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feeling mean and ugly when I'm not feeling invisible
April 19, 2004
2:12 am
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There are so many caring and kind people on this board so I can't imagine people here going around with similar ugly thoughts I have in my head. I'm just really getting tired of being digusted with myself. Before I moved to the big city I live in now (which was ten yrs ago), I was a quiet nice young woman. A depressed one, but kind, none the less. Now I can't even stand being in my own skin.

Maybe I'm not cut out for living in a crowded place, but I can't stand the rudeness of people here and I seem to contribute to it by reacting. I just wish I would shut up sometimes, but I feel like I must appear to be some sort of easy target for bullies and I get very defensive which makes me bitchy which in turn makes me dislike myself. I'm not the type to attack people, but even when people are nasty to me I can't seem to shake that awful feeling of regret when I "tell them off." I hate this big mouth I've developed.

Depression might be anger turned inward, but I am no less depressed being angry on the outside too.

To make matters worse, eight hours a day I have to "pretend" to be a kind person because I work with children and this is so draining. I'm considering just getting out of my career because I can't always seem to muster the 'perky' quality it requires.

Of course, I must add, I am in therapy, on meds, all that wonderful stuff...so yes, I'm taking care of myself. Maybe I just don't have what it takes for big city living. I'm just confused and tired of it. Today I came home from taking my dog to the dog run and cried for 20 minutes because of some slight misunderstanding I had with some nice person. Ugh. I'm losing any social skills I once had.

April 19, 2004
2:19 am
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Zinnie
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HI Ella,

Any chance of you being able to relocate to a smaller community?

I grew up in Los Angeles, once my Dad retired from the Navy, so since about the age of 9 or 10 until I was 21. I then moved to Canada, to a smaller community. Then, I relocated to the North Texas area. When I first moved here (TX) I honestly wanted to help these people talk, the were sooooooooo s-l-o-w! Now, when I go home (Los Angeles), I think "I could not live like that again" - fast paced, people are "short" with others, etc.

Big city living is not for everyone, so maybe a move is in order for you. What do you think?

Z.

April 19, 2004
3:19 am
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Hi Zinnie.

Hope you are feeling okay these days...I haven't been on as much as when I started, so I'm not "up" on things.

I don't know about moving. I'm not sure if it's where I live, or me. I've worked pretty hard to get where I am, and there are things I like about the city...I've just had trouble coping lately. There ARE things I definitely DON't like about it... but that's everywhere and I'd hate to sacrifice what I do love just to end up somewhere I'm just as unhappy. And discover it's all me to begin with. There's a saying "Wherever you go you take yourself." How unfortunate!

Having grown up in the suburbs- I know I don't want to go back there... and unless I had family and friends somewhere out in the country, I don't think I could live "out there" either. I have that NY syndrome of having a love-hate relationship with the city. I've been coming here all my life, even before I lived here.

I just need to like myself better. When we are comfortable with ourselves our interactions with even the most difficult people are easier. And the way we look at our world is brighter since we don't rely on external stuff to make us feel at ease.

I'm having a birthday soon so that doesn't help. It's not that I'm so old, it's just that damn milestone thing that makes you look back over time and that's hard to do with a mind like mine. My life is a perpetual "to do" list and I'm sick of it. Since I was the young age of 13 (I had some physical problems before the psych stuff but that's over) I've had people telling me "Just wait, things will be better when..." whatever. I'm sick of being told to wait for change. Tomorrow never comes. There's so much to enjoy now, and I'm so incapable of appreciating any of it.

I'm trying to re-educate myself about depression and get out of the self-blame thing, but it's hard because there's such a grey area between what is and isn't "your fault." Does anyone know this struggle or what? When does pushing yourself become berating yourself? Maybe that's why I'm so sensitive to abrasive and rude people...I've got such harshness going on already in my own head.

Right now there isn't a thing about myself that I don't want to improve, and that's not a good place to be.

Anyway, thanks Zinnie, but I'll be where I am for a while. Give hugs to your LOUD one from me and mine.

-ella

April 19, 2004
9:22 am
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CAMER
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seems like you have alot of "negative" emotions running thru your head...is there any way that you can change the way you think into a positive thing???....my therapist (and yes I am on meds) told me that whenever I start to worry or think bad things....say STOP and replace them with good thoughts...its a tough world out there and don't let the world control how you feel..only you can do that!

April 19, 2004
1:50 pm
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Wanttobewell
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Hi Mzrella,

When I moved appx. 45 miles from my job, I had to commute. I was in very heavy traffic for appx. 2-1/2 hours every day. Normally, patient, loving, and kind, I became a complete evil monster!!! I said words and called people names which would curl your toenails!!! I also became much more aggressive driving and started taking stupid chances. It was to the point that I was in an ugly mood all of the time. It affected everything. I loved my job, and I miss it so much, but I ended up quitting and first got a job closer to home but now just work at home.

