn the corner. Sometimes we need our bodies to accelerate the cycle so that we are kicked into realising that what we've been tolerating is *not* tolerable, and we need to find a way to change our situation.

I don't know your family situation, but from what you wrote I'd guess that your feeling that they'd be relieved comes from you and not at all them. I'm sure if they knew how much pain you're in they'd bend over backwards to be there for you. Sometimes, though, when we're depressed and suffering esteem issues, we push away the very people who could help remind us of our worth (again, the self-fulfilling prophecy thing).

Please don't think that when you find a therapist they will be cold and clinical either: a good one will be professional but empathetic and encouraging with it. In fact, in the UK, counsellors have to have counselling themselves before they can counsel others; I don't know if it's the same where you are, but in any case it's a very common thing. And as you yourself can testify to, people who enter caring occupations are driven by compassion and a wish to help others, often from similar experiences.

Hugs to you.
Rosie x

susan35
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 8/7/2006 7:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Rosie - that felt so encouraging - I did seek out a therapist and actually had my first session today ! I did feel much better - actually the therapist was very encouraging and felt that I had some insight to my problems so that would be a plus - also he felt I was able to identify the negative(?) factors in my life but unable to deal with them effectively. So feel much better today - was even able to deal with some tough situations today with out decompensating like before.

I pray for the strength to face the challenges of the days to come and I know there will be worse days but I guess one has to deal with them one day at a time - I also plan to make some long-term moves out of the area I am currently in - to hopefully move to a larger city with more activities for a single person. I am not really looking for a relationship but am definitely out of this unhealthy one ! Planning out things has helped - have also tried to anticipate the danger spots and hopefully developed some concrete strategies to cope with these.

My family is actually wonderful but is unable to deal with the specifics of my situation - they mean well but cannot really understand - I love them dearly and dont mean for this to sound as criticism - it is very difficult for them to fully comprehend why I sabotage myself so much (and I do !).

So on it goes hopefully onto better days ! Once again thank you so much for helping me when I was so down.

Susan35

CatMan
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Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 289
   Posted 8/9/2006 3:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I have read quickly thru a lot of the previous posts, and think there are a lot of good suggestions for you to consider. Here's another...do you like animals? If so, why not adopt a pet? Get a cat (or 2), a dog, bird, whatever you might like. For my wife & I we get endless pleasure from our cats, and they certainly help us at times we're feeling blue.

els
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Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 8/9/2006 4:02 AM (GMT -7)   
That is an excellent idea!  Animals are very thearputic.  Thank you Catman...welcome to the depression forum :-)

Elisha

http://www.healingwell.com/donate


 


LondonGirl22
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1629
   Posted 8/9/2006 4:09 AM (GMT -7)   
The psychiatrist that I saw told me that pets are excellent therapy.  I agree with that. My pets have definatley helped me. 
They can sense when you are down.  My dog comes and sits on my feet when he senses I am down - he wirghs like a stone or omething so he nearly breaks my feet!! But its his way of showing affection!!!
Victoria x
 
cherish all your happy moments....they make a fine cushion for old age
 
dx: IBS 2002, Ulcerative Colitis 2004, Depression 2004, Anxiety 2005
 
meds: lexapro 10mg, prednisilone 10mg, mebeverine 20mg
 
 


CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/9/2006 4:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Susan,
 
My counsellor and I are beginning to talk about my self-esteem issues and she gave me a "Building Self-Esteem" sheet. I've copied it out below for any fellow (lack of) self-esteem sufferers out there (N.B. I can tick *all* of the items!!!). I put it in a thread on the anxiety/panic board as well and someone there said that similar stuff can be found in The feel Better Handbook. I've not read that, but would assume it's got hints as to how to overcome these feelings. I think my session next week is probably where we start to think of ways to overcome these things ... and boy oh boy have I felt like I need that this week!!!
 
Rosie x

 

Building Self-Esteem
 
Please tick the statements that apply to you.
 
Self-Defeating thinking patterns
 
1. All or nothing thinking
This is where things are seen only as black or white and there are no shades of grey. One mistake leads to total failure.
 
2. Over-generalisation
Here, one unfortunate event leads to the assumption that this will happen every time, but remember, there is no justification for seeing one instance as proving the rule.
 
3. Mental filter
This is where you pick out and dwell exclusively on the negative or worrying details.
 
4. Disqualifying the positive
Here, positive experiences do not count for some reason. Successes are a 'fluke'. No pleasure is taken from positive events.
 
5. Jumping to conclusions
You assume the worst when there is no reason to, e.g. expecting a failure before having tried.
 
6. Catastrophising
Here, you exaggerate your own imperfections, e.g. 'I made a mistake, how awful, I can never show myself here again', Common misfortunes become disasters. Do you think about other people's mistakes in the same way?
 
7. Emotional reasoning
This means taking your feelings as facts, e.g. because you feel afraid there must really be some danger.
 
8. 'Should' statement
Thinking you should be able to stay calm all the time or you should never get angry. Rigid statements like this are over-demanding and unreasonable and cause unnecessary pressure.
 
9. Personalisation
Everything that goes wrong you attribute to yourself, which causes guilty feelings.

LondonGirl22
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1629
   Posted 8/9/2006 4:51 AM (GMT -7)   
What a great idea to post those rosie. I have done this with my psychologist and my main issue is the 'over generaliation'. I do that a lot.
Take care
Victoria x
 
cherish all your happy moments....they make a fine cushion for old age
 
dx: IBS 2002, Ulcerative Colitis 2004, Depression 2004, Anxiety 2005
 
meds: lexapro 10mg, prednisilone 10mg, mebeverine 20mg
 
 


CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/9/2006 4:58 AM (GMT -7)   
It's rubbish this kind of thinking, isn't it?! I have to say, when I realised how much of this stuff I did I began to wonder how I ever manage to function at all! Seems kind of bizarre and wonderful that some people apparently don't do any of this -- how is that possible is all I can wonder?!?! ;)

Rosie x

els
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Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 8/9/2006 8:39 AM (GMT -7)   
hmmm, I would think those that dont have any of these feelings or thoughts are like "pod people" or something...very bizarre.  Great post Rosie! :-)

Elisha

http://www.healingwell.com/donate


 


susan35
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 8/9/2006 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Great suggestions - rosie and all of you ! I am going to try really hard to work on these !
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