Worry & Depression: What Can Get Me Down

I can be up and cheery, but the tiniest things can cause a major mood shift. Someone dropping an insensitive remark can send me into a tailspin of depression. And the person dropping the remark probably did not think of it has being insensitive.

I know I should be more confident and not let anyone put a dent in my happiness but it’s hard. I guess I care what people think even though I don’t want to. Even though I know I should not let it affect me.

I constantly berate myself from the moment I wake up. Why am I so neurotic?

I guess deep down everyone wants to be liked. I have an additional issue of not wanting people to be upset with me. It’s why I do things I should not do. It’s why I find it impossible to say no. It’s why I have been a doormat all these years. I wish there was a button I could switch off so that I just don’t have to care. I envy people who go through life just not caring. They seem to be insulated from this kind of suffering.

I also worry quite a bit. I am always projecting worse case scenarios in my head. It’s terrible I know. Wish I could be more naturally positive.

I am quite aware that I suffer from low self esteem. I sometimes wonder if we are born like that. Or is it years of being bombarded by negative remarks that makes us doubt our abilities.

Sorry for the rambling post. Today I just felt like making a very personal, highly indulgent, diary entry in my blog.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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21 Responses to Worry & Depression: What Can Get Me Down

  1. Crystal says:

    BJ-feel free not to publish this, but I wanted to reach out.

    I can relate to so much of that.

    I desperately want to be liked. So much so that I spent a number of years of my life trying to be someone I wasn’t because I didn’t think people would like the “real” me. Obviously, different people see different sides of us (I don’t go on about writing dirty stories to my mom, for example), but this was so far beyond that. Boyfriend likes football? ME TOO. Want someone to do that work chore? SURE!

    But the strain of constantly reconfiguring my personality to best fit what I thought people wanted of me would always wear thin, usually resulting in my ending a relationship or quitting a job or whatever.

    One of the things that eventually helped were reaching the end of my rope when it came to dating and pretending to like things I couldn’t care less about (football, among others would be high on that list). I met Ravi because of the first truly honest personal ad I wrote. I don’t know that he would’ve been interested in me had I still been trying to put on the persona I’d been using while dating for the previous 5-7 years. Finding a partner that truly loves me for me, including each and every flaw, has been really powerful for me. My confidence has grown shaky inch by shaky inch over the past 7 years, and I am a very different person (same, same but different to use the SEA phrase)…and a more authentic one.

    However, I do notice that I still tend to flex certain things to reflect the people I’m around. For example, I’m fairly lenient with Ellie, but when we’re hanging out with parents who insist that their kids stay with them, I make Ellie stay with us as well (I’m prone to let her have a little independence and wander a good 5-10 feet ahead of me). If you hate theater, I won’t talk bout my passionate interest in theater with you. Some of that is courtesy, but it’s also my desire to people please.

    However, the most helpful thing for me has been medication. I am truly a more stable person on medication than when I’m not. Which is really hard to admit, but it is true nonetheless.

    If you ever want to talk, feel free to reach out via email.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Crystal I hope you don’t mind that I published this and I found your comments very thoughtful and I thought more readers who come by could benefit from them as well. Thanks for reaching out. It really helps to hear from someone else’s perspective. And that I am not alone in feeling the strain of always wanting to please or fit in.

      In a way I learnt the hard way over the years and I am slowly trying to please myself first. But it’s a hard process. I tend to be just naturally passive. I actually find it stressful to be assertive (In my mind it always seems like I am being too difficult). It’s the most awful for me at the workplace. Especially the last toxic one that I am so so glad to be away from.

      Thanks again Crystal for always being so sweet to me (& not minding that I am the recluse that I am).

  2. kixes says:

    I think this happens to a lot more people, and it helps to know that. It helps to know that you’re not the only one struggling with it, that it’s just as difficult for everyone else as it is for you.

    I deal with this constantly as well, and it was especially bad in high school when I so desperately wanted to be effortlessly cool like all the other girls. And I realised that it just wasn’t really working out, so for years my goal was just to become more comfortable in my own skin.

