Sad and empty all the time... why?

Discussion in 'Mental Wellbeing' started by M-Chan, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    I've felt sad and empty inside almost all the time for the past 2 years. The problem is, I have no idea why or what I can do about it. I know this seems like a useless post, but what can I do to figure out what is wrong and solve it? How do you get in touch with your feelings?

    Sure, I don't think my life is ideal, but can't I still enjoy it for what it is now? Why is that impossible? I've had problems before and haven't felt this empty feeling. Sadness, anger, many things, but not empty. It's really terrible.

    What if I can't do anything about my life right now? What if it is never what I want it to be? Do I have to feel this way for the rest of my life? Will I ever be happy again? Is that possible for everyone?

    I know I haven't really said anything specific, I can if anyone cares to hear about it. I guess in general I want to know if anyone else has ever felt this way before, and why they did and what can be done about it. I mean, what are some strategies you use to understand what is going inside of you internally? I can't even really say what it is that is wrong at this point and it's so frustrating.

    Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this! I'd be happy to hear ANYTHING even REMOTELY RELATED to this topic, don't be shy! Thanks. [​IMG]

  2. TDG

    TDG New Member

    It sounds like depression to me. There doesnt have to actually be anything really wrong with your life to feel depressed. Its just simply a chemical imbalance in the brain. I would see a Dr. You dont need to feel bad about mental health..its no different than any other part of your body malfunctioning. You absolutely do not have to feel that way now or the rest of your life.

  3. Weirdartist

    Weirdartist New Member

    ^I agree. There are some things you can do to help yourself, but you really must see a medical professional. In the mean time:

    *Eat healthily and take a multivitamin if you want,
    *try and do some exercise each day, just going for a gentle walk can be helpful
    *try and get around 8hrs sleep a night
    *try and spend time doing something you like each day, like bubble bath, listen to your favourite song, read a book/magazine, see a friend or something positive everyday.

    Feel free to post how things are going, or keeping a journal can help get things out and process them better.

  4. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member


    We've all had times like that, I think.

    Two years may be a bit long.

    Do you feel as if something is missing?

    Can you think of something that makes you happy?


  5. Almond_Joy

    Almond_Joy Member

    Hi M-Chan,

    I was feeling this way too for many years. I've never gotten diagnosed, but from reading symptoms online I've gathered that the condition was indeed depression. Logically, I could see that my life is not really bad and I have a lot to be happy about. But I just felt so disconnected from that happiness - I couldn't sustain the sense of contentment.

    A few things have helped me to climb out of consistent depression:

    A) Seeking out a community of folks in the same situation....or worse. I initially started looking for other people who understood that I wasn't just run of the mill sad. Once I found that, I started reading other people's accounts of their depressive state, and how they were successfully coping/recovering. I also read accounts of people that weren't coping. Both helped to put my situation in perspective. Those successfully coping gave me hope that there is a solution, and reading about those who weren't coping showed me that I could be doing a lot worse.

    B) Research, journaling & therapy. In addition to looking for communities of folks in the same situation, I also started looking for information about what kind of things factor into triggering and sustaining depression. I would take the information I found, and then journal the thoughts I had about it when applying it to my life. I can look back on the journals and see dysfunctional thought patterns, negative behaviors, past events that the depression is centered on, things like that. It helped me think rationally, when I wasn't feeling really bad, about what was going on with me.

    Therapy.....may or may not be helpful. I think it may depend a lot on the severity of your condition and what type of therapist you consult. I'm trying it, but I'm not particularly impressed, since a lot of the suggestions the therapist has given me I've found in my research. But it is really nice to have someone to talk to that's not judging me, or telling me to "get over it" - someone that's trying to help me find the causes of the problems in order to try to solve them instead of giving a quick fix, if that makes sense. If you have someone in your life like this, therapist or not, you may find it really helpful to talk to them if you haven't already.

