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You Asked: I'm Painfully Lonely

You Asked: I'm Painfully Lonely

Dear Sugar,

I suffered from severe depression in high school and was given medication. While on the antidepressants, I had a suicide attempt. After suffering severe withdrawals from the medication, I decided I did not want to go the medicinal route ever again. I recently moved with my daughter to a new city. I don't know anyone except her father, but we are just friends now. I have explored every avenue of making new friends — gym, mom groups, work, online ads — but have had no success. I have dated a few men but after about two weeks, I don't hear from them again.

Every night I put my child to bed and just sit and watch television. On the weekends, she and I do things together but then I'm alone again. I am starting to feel extremely depressed again from this constant loneliness. I really don't understand what's wrong with me or why I can't manage to develop any new relationships. I can't bear the idea of medication again. What can I do to meet some people and perk up?

In Need of Companionship Corinne

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear In Need of Companionship Corinne,

It sounds like there are actually two issues going on here. The first being your frustration and sadness from not meeting new people and the second, your propensity towards depression. Though it's easy to think of your depression as simply a product of your loneliness, I think it's more effective to consider these things separate problems that you need to approach differently.

Meeting new people is not easy for anyone, and the difficulties you're having do not reflect who you are. Recognizing that your circumstances are only temporary is incredibly important. It sounds like you're doing all the right things and putting yourself out there so don't give up now. If you can keep up a positive attitude, eventually you will start to meet new people, and really, all it takes to combat loneliness is one good friend or a serious love interest — the rest seems to fall into place.

As far as your feelings of depression go, unfortunately, they're something you'll probably have to deal with in one way or another your entire life. Learning how to manage your depression when it comes creeping back is extremely important. Speaking with a therapist to learn some coping tools could make a huge difference. On your own, start by reminding yourself that depression does not control you and that you will not always feel how you do right now. Staying hopeful is the very best thing you can do for yourself. It's not easy, but talking yourself out of negative thought processes is one of the greatest things you can learn how to do. Remember: you will get through this!


