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How can I make myself better?


Blossom
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Hi Invisible, I see you:)! Welcome to the community. I'm not a depression expert, and I hope others respond, but it does sound like you might be in one. Is it possible for you to see a therapist? There are usually counselors available for college students on campus. That relationship with your mother is troubling, and I can relate. I didn't get along with my mother either. The family relationships are where you develop your identity, and if you aren't getting good positive feedback, your sense of self can really suffer....to the point of going invisible! It is not at all hopeless though. A therapist can help you get back on track with yourself, and then you can start benefiting from positive friends and activities again. Can you picture yourself making that call? btw, what kind of art are you into? I like art too.

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What you describe are pretty textbook Depression symptoms, which is a good thing; there are options for helping yourself feel better. You don't necessarily have full on depression, but it seems likely that you're in that spectrum. There is a sort of depression called "dysthymia" (think of it as "depression lite") which is long lasting (you need to have it for two years before it can even be diagnosed). It could be that - it could just be something subclinical entirely.

We could talk about different sorts of ways to help yourself feel better, but one of the main causes you're identifying is the criticism you receive regularly from your family. that sort of thing is rough stuff as it hits so close to home. It may qualify as verbal abuse, even, depending on the circumstances. You may want to revisit your living plans. Is it better to be miserable and have a good school record (re: your art class) or could it be that if you exited that class as gracefully as possible and lived away from home that your life would improve and it'd be okay in the long run (which it probably would. No single class generally means all that much in the scheme of things if you are basically motivated to finish school). ????? Just something to consider. It is 9 months until September and that is a long time to be berated.

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I agree with Mark, the criticism from your mother is rather ascerbic. But, while Mark's suggestion to consider taking a brief break from classes in order to move out of the home is a valid alternative, it is a big move. I thought of it myself as an undergraduate, but I could not go through with such a plan. Instead, I kept my thoughts to myself and proceeded to complete my degree despite my parents' criticisms. In my case, my parents were largely focused upon my performance so I understood the motivations of some of their comments. But, a large proportion of these comments also included the “waste of space” variety, and that was difficult to cope with at the time. My siblings did not share my experience as an undergraduate, nor did they experience the pressure my parents applied upon me. They could only learn vicariously through my example, which was not too useful as I was simply too stressed to think beyond a syllabus.

When I did achieve my degree, I felt totally burned out. On the night of the last exam for my very last class, I went to bed and wished the next day would not come. I was definitely not suicidal, but I was wishing for some form of oblivion. Of course, this does not mean I am saying this will happen to you if you decide to stay at home. However, there is a strong chance you may share similar experiences to mine should you stay at home.

Whatever you decide, you are definitely not alone.

One way to feel better is to keep sharing your thoughts. You may feel like crying more than laughing if you do share your thoughts, but those tears will lift your burdens...so to speak. I suggest you share your thoughts in writing in some sort of private journal. When I was down, I tried sharing my thoughts in person with friends, but I either held back as you did, or they made their leave as soon as possible. I cannot be too hard on my friends as interpersonal interactions often take place under friendly circumstances. Most of the time, difficult or tense discussions between friends or colleagues concerning serious topics occur on TV. When these discussions suddenly strike close to home, it's rather reflexive to try leaving. Of course, another way is to share your thoughts here with us. The members here are very caring, and it does not hurt to enjoy another perspective.

However, as long as you are willing to address your situation in some fashion, you may rest assured that the way you are feeling now will not last forever.

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Invisible, I have never had my past experiences seeing a therapist come up in any way with an employer. Plus, the more I've gotten to know people, the more I've found out that tons of people have seen a therapist at some point in their life. If you live in an isolated area, maybe less so, but it's still a legitimate thing to do....and listening to your troubles is the whole point of it, so you aren't being a burden to anyone. We listen to each other's troubles here, too, so practice on us!:D

I was a painting major! Braque is my favorite from art history. He was the quiet cubist... Picasso got most of the attention. Any favorites yet for you?

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Regardless of whether you stay at home or move out, I can suggest some relaxation and coping techniques that may help. I learned them myself to cope with some of the stress. First, you should review your basic needs. Try to commit to eating at least three meals a day and maintain proper hydration. Some people have six meals a day by dividing their portions appropriately to keep their metabolism going as high as possible throughout the day. You can bring a box with nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits to keep the fuel intake steady. If you drink coffee, you may find green tea to be more rewarding as it has both stimulating and calming effects. Tea, like coffee, can be fridged so you can bring it around with you later. Also, you should schedule as much sleep as you need each day. Whenever you find yourself in an odd pocket/gap in your schedule, I strongly recommend taking a half-hour nap. If you have not already, once you try a mid-day nap for yourself, I think you will be happy with the results.

It may seem odd that I describe basic needs as a coping technique, but heavy stress can have heavy consequences for the body. Second, I believe Mark and Allan have mentioned in other posts how exercise can provide stress and tension relief. Your college may have workout facilities for your convenience. If you do not normally go to the gym on a daily basis, you can start slowly by jogging at a reasonable speed for 20 minutes. When you are comfortable, perhaps the gym may also have fitness instructors to set up workout menus with students. Just explain how often you are willing to go to the gym, the duration of each visit, and that you want the exercises to be reasonably challenging. My own workouts take an hour at most, and I am pretty satisfied afterwards. If there is no college gym, I would recommend the YMCA as an alternative. The YMCAs at my location give monthly passes to volunteers, and you get to help the community.