Interestingly, I was under a lot of stress at that time also (seems like I've lived my whole life under stress and depression :]..), so that might have been a big factor in it also. I never really thought about that until you mentioned it. At any rate, I didn't do well at all with the situation. So,,I wish you good luck in whatever choice you make. Apparently some of us just absolutely are not cut out for crowds or rudeness!!! I'm sure not!! W.

April 19, 2004
2:00 pm
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Hi Camer- thanks for your response, but if doing what your therapist says to do is that easy she would be out of a job! 🙂 It also implies that the depressed person is at fault for being depressed which most often is not the case.

When someone says to stop thinking "bad things," well it's kind of like saying "don't think about elephants." What is the first thing you do? You think about elephants. I think we have less control over what we think about than what we do about what we think about. Does that make any sense?

I guess I need to hear something from people who live in a similar environment or have dealt with similar things and figured out some coping skills that I seem to have forgotten. I don't remember what I wrote, but I've lived in the city for ten years and it is only the most recent times I've started to have trouble accepting the behaviors I encounter here.

Depression is an illness. I am bipolar with a long history of hospitalizations and believe me I have come a long way. I am in therapy also, so I've been working on how I think about things since childhood. One can only do so much of that "don't worry, be happy" stuff. There are things that in the best of circumstances ruffle the feathers of the most stable and well adjusted people. When dealing with confrontational people, I just want to learn to live in a happy medium where I'm not so passive as to be a door mat, and not so defensive that I reduce myself to the very lows that disturb me about people to begin with.

To anyone else who may read this and berates themselves for being depressed and not "making the most" of things... I recommend a book named "The Depression Sourcebook" by Brian Quinn, Phd, et.al.. They talk about that, how a depressed person can blame herself for her feelings and only compound the difficulties. However, depression is not something that cannot be alleviated, but we shouldn't set ourselves up for failure by thinking we can always take care of it ourselves by putting on a happy face or "thinking happy thoughts."

April 19, 2004
2:26 pm
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Wanttobewell-

What you wrote made me laugh because it was so much like me and some funny images came to mind (and some not so funny). I remember driving down the expressway, even as a much younger and mellow person, with my hand out the window flipping the bird to someone who cut me off. Even though I was less angry in those days, I was irresposible, and I would chase these people down (I had a 20 year old 8 cylinder engine) and cut THEM off to get even. Not smart. I guess I always had this thin-skinned, wise ass streak. Good thing I never hurt anyone. Sometimes I am so glad I don't have to drive anymore! It would be dangerous. That's one GOOD thing about where I live.

When I finish school, hopefully my mood will change a lot. So like I mentioned, I have to decide if this is something that is all me or just that I don't find my environment comfortable anymore. My whole life I wanted to live where I live now, so it would be a shame to leave without examining things from all sides.

It is encouraging to hear from people that have made life improvements though, moving, etc... To hear that somethings can make a difference. A lot of my coworkers who went through the same program to get their degree tell me school is the factor. My sister, who is in the same career and who has known me go through changes, insists she was miserable when she was in school for this and my whole outlook on life will change when I graduate (in June!). So I do look forward to that and hope for the best.

In the meanwhile I have to learn how to keep my mouth shut in public before I get jumped someday.

April 19, 2004
6:58 pm
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What about taking a holiday? Go somewhere nice and sunny and warm? Escape the city and your life for just a short time, give yourself a treat. You've obviously been working really hard on this for a long time, and even though you don't have the results you might like, give yourself some credit for the fact that you've been working so hard. Maybe the break will give you a fresh perspective on life and allow you to go at things from a better point of view. But don't beat yourself up so much! You're trying hard, and that's really important and admirable!

April 19, 2004
7:06 pm
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Zinnie
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HI Ella,

I know you are on meds right now, but is there a possibility that they might need to adjusted?

Coping skills? To me, I have found that if I treat people the way I want to be treated, the will eventually respond in kind.

April 19, 2004
7:17 pm
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Wanttobewell
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Yeah,,it is a good thing you don't have to drive :},,,

Confession time,,I rarely get that way anymore when I drive, but there has been that rare occasion when I get so angry so quickly that it feels as if my blood might just shoot out of my eyeballs!! Wonder what that's about? I never really have given it much thought, but maybe I should!!

Anyway,,I hope you feel better,,have a more peaceful and serene mindset when you finish school. That has to be a tremendous stressor. Maybe a peaceful mantra? The holiday Sam7 suggested sounds much better though..!!! W.