    I do think I’ve made some progress but there’s a long long way to go still.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for sharing Kirsten. It really helps. Yeah for me the junior college period really sucked. There were all these cliques. It felt just like in one of those movies about an American high school. I’ve always felt like the nerdiest nerd in town, but I now think the nerds are the coolest πŸ™‚

      • Crystal says:

        I don’t know that it’s actually true, but in my opinion, those who are happiest in high school are usually the least comfortable in the real world, and those most unhappy (who fit in the least) are the most interesting adults.

  3. Rebecca Lowe says:

    Great post. I feel like this a lot. I think I have pretty low self esteem. The worst thing happened the other day when I was actually feeling quite confident and happy and then some stranger said a really horrible remark to me and it just ruined the rest of my day and made me feel incredibly self concious. Luckily my husband was with me, because he helped comfort me.

    I always try to say the right thing to be liked and hate confrontation. I always worry that I don’t look good enough, but I try to remember if someone is really superficial enough to care how good you look, than they are not worth the friendship. And I worry too A LOT about stupid things, this I am trying to work on and be more carefree and let things be.

    It’s nice to see I am not the only one feeling this way, but all the same I know how horrible it is to feel like this!

    You just got to take each day as it comes, some are good and some are not so good!

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks a million for making me feel not so alone. I really appreciate it. You are very kind and I wish the world had more kind people like you πŸ™‚

      I can totally relate you feeling pumped up & and confident (and it takes quite a bit to get pumped up in the first place for me) and somebody has to just go and burst that bubble….it’s awful and I wish your day hadn’t been ruined like that.

      I worry way too much but I can’t stop the thoughts that keep racing in my mind. Wish there was an off button.

      But it does help to write about it and get feedback…thanks again Rebecca πŸ™‚

  4. Lady J says:

    Ramble away.. we all have our down days, that’s why we cherish our happy days even more. When I have my down days, I tell myself, what goes down can only go up and I pick myself up and move on.

    I can relate to your post – being a doormat, worrier and low-self esteem. I’ve been there.. there are times in life where I still suffer from these episodes. I try hard to remain positive too by embracing the mantra. Sometimes when that fails, I find talking to my other half helps. He’ll scold me but it often shakes and wakes me up.

    I hope you feel better soon. Sending you positive vibes! πŸ˜‰

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks Lady J. Wish I could feel less insecure. I do have some good days.

      But I really do appreciate your kind words….it was a boost πŸ™‚ Grateful that you talked about your own private feelings about this as well.

  5. Laura says:

    I too have days where I feel very down on myself and generally find it much easier to put myself down, I’m a chronic worrier and hate the thought that I might have upset someone. I will stress about all manner of things and constantly fret about some no doubt minor thing that I’m sure many people would just dismiss with barely a second thought. In some ways this has probably increased since I’ve been in Singapore because as I’m not working at the moment and no matter how busy I keep myself I sometimes have too much time to think and dwell on things that I really shouldn’t.

    I too guess that I just want to think that people like me, even though there will always be those who don’t for whatever random reason. Indeed I could name a couple and if I’m honest the reasons for it are actually rather silly if only they’d get to know the real me. Sometimes this eats away at me but I really try not to let it which is sometimes easier said then done.

    I think everyone suffers these types of feelings at some stage no matter how outwardly confident and self assured they may be. I think though it is much better to admit to it then try and deny it to yourself and in the long run make the situation a lot worse.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks for sharing Laura. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only chronic worrier. (by the way I think you’re brilliant and I can’t imagine anyone not liking you)

      I still think that there’s nothing to like about me though…but there are times of course when I think I’m ok. Yeah a lot of second guessing. When someone is mean or upsets me…after a while I wonder….is it me?…did I do something to cause that behaviour?..wracked with self doubt. I really need to be more self assured.

