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Dear Annie: Feeling alone during isolation

Dear Annie: I feel some days I just can’t handle our society and the cruelty of men and women toward other humans or defenseless animals. My life has been full of neglect, disrespect, abuse (mental and physical) and loneliness, so I’m accustomed to it. However, when I hear a story about people neglecting an innocent child, or a dog being left inside a crate abandoned, or a kid going to a party to see if he can get COVID-19 and then dying… my depression kicks in so deep that I cry and want to be left alone because I know others don’t understand this feeling. I just can’t seem to get these thoughts out of my head.

I’ve been to therapy. It was too expensive, and the therapist told me to try to understand the person perpetrating the abuse and their reasons for doing it. To me, there are no excuses for being evil unless you need help. And if that’s the case, please don’t hurt those that can’t fight back.

I cry for days about these stories and wish that there were a superhero among us to save these innocent lives. But my depression has gotten the best of me, and I’ve begun hurting myself by burning my arms with whatever gets hot. Recently, I tried a psychologist; he was definitely in his own world and era and didn’t understand what I was going through.

I live in a town that doesn’t supply free group therapy. My insurance won’t help this kind of illness, so I was hoping you could help me with maybe a free website that can help someone. Thanks. — Deeply Depressed in Life

Dear Deeply Depressed: You’re not alone — not ever, and especially not now. With quarantine, many people who have struggled with depression and/or loneliness in the past are overwhelmed with it.

Know that you won’t be consumed by these thoughts forever. Though the upsetting issues that you mentioned are very much real and worth considering, such thoughts tend to become “stickier” during bouts of depression. The core issue that needs addressing right now is your mental health and physical safety, so I’m glad that you’re reaching out to find support.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (https://adaa.org/adaa-online-support-group) offers free online support groups, as does Turn2Me.org. 7 Cups of Tea (7cups.com) offers free and low-cost counseling.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 anytime: It’s not just for people feeling actively suicidal; it’s also for anyone in emotional distress. And you feel that you may harm yourself again, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

Dear Annie: In response to “At a Loss”: Kudos to you for recommending the gentleman’s wife seek out a therapist who deals with grief issues. But I can add to that – based on experience.

After my mother died years ago, I made an appointment with a psychologist I had seen years previously for other issues. She offered a lot of support and guidance during an initial session. Then she said that she had a high caseload of clients, and I could probably get the help I needed elsewhere. The answer? The local nonprofit hospice support organization!

Not only do they provide support through the hospice process, but they are there for people after they experience a loss.

You have insurance? That’s great. Can’t afford to pay much? They’re OK with that, too. I encourage anyone who has lost someone to check it out. — Oregon Reader

Dear Oregon: Thanks for recommending this affordable resource.

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