Dear Dr. Archer,
I've taken a billion tests online and they all came up with the same results: the depression test scored 80 percent, fear of social situations scored 80 percent and stress scored 100 percent.
I don't know how true these are, but I do know I've been so depressed that I've tried suicide a couple of times. I told myself if God wants me alive, then there must be a solution.
I sleep more than 12 hours a day, and sometimes I'll sleep two or three days straight. After a couple of years of depression I developed a fear of crowded places. I hate and avoid public places; I feel like everyone is watching and judging me. I feel like I'm being watched 24 hours a day, which interferes with my life. I can't do anything and avoid everything!
I can't eat like before. I used to eat two meals at breakfast and now I can't even finish a small plate. I'm so stressed, so nervous all the time that I've lost all hope of life. I no longer have a goal to achieve anything. I'm stuck and can't seem to move forward. I'm 24 years old, unemployed and a college dropout.
I thought I'd ask for your psychological advice if you think I need to see a doctor, or if it's just my mind playing tricks on me. If I need a doctor, how much do I have to pay?
I wish you a good day, and I'm sorry if I annoyed or bothered you. If by any chance you read this email, I'd love to have a reply.
You are not annoying or bothering me. I'm here to try and help you, so let's go.
First, depression is not something that's in your head and it's not a sign of weakness. In fact, you're to be commended for writing, because men are less likely than women to seek help. Causes of depression can be genetic, biological, environmental or psychological. Too much anxiety and stress can also cause depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you must see a doctor ASAP; your life is in danger. You must take this seriously. If you cannot afford a doctor, go to your local community health clinic. Even your family doctor or a local ER is better than nothing, but you must get help.
If you do not know where a community clinic is in your area, you can find it by going to HRSA. Another site, MedHelp will list either free or reduced fee mental health services within your area where you can find treatment. In the meantime, starting today, I want you to start incorporating some activities that can naturally lessen your depression. Read How Can I Snap Out Of Depression? and put those 9 suggestions to work for you.
This is important, Mohammed, and something that should be taken care of immediately. At 24 years old and unemployed, your problem could very well be because of your situation.
When you're stable, then get a job -- any job -- so you can at least have an income. Then you can look for something that you'd enjoy.
You can get over this, I know you can. There is help out there; you just need to look for it, starting now. Good luck.