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Psychology/My Increasingly Inexplicable Existence


Dear Ms O'Neill

Before I ask my question may I say I'm not suffering from any mental disease or abnormality. I AM suffering from depression but that's only because of the life I've had to lead recently. When I say 'recently' I mean the last 20 or so years though I now think this is merely the time I became aware of it and suspect it started about 10 years earlier.

There seems to be a clear distinction between my life before a certain time and my life afterwards. It's as distinct as between night and day, light and darkness, happiness and absolute misery.

I think it started about 30 years ago but I became aware of it when my left us for my best friend in 1993. This isn't the occasion I referred to earlier, just the point when things REALLY went downhill.

Until then my life in the previous ten years had changed for the worse but so it does for many people and I did my best to adapt to it and did all I could to change it but without much success it would seem.

I felt I was sliding downhill and nothing I did changed it. Then my wife left and almost suddenly I was plummeted into a new existence (I say existence as opposed to 'life' as in no way could my awareness since be called a life).

There seemed to be three stages: firstly a lot happened all at once, secondly the rest seemed to manifest itself or I became aware of it slowly, over a period of time and lastly, it continues to this very day.

There's no way I can explain the differences between pre- and post- this particular time other than to say they appear to be an exact opposite.

Where I used to enjoy what most people would consider a normal life, a beautiful wife, three adorable kids, a good job, friends many of whom for many years and no serious financial worries to now when I'm hated and loathed by my kids, no longer have any friends and all efforts to break out of my inpenetrable 'loneliness bubble' are met with indifference, derision and suspicion or greed and selfishness.

I've quite a strong social conscience and when I feel I could do something to help I'm met with either the 'what's in it for you?' attitude or their thinking I'm some kind of soft idiot and should be squeezed till all the toothpaste is out of the tube.

I now spend all my time alone, not even venturing out unless its absolutely necessary. I neither see nor hear from anyone except when they want something but that's usually only the old dear next door but apart from her I see or hear from no-one at all.

A possible explanation of the loathing I get from my erstwhile family and friends could be the poison deliberately spilt by my ex-wife though why she would want to do that is beyond me; I thought we parted on relatively good terms, but even then, did everyone HAVE to believe it all - weren't there ANY doubts? I'm no saint but I think I can honestly admit to everything I've ever said, thought or done, not always with pride but never with shame.

I thought a fresh start was on the cards and moved to my present location on the coast but my misfortunes came with me and even increased to a point where they eventually overtook those I thought I'd left behind yet the only common factor is me.

I could give details of these manifestations of contempt I've experienced both here and back home but they wouldn't add anything to my basic query and would merely extend this letter to rival 'War and Peace', but obviously would if necessary.

If you've reached this far may I salute your tenacity and thank you for it.

Dave, I am sorry that you are so unhappy.   It seems to me that you are suffering from depression, and I strongly urge you to seek professional help.   Medications and therapy can truly change your life.  It is important to remember that depressed people interact with the world in a different way - which impacts how people react to you.  So, often you find yourself in a vicious cycle.  Breaking the cycle can be challenging, but if you get your depression treated, you could move on and develop new relationships which could be very fulfilling.  I wish you the best.


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Katherine ONeill


I can answer academic questions about psychology. I am not a clinician (therapist), I am a research psychologist with expertise in biopsychology, general psychology, cognitive psychology, research methods and psychopharmacology.


I have 25 years experience as a researcher in health behavior, biopsychology and psychopharmacology.

Healthcare Businesswomen's Association

Applications of Market Research for Small Business UMBC Activate Program, March 2008 HIV/AIDS: An assessment of Need in the Continuum of Care. Optum Health Education., 12/2008 Maximizing the online medium for market research: Best practices. Market Research for Pharmaceuticals Conference, 12/06/2006 O誰eill, K.A. APD, ADD, ADHD and AD/HD: Personal and scientific reflections. Audiology Online, 6/6/2005. O誰eill, K.A. et al, Hyperactivity induced by NMDA injections into the nucleus accumbens. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 34(4), Dec 1989, 739-745. O誰eill, K.A. and Liebman, J.M. Unique behavioral effects of the NMDA antagonist, CPP, upon injection into the medial prefrontal cortex of rats. Brain Research, 435(1-2), Dec 1987, 371-376. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centally administered H2 antagonists on motor activity. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 264, 1987, 683-686. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centrally administered H2 antagonists in the behavioral despair test. 90(2), 1986, 190-192. O誰eill, K.A. Chronic desipramine attenuates morphine analgesia. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 24(1), Jan 1986, 155 158. O誰eill, K.A. and Valentino, D. Escapability and generalization: Effect on 礎ehavioral despair. European Journal of Pharmacology 78(3), March 1982, 379-80. O誰eill, K.A. et al, An automated high capacity method for measuring jumping latencies on a hot plate. Journal of Pharmacological Methods, 10(1), Aug 1983, 13-18. O誰eill, K.A., Scott, C. and Weissman, A. Naloxone enhances nociceptive responding. Society for Neuroscience, Abstract 9: 274, 1983.

Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, University of Rhode Island, 1983. Post doctoral fellow dept of psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, 1983-1984. Post doctoral fellow, dept of pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 1984-1985.

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