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Depression

How Does Self-Esteem and Depression Intersect

12/18/2008

Question:

I`m a 16 year old female. After blaming myself for my sisters rape when I was 13, I was diagnosed with depression. At 15 and being put on a new anti-depressant, I tried to kill myself by overdosing on the pills. I used to cut and burn myself but have since stopped. I have always had problems with self esteem and my self image. I always thought losing weight would fix it all. But since losing about 60 lbs all on my own, I still don`t see myself the way others do. My friends family and boyfriend and random people I don`t even know tell me how pretty I am, and I wish i saw it too. But I don`t and I`m beginning to think I never will. What can I do to change the way I look at myself?

Answer:

You describe a complex process of developing habits of self-esteem, some of which have been affected by your experience with depression. You are right to try working on this problem now. Individual psychotherapy is the best way to improve the process of developing self-esteem, especially if you are also managing depression. Finding a therapist who is a good fit for you can take some time and effort, but it's worth it. Parents, family doctors, or school counselors can help you find an effective therapist.

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Response by:

Lawson  Wulsin, MD Lawson Wulsin, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Training Director of the Family Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati