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Ask Julie: I Have No Self-Esteem

Q:I’ve come to realize for the last fifteen years that I have no self esteem, and I try to accomplish tasks that are far too difficult to make me feel slightly okay and keep myself non-suicidal. And when I fail, I feel so terrible; like I want to die.

I’m not a suicidal person. I’m not, I just have issues with my self-esteem. I have had problems with bullying for many, many years, and only have friends over the internet, not in real life. This has resulted in my low self-esteem, I think.

To make myself get through a day and feel half decent, I try to accomplish a task. However, when I fail at this task, I feel completely worthless.  My family doesn’t care, and I don’t have anyone to turn to on this matter. Can you please help me?

A: I am so sorry to hear of your pain over the last 15 years. If you’ve been bullied for years it makes sense that your self-esteem would become very fragile. I suggest that you get into therapy, particularly group therapy, to start expanding your relationships and learn how to trust. Please take a few minutes to watch the rest of my response in the video below…

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

Ask Julie: Could My Grandfather’s Death Be Causing Depression?

Q:  I saw my grandfather die when I was young, and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me.  Ever since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been having trouble maintaining my relationship with others, whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again.  I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be, and I feel guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life, and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather die.  Whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing.  This is ruining my life, and I think I seriously need help.

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Ask Julie: Is this Depression, Personality Disorder, or Bipolar?

Q: Well I’m 19, but I don’t feel 19. I have so many things going on in my life that it’s hard to keep up with everything. I’m a full time worker, a full time student and a part time gym rat. I’m also in a relationship. There is no time in the day for me to do anything and everything I do always feels rushed. Even though I’m interacting with my coworkers, friends, or girlfriend during the day, I feel empty and numb to it all, like everything is just an act. As far as feelings go, like I said, I’m numb. I feel as if my best friend or mother could die and I wouldn’t care, and I feel as though to a certain extent that I don’t care even for my girlfriend. But on the flip side, I don’t want to be alone. It scares me to think that me and my girlfriend would breakup. I laugh and joke but don’t know why I do.
I really want to know what’s wrong with me because I was never like this before. Or if I was, it was deep down and is now just surfacing and I can’t handle it. I WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.

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Ask Julie: I Hate Myself And I Don’t Know Why

Q: I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.

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Ask Julie: I’m So Lonely But I Should Be Happy

Q: Simply put, I’m very lonely.
 I should be happy.  I just graduated college and starting my masters’ degree.  I own my own home. I have a job. I’m very fit. I try to do things that are social, but most of the things I do are by myself because I don’t have friends. 
I’ve always had a boyfriend, and finally realized that they were a crutch, so I’ve been single for the past 2 years and concentrated on myself and my education. But being alone night after night and not having anyone to do things with is terrible. I’m considerate and friendly, but I just don’t know how to find friends. Seems like I’ve even lost my mojo in dating. I don’t feel like the person I used to be, and maybe I’m not anymore in a good way, but I can’t figure out why I don’t have any friends and am living a solitary life. It’s so lonely. What can I do?

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Ask Julie: How To Move On After Betrayal

I was with my ex for only a few months, but as far as I was concerned it was a serious relationship. Towards the beginning of our relationship we discussed various issues which we both had – he had been sexually abused as a young child, and I had been sexually assaulted only a year before I met him. We discussed these issues and how they affected us in terms of our relationships with other people. I realise it sounds naive, but I fell in love with him and would have done anything to help him. He confided in me that he was in a substantial amount of debt and was constantly worried that his house and possessions would be repossessed etc., and despite the fact that I am a student and have very little money to myself, I had a part-time job (while he was unable to find a job) and lent him around £1000. He always swore that he would pay this money back, but after splitting up with me he decided that he wouldn’t. Legally, I can’t do anything about this because neither of us signed any kind of contract.

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Ask Julie: Am I Depressed?

Q: So five months ago, I moved from Chicago to a new school. I thought it would be great to move to a new school, but I was wrong. It isn’t and I’m still not making any close friends. Everyone already has all their groups and best friends, so it’s really hard for me. I still haven’t found Read more

Ask Julie: Periodic Depression Interferes with Life

Q: I get depressed sporadically and it interferes with my life and I want to fix it. I’ve always had emotional problems my whole life. Anxiety, depression, difficulty coping with life, codependency, low self-esteem; and I have been trying SO HARD to “just be happy” like everyone tells me to do, but I just can’t do it. I TRY. And I don’t want to take meds, and I don’t know how much a therapist is but I don’t have a lot of money.

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Ask Julie: Not Depressed Or Anxious But Prefer Being Alone

Q:  I know there have been several questions on this site regarding preferences for solitude, but most of these questions have come from people with diagnosed disorders such as depression, social phobias, PTSD, etc., and the answers provided have been framed in the context of the relevant disorder. My concern is that, despite being depression and anxiety-free, I am becoming Read more