    C) Taking action. This last thing I have to say is the most effective. When I was depressed there were several things I wanted to do, and in the past, because of how I was feeling, I wouldn't do anything about it. I'd just kind of sit there and stew in the depression, or engage in unproductive, un-fulfilling activities (excessive eating/sleeping/TV). Once I started doing the things I was thinking of, the depressive periods got shorter and shorter. I started exercising (or just making sure I was outside of the house), socializing with people, or engaging myself in a hobby I really like.

    With consistent application of these three things I can honestly say that I haven't had a depressive spell in about 2 months. And I really don't see myself going back to that state for an extended period of time (unless a traumatic event occurs). As GW mentioned, we all have moments of unhappiness or discontent, and I have had them. But that's all they are now - moments. The moments are not depression, and depression is no longer a lifestyle, or a permanent/consistently recurring state of mind.

    Hope you find this personal account helpful, and best of luck to you [​IMG].

    P.S. One site that I found really helpful is I can't say it deals specifically with depression - more with emotional balance and being able to healthily respond to/process life's challenges. The owner of the blog is like a grad student in psychology or psychotherapy, so there's a lot of research and academic study backing up what she's saying. And many of the posts tie into or reference one another which I think is really cool because it's a reminder that whatever issue you're dealing with isn't necessarily related to one isolated factor, and that a strong understanding of several factors helps to developed a more effective and well sustained recovery response that works for each individual.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2013

  6. Weirdartist

    Weirdartist New Member

    a very informative post Almond, ty [​IMG]

  7. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate your advice.

    Yes, I am indeed depressed. I've been trying to dig my way out for years without much long-term success.

    Yes GW, I do feel as though I have a lot missing from my life.

    When I think about it, it's obvious. I have no direction. I'm an adult (24) yet have no idea what I want to do with myself. I work seasonally for the government and make good money, and collect EI the rest of the year. That involves a lot of time sitting at home with nothing to do. There is little promise of this job leading to anything full time any time soon, though I'm told if I stick it out it might, within several years. That seems very daunting, not to mention the fact that I'm only really doing it because of the money and there is very little else I actually enjoy about working there. It's an office environment. I do extremely monotonous tasks that require next to no thinking. Then there are the office politics (pure bullshit). I sit all day. I feel fat now.

    I am going back to school in the fall, but then that just leads me back to the place that started this depression to begin with. For whatever reason (which I should investigate), I did not do well with it and failed several classes, felt like a total failure. My identity at the time was very hevily invested in the area that I was studying, so when I dropped out I felt like I had to abandon the person I thought I was. This left a huge void that I've tried to fill in various ways but failed. I felt for a long time I could not go back to the old me, feeling nothing but shame and regret when thinking about it. I felt like a moron who could no longer pursue anything intellectual.

    I never really felt like I've fit in with anybody, other than stoners, but I can't smoke weed anymore because it gives me panic attacks. I have a limited social circle with really only one close friend, and my boyfriend. There are troubles with both of them. I have extreme social anxiety. I feel unworthy of people, inferior, damaged goods, unlikable. I'm terrified of criticism, judgement, and rejection. This last part is a major issue for me that I've never resolved, and probably is the root of a lot of this.

    I had another best friend, since grade 3, but she pretty much just stopped talking to me a year ago with no explanation. We were extremely close, almost like sisters, for many years. I feel like a moron for this, but it really upsets me almost every day. I wonder what I did wrong. I know I did something wrong. I know I should just move on.

    And my boyfriend. I could write a whole post just about that (and have on this board a few times). I want us to move into our own place together, because well damnit I'm 24 already, but he is in school and says that's not possible yet. I feel like we have stagnated and it's very hard to feel happy with the way things are right now. I feel its time for us to have our own life together. There are several other things I'm unhappy about, and we are incompatible in a number of ways, and if we weren't both so stubborn (which ironically is one of the worst of our incompatibilities), we wouldn't have stuck it out this long. Yet, I do believe we share something very special together and he thinks so too. We fight a lot, but we can't seem to give up on each other. At one time I thought this was romantic, but I see it as very foolish now and sometimes feel trapped by it.

    Don't know what else to say right now.

    Almond Joy, that was a great post. I am currently developing a new strategy to get myself out of this funk and many of your ideas will be seriously considered. In fact I'm certain many will be used. Thank you. If no one minds, I might post about it and see what everyone thinks.

