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I wrote this whole post in my journal on here, and then thought maybe this is thread worthy.  But I don't really have time to rewrite everything.  So I'm taking this right out of my journal.  I hope that isn't against the rules.  In my journal I refer to her as Z.  So this is what I wrote:

"Z has been really depressed lately.  I really wish there was more I could do to help her.  I know how depression feels though.  There's not much anyone can do to really help a depressed person feel better.   Depression goes a little deeper than just feeling sad. 

She said she's been having suicidal thoughts lately, but that she would never do it.  She has a pretty strong anti suicide stance like I do.  A lot of what she's dealing with is regret.  Today she was telling me that she is just so mad at herself for ruining her life years ago.  She said she feels like a failure.  I told her she's not a failure.  There are so many people who would love to live the life she's lived.  She's a martial artist.  That takes a lot of discipline to learn.  And she taught Jujitsu and women's self defense for years.  Jujitsu is the kind of thing a lot of people would love to learn.  But most people don't have the focus or the dedication to actually do it.  She's also been in multiple bands.  That's another thing a lot of people would love to do but most people never get the opportunity.  And it takes so much talent to learn multiple instruments, plus she can sing.  She has an amazing voice.  She's been a chef in 5 star restaurants.  That takes some serious talent.  It's not like they just give that job to anyone off the street.  

The fact that she was in prison when she was younger and has a felony on her record is something that obviously didn't hold her back as much as it would some people because she didn't let it.  She is one of the most interesting people I've ever met, seriously.  I honestly wonder what the hell she sees in me sometimes.  I'm boring.  I'm nobody.  I'm ugly.  I'm disabled.  I guarantee no one has ever looked at me and thought, "Wow, she's so interesting and cool!" 

Biggest thing though is regret about not coming out sooner and starting her transition sooner.  And while I do empathize, (Of course I've never been in that position so when I say I empathize it's to the best of my ability) I can't do anything to help her.  I have a cousin who is trans also, MtF.  She came out around 2004/2005.  That seems recent, but in the terms of how far our society has come in accepting trans people it was ages ago.  My cousin got in fist fights after she came out.  She lost her job.  A lot of my family weren't all that supportive either.  Out of all the extended family she told me first.  I actually take that as a huge compliment.  She told me first because she knew I wouldn't judge her or be a jerk about it.  

My cousin was a badass growing up.  No one messed with her.  She was a big bad hulking tower of a man that no one even dared start trouble with.  And she comes from this huge Italian family that all have each others' backs.  Point is, my cousin had a ton of self confidence when she came out.  And it still completely wrecked her life in a lot of ways.  Z was a small framed, quiet soft spoken guy back when she was still living as a male.  Even when she was in prison, she told me she just kept to herself and didn't talk much.  And she was bullied really bad in school and beat up on a regular basis by her dad.  (Thinking about that almost makes me cry to tell the truth.  I've seen pics of her Dad.  He is this big burly scary looking biker guy and thinking of her as a teenager going through that is just awful.)  So, when looking at the psychology behind it, it's easy to see why she didn't come out sooner.  But knowing why doesn't help the regret go away. 

She says no matter what, she will never have the body she wants.  She will never look the way she wants to look, etc.  She says she sometimes wishes she could just start over in another body, but she won't do anything to hurt herself. 

And in an odd way I can relate to that feeling.  I know it's not the same situation at all.  But I hate my body and hate the way I look, too.  Biggest thing is my eyes though.  My eyes being messed up has really ruined my life in the grand scheme of things.  I've just learned to make the best of it.  People say it's so amazing that I'm legally blind and I'm an artist.  But apparently not amazing enough because I'm not making a living at it.  So I've felt the same.  Like I wish I could just be done with this ugly face/body and these defective eyes. 

