I have never been diagnosed with anything, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of things recently, and it impacted my everyday life greatly. People started noticing and they tried to help. My friends tried to do as much as they could but, us all being high school students and them having their own life to live they eventually stopped talking about it. I live alone with my mother and we have a very bad relationship so I didn’t really turn toward her for help. In the end it was just my partner that stayed by my side and did everything he could to make my life a bit easier.

One of the big problems is that I have a tendency not to feel things when I’m upset, and it can last for months or even years at a time, so when I’m in a bad place and he tries to help, and he goes out of his way to ease my burden even if it’s just a little, and I know that my non-reaction to all of his sacrifices is hurting him. He feels worthless because no matter how hard he tries I just don’t seem to be able to accept his help.

I know that I’m hurting him by just doing nothing and being empty but I just can’t snap out of it. No matter what he says to cheer me up, or when he tells me that I’m beautiful and that I’m the best things to ever happen to him, I just listen and think “Yeah, we both know that’s not true”.

I feel like I just can’t be helped, like it’s just plain impossible. I know exactly what’s wrong and I don’t do anything about it to the point of hurting the one person that I love. I keep destroying myself and I can’t seem to care, even if I know that I should care and that I should get professional help.

I feel like an empty shell, even typing this I don’t know if it’s sincere of if it’s just me pretending to care. I really don’t know what to do and it doesn’t bother me at all, I don’t even know what I’m expecting of this. I won’t say “help me” because really I feel nothing, but I don’t want my partner to suffer because of me. What can I do about that?

The symptoms you have described may be consistent with depression. People with depression often use similar words and phrases to describe their experiences. They feel numb. Their friends and family try to help, without much success. They can’t get out of bed. Every day seems worse than the day before. They feel like a burden to people, and so on. Depression can feel like a never-ending cycle of sadness and hopelessness.

Depression most assuredly feels bad but it is treatable. In fact, it may be one of the most treatable mental health conditions in the world. It’s only untreatable when people fail to seek help. Great treatments are available for depression and virtually all mental health conditions. Many people simply don’t seek help for it and suffer needlessly. Don’t make that mistake.

It’s also important to note that I’m not diagnosing you with depression or any other condition. Diagnosis over the Internet is impossible. Thus, it’s important for you to consult, in-person, a professional who can assess your symptoms and determine what may be wrong. They would be in the best position to help you.

Let’s further examine the idea that you cannot be helped. You’ve never consulted a professional, yet you have concluded that you cannot be helped. Logically, that’s a very inconsistent and irrational position.

Imagine, for a moment, that you had broken your leg. In this scenario, you never go to a doctor. You simply lugged around your broken leg and tolerated the immense pain. That’s essentially what you’re doing by not having sought treatment for the symptoms you have described. You are simply living with your emotional pain, never having sought professional help and subsequently concluding that you are a hopeless case. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When you recognize that something is wrong, and you’re not feeling good, you should always consult a professional. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all struggle from time to time and need the assistance of experts. Mental health treatment is available if you ask for it.

Regarding your partner, neither of you should have the expectation that he could cure these problems. As a layperson, he does not have expertise to effectively treat your symptoms. You would not have expected him to fix a broken leg because everyone knows only a trained physician, with expertise in orthopedics, could do that. Apply that same logic to mental health problems. Friends and family can offer you support but they cannot treat mental health problems. They are simply not trained to do so. Mental health professionals have the right expertise to help you.

I would highly recommend that you consult a mental health professional. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your mother, then perhaps another relative could assist you. Another option is to ask your family doctor or the school guidance counselor for their assistance.

Your symptoms are highly treatable if you are open and willing to seek help. I hope that my letter has convinced you to seek treatment. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle