Is this my life abnormal for a 22-year old

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 10/16/2010 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a 22 female and I have no friends. I'm a junior in college (took a year off because depression got too bad). I have friends from HS who I talk to about once every couple months, but other than that I meet people, but I don't put in the effort to contact them and develop friendships. I always feel too exhausted and emotionally drained from my classes to do anything outside of school work.

My therapist has been pushing me to make friends because he thinks it will help my depression. He keeps telling me that at my age I should be out with friends on weekends and not sitting at home. I spend my weekends at home (I still live with my parents) reading for pleasure or writing in my blog and I used to be very content. Sometimes, I go to the mall to buy some clothes that I need, but other than that I just relax and regroup for the upcoming week.

THE PROBLEM: At the start of this school year, my therapist stressed how I should reach out and make friends. It sort of got into my head and I began to go crazy. I spent the first month being superstressed and looking for friends. I looked at everyone in my classes as a potential friend and evaluated if a friendship would work out. It depresses me when I meet someone and think about how much work it would take to become friends with that person. I don't really want to make friends, but I feel like I have to.

Now, I exprience a great deal of depression all the time and especially on the weekends because I feel like I am supposed to be out with friends and not at home, and I'm wasting my twenties. I get depressed when anyone mentions friends because I feel inadequete because I don't have any. Whenever I'm home from school, I am extremely depressed to the point I just cry non-stop and can't keep any food down.

I don't enjoy my reading or blogging anymore because all that's in my mind is that I don't have friends and someone my age should.

I wish that it was OK to be 22 and stay at home on weekends doing my own thing and not have friends. I never felt lacking before and wouldn't be driving myself crazy if it hadn't been brought to my attention that I should be living my life differently. I used to be content, but these expectations of the way I should be at 22 have killed any little joy I had with my life and have been making my life unbearable.

Any advice?

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 164
   Posted 10/16/2010 9:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lola,
Is your therapist suggesting, or telling you that you need to be out with friends on weekends?  Is he saying you are not normal for not being out with friends, or is he just trying to help you with your depression by prompting you to be out with friends?

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 10/16/2010 9:48 PM (GMT -6)   
He keeps telling me that I'm 22 and I should be spending time outside of my parent's house with people my own age. I think he thinks that it will help my depression if I have friends and spend my time with them, but my depression used to be better before when I didn't think about needing to make friends.

I never questioned that there might be something wrong with being in my early 20s and liking to spend my free time on my own. I was still depressed, but it was due to the aftermath of an event in my life for which I had originally begun seeing him.

After he brought to my attention that typically people my age spend their time with friends, I began to feel like there's something wrong with me. I became this complete mess and just constantly depressed over how hard it is for me to make friends and over not having any. I feel like I'm abnormal that I don't go out with other people and just have this need to do it so I feel normal. I want to make friends just so I can stop being depressed about it, not because deep down inside I want or have time for friends. Rather than previously being content and relaxing on my weekends, I'm now in this non-stop depression.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 164
   Posted 10/17/2010 12:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lola,
I understand his point of view, but I'm wondering if he realizes what it is doing to you.  If trying to make friends is depressing you, then at this point in time, I know I would not make that a priority.  You're not abnormal because you like to spend time at home instead of being out with friends.  There is no one classification of normal for humanity.  Some people are outgoing and are out all the time.  Others like to keep to themselves.  Some people have lots of friends, others have few friends.  That doesn't necessarily make any of those people normal or abnormal. 
He says you need to be out, and his reasoning is he thinks it will help your depression.  It's not, so have you told him that is the case?  My therapist doesn't push me to do things that depress me.  She wants me to conquer the things that depress me, and she gives me advice as to how to approach things, but she doesn't tell me I have to do something, especially if it depresses me.  She would prefer I do things that don't depress me, then when I'm not depressed, to consider some of the obstacles that do depress me.  She also gives me advice on how to tackle things that I know I absolutely must do, even though I know they will depress me.  
From my perspective, and I'm not a doctor, you are not abnormal because you don't want to be with people right now, it doesn't matter what the age.  If being with people helps you, then by all means be with them.  One could also say that people who have a need to be with lots of other people are abnormal because they have some kind of insecurity complex about being their own person.  It really depends on what the definition of normal is - and I don't think anyone can qualify that on this planet. 
There are many counselors out there.  If the one you are seeing really doesn't seem to be helping you, then you might consider seeing someone else.  Therapy is meant to help you, and not every therapist is right for every person and every type of problem.  That's just the way it is. 
Hopefully some other members will stop by and read your posts.  There are some really good and bright people here, a lot brighter and more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to depression, and I'm sure they can help you with their understanding and advice.   