    Weirdartist, your suggestions are also part of my plan. I have been slacking in a lot of those areas and I can tell it's made things a lot worse!

    Again I appreciate all of you for sharing advice and stories. [​IMG]

  8. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    Just thought I would post an update...

    I decided to get my own apartment. I had still been living at home when I wrote that post (well technically I still will be for another week). I really hated living at home for a variety of reasons. Mostly I can never get any sleep because my brother stays up all night and his room is right beside mine, there is always someone home and I never get any alone time to clear my head, and my relationship with my mother is very volatile (she is likely the reason for a lot of my self-esteem problems as she has always been very highly critical of me).

    The main reason I had not yet moved out was because I had this idea that I had to do it with my boyfriend. It became clear that that was not going to happen any time soon. I also worried about how I'd afford it, because it can be very expensive to live on your own. However, I do think I can make it work, even if it is tough.

    I think it will be very good for me to have my own space. I'm the type who needs a lot of alone time to 'recharge' and I just haven't had that in years.

    Yet, I know it still bothers me that I will not be with my boyfriend. I realized that more than anything in life I want to have a partner to share things with. I want to wake up together in the morning and make us dinners and watch movies together in the evening. Eventually, I will want a family. My boyfriend simply does not understand the idea of a partnership. He doesn't have this same need. I wonder if it is normal for guys to feel this way? Depressing either way.

    I know what I want. I am not sure I am going to get it with my boyfriend. But, I do love him and have not given up hope yet. It is very hard though.

    I thought a bit and I realized that when I was young I always dreamed about being in love and having someone to show love to and devote myself to. I feel like many would not see this as a very important goal. I don't really care about a career or anything. I just want to explore life and take care of people I love. I'll take any job that allows me to do this.

    Right now, I have to do it all on my own. It makes me sad. But, it is better than my current situation and I think it could be exciting.

    Hope that was coherent enough.

  9. TDG

    TDG New Member

    I grew up with that same I consider it important and worthy..but you are right in that others often see it as "not enough". No matter what others think its ok you feel that way. It sounds like you are doing better and I think moving out will be good for you. As far your bf..all men are not like that and that is a huge personality difference to have. I think you are always going to feel an incompleteness if he isnt into the tight partnership that you need. He sounds more independant. Im independant and not into crowds,...but also NEED that someone close to be with and just live the day to day with and take care of and without that Id be very lost. He needs to be willing to "feed" your need even if he really doesnt understand it or you really need to think hard about a long term life with that need not being met. I sure couldnt live like that. Anyways..good luck. I think it will be a good adventure to venture out alone. [​IMG]

  10. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    Thanks TDG, I am very glad to hear I am not alone in feeling that way!

    I'm looking forward to moving out more and more. I think it will clear my mind and help me deal with my emotions a bit better. Besides, it just feels like time to do that. I should have done it years ago, but there is no sense in dwelling on that, right?

    About my boyfriend, though... that's where things get tricky. I talked to him about it last night again. He stated, very clearly, that we are NOT going to be living together now, or any time soon. He belittled my feelings on the subject and said I was being ridiculous and he didn't see why not having that together "is the end of the world". He said I should just wait till he is done school. He doesn't want to live with me because he has his home gym where he lives and doesn't want to give it up. He also said it would be a lower standard of living for him and he doesn't want it (he seems to think we'd have to eat like crap all the time and get fat. Um no). I said I'd be sad just being all alone... and he said "figure out something to do then". I asked him what, and he said "I don't care, just don't get in my way." I said he was being a jerk. He didn't care. I said I was starting to think about breaking up with him over it and finding a guy who did want these things, and he said "go ahead then, I'm tired of hearing about it".

    I don't know. He is in school now. He wants to wait till he is done. He doesn't want me paying for the majority of things. I told him that would be fine. He just let me buy him a 2000 dollar lap top for school! Ugh. He assures me that he loves me and wants to be with me "at the right time". Is it so unreasonable to think we could make it work?

    I feel so sad. I don't know what to do.