April 19, 2004
9:43 pm
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annastar
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I heard- some one said here- they tired to live in a big city…I don’t know how to make to a big city! I grew up in major historical and cultural center (not that it made me any better), but life style I used to was so much different. Yes, it used to take few hours to make it to my collage and back, using subway, but- man! I miss subway so much! The problem with small town that you have social groups and in your social group it only so many people you can relate to. If you an artist- it going to be onle like 20 artists in all town. If you a writer- it going to be only 10 writers in a town, and they married… I got to tell you- if you have family- life is grate here. If you single… It’s like 5 bars you can go and you’ll se same guys playing pool there every night!...

April 21, 2004
7:31 pm
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I can't take a holiday. Just took a break from work recently, but I'm in school so it didn't really feel all that much like a vacation. No money either.

April 22, 2004
3:35 pm
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"I have found that if I treat people the way I want to be treated, the will eventually respond in kind."

...so if someone doesn't end up treating you the way you want to be treated it's because YOU did something wrong? I find that a very self-blaming approach.

April 23, 2004
12:26 am
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I'm not an expert, but I was just wondering if maybe you feel "mean and ugly" BECAUSE you feel invisible.

I would not be able to survive in a big city, I don't think. I would feel invisible among so many others. I like being in a place where there is a friendly face nearly everywhere I go.

If you are coming to this site, I bet you are open enough to make some good friends one way or another and then maybe you won't feel invisible anymore.

Ren'ai

April 23, 2004
2:34 pm
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Mafi, That isn't always true about if people are crotchety that you are, too. Some people just are, no matter how you treat them. They are so far into the pity pot that they can't see any good, anywhere. Sometimes a smile and hello can brighten their day (or minute). Since I've been in codependency recovery, I've been able to look at my own self-pity and can see how negative I was. Cheery people used to piss me off. It wasn't anything they did, it was me. I remember having a waitress at Perkins that I wanted to slap because she was so damn perky! I have a big smile on my face as I write this.

April 23, 2004
3:20 pm
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Nancy- Yeah, I have to agree with you on that one. You can't change who people are (I think we are all here because we need to learn that on one level or another), you especially can't change who strangers are.

I do believe in the "golden rule" - you should treat others as you wish to be treated, but you shouldn't expect to benefit from the results and nor should that be your #1 motive- you should treat others well because it is the right thing to do not because you have some notion that you can change their behavior. Even on my worst days, the mean and ugly ones, I tend to be more quiet than confrontational- I think cranky bully types pick up on that and seize the opportunity to act out their animosity not knowing I will rise to the occasion and defend myself. When I am doing well, I try to disarm such types with kindness, but it doesn't always work. However, I do reccomend that strategy as it causes much fewer repercussions than reducing yourself to their negativity. Sometimes it's not even worth defending yourself, but where do you draw the line between that and being a doormat?

It's hard when you are depressed to be around abrasive people. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how few of them there are because just one can have such an impact on an overly sensitive depressed person.

Certainly, the city increases the chances of an unpleasant encounter, but looking on the bright side for once: it also increases the chances that you will come across good people...they just aren't as loud and visible.

April 23, 2004
3:39 pm
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mzrella-whenever I read your threads, I can always relate to them. I recently moved from NYC and there were things I loved about the city, but I always felt so anxious and disgusted by people...and disgusted at myself for always being such a negative hypocrite...I always see the glass as half empty, which I discuss with my therapist, but it doesn't seem to change. I guess that is why I have ended up in my current abusive relationship, because I don't see myself as worth any more. There are days when I do, but less often than not.

April 23, 2004
3:42 pm
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wings
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Living in city can be stressful and lonely if you don't surround yourself with a support system...I had great roommates, but found myself in a bout of depression because the city really made me face my social anxiety disorder...after I was medicated, things were much better

April 23, 2004
5:06 pm
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Wings...thank you for responding...and it's good to know that you can i.d. with some of my stuff, (or should I say sorry about that!;)). Sometimes I think these boards are such a godsend because my depression is certainly compounded by the voice in my head that berates me and says "no one else acts like this" or I "shouldn't" feel a certain way or that I'm "wrong" to be the way I am... these boards make you feel less alone that way. It's a trememndous relief sometimes to read someone's posting and say "THAT's it! That's the way I feel!" Not that I want other people to be suffering...but you know what I mean...
-ella

April 26, 2004
3:22 pm
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I was reading a self-help book that had some exercises in it where you had to complete sentences about yourself. I guess the point was to help see how we talk to ourselves through our thoughts, and how it impacts our self esteem.

When I was done reading what I had written, I was floored! If I ever heard a person talking to someone else the way I talk to myself, I would probably give them the eye until they stopped, or step over and say "I find what's happening here to be very disturbing. Please stop." Yet I never think to defend myself against my own worst critic who is ME!

This is a hard pattern to change, and I don't even have the hang of going about trying to change it at this point, but at least now I'm more aware of how much power I lend to these thoughts.

Ren'ai

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