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 10/17/2010 5:57 PM (GMT -6)   
When I read this, I felt like I was reading something I wrote a year ago. This is not to say that things have changed for me or that I have the magical answer, only that I am 23. :o)

I felt the EXACT same way during college. I went away my first year, but ended up - after taking a year off due to depression - at the major university in the city where I grew up. I lived on campus, but came home a lot (it's literally ten minutes away). I had (what I thought was) a serious boyfriend my sophomore and junior years, and spent 99% of my time with him. I have friends from high school who I know are my friends, but who I talk to less and less and no more than twice in the same month.

I am 23 and graduated in May from college. I live with my parents, am unemployed, have no friends and stay in on the weekends. I can't speak as to whether this is normal, but I can say that it is what you're experiencing. Are you stressed out because you feel like you *should* be making or *should* have friends? I feel that way sometimes... I don't know if it helps to know that someone else is going through the same thing or not - but I totally feel you! My thinking is that I will move somewhere, get a job, and eventually friends will fall into place. Not that it won't take effort, but that friendships will happen naturally. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen -

Keep us posted and hang in there -
"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."

Clonazepam .5mg 4x/day (anxiety), EMSAM patches 6mg/day (depression)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 10/18/2010 10:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I guess the question is whether or not you *want* to be making friends and if the depression is partially due to your lack of a social life. If you were happy with the way things were before, I don't think you need to stress out about making friends. Your therapist shouldn't be forcing you to do something that ultimately makes you unhappy.

I'm the same age and have been in therapy on-and-off for the past few years. My therapist has always encouraged me to be more open to people, but that was because I had said that I wanted more social connection. I enjoy my alone time and definitely don't like group gatherings, but I still want some relationships. (However, things get a little more complicated for me since I have health issues and can't always go out and do social things even if I want.)
Female, Age 22
Remicade, Asacol, VSL #3, Vitamin D, Calcium, Prozac, Turmeric, Biotin, Zyrtec, Prilosec, Culturelle

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 585
   Posted 10/18/2010 3:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Heej Lola,

Everyone is different. When I look around, I see the people around me hanging out at nights, partying, talking about who is dating who etc. For me, I am not interested in that. I am 20 btw. I rather sit down with some people and have a chat about what is going on with the water supplies around the world, and what might happen when even less water becomes available. So in a way, I am not your typical student.

It is up to you to decide what feels right. For me, I need friends. Without them, I can be OK at some times and feel bad at others. With them, I can be happy. So yea, when this year started I put some effort into making friends, asking them to have lunch at my place, stuff like that. But in the end, everyone is different. Some people can live with no or just a little contact, others get depressed when they can't have their phone with them for 5 minutes (OK, they need help as well :-) ).

It is incredibly hard for a psychiatrist to find the perfect fix for you, and most of them hold on to general guidelines, and I bet they state that humans are social creatures and need friends. In most cases that would be true, you might be an exception. In the end, the best measurement is your emotion. Are you feeling happy? As in, truly happy, at peace, relaxed? Then that is the way to go.

You are unique Lola, there are no rules that define how you must live, or what you should do. You are free to choose.

Take care, and hugs !

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/18/2010 6:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Lola,
I think perhaps your therapist does not want to see you isolating yourself thus the push to get out and make friends.  Can you look at the suggestion as just getting out of the house and taking a walk or doing something active ?  No stress attached.
My therapist was pushing all kinds of things on me and I felt like you did ~ that I was a failure because I did not want to do the suggestions.  She suggested I start a book club and invite people to join ( who?),  even suggested I go to Barnes and Noble who would help me get started.  Then she would ask me if I could do this and I would say yes but what I did not say was I think the idea stinks and I read for pleasure at home.  I did not want her to feel I was being uncooperative for poo pooing the idea.  Volunteer, volunteer etc -  the idea of walking cold turkey into a Goodwill saying I want to voluteer sent my anxiety up thru the roof.  So I would come home after my sessions and cry as it must not be normal to reject these great idea. 
Lola,  find something you like to do and then just do it.  You don't have to hang a sign around your neck that reads "Friends Wanted".  It will happen as long as you get out and about to where you are comfortable.  It is OK to be you !
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