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Your last question is the hardest, and I'm not sure I have the answer you want. I think that when we are depressed, it's probably good that we have those memories, those connections, because it is our link to ourselves when we actually FELT like ourselves. Does that make sense? I guess the trick is to remember those things about who we are without wallowing in the parts that make us feel even sadder.

I totally understand that you miss your old life. You built it, and you felt like yourself. You accomplished things. You knew people. All those things helped make up your identity. And you feel like you've lost that identity now.

You can start to build it back, bit by bit. Yes, you should be able to find volunteer possibilities on the internet. Just put in the name of your city and town and the words "volunteer opportunities" and see what comes up. Since you love animals, call the local animal shelter or rescue organization and see if they need volunteers. Local schools often need tutors -- your knowledge of science might come in handy.

Visit a doctor, and talk to her or him about being depressed. Please. It will help you enormously. Depression is real, it is physical, and it has symptoms that come with it. (Not just the crying and sadness, but other physical symptoms that affect your health.) The doctor may recommend therapy or medication or both; see what possibilities there could be for you there.

Your boyfriend is just plain wrong about "feeling sorry for yourself." I would like to see how he would handle losing his job, leaving his home and all the people he knows, feeling undereducated and having a depression. I would hope that he would be more empathetic and helpful to you. Depressed people are always hearing "just pick yourself up by your bootstraps." It is as if other people think we LIKE being depressed. (And I'm sorry, but you had a perfectly fine life before you moved, so it's not like you haven't shown that you CAN indeed be successful.)

Start getting exercise again. Perhaps the first week all you do is walk around the block once a day. That's enough. Just keep doing it. After a few days, maybe you'll add another block. The point is to keep doing it, to get your body moving again. And to get a little bit of fresh air, even if your instinct is to stay home most of the time. Just by taking a walk every day and very slowly increasing either your time or distance will make you feel better.

And those old friends or family? Use them for support. Are you on Facebook with them? Do you email them? Keep up those relationships. They are important keys to who you are inside.

Does this help a little?

June 30, 2010 - 10:37am


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