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sorrowja sorrowja 8 years
My best friend lost her mom as a result of depression so I can somewhat relate to what you are going through. Medication I can't not give much advise on that. But as someone mentioned before going to church and seeking a higher being surely will. Churches today also create inexpensive outlets for people to enjoy themselves (clubs, sports, ect). Also try to make your child the center of your life the joy she brings should make you want to live. All the best.
sorrowja sorrowja 8 years
My best friend lost her mom as a result of depression so I can somewhat relate to what you are going through. Medication I can't not give much advise on that. But as someone mentioned before going to church and seeking a higher being surely will. Churches today also create inexpensive outlets for people to enjoy themselves (clubs, sports, ect). Also try to make your child the center of your life the joy she brings should make you want to live. All the best.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I agree with petite42. I am a Psychology student who wrote a research paper on teenagers and antidepressants. The fact is, the drug companies were not legally obligated to publish some of the results (regarding teens). In a small miniority of teen patients, taking antidepressants increased suicidal thoughts. That is why there are much more careful regulations now when an teen is prescribed antidepressants, and they are prescribed less often. I think part of the problem is that a teenager's brain is not yet fully developed. Because you are now an adult, antidepressants could have an entirely different effect on you. There are also newer drugs that are more effective with less side effects. Also, as petite said, you should not abruptly end your medication without talking to a doctor, your serotonin levels will abruptly decrease and it is not good for you in many ways. I am not saying that drugs are necessarily the answer for you, just wanted to let you know a bit more about it. Don't close your mind to any possibility that could increase the quality of you and your childs life. I think counselling could probably really help you. But please consult either a Psychologist, counsellor or Psyciatrist and figure it out. There is hope and help out there for you. Good luck! :)
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
Definitely agree Petite42 (thanks for the compliment :)! I love digestive biscuits!!! ), that both talk therapy and meds are a good combo. It's just so sad that lots of meds have awful side-effects and withdrawal symptoms, but that in most cases, are ultimately necessary to save lives in some instances.
petite42 petite42 8 years
Bigestivediscuit (love the username, btw!), Talk therapy is definetly recommended - and I did recommend that. But, talk therapy PLUS meds is the ideal combo. If you have a mood disorder, it's simply just not true that you can talk or will your way out of it. I wish it were the case, I really do. I thought that at the beginning of this year, when my DD was showing signs of depression. We started her on talk therapy, encouraged her to exercise, not isolate herself, etc, etc... everything but meds. I didn't believe in meds, particularly for a teen. Her depression got worse and worse, and recently she went psychotic and had to be hospitalized. This could've been prevented had I not been stubborn about the ADs and got her on them months ago. Now she is on meds and it is making a world of difference.
Nina_79 Nina_79 8 years
Where you in therapy while taking medication? I don't think that it is wise to only take pills to treat depression but also have some sort of therapy like psychotherapy. If you feel a new wave of depression coming on I would recommend you look for a good therapist. I think if you have help in this regard it will also be easier for you to make friends or go on dates. If you have a child why not try to do some activities that you can do with her but also meet new people while doing them?
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
Petite42 - on certain medications, even a "gradual decrease" in use can lead to severe and terrible withdrawal symptoms. Finding a new one to "fit" is also a very painstakingly arduous and difficult road to travel if you've had experience after bad experience - or just one. I would definitely urge Corinne to seek talk therapy as someone above suggested for a start - it can really make a difference and help when you're beginning to be on the mend.
thorswitch thorswitch 8 years
I first realized I was depressed and in need of help when I was about 15, but my mother wouldn't allow me to seek help, and I had to wait until I was out on my own. I've been on one anti-depressant or another pretty much ever since then (well over 20 years.) It's not fun to think of having to spend the rest of my life taking pills every day and knowing that I can't ever drink alcohol because that, mixed with anti-depressants, can be lethal, but it's SO much better than the pain, loneliness, self-loathing and pure hopelessness I fell when depressed. So, from my own experience, I would suggest re-thinking your decision not to take meds. Of course, it's your choice in the long run, and you'll need to be able to deal with the consequences - because there will be consequences regardless of which you choose. As for the loneliness, I wish I could offer suggestions, but I'm horrible at meeting new people. Virtually everyone I interact with is online. For me, one way I've met a number of my online friends is by playing online role playing games like World of Warcraft or (my favourite) City of Heroes. I don't know if that interests you at all, but it's a fun way of at least interacting with others on occasions. The ideas that the others here have given on ways to meet people face-to-face is good, though! I wish you all the best!
catesugar catesugar 8 years
It's harder with a small child, especially when you want to give her the best as well. I found that doing volunteer work from time-to-time went well. I took my daughter out to a "greening" project and met people who were very gentle and kind there. Garden centres are a good place to make enquiries. This way, you don't have to separate your child's interests and your interests as well - you can make them the same and both make friends. I wish you good luck (from Australia).
EmMoi EmMoi 8 years
Hi, Challenge yourself. Start climbing rocks, take a difficult class at the local community college, learn a new skill, master a task. It'll get you focused on something new, boost your interest in something, and raise your self esteem as you learn! Best wishes~
melissa624 melissa624 8 years
I second Petite42's comment, part 4: Having a parent with (untreated) depression can be a difficult, emotionally scarring experience. Not only do you owe it to yourself to get help and start talking to someone right away, but you definitely owe it to your daughter. Aside from emotional distance she may feel with you and the implications for the future relationships she's able to develop, imagine the pressure she must feel knowing that she is your only social connection and support at this point. Kids are so much more perceptive about those things than I think we often imagine they are. She knows that something is wrong and is probably internalizing some kind of responsibility for that. That's just not fair to put a child through.
