Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
I need to be thorough, so let's make sure there are no developmental issues:
Have you been evaluated as being higher than average intelligence?
Do you make friends easy now and in the past? Did you always play in age appropriate ways and do you have good social skills?
Do you tend to obsess on activities you like and have a hard time stopping when it's time to do something different?
Do you have repetitive motions and movements? Do you also have certain habits you do over and over?
Do you make facial expressions when talking, when you're unhappy or angry?
Do you have a hard time relating to other people's feelings?
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
Hi Dr. Mark,
To answer your questions;
- I have never been evaluated regarding intelligence - I have done an online IQ test and got 132. I do not believe that I am more or less intellegent than others - that is probably why I find it frustrating when people don't understand me. I longed to go to boarding school and university (I love learning) but my parents wouldnt send me and I couldnt afford to put myself through university. After all these years I still find that regretfull.
- I have no proplems socially, I am a funny person (I can easily make people laugh) and have always found that I can keep a friendship going if I initiate meetings and social events. I rarely get invited to social gatherings though. Up until now, I thought I was a nice, caring and friendly person. I have come to the realisation that over the past 32 years where I have assumed that the problem has been with others, it may be me? As a child, I liked to be on my own (I am a twin) and felt that my twin sister was outgoing and people would choose her over me. I spent most of my childhood with my brother or on my own. I remember always helping around the house as no one else would help Mum or Dad - I thought I was a piece keeper. My social skills are fine and I fit in well at work etc. I have better working relationships with men than women. I tend to have problems with my bosses, sometimes I think I know more than them and this frustrates me.
- I am a perfectionist and like to have things done a certain way. I have a hard time stopping sometimes, but mostly I welcome a break. I can become obsessive if I want to know the answers to something. My enthusiasm isn't always accepted.
- No, I do not have repetitive motions or movements (is this OCD?). Habits, I never thought much about it, but there are things that I am habitual for example the way I stack the dishwasher, the way that I prepare food etc - I do this the exact same way every time. When I eat fast food, I always order the same food/drink (more to save from disappointment).
- I have never looked at my facial expressions (I would rather run a mile from a mirror than study myself). I have been told (by my husband) that I get these looks on my face that say "go away" - my mother concurrs. I think I must look angry or sad when I am deep in thought. I find that if I am trying to solve a problem or doing research people always ask me what is the matter. I have to smile to reinforce that I am not unhappy.
- I feel that I have no emotions sometimes. When some people are telling me their problems I find it mundane and counter-productive. What I mean by this is I am wasting my time when I could be being constructive some place else.
I hope I answered all of your questions, I will add some more points also;
- I have always put myself down in relation to attractiveness, intellegence, humor, skills etc
- I am a very good learner, trainer, public speaker
- I isolate myself so I don't have to see or listen to people
- I am highly emotional when people judge my personality, skills or knowledge (truthfully or falsely)
- I have huge regrets about my life however am very happily married with 3 kids
- I always feel that I should be somewhere else doing something else
- Noone "gets" me
I apologise, but I am starting to become quite depressed and think I may have mental issues.
Jessica, thank you for the added information. It helps a lot. I believe I can now be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how distressing and worrisome this situation is for you. Jessica, I know you are sad that just writing all these things makes you depressed. But it is important to get through this. I don't' think the depression is the root problem. I think there are deeper emotional hurts that need to be worked on. And I think psychotherapy is the way to work on them. If you just say "depression", your doctor will throw an antidepressant at it because it's cheap for Medicare. But it won't answer the very legitimate contradictions in your life. Like your being a public speaker but having a "look" that sends people away. These are contradictions that need to be explored, not medicated.
I also want you to know that at the end of the posting I'll paste in for you a technique you can use to help when you are in that dark hole of depression and anxiety. When you are feeling depressed and in a dark hole, this is something you can use to help with some relief and you can use it over and over.
YOu have had these symptoms throughout most of your life. And so I want you to get over the old fashioned view of psychotherapy as being a weirdo, a sicko, someone with mental health problems. It means that you have unresolved problems you want to explore and work on with a trained professional.
So I need you to reorient your view of what's happening to you so that your emotions, which ARE after all, what is being talked about here with depression are treated with human respect and value and given a chance to help you grow and gain as a human being. We have emotions because they are part of how we grow and learn and become more fulfilled. But if we keep just medicating them and trying to get them just to go away without ever exploring what's going on, we NEVER get that chance to get anything from them.
You need to find a psychologist or psychotherapist to help you with the underlying CAUSES of these symptoms, who can help with the depression itself. You need to feel comfortable with the psychologist and I don't want you to accept just any psychologist. You have the right to interview them until you find one who you feel comfortable with and that you feel will understand your experience!
Here is an online therapist finder for Australia that I like because you can see a picture of the person and read about them a bit. So put in for the therapist either psychologist or a psychotherapist and psychodynamic for the technique. http://www.findatherapist.com.au/ The Australian Psychological Society has a search. Scroll down and put in self-esteem in the search window. http://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/Default.aspx I am recommending psychodynamic therapy for you because it is based on gaining insight into yourself. And that seems like something you would gain tremendously from. Because your functioning is okay. It's that you need to see these problems and yourself from a perspective of deeper insight.
I wish you the very best!
Now for the technique: here are instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack or feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum.
I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you when the anxiety of depression is present is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety and depression, which strengthens the emotion and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help. So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?
Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.
What You Need:
I live in a small country town and do not have access to a psychologist, which is why I searched for a site like this one.
Just to make note, I do not take medications, refuse to, I hardly even have headache tablets. I would like to talk to someone, but as suggested these services are not available where I live.
I just want to know why I isolate myself and why I put a barrier up. I realise that I don't have friends or anyone else to talk to but I just need to know if my behaviour is normal or not? Do other people feel the same as me? Is this a "one in every 3 people" scenario? Am I different? Once I know these answers I can seek help. I will accept this as normal behaviour if it is the case. If not normal I will investigate further.