I just wish there was more I could do.  I wish she could see herself through my eyes.  (Which is an odd concept in itself, considering I'm legally blind, lol.) "

And also, this is something to consider that I didn't write about in my journal:

She just put in her two weeks notice at a job she absolutely hated and that was causing her a lot of stress, because she thought she found another job.  She had her interview last Friday and they made it sound like she had the job.  They told her she had to submit info for a background check though, which she did.  She didn't think it was going to be a problem that she has a felony on her record because she already told them.  So basically they made it sound like she had the job. so she put in her notice.  Her current job took her off the schedule.  And then after the background check the new job hasn't contacted her at all.  So that is really getting to her.  She's worried that because of her felony they are just going to ghost her even though she told them about it.  (And no, this is not a job where the crime she committed would be an issue.  Also, the crime she committed was over a decade ago.)  

I'm big on the idea that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.  I don't judge her for what she did before I even knew her.  I hope people here won't either.  I don't really feel like being attacked in the comments or her being attacked in the comments.  I just want to know if there's anything I can do to help this situation beyond what I'm already doing.  I'm always here to talk.  And I try to tell her she's not a failure and that I think she's amazing.  I know nothing I say will change anything. 

Thanks in advance, all. 

Edited by Cynder
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Unfortunately, you can't "talk" someone out of depression and you can't "convince" them to feel differently about themselves.  Those thoughts and feelings are internal rather than external.

I know; I have anxiety and I can't tell you how many times I've been told "You just need to lighten up!" or "Think about other people who have it worse than you!"  I would love to be able to just snap out of it but it doesn't work that way.  I do NOT enjoy suffering from anxiety and believe me, if I could "just lighten up" I would do it in a heartbeat.

What treatment is she receiving for her depression and suicidal ideation?  BTW, suicidal ideation is very, very serious and needs to be treated by a professional.

And BTW, my cousin has a prison record and has built his life back up after he served his time.  He's a truck driver and is leading a good life.

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8 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Unfortunately, you can't "talk" someone out of depression and you can't "convince" them to feel differently about themselves.  Those thoughts and feelings are internal rather than external.

I know; I have anxiety and I can't tell you how many times I've been told "You just need to lighten up!" or "Think about other people who have it worse than you!"  I would love to be able to just snap out of it but it doesn't work that way.  I do NOT enjoy suffering from anxiety and believe me, if I could "just lighten up" I would do it in a heartbeat.

What treatment is she receiving for her depression and suicidal ideation?  BTW, suicidal ideation is very, very serious and needs to be treated by a professional.

And BTW, my cousin has a prison record and has built his life back up after he served his time.  He's a truck driver and is leading a good life.

I've never told her to just lighten up or snap out of it, not once.  I've been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.  I know those aren't things you say to a depressed person. 

She currently is not receiving any kind of treatment but she wants to get back into therapy.  I really want her to.  I know she needs to talk to a professional. 

I've known several people who were in prison.  I used to work at a drug rehab center and I also worked for a company that gives people with a record second chances.  I myself don't have a record, if anyone is wondering, but I worked there with a lot of people who do.  Yes it's possible to build your life back up.  But it's not easy, at least in my part of the world.  With a felony conviction you're pretty much limited to fast food or low end factory work.  I'm not trying to argue.  Just saying it's not the easiest thing to do  in our area. 

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26 minutes ago, Cynder said:

She currently is not receiving any kind of treatment but she wants to get back into therapy.  I really want her to.  I know she needs to talk to a professional. 

That is extremely concerning for someone who has suicidal ideation.  I would just be there and not try to substitute for therapy/meds in any way.  But I would seriously consider starting to distance yourself if she is not willing to seek therapy ASAP because while I can see you being there as a friend, as a support who let's say helps her find a good therapist, good professional resources I don't think being in a romantic relationship with her right now is the best idea if the therapy piece is missing especially since you two haven't been together that long.  I know that's not a popular opinion.  I also know that if my father hadn't been compliant with therapy and meds (he was bipolar; my mother was his hero, his supporter, his cheerleader) I strongly believe he would have died and/or my mother would have had little choice but to end the marriage (although knowing her she would have continued to try to help him from a non-marital distance).  She had us -two kids - so it was more complicated than your situation.  

