iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 11:15pm

I'm new to this board. I've been depressed for several years, but this year I had to leave my job because I was so depressed that I couldn't work. Not having a job has caused me to feel abosolutely worthless. I never knew how much my self esteem and self image were tied to my work. Without it I feel as if my life no longer has any purpose at all. I also feel like a failure because my increasing depression prevented me from finishing my graduate degree. Has anyone else ever felt this way? Did you lose your self esteem because you were no longer able to pursue or attain your goals?

On top of losing my job, my medication has caused me to gain a tremendous amount of weight. I weigh the most I ever have in my life. I'd like to start a new relationship so that I could focus on something besides myself, but I don't believe that anyone could find me attractive right now.

How are other people managing their problems with self esteem? I could really use some feeback. The double whammy of losing my job and having a negative body image has left me feeling hopeless.


Avatar for loritemp
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 7:10am
Hi Renee! I "know" you from another board but it is nice to see you here too! These ladies are really nice, i think you will love it here! As for your job siutation, i know what you mean! I was in grad school and hated it so I mustered the courage to quit, found a job and thought everything was fine. I left that job for what should have been a perfect job, started school again part time at night and then the rug was pulled out. The funding for the place I worked was cut and we were told to leave immediately. I was devestated, it was awful and i felt so bad about myself, being out of work and everything! well, it took me a while but I finished school, and now have a fabulous job! You can do it too! Maybe you just need some time off but then you can get back on the right path and things will work out!

I can also sympathize about the body image issue! I used to weigh a lot more than I do know but when i look in the mirror, I see that same overweight girl. I see every flaw and havea hard time seeing the good things! I recently broke up with my live in boyfriend of 3 years, it has been so difficult and has only made my self esteem dip more. We have been trying to work things out but he has not made much effort, again making me feel so much worse! I would love to find someone to treat me well, to love me for who I am but I just don't se ehow that can be possible, I see too mnay flaws!

So, you aren't alone in these feelings, that is for sure! Please come here and post when you are feeling down. These women are great and always know the right thing to say to pick me up! Even if it is just that they are here and listening, that helps a lot! Hang in there and try to have a good day today!

Avatar for randomgrrl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 9:33am
First of all welcome and HUGS!!!

The hardest thing I ever did was let go of my inhibitions and say, "screw 'em all, I'm fat, but I don't care!" Seriously, I used to wear only really baggy clothes that I could hide under. Truth is the baggy clothes only made me look bigger. It was a gradual change and it was hard, but I started wearing more and more revealing clothes. Granted I'm not wearing belly shirts and letting everyone see my big fat gut, but I"m not afraid to wear tight jeans with my shirt tucked in.

Like I said this didn't happen over night. I still have those days where I look in the mirror and want to cry. I want to just wear a big mumu to work. I still worry that people whisper behind my back and say, "God she's a whale!" but if they think that, they're not worth my time anyway. Poop on them.

Also try walking everyday. I found that getting some physical activity in everyday makes me feel more alert and happy. In turn, my self esteem soared higher. Just 20 minutes of walking a couple times a week will make a world of difference, i swear! Try it for a couple weeks.

It's a tough road, but you;re on the right track. Just admitting you have low self esteem is a good start. Slowly start thinking to yourself, "Who cares what they think? I like me." It could take a long time, but one day you'll look back and say, "wow, I"m so much better off than I used to be."

Hugs honey!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 10:36am
Welcome to the board Renee!!! It's nice to have you here, although the reasons you're here is not so nice in themselves...

Depression is a very very difficult thing to battle, but alot of times, you have to hit the bottom before you come back up. If leaving your job is what it takes to begin to feel better, then that's what you have to do. Now that might sound kind of silly of me to say, seeing as the fact that you had to leave your job actually makes you feel worse, but look at it as a turn for the better. Now, you have the time to discover yourself and the things that make you a great person. You have time to go out and get more physical activity as Nikki had suggested. You now have time to learn new skills and increase your job opportunities!!!

Wanting to start a new relationship is a good goal, but you first have to start working on yourself. You can only accept love from someone, if you in fact love yourself, or else you will never believe that you are even worthy of another persons affection. When you look in the mirror, instead of pointing out things that you don't like, search for the things that you do! Maybe you have beautiful high cheekbones, beautiful eyes or even nice curves (yes, curves ARE nice!!!). When you're feeling like your worthless, just remind yourself how much you make a difference in other peoples lives every day... no matter how small!!

I've posted this before... and I swear it'll be my last time posting it for awhile (lol), other members of this board are probably getting sick of it, haha, but I see it as such a valuable inspiration, I can't just let it sit... I have to share it! lol ...

<<<<*** I am me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. There are persons who have some parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me. Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone choose it.

I own everything about me: my body, including everything it does; my mind, including all of it's thoughts and ideas; my eyes, including the images of all they behold; my feelings, whatever they may be; anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement; my mouth, and all the words that come out of it: polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect; my voice , loud or soft; and all of my actions, whether they be to others or to myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes and my fears. I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By doing so, I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts. I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

I know there are aspects of myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know. But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me.

However, I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is me. This is authentic and represents where I am at that moment in time.

When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did, and how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out unfitting. I can discard that which is unfitting, and keep that which proved fitting, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.

I own me, and; therefore, I can engineer me. I am me and I am okay.

--Unknown **>>>>

I hope this helps a little. Take care and feel free to post as often as you like. We're all here for you!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 12:51pm
Dear Lori,

Thanks for your support. Its nice to see you here too. I know why you felt so devastated when you lost you job. It took me a long time to accept that I wouldn't be able to return to work immediately. But I gradually came to realize that is wasn't fair to my clients if I went back before I was able to resolve some of my own problems so I could focus on them and give them