      On the other hand when it comes to decisions I am pretty much decisive. I know what I like and what I don’t and I don’t really ponder too much about decisions and listen to my instincts…might be considered impulsive but I haven’t regretted any decisions so far..I only find that I make mistakes/ wrong choice (or have regret) when I don’t listen to those instincts.

      • Laura says:

        Thanks for the compliment. I too sit there sometimes wondering if it is me, what did I do at some stage to someone to deserve that etc. etc. You are not alone.

        I’m also rubbish at decision making generally too, much preferring someone else to suggest something. I rarely then will admit to not wanting to do it even if I’d rather do something else just for the sake (a lot of the time) of keeping the peace. That is definitely a skill I need to learn and improve on!

  6. Ling says:

    Hi I chanced upon your website/blog and this article greatly summarises what I have been feeling all along. I am not alone! I always admire confident people, people who are decisive, people who can choose to do whatever they want and get loved…the list just goes on..I really do have very low self-esteem.
    N I too always blame myself when things don’t go the right way…I wear my heart on the sleeve and had suffered so much..but my emotions always show on my face..I got chided before for being ‘difficult’ so now even when I’m stressed I am very self-conscious about how it shows on my face. Yet I just can’t help it when I’m unhappy, I show an upset face. How did this get so wrong that I have to hide all the frustrations and unhappiness?
    I always have this question, why doesn’t anyone like me? Or what is it that I lack that people don’t like me? I try to do what my bosses say, what my parents say, what my friends say…in the end, I am just alone, battling all the expectations people have on me or rather, I carry all others’ expectations on top of my own and burden myself so much that I wonder if I can take it in the end…
    Thank you for writing this post. I feel kinda relieved that people sometimes feel this way. I sometimes find thinking positively very diffcult. I have tried..or maybe I haven’t tried hard enough…I hope to become a better person as I grow. I hope all of us here can be our true selves and enjoy life the way we wanted.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for writing here Ling πŸ™‚ I like people like you who are not fake. I am easy to read too. If I am upset it’s clear to see. It’s the reason I feel distressed by fake bitchy people at work.

      Thanks so much for making me not feel so alone in this too. I am too often filled with self loathing. I have to keep reminding myself to stop berating myself (in my mind) for every lil thing.

  7. Claire says:

    I think to be honest you would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t feel like this from time to time. I think we all try and hide it but I think deep down so many people are constantly trying to fit in and worry about about the smallest things. I know I struggle with it – I am a serial worrier and so moving to Singapore was one of the hardest things I have ever done – I angsted for months about every detail. For me, one of the biggest worries was finding people who liked me for who I am. I think I have been lucky to find some like minded souls here who have helped me tremendously in settling in.

    I am trying harder to accept myself for who I am and be honest about my strengths and what I have to offer. It is by no means easy, but I know I feel better when I am true to myself and say ‘actually I want to sit at home with a pizza and Mad Men on DVD … rather than partying with people I don’t know’. Don’t beat yourself up too much – a lot of it is human nature, I’m sure of it, and you know from all the comments that you are certainly not alone.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Pizza and Mad Men sound awesome….you’re a girl after my own heart πŸ™‚ I shy away from people I don’t know either. I didn’t use to be unsocial but I just got that way over the years. guess I was indiscriminating when I was younger and soon learnt I was being walked all over (aka doormat).

      Really appreciate your note….thanks a million Claire..means a lot πŸ™‚

      • Claire says:

        I do like going out and meeting people but I have my days where I am not in the right mood and the idea of making small talk is too much.

        I find it reassuring that there are people who think like me, who wear their hearts on their sleeve, and worry about small things. Its kind of comforting! πŸ™‚

        • bookjunkie says:

          I truly wish I had an off-button to the worrying. It’s comforting to me what you shared..so glad to know I’m not alone. And perhaps we worry cos we care πŸ™‚ And I guess that’s not too bad.

          I used to be totally ok with small talk in the past…but these days I find it draining. I prefer meaningful conversations. like the one we’re having now.

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