petite42 petite42 8 years
1. Some antidepressants have been known to cause suicidal thinking in adolescents; this is why they now must come with black box warnings. ... but you are no longer an adolescent. So this may not happen to you again. And you can certainly try a *different* AD this time. 2. It is possible you are bipolar; antidepressants - without a mood stabilizer - can cause those with bipolar to become suicidal. If this is the case, a psychiatrist can figure it out and put you on a med that will work better for you. (Do NOT just go to a general physician; please see a psychiatrist instead). 3. Going off any AD abruptly can cause horrible withdrawal symptoms - as you discovered! ADs must be discontinued gradually. 4. If you are depressed enough that you are having a hard time forming adult relationships, I have to imagine that this is impacting your daughter. It is very difficult for a child to be raised by a depressed parent. It's not enough to go through the motions and feed, bathe, etc your child - children need to emotionally connect with their caregivers. Are you feeling disconnected emotionally? ... Please, for her sake, go get yourself some help. Find yourself both a therapist and a psychiatrist, and try this again. Your daughter is worth it, isn't she? And YOU are worth it. Ask her father to step up to the plate for awhile, while you focus on your own health so you can be the best possible mom for her. 5. Tell your treatment team about your past experiences and your reticence to try the meds again - allow them to work with you on this. YOU are in control here. Research any med they suggest, ask for options, and ask for help closely monitoring you if you go on them. Good luck and a big hug to you.
Ella4 Ella4 8 years
I totally know where you're coming from on this one. I moved to a new city about 6 years ago to be closer to family and I haven't really made any new friends since then. But I'm kind of shy and have no social skills so even when I make an effort to go places I've got absolutely no idea how to start a conversation with someone, or what to talk about. Depression doesn't really help either. I find having a hobby helps, and being a member of a hobby related email list can make you feel a little less loneley too cos there's lots of chat going on around you.
nohesitation nohesitation 8 years
Oh, I hear you -- I'm pretty much in the same place, minus having a child, which I can imagine just adds to your stress. I'm still searching for an answer to this one myself, but I wonder if you wouldn't have some luck with a single parents group? Meeting a guy who knows about the responsibilities of having a child might lead to better long-term prospects, since they will understand your situation better. In terms of depression, I've also had a pretty similar experience. I have stayed on meds and therapy (with imperfect results), but I still get quite depressed. One thing that helps me, strangely, is that having hit rock bottom and been in the hospital, I remind myself that I don't want to go back there and that, having survived that, I can fight my worst urges when depression seems to hit hard. Good luck to you & I hope that helps even a small bit.
hotstuff hotstuff 8 years
I agree with DS that you should start looking at this as 2 seperate things. One is the lonliness and the other the depression. Do you think that maybe some of the depression is holding you back from making connections? How about trying to enjoy some of the activities you signed up for. It seems like maybe you just joined some things that you weren't really into. How about taking some classes either to further your education or fun clases like cooking and dancing? Besides being occupied you can always meet new people. I think you got some excellent advice above. Maybe you need to try different meds that would work for you. And the advice about just going to talk to someone every week is GREAT! And remember to relax a bit it takes time to meet new friends especially ones that will last! You've only recently moved so just give everything time and enjoy you. Pamper yourself and get to know yourself! Myself, I love to read self help books and it really does wonders. The last one I read was "A New Earth" and I'm SOOOO happy I did because it shows how we spend so much time thinking and stressing about things and it explains that we really need to just enjoy NOW! I spent so much time stressing on things that didn't matter. And since your so outgoing have you tried It has TONS of groups and I'm sure you can find something in your area! Good luck I'm sure things will look up for you soon. Don't forget you've always got us on sugar! And words I always remember to live by in hard times. This too shall pass!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
As someone who also suffers from very deep, long term depression and who has been on and off medication and in and out of care, I strongly urge you to seek talk therapy. Seeing someone once a week will at least give you someone to bounce ideas off of. Anyone with your history of depression needs to be under care of some sort. Just having that will give you a better base to work from. I respect your decision about medication, but if things get really bad for you, I urge you to think of your daughter and see a responsible psychiatrist who will look at your medical history and your condition honestly. Otherwise, don't give up! Even if you are not religious, I urge trying to find a church or spiritual group where you might find kindred spirits. Churches are some of the best places to find new friends and a community, and to get involved with charity. I hope you can find a church or group in your area (anything from Roman Catholic to Unitarian Universalist) that can meet your spiritual needs and help you find friends. Just one suggestion.
lizrocks lizrocks 8 years
Don't just join a gym, take a class. A strange one like belly dancing where there's sure to be someone who knows just as little about it as you. Get a dog. A big, dumb fun one who loves people and that you can take to parks with your daughter. Get focused on yourself and what makes you happy. The depression will come but getting a better sense of self awareness will help you stop it before it starts.
HayleyStark HayleyStark 8 years
Me too! What city are you in? I'm sorry about your bad experience with meds, but they are coming out with new meds all the time and maybe you just haven't found something that works for you. I'm just speaking from experience. I just don't know if you should completely reject meds because you might be missing out on a life changer. It's up to you of course. Meds won't stop lonliness, but sometimes they provide a motivation you might not have otherwise. Good luck to you!
evenxstarx evenxstarx 8 years
where do you live? i would hang out with you! i understand how you feel .. when you suffer from depression or anxiety it can be really hard to relate to other people. you could try making friends online .. i'm sure there are lots of people on this site alone who would be happy to be your friend :) good luck darling, you deserve it
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