My third suggestion is yet another plug for David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. The core message of the book is straightforward: define your goal and your next physical, visible action. When I sometimes become angry, the “checklist” of Getting Things Done is my most effective tool to command my focus towards my goals. Even when I feel “blah”, asking myself what my goal and next action is helps me to force my body into motion. Also, do check out Mental Help Net's Online Self-Help book. The online book is incredibly extensive and thorough, and I strongly recommend at least browsing through it for future reference.

As for your record and seeing a therapist, this is your private business. If you do not mention your private details to anyone, no one will know. I kept everything to myself, and no one knew about my personal matters. Certainly, the people around me could express concern and infer from my behaviour that something was amiss, but what can they do if I deny that anything is wrong? This is a dual-edged blade as you can continue doing what you wish without impediment. But, if something is wrong and you do not say or do anything about it, then the problem may continue to develop into something worse and cannot wait. As a student, so long as you fulfill your responsibilities well, no one can deny you the qualifications you are due. If you are concerned for your privacy, make a point to establish the confidential nature of the conversations regarding your personal life. People who assume supportive roles will often have the integrity to assure you that your details will not be passed to others.

There are some options for counseling that you may have to explore for more detail. Colleges usually offer free sessions with a psychologist, and student counseling in general may also be free of charge. But, if you are not interested in such services – or you are not yet comfortable with the idea – another alternative is to seek out the counsel of a priest. Religious groups usually have active clubs and groups on campus, and in community churches. Even if you are not an adherent, the priest will hear you out. Of course, you need to read these people beforehand as some adherents will be more obviously concerned with “adding to their flock” as opposed to offering support. On the internet, besides this community, there are government sponsored counseling programs for youth. The support from such government programs are much more structured than volunteer communities like Mental Help Net though. Lastly, some towns and cities feature walk-in counseling offices where people can just walk-in to discuss their problems. Perhaps there are a few such offices at your location?

I am not sure if my post is entirely helpful, but you are very welcome to share your thoughts here with us as well. Regardless of the motives behind your mother's disrespectful behaviour, from personal experience, it is best to change oneself rather than wish for changes in others. Your mother will change on her own terms. So, I strongly suggest not to wait for your family to change before you do.

Lastly, I apologize in advance for such a large post. I recall an acquaintance in fine arts who once went without sleep for a week for an art show project during the course of her studies. I figured I may as well offer whatever I had in mind to help in case you had a similar work load.

Edited by kaudio
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Therapy is very much like what we are doing here. You have some things that are too much to handle and you are speaking up about it. We are listening to you and hearing what you say and we totally see how it is a burden for you. If you never have the experience of being listened to and believed, you can feel that your problems aren't real, that there is something wrong with you that makes a problem when there isn't one...possibly making you feel like you are disappearing. I think a lot of people on this site will agree that that has got to be one of the worst feelings of all!! In some it leads to more toublesome stuff like violence to self or others. I am not suggesting you will do that, I'm only saying that it is that unbearable for people. When your mother treats you that way she is not even seeing you. We all need to be seen! Luckily we can learn to see our selves to some degree, and learn healthier ways to relate to others. Therapy can teach us that. Practical skills like Kaudio is mentioning can be another thing you learn from therapy. I hear what you are saying about accesibility to services & affording it. I'm just answering your question about what it's like to see a therapist. You are right, there are different kinds of therapists. I have tried several!:D. I have learned something useful from each one (maybe with one exception-- that one didn't work out at all). This site provides a lot of info in the Psychology Self-Tools section, so some stuff you can do on your own.

As for art, if Botticelli is your inspiration, you've got to start saving your $$$ for a ticket to Florence, Italy! Even if it takes you 10 years to get there, you will think it totally worth it:) The entire town is a Botticelli, Donnetello, Michealangelo,,,,etc etc, inspiration!!

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everyone,

I must agree with everyone about the usefullness and helpfulness of psychotherapy. It's a great learning experience and, when Cognitive Behavioral techniques are used, it leaves people with amazingly useful tools to help cope with future problems that always will come up.

There is no reason why an employer should know about therapy. It's a private matter, just like going to the regular doctor.

Allan

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When you go to a therapist it is all cofidential . Your able to go in there and just talk about how you feel and get feedback. no one judges , and it is a safe place to go . It helps to talk about stuff especially when depressed. Becasue a depressed has all these things going on inside of them where their is no outlet. Talking about things to a non judgemental person who can provide honest feedback helps a person feel so much better. That is what therapy does for me . It takes work though and it can be especially diffcult it you have trust issues. If you have some kind of medical insurance , then that should cover for therapy. Also, you might be able to get a referral from your regular medical doctor for therapy.

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Humor & movement are priceless coping strategies... good work! Both get you out of the deadlock that negative emotions can get you in, give you a break, and sometimes even some perspective.

Speaking of perspective, the Renaissance was when they invented perspective drawing. All attempts before that were kind of goofy. And you've already been to Florence, and you're going again!! How cool is that?? Hey, if your tour includes France & you go to a 20th century exhibit, say hello to a Braque painting for me!

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