    BTW, today is our 10 year anniversary.

  11. TDG

    TDG New Member

    First of all...maybe its just me, but saying his standard of living would be lower with you would have REALLY offended me! Like you couldnt make a decent home or something. And secondly--I hate to state the obvious but action speak louder than words. He may say he loves you but sure isnt acting like it. I dont want to say this is the case for you--because I dont know you....but I have a LOT of male friends and from my experience "not right now"(for moving in together, getting engaged, etc--with lots of different bs excuses) actually means "Im waiting for someone better to come along." I cant even tell you how many times Ive seen that in gfs relationships and had male friends tell me about it. Id say him being in school and not wanting you to pay for things is pretty big bs if hes fine with you buying him an expensive laptop. If I were you I would totally clean house--move out and find a new bf that shares your wants and understands your needs. I have a good friend who was with her bf for 10 years(Im also friends with him). He kept putting off getting married. I gave her the same advice n she took it. She moved to another state that shes always loved, met a guy, is now engaged with a baby on the way n has never been happier. Her and the ex had been together so long it was 2nd nature for them, and I really think they loved each other...but they just werent at the same stage of life. She wanted to settle down n while he loved her he felt like someone better might come along n could 100% commit. She was the only 'real' gf he ever had. He is also doing great now--enjoying single life. Idk whats right for you..but from this and many many other things you posted I think you could do better and find real happiness with someone else.

  12. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    Ok. Thanks for the perspective. I fear in my heart that he is waiting for something better and have for almost the entire time we've been together.

    Thanks for making me feel like I'm not just crazy for thinking that. He sure likes to say I am.

    Thinking it over now, I can almost certainly believe that is the case. He's chatted online to girls a lot and I've found naked pictures of them on his computer a number of times. He rejects getting engaged "I can't afford to buy you a ring" (oh, but you can run out and by the latest 600 dollar video card for your computer?). He never wants to talk about the future. We broke up once for a year and he didn't even notice until six months later. Pretty much, he was looking for a better girl and didn't find one so he came back begging for me. Stupidly I accepted him.

    I feel like crying now. How stupid am I? This weekend he is taking me for dinner for our anniversary. I'll probably go. But I don't know how much longer I should stay with him. I am terrified that I wont find anyone better.

    This really is a big reason why I've felt so lost, I think. I know the truth.

  13. TDG

    TDG New Member

    Im really sorry. 10 years is a long time so I know this will be hard for you. I dont think you are stupid at all. Ive seen sooooo many of my friends go through the same thing. You just love him enough to want to believe things are/will be different. I really do not think going to dinner is a good idea. I think like my friend did...getting distance from him is by far the best thing. The sooner you end it and the less you see him the sooner you will find your confindence that hes sucking from you. Im SURE you will find someone better...but not without getting far enough from him to start healing and moving on. Dont stick around and give him the chance to manipulate you into staying.

  14. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    I wouldn't even know where to begin with describing my fears of being single.

    First of all, I don't really feel like I have many people in my life right now, and my boyfriend fills a huge void for me. I would be almost entirely alone. It might be easier to make new friends without him though, my boyfriend is very anti social and it keeps me apart from people. He disapproves of almost everyone I know, which also keeps me apart from people.

    Secondly, sex is a really big deal to me and I can't imagine just going out and sleeping with somebody new. I've only ever been with him. It would almost feel like being a virgin again. The next person I'd have sex with is who I'd like to spend my life with. How likely is it for that to work out? I'm guessing not very. Would I have to get over this? I really don't feel comfortable with having sex right away.

    I don't know how to flirt. I wouldn't know where to meet guys. What if they aren't any better anyway?

    I have so many fears, that it's overwhelming.

    How would I get over the feeling of breaking up with him and waiting to see what he does? I know deep down I'd be obsessed with wondering how he is feeling. I'd be hoping he would change his mind and realize I'm the one for him. How do I prevent this? This drives me so crazy I'd rather just stay with him.

