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  #1  
Old 11-03-11, 12:14 PM
ZugTheMegasauru ZugTheMegasauru is offline
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Miserable Without Depression??

Hopefully I have this in the right subforum (I didn't want to put it in Depression because I don't think I'm depressed, but that's the subject of this post).

I was diagnosed with ADHD back in September and have been on medication since, which is tremendously helpful. I can think and focus and feel sane.

My problem is that I'm still completely miserable (and now I can actually recognize it). The question I have is based on the fact that everyone I try to talk to tells me that I'm depressed and need treatment for that too. But I don't think I'm clinically depressed; I think I'm legitimately miserable. I'll describe my situation.

I'm a 25 year old law student. I don't care about school and never do the work (even the times I try to sit down and do the work, I just can't bring myself to do it). I don't care about my career because I'll screw it up anyway. I don't see anything positive happening in the future, so I prefer to avoid thinking about it. I'm certain that my boyfriend of eight years is eventually going to realize that I'm not worth the time or effort and leave. I have no talents. I have no good qualities. I'm not good at anything. Nothing interests me. I don't have any friends and I avoid my family as much as possible so I don't have to deal with the crushing guilt of being a disappointment.

So yeah, it SOUNDS like depression, but I think that implies that I'm wrong about it. Everything I'm saying is, as far as I know (and I recognize that I'm not infallible) entirely correct. It's true that I have nothing to offer and possess no value; there's no way around that. It seems to me that people who are depressed actually have worth and value; they just don't recognize it because of the depression. But with me, I'm miserable BECAUSE of these things, not the other way around.

I guess I'm asking for clarification from anyone who might know better than me. It seems like it would be profoundly dishonest for me to seek treatment for depression when I deserve to feel bad (based on the fact that I am actually devoid of any good). So is it possible to just be miserable and self-loathing without it being the result of some sort of pathology? I mean, not everyone should feel good about themselves; some of us shouldn't.

Thanks for any insight in advance.
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Old 11-03-11, 12:22 PM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

((((Hugs))))

It sounds like you're relatively newly diagnosed? Are you being treated by a psychiatrist or a GP? If you can find someone you click with, it may not be a bad idea to explore talk therapy of some kind to help you through this crazy time.

To me (not a clinician), honestly, you *do* sound depressed. . . . it may be true that you've screwed up, but that doesn't necessarily make *you* a screw up, and the all or nothing thinking that you're nothing but a failure, well, in my personal experience, that's a huge red flag. And, no, it's not profoundly dishonest to say "this is how I feel". Regardless of why you feel the way you do, you deserve to feel better. You're worth it.
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Old 11-03-11, 01:16 PM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZugTheMegasauru View Post
I don't care about my career because I'll screw it up anyway. I don't see anything positive happening in the future, so I prefer to avoid thinking about it. I'm certain that my boyfriend of eight years is eventually going to realize that I'm not worth the time or effort and leave. I have no talents. I have no good qualities. I'm not good at anything. Nothing interests me. I don't have any friends and I avoid my family as much as possible so I don't have to deal with the crushing guilt of being a disappointment.

So yeah, it SOUNDS like depression, but I think that implies that I'm wrong about it. Everything I'm saying is, as far as I know (and I recognize that I'm not infallible) entirely correct. It's true that I have nothing to offer and possess no value; there's no way around that. It seems to me that people who are depressed actually have worth and value; they just don't recognize it because of the depression. But with me, I'm miserable BECAUSE of these things, not the other way around.
There are two things that need to be distinguished here:

1. your abilities

2. your value as a person

While it may be true that you have learned from experience that you are incapable of certain things (especially since you only very recently started medication), those are only abilities. Skills. In other words, whether or not you finish law school successfully and can have a career as a lawyer has to do with your ability to take tests and file motions. If you are concerned that you will fail, there are concrete ways to prevent this, or to make it less likely to happen.