As far as the job I think it is a significant obstacle to getting certain jobs but don't know a lot about it.  I think that sometimes interviewers don't make the final decision or misspeak about what will or will not be an issue in getting hired.  I'm sorry if they did misspeak or changed their minds because of the criminal record.

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I didn't say you told her to snap out of it. I was just giving examples of people who mean well but don't realize you can't convince someone to stop being anxious or depressed. And you can't praise or compliment or love them out of it either.

You have good intentions and truly seem to love her. I'm sure she realizes it and appreciates you. But yes, she needs a professional.

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4 hours ago, Hollyj said:

I think it is very important to seek therapy immediately.  Has she ever taken meds?  

She was on antidepressants for a while.  She currently isn't.  I don't know the exact reason she stopped.  That was before I met her. 

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Just an update for everyone, she's actually been doing better since I posted this.  Yesterday we had a pretty good conversation about this situation.  Fortunately for her, when she does get depressed she comes out of it pretty quick.  And before everyone explains to me that just because someone is acting normal doesn't mean they aren't depressed, I already know that.  I have a clinical diagnosis and I've been living with depression since I was a teenager.  There are days where I feel really depressed for a day or so, and then feel normal the next day.  So when she says she's feeling better, I believe her. 

Yesterday when we were talking she was saying she was just in a really dark place the day before and that some days she just feels so disappointed in herself.  We are both currently wanting to get back into therapy.  (Not couple's therapy, individual therapy.)  I am currently on a 4 month waiting list for therapy and she is looking for someone. 

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On 1/14/2021 at 6:21 PM, Cynder said:

I guarantee no one has ever looked at me and thought, "Wow, she's so interesting and cool!" 

Wrong. I've thought this about you for years, Cynder.

One of the most helpful things I've head during this pandemic is, "It's okay to NOT be okay."

One of the most important agreements I've learned to make with loved ones is, "I promise not to say things to myself that I wouldn't want you to say to yourself. I'll remember that you love me, and I credit you with not loving junk."

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"Man's search for meaning" by Viktor E. Frankle is a short book (70 pages), actually a long essay written by a Jewish Doctor in Psychiatry who has survived three years in concentration camp during WWII. Rather than focusing on the horrors of the inmates' live in the concentration camp, the author focused the book on the inner workings of the soul that allowed many prisoners to cope with their dreadful existence; to chose patience and seek meaning in suffering, instead of just running against the electrified barbed wire and end it.

After the end of the war Viktor Frankle set up a school in psychiatry practiced in Austria and other European counties, called logo-therapy. "Logos" in ancient Greek means "meaning". At the first session with a client a logo-psychiatrist would ask the question (quote from the book) "Why do you not commit suicide? " ."From their answers he can often find the guide-line for his psycho-therapy: in one life there is love for one's children to tie to; in another life, a talent to be used; in a third, perhaps only lingering memories worth preserving. To weave these slender threads of a broken life into a firm pattern of meaning and responsibility is the object and challenge of logo-therapy".  Frankle is fond of quoting Nietzsche "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how." Meaning that when a person sees a meaning of their life, an objective to accomplish in the future, this future objective gives strength to the soul to go through whatever it takes to attain the objective.

Depression, as much as it is argued that it is caused by chemical imbalance, it is a matter of "having lost the meaning, having lost the future objective". The "meaning" does not have to be something grandiose, it could be a dedication to a loved one, to actualise one's talent, accomplish a work project.

The book can be found for free on the internet. Perhaps you could read it together.

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Make sure a person will walk the walk instead of just talk the talk. If she fails to be treated for depression, I'd suggest getting out before becoming more invested. I'm speaking from experience because of my first marriage and its demise due to my ex husband's depression. You're already writing a wall of text about her issues. If she doesn't get treatment and you move forward with her, that wall will become a whole neighborhood. Don't let your infatuation and gooey feelings override your brain, and what's really best for yourself, on this matter. 

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