Tracy: I have been fighting major depression for about
5 years now. Prior to that I had a milder form or "regular" depression. I believe I have also suffered from this since I was a kid. (I am 38 years old now).
I really identified with your feelings. When I met my therapist today I described my "shell" feelings too. More times than I can even remember, I have wished that I would not wake up in the morning and/or wondered why am I here? What is my purpose? I still do not have answers for all of these (outside of my 2 daughters).
But there is one small lesson that I have learned. People who are in pain can truly sympathize/empathize with others that are in pain also. Granted there are many different types and levels of pain, major depression vs. cancer or leukemia or old age, etc....
I have personally found fulfillment and purpose on the occasions that I have put myself out there to help someone else in need. I found that for a brief period of time I wasn't lost in myself. I felt good and productive & needed.
I hope someday to actually feel like I belong and to truly FEEL what it is to be happy and to enjoy life. I guess only time will tell. But in the meantime, I am going to try to find my own ways to make small contributions because I feel that no matter how bad things get or feel for us --there is usually someone else out there that has it worse. And maybe if we each helped each other that someday it would truly make a difference.
I'm sorry...I know I sound a lot like Pollyanna looking for that silver lining...but I am trying to find some hope or meaning that will help pull me out of this black pit once and for all!
Good luck in your quest.