Here's where it falls into the realm of depressive thinking: you seem to have decided that because you have failed in the past, the future is set. There is no point in trying, you are "a failure", so will have a certainty about the future that you will fail.

Now, if I were to say "I am not going to pass the bar and I will not have a career as a lawyer", that would not be pessimistic false certainty on my part. I didn't get into law school. I haven't studied for the purpose of becoming a lawyer. In my case, failure *is* virtually guaranteed.

In your case, you say "I don't care about school and never do the work (...) I don't care about my career because I'll screw it up anyway. I don't see anything positive happening in the future, so I prefer to avoid thinking about it." However, the fact that you are currently in law school means that objectively, there is at least a good chance that you will be able to become a lawyer. Someone let you in to that school, and I'm assuming it wasn't because you had great teeth or your name started with a lucky letter.

They don't let people into competitive programs unless they think that the student can succeed. It makes them look bad when their students drop out or fail.

I'm presuming, of course, that you want to be a lawyer in the first place. In which case, from an outside perspective, there is no reason why you should not be hopeful for a future career in law.

In general, people who aren't depressed, and are in the program of their choice, and heading towards the career of their choice, do not feel that the future is hopeless. Even if they are not doing as well as they could be, people who aren't depressed tend to look for solutions ("How can I do better?") instead of feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of past failures and the inevitability of future failures ("I suck and will never be good at anything.")

The second part of this is to do with your worth as a person. You could (and probably will) argue that I am wrong about your ability to do well in law school, that somehow you getting in was a fluke or an accident, and that you are completely certain that it is 100% true that all that you have to look forward to is failure.

However, people who don't have emotional issues also don't tend to take a failure at doing something to mean that they are a failure as a human being. Someone who is emotionally healthy will play a video game, for example, and if they suck at it, they might laugh about it. "Geez, I'm sure do suck at video games", they might say. A person with a self-image issue who doesn't do well at a game will automatically think "I suck at life".

Now, I acknowledge that careers are different, and failure at a career choice is much more attached to people's sense of self. Still, a person can say "That is not the job for me" without saying "I don't deserve to live because I can't memorize precedence".

People don't like or especially love other people because they can do neat stuff. I don't love my boyfriend because he can build houses or play guitar really well. I find it impressive that he can build houses and play guitar really well, but if tomorrow he was suddenly unable to do these things I would not love him any less. I love him for who he is, not what he can do.

Somewhere along the line, people who have the kind of thoughts that you are having get these two things mixed up. This is the kind of thinking that is disordered. Why is it disordered? Because nobody is perfect, and trying to be perfect in order to be deserving of love causes feelings of powerlessness and despair. Someone who loves you will love you whether or not you end up a good lawyer. Someone who doesn't love you will not start loving you because you are a good lawyer.

Also, you have been diagnosed with ADHD. Which means that you have things that you have tried to do, and they haven't worked out, and you didn't know why. Sometimes you can't do things that other people seem to do easily. Sometimes you can't do things that you know that you have done before. Why are things so hard for you, you wondered. Why aren't you like everyone else? Turns out there is a reason. You have ADHD. But your feelings about yourself that developed before you knew that haven't yet caught up to this new information. Feelings are slow like that. Give yourself time, and look into "the ADHD diagnosis grief period."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZugTheMegasauru View Post
I guess I'm asking for clarification from anyone who might know better than me. It seems like it would be profoundly dishonest for me to seek treatment for depression when I deserve to feel bad (based on the fact that I am actually devoid of any good). So is it possible to just be miserable and self-loathing without it being the result of some sort of pathology? I mean, not everyone should feel good about themselves; some of us shouldn't.
Reality check time: Do you eat babies? Are you a serial killer? A sociopath? How "bad" exactly are we talking about, in your estimation, before a person can be defined as "devoid of good"? I mean, seriously, make a list. Is it stupidity? Should people who have a significantly below-average IQ be miserable because they probably won't get advanced post-secondary degrees? You say that you have no talents, are we talking about artistic and musical talents? Should everyone who can't draw or carry a tune be filled with self-loathing?

