Mon | May 29, 2017

Dear Counsellor: I'm battling depression

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2015 | 6:00 AM

Q. I am a grown man and many persons are proud of me. I am seen as maximising my potential and many believe I am on the right track to accomplishing my goals. I am admired for my character and work ethic. Persons gravitate towards me. However, deep down I am extremely negative and lack confidence. Most times only my girlfriend knows that, no matter the encouragement and support she gives I am in the doldrums. In my university days I was usually an optimist and an enthusiast, full of confidence and passionate about my work. In addition, I was the life of the party. However, after some hard knocks, I have changed and have become the opposite of who I was. I hardly laugh anymore. I do not want to leave the house. I watch a lot of TV and play computer games.

I am becoming a different person and it's frustrating. I am very worried as I do not understand the reason I have developed such low self-esteem. Sometimes I do not feel as if I am the same person who used to be encouraging everyone, telling them that in spite of adversity they can make it. I am distressed because I have not been as successful as I know I could have been or as successful as my peers, who are not as bright as I am. Sometimes my girlfriend is frustrated with my pitiful condition. I know she is hurting because of me. She claims I compare myself to others and stress myself over small matters. She is convinced I am depressed and need professional help. She has tried to get me to speak to a psychologist but I tell her that I am not that bad. I need help but I'm not sure what to do.

A: You have a good girlfriend and you should listen to her and not frustrate her. She apparently knows you very well. It is good that your girlfriend is so supportive and that she is forthright in telling you to get counselling.

Perhaps you are suffering from envy. Apparently you want what other persons have and therefore you are dissatisfied. It is very sad that you are comparing yourself to others, which is a useless activity because usually there is someone better than you and worse than you. Envy will make you feel you would be better off with what others have. Soon you will become resentful of others. You are becoming selfish and egotistic and think you are better than others because of your educational attainments.

It could be that the hard knocks of life and your high expectations have affected you and you have changed drastically. You should get counselling because you are showing signs of depression. It is not good to live a lie and you need to deal with your true feelings. Ask your girlfriend to go along with you when visiting a psychologist or counsellor if you think that will help you get over the fear of seeing a counsellor.

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