Medical Questions > Mental Health > Depression Forum

Depression about feeling ugly & low self-esteem.

Hi, I'm 22 years old and I've been suffering from serious depression for about 14 years. I know I have so much to be thankful for, but still I fight with depression daily relating to the way I view myself. I'm a 3rd year law student, I'm 6 ft 3 and in good shape, but I constantly feel that I'm ugly and I have serious paranoia about what I believe people think & say of me. To give you the best idea of my situation, I think it's best to start at the beginning.

My first bout with depression started when I was about 9 years old after my parents got divorced. At first I was okay with it, but about a year after they got divorced, I started to have serious depression after each holiday and switching between my mom & dad, too the extent that I flirted with suicide etc. (thoughts which have entered my mind again as of late). This lasted for years & the effect was that every time I had to visit my dad I would suffer serious depression when I got back...I withdrew from everything, friends, family, eating! I basically became invisible until I started to feel better, which could take up to a month. So this cycle continued until I was about 14, but then I never went to visit my dad again & we've had a superficial relationship since then, neither one really involved in the others' life. This habit of “severing anxiety or depression” as you could call it eventually transferred to other relationships, but I finally put that behind me about 2 years ago. So I don’t experience that any longer, but since that whole messed up childhood I’ve been swamped with depression. I also gained a lot of weight because of it & one day I realized that I had serious low self-esteem.
So I was overweight until recently and being the fat kid at school didn’t help me either, since I felt worthless...always comparing myself too my other friends at school. I started to become shy & withdrew from girls as well and during high school I was convinced that I was the ugliest guy in my class and acquired mass paranoia! Needless to say high school was HELL for me and each day was a battle & looking back now, my self-esteem now is probably 5 times better than it was back then, so I don’t even know how I’m still alive today and didn’t kill myself along the way, as it crossed my mind a thousand times a day! I off course had no girlfriend, as I didn’t even talk to girls, let a lone date them. This I thought would all change once I started a new chapter at University, but as I’ve found out, to my own can’t run away from your problems, they ALWAYS find you!
I actually tried to re-invent myself at University, but I’ve only really made improvements over the last 2 years. I’ve lost 43kg and I’m in the best shape of my life, weighing 83kg. I’m enjoying sports for the first time in my life and I’ve forced myself to talk to girls, which is no longer a problem for me & I realize that there’s not much too it, BUT I’m becoming impatient. Although I’ve made all these improvements and my studies are going great and I have the best self-esteem of my entire life, I feel my depression is getting worse in a way! When I was young I always fantasized that when I wasn’t fat anymore, everything would fall into place, but it hasn’t. When I was younger I couldn’t even say out-loud that I was attractive, not even in relation to my clothes, I had no complements for myself! Recently I’ve learned to complement myself and I’ve really started too believe that I’m attractive, like people have always told me, but this greatly depends on the day & the situation I’m in.
I feel that just as soon as I’m in front of people I don’t know or sometimes even people I know very well, I fall back into that old mindset and literally rip myself to pieces inside...with thoughts of myself being ugly, not being good enough and what people must be thinking of me racing through my mind! This greatly annoys and saddens me, as I know that I’m my own worst enemy, but I can’t control it, I’ve tried everything...positive thinking, re-affirming thoughts, you name it. It has improved greatly, but it’s not going away & I really just feel that it would be easier to not be alive.
I’m really out of ideas, I constantly have depression & inner conflict about weather I’m ugly or not, good enough or not, if someone could love me or not...I’ve had physical exp with girls at parties etc, but I’ve never had a real relationship with a girl and that bothers me greatly. Even though I know I’m better looking than other guys who have girlfriends, have a great personality & a good sense of humor, I can’t seem to cultivate anything of meaning. I feel utterly alone and hopeless in my struggle with this, my positive attitude that has helped me so far is diminishing & I feel worthless compared to other people, who seem to be able to do all these things without even trying, which makes me feel even worse. I feel more isolated than ever before, that I want to live, but can’t due to everything working against me! I know I should probably just keep on trucking & that everything will get better, as long as I just stay positive and take a few chances, but that in itself isn’t easy for me. I just feel tired off all this nonsense and this relentless “affliction” that I can’t seem to get the best off...

Anyone know what I’m talking about???

replied December 23rd, 2008
how can you have any doubts - after losing 43 kg of weight, and studying law, and winning through all the hell you've been through?

dear - you say some people do things without trying - so what? there is no honor in that. you have accomplished so much through hard work, and not giving up, and it is far more admirable and great!

just a bit more faith!!! i don't think i even know anyone who has lost such an amount of weight!
(of course - you know just changing your looks is not a magic solution - you say yourself that your own worst enemy is your insecurity, not your looks!)

keep your wonderful head up - you are doing so many right things, and accomplishing so much!

no fear!!! you will make it!
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replied April 11th, 2009
I know.
I understand, I've been though some similar experiences and some which you perhaps have not.

What I can say is that you must be a very strong person to have got this far and there is no merit in giving up now. It's worth remembering that eventually all of us will be ashes or bones in the ground and although we may not be born equal we certainly die equal.

I think it would be wise to visit your GP and talk this over, you may be referred for counselling or therapy. I would advise keeping clear of antidepressant medications due to the numerous side effects but that may also be an option.

If you would rather learn to cope with these feelings yourself you could try self help books - There are quite a few on coping with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) and Low Self Esteem which I think are the most likely culprits here.

It might also help to spend some time thinking about what you want and what will make you happy - I know this is difficult - it is for me too. I get the feeling a girlfriend is one of your priorities. Which is a very good goal. There are a lot of girls out there would would love to be with someone who wants a relationship (long or short term) I regularly get the horror stories about girls being used and abused.

Think about how you treat yourself and imagine doing it to another person, would you really call another person the names you call yourself? Treat yourself at least as well as your would treat another. Respect from others often starts with respect for yourself.

Take care of yourself.
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replied January 7th, 2010
When I read your story it brought a tear to my eye as I have suffered with BDD for more than 20 years, everything that you said rings so many truths about this horrible mental disease. I know it is not easy to talk to anybody about this because you feel great shame that people will think there is nothing wrong with you and will only say 'get a grip man' but for us its very very difficult to function on a day to day basics and every simple thing is very hard to do.I do think that you should try and get help from your doctor, something that I tried but never did and as someone else mentioned don't take the anti-depressants as the side affects are sometimes worse than the symptom. Good luck my friend, I hope things will improve for you.
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