From what you have described, you a just a struggling law student. You don't have enough mass murders under your belt to justify not feeling at least *somewhat* good about yourself.

Most important question: do you hold anyone else to the same standard of good and bad, or is it just you? I suspect that it is just you.

In point of fact, you are much more successful than a good number of people that have ADHD. You are in law school. You never killed a child while driving dangerously. From my perspective, you're doing great.

But of course, that doesn't match with your feelings about yourself. You feel like you totally suck. You feel like you don't deserve to have a boyfriend or a law degree or anything. And that's fine for now. I'm not a therapist or nothing, and I'm not trying to convince you that you're wrong.

All that I can say is that from an outside perspective, nothing that you have said about yourself is objectively a reason to feel the kind of misery and self-loathing you are describing. And that based on my own experience, everything that you've been saying is like a big red sign that reads "ADHD and Depression!!".
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Old 11-04-11, 04:00 AM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

You're depressed.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:22 AM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

It could be situational depression but either way its depression.
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Old 11-05-11, 05:51 PM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

But it sucks to be upset about something, and to have people insist that what you have is a medical problem. It can feel like you can't be heard. Maybe you do have depression; I'm not saying you don't, but sometimes when I feel at extremes, I feel like, why should this end the conversation?
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Old 11-05-11, 06:36 PM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

If you were that bad, I'm sure your boyfriend would have gotten rid of you sometime in the past 8 years.

Maybe Law isn't for you. The fact that you got into law school shows that you're not a complete idiot, not that you'd be any less of a person if you were dumb as a box of rocks.

Maybe you hold yourself to too high of standards, or maybe the family you avoid does as well. I say this because I'm going through the same thing. I've had this idea of what I'm supposed to be doing and how much my peers have achieved compared to me.

I've never thought of myself has depressed for the one fact that I have never felt suicidal, not once. But from time to time I feel like it wouldn't matter if I disappeared and it seems like I've got nothing to offer anyone. It is a miserable feeling and maybe we are just depressed.
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Old 11-05-11, 06:49 PM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

Once, long ago, I myself was a 25 year old struggling law student in exactly the same position you are in but minus the girlfriend, which fact all by itself contributed a lot to my feeling of misery.

I still don't know if what I was feeling at the time was a regular full-blown depression or not. It just did not feel that way to me, but rather like some kind of justified feeling of miserableness.
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Old 11-05-11, 08:37 PM
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Re: Miserable Without Depression??

I'll play the devil's advocate and say that you are not depressed.

I know how it feels to think how you are thinking and in turn feel how you are feeling, the problem is you are thinking negatively and therefore projecting negativity into the world.

The problem here is that you will just get more negativity back.

So depressed or not try and find a way to think more positively and I think you're outlook will improve. I'm afraid if you continue to think as you are going to become just that, a self fulfilled prophecy of failure and depression.

I know the feeling and have to fight those feelings myself, or rather let them come and let them go, don't hold onto them.

I know what it's like to be newly diagnosed and to go from that initial euphoria of finally having some answers for why you have had the experiences you have, but then the newfound clarity can cause some serious depression when you see the habits that you've developed and need to change.

There are an infinite number of ways to do this but Therapy especially in the first part of diagnosis can really help if you find the right therapist.

I wish you the best of luck, because I know how easy it is to get stuck in that mode. The challenge is to rise above it and enjoy your life and live your dreams and find your confidence again.

I don't believe you when you say you are worthless or a failure, if you are in law school and have managed to maintain an 8 yr long relationship you must have some redeeming qualities.

Besides, failure is the other side of success, the biggest successes in this world are often people who failed the most, they just learned from their failures and moved on. You're only defeated when you give up.

You can do it!
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