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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Ive had depression my entire adult life. As a result, many

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I've had depression my entire adult life. As a result, many areas of a "normal" adult life are missing. I don't work (housewife) and I didn't have children b/c I've felt unable to care for them since I have both dysthmia and bouts of deep depression. Last night, I went with my husband to one of his co-worker's house for dinner. The whole team was there with wives and kids. I saw how everyone had such full lives -- career, kids, hobbies -- and I felt so sad after I left.

My question: Are there other ppl like me who have huge chunks of a "normal" life missing b/c of depression. And do they feel like me when they get in social settings?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

If you are suffering from Dysthymia and you have bouts of deep depression, then it would be normal for you to feel like you are different from others and have parts of your life missing. Depression can take your desire or even motivation to have those things away. Plus just by having depression, it can take over your life and "steal" parts of it from you. Just as any illness does with anyone who suffers from a chronic illness like MS, Cancer, heart problems and emotional issues for example.

It is actually very normal for most people to compare themselves with others. Even if you don't have depression or fight a chronic illness, the comparisons to others is a common feeling. But comparing yourself to what you see in a snapshot of someone's life really does not give you the whole picture. These people may seem happy, but most people are not what they appear to be. It is not hard for most to pretend for a night that everything is fine. But in most people's lives, there is some type of pain, deep hurt or other tragic circumstance. So if you see someone you compare yourself to and you feel you come up short, then you may not have the whole picture of their lives. While they may have things you do not have or lost due to depression, they may also not have things you do.

It might help you to look more at those who are less fortunate than you. Just by seeing all that is lost by someone who has mental disabilities such as limited intelligence or someone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, you can see what they miss out on as well.

You can also look at ways that you might add more to your life and feel less like you lost parts of it. Consider volunteering if possible. Or small acts of kindness. Even a one time act of reaching out to someone can help you to feel that you are more than just a person with depression. You have a lot to contribute and as a result, a lot to gain from it.

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Last year, I completed 30 hours toward an MSW degree. I had straight A's, but I failed the internship because my supervisor said that my performance was subpar and that I had anxiety dealing with clients. The school administration reinstated my internship and gave me a passing grade, but told me that I should leave the program, which I did. Then I got a dogwalking job for 9 months, but was fired after I left a client's door open.


So, even though I loved being of help to my clients in my internship, I am immobilized with fear about volunteering. My internship was in a substance abuse clinic; I do think about how lucky I am compared to them all the time. Most of my clients had histories of deep trauma, abuse, and racism. I think about that all the time. But, after having failed so miserably last year and not even being able to keep a dogwalking job, I'm too terrified to try anything else.



But also, I wanted to know: do other people with who've had depression for 20+ years also report feeling this way (like they're missing chunks of a "normal" life)? For some reason, I believe it will comfort me to know I'm not alone in feeling this way.


Yes they do. They sometimes say it in other ways and many feel that they are dominated by their diagnosis. They feel alone and that they are missing out on things. So what you feel is not uncommon at all.

You may want to try support groups on line or in person if you feel it would help you to talk to others who experience the same feelings that you do.

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you