    He does fulfill a few of my needs. Much of it is likely a fantasy, but sometimes it feels real enough. I love snuggling with him, and having sex together. Sometimes he can be sweet and make me feel loved. Of course it's like dangling a carrot in front of my face then always pulling it away.

    It's all I've ever known. I'm afraid I wouldn't even know how to function in the world. In many ways I have become very broken over the years. I have so many anxieties, that have gotten much worse over time. I'm just not sure if I can really do this all alone.

    I fear no one will love me anyway so I might as well stay with him. That I really am crazy, it's all my fault, and he's the best that I could get and if only I was a better girlfriend he'd want to commit to me.

    Christmas is coming soon and I was so greatly looking forward to spending it with him especially at my new place where we could be alone and I could pretend for a while that we were living the life I desire.

    This is so pathetic I'm sorry... I don't know.

  15. TDG

    TDG New Member

    I really feel for you. You have a lot of self esteem issues to work on. No one can give you the strength to do what you need to do, but you need to do it to be happy and you really deserve to be happy. It may be hell at first..wondering what hes doing, how hes feeling, if youll be ok...etc. Like I said the absolute best thing is to cut all ties and do not see/talk to him. Then distract yourself so you dont have time to obsess. Get out and meet new ppl any way possible. I promise their are better guys. As far as do not have to have sex with anyone if you dont want to. When you meet the right person and feel ready then you will be able to do it without it feeling wrong. I hope you take the chance and face your fears because itll be worth it. I have pretty much all of the anxiety disorders so Im all too aware of how you feel in that respect and the BEST thing to do is face your anxieties. The more often you face them the less they will control you. Eventually you can reprogram your brain to know you are OK and not set you into anxious panic mode over things that cant truly hurt you. Its extremely hard but my life used to be completely ruled by OCD, phobias, and panic attacks and altho those things never leave I can control them and live normal instead of being a crippled mess. Just remember you deserve to be happy and you have the control to find a better life. You just have to fight for it.

  16. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    I'm back again. :p

    Concerning my boyfriend, we are still up and down, but we did talk and I did distinctly get the feeling that he does love me and want to be with me, so I set things aside for a while.

    I have a bigger issue now.

    I've decided that I just can't do this anymore. My anxiety is just out of control. I can't function. If I can shop at the store without having a panic attack, I've had a good day. I am constantly worrying and on edge. Physically, I'm completely worn out. Mentally, I'm depressed as hell. I'm just not doing well.

    I did get my new place and it's great, but my problems have followed me here. It wasn't a fix-all. I still can't sleep. I still have panic attacks. Socially, I'm still terrified. I still think I have brain tumors, or a rare heart condition. I feel like I am seriously ill and will die. I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND IT'S DRIVING ME INSANE.

    My boyfriend didn't call the other night and I started panicking and thinking he must have been killed in an accident or something. Every time I get in my car, I think that this will be the last time, I'm going to get killed in an accident today. I hope you get the point. I just can't do this.

    There is no way I can deal with the boyfriend issues right now. How much of those problems are clouded by my depression and anxiety, I don't know.

    I talked to my counselor and she said I am not only anxious but very depressed as well. Nothing is interesting or exciting anymore. I feel like life has passed me by already. I don't feel like there is much to live for.

    I think about the past all the time. I often think I'll never feel happy again. I can't even get overly upset about it. I just can't feel like I used to.

    I've done everything I can on my own. I've had periods where I'm functional, but it's only that. I'm not happy. I'm not thriving. I'm not feeling like myself! I don't feel like I'm really living. I'm just getting through each day at a time.

    I've reached the point where I know there is nothing more I can do by myself. I never wanted to go on medications, but now, that's exactly what I am going to do. I feel so ashamed of this, like I'm too weak do fix myself, or like a failure. But I don't even care anymore about that. I just can't do this and so I'm willing to do anything.

    It feels like admitting defeat, like I am truly broken inside, and deficient as a human being. I wish I could have solved this, but I'm too worn out now.

    I hope no one on medications takes that personally. It's really my own issue that has a story behind it. I've been on them before. I started them when I was 9! I finished all of them at 16 and I thought I'd never look back.

