A Lonely Life: Anxiety and Depression

Let me start out this story by copying another writer on this site who warned his readers that this story does not have a happy ending. Where I'm at in my life is still a dark, sad, lonely place and I haven't found a way out of my situation just yet. So with that warning put forth, let us begin.

My entire life can be described by one word: lonely. For pretty much my whole life, I have felt as if I was on the outside looking in. For starters, I am an only child, no siblings or close cousins to spend time with during my early childhood. And my parents were basically completely emotionally unavailable. So early childhood was mostly spent by myself. I firmly believe that had I had a sibling or a cousin or even been sent on playdates as a kid, I would not have developed the social anxiety that plagues me to this day. 

When I entered elementary school, I quickly found myself as part of the uncool crowd. Most of my classmates avoided talking to me and those that did were usually just trying to bully me. It took until eighth grade for me to finally make some "friends" in my class. I put "friends" in quotations because really we were just acquaintances. So, up until eighth grade I hadn't had any real social interaction. That's 14 years of social awkwardness and ineptitude ingrained into me.

In high school I was much happier. I made some good friends and we hung out often. It was a small, but tight-knit group. Of course, we were once again part of the uncool group. None of us ever got invited to parties or social gatherings. I attended an all-boys school, so for four years I had basically no interaction with a member of the opposite sex who wasn't a teacher or relative. Still, all in all my high school experience was a good one and I wouldn't trade any of it.

Graduation rolled around and all the graduating seniors were headed to Senior Week, a week at the beach to celebrate the graduating class. My friends and I rented a condo and bought plenty of booze. It had all the makings of a relaxing, fun week. Unfortunately, this would be one of the worst weeks of my life. Two of my friends (let's call them friend 1 and friend 2) who were staying in the condo were in a fight and friend 1 pushed friend 2 to his limit. It would be revealed later that friend 2 was depressed and had gone off of his medication. He attempted to jump off the roof of our building. Another friend stopped him and we all had to literally hold him down until he calmed down enough to go to sleep. The next day, he claimed that he blacked out and didn't remember anything that happened the night before. Lucky him, because for me it was the most traumatizing experience of my life and it triggered a serious depression that would just get worse over time.

Fast forward a few months, I'm in my freshman year of college. I had been prescribed Lexapro to help my depression but the side effects were too much for me so I stopped taking it. I know now how stupid this decision was. OVer the next few months, I would lose motivation to attend class, stay in my bed for hours on end and generally experience a severe depression. This obviously took a toll on my grades and I was forced to petition the university to pardon me for medical reasons. This worked and I felt I was given a second chance. Unfortunately, I didn't seize it. I signed up to stay in the dorms over winter break because I was working at a restaurant in the town. During those two weeks of being literally completely alone, I would slowly dive deeper and deeper into depression. This time alone led to my first attempt at suicide. I failed, obviously, and after my failure I scared myself straight for a while. I started taking Lexapro again.

I should mention that during this time I was actually making some pretty good friends, both with people on my floor and people in the clubs I participated in. I finally felt like I was part of a group. Second semester rolls around and I'm still feeling down. I start to fall into the same habits as first semester. Ultimately, the suicidal thoughts came back and I made the decision to hospitalize myself. The hospital completely turned me around for a long while. I had to take medical leave from school so my freshman year basically got completely wasted. But the important part was that I was feeling good. I had also been given a prescription for Pristiq and Abilify which seemed to be working much better than Lexapro.

I went for a few months on the new medication. I was doing well throughout the summer and in the fall I felt ready to get myself on track and finally succeed in school. About a month into school, I ran out of my prescription of Pristiq and was waiting for a refill. I convinced myself I could go a couple days without. A couple days became a couple weeks became a couple months. During this period I would start binge eating, sleeping through all my classes again, and often having episodes of severe anxiety. I had to go on medical leave once again. By now, my friendships with the people at school had all become really close. I felt very connected with every one of my friends. I feel like leaving this time would affect that, possibly for good.

Now we're nearing the present. I started on the medication again, and I got a higher dosage of Pristiq to help with the anxiety. I believe taking this higher dosage, paired with the sadness I felt with leaving school, pushed me back into having suicidal thoughts. I came close to another attempt, but I was able to once again hospitalize myself. This time I had a terrible experience with both the patients and the staff and I got myself out of there as quickly as possible. They prescribed me Wellbutrin for depression and Buspar for anxiety. The Buspar doesn't work at all. I'm at the highest possible dosage and my anxiety is still through the roof. While the Wellbutrin has made my mood a lot better, I am still plagued by occasional thoughts of suicide. Not plans or ideations, just the feeling that I don't really want to live.

Now we're at the present and I'm faced with the hardest thing I've had to face in a long time. Severe loneliness. When I first left school, my friends corresponded with me regularly. Now, I never hear from them unless I initiate the conversation. People I considered my best friends go weeks at a time without contacting me. I feel like they all are moving forward in life and I'm being left behind. I'm faced with several more months of this before I move back into the university and I don't know what kind of environment I will be returning to. It seems as though all my friends want to move on from me, and if that's the case then I really won't have any reason to keep living. My family is a disaster and my social life is plagued by anxiety. My friends were all I had and now I am once again alone.

This story is a lot longer than I anticipated and if you stuck around through the whole thing I thank you. Any feedback, whether it be kind words, advice, or criticism, is greatly appreciated.  

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