    This is long and rambly and I am not even sure what the point of it is. I guess I wanted to update with the fact that I am going to try an anti-depressant.

    My mom takes one. It's called Luvox. I think I will ask for that one. My mom told me some things, and it sounds like she and I have the exact same issues. Apparently this one really helped her. She said it stopped her obsessive thoughts. That seems to be a huge problem for me, too.

    My appointment is on the 12th. I start work on the third! I'm so scared that I'll have bad side-effects and have to miss work. I really can't afford to do that, at all!

    TDG, are you on medications? Anyone else on them? Which ones? How many did you have to try before you found something that worked? What about side-effects?

    I have so many questions about these drugs, now. I've been doing a lot of research on them and they sound like they could help, but also possibly make things worse. I hope it's worth it.

    Thanks for reading, anyone.

  17. TDG

    TDG New Member

    You really really shouldnt feel bad about going on meds. Sometimes these problems are a chemical problem in your brain and NOTHING else will ever fix it. Its just like a diabetic needing insulin. And the fact that your mom has the same issues is a big sign you have a genetic brain dysfunction that needs medical help. You are not a failure. You just have a medical condition. Ive been where you are right now and Im soooo glad you are trying this because no one should feel like that. No Im not currently on meds(altho honestly I feel like I should be and probably will once Im done having kids/bfing). My mom is on a huge concoction of pills to be happy. lol. She doesnt have any side effects btw. I took paxel when I was younger and it is the entire reason I was able to get my OCD under control. In the last few years my other anxiety disorders have started to get out of hand which is why I feel like I could use some help again. I LOVED paxel. It helped me tons and I didnt have any side effects.

  18. I second the motion--don't feel bad at all about seeking medical help.

    My daughter went through a long and terrifying period of depression that a loving and supportive family, a wide range of cool things to feel happy about, and counseling could not fix. She simply couldn't see a way through it, couldn't make herself feel better, couldn't believe she'd ever feel truly good again, couldn't remember what hope felt like, couldn't really participate in life.

    Her primary care doctor prescribed some meds, I can't remember which at this point, but none were magic solutions. She saw several different psychiatrists over the course of her treatment (sometimes we chose to switch because a given doctor didn't seem a good fit; other times we switched because her situation worsened and she required more intensive care). She was prescribed a variety of medications, alone and in combinations. None of those were magic solutions either.

    But eventually she got better. She started to have days now and then where she could laugh and genuinely feel happy, and was *aware* that it was different somehow, that the weight had lifted somehow. Then she had some worse days, but then some more better ones. Eventually she reached the point where she is now, back to normal life.

    I don't know which specific medication made the difference, or that any of them necessarily did--perhaps it was the combination, or the combination of meds and therapy. Doesn't matter. She's back.

    All the best to you--and please don't feel bad about taking care of yourself.

  19. M-Chan

    M-Chan Member

    Okay so it's been a while, but I wanted to update and say that I am feeling so much better! The panic attacks were the first things to go once I started the meds, and now that I've been bumped up to 100 mg, the depression is easing up as well.

    I feel so much more in control of my emotions now. They no longer overwhelm me, I can actually think through them now which makes such a major difference to my life!

    I feel like I can actually do the work I need to do on myself now, to be happy. I have already made a lot of progress over the last couple months. I feel more confident and secure already, though I do have a long way to go.

    The anxiety has toned down so much, that I suspect I am probably within a normal anxiety response range now, which is AMAZING.

    I've been working out again and eating very well, and haven't had a cigarette in over a month.

    For the first time in years, I don't feel like all is lost. So that's good. I think there is hope for me.

    Interesting fact: I am borderline hyperthyroid. I suspect that probably plays a huge role in my anxiety levels. I am still deciding how to deal with that information, though!

  20. TDG

    TDG New Member

    mchan--Im so glad you are doing better! Can I ask what meds you are on? The hyperthyroid isnt suprising. Im hypo but if my meds are too high and push me to hyper it almost feels like a non stop anxiety attack! I know treatment for hyper is pretty extreme but its good to know that so you can keep that in mind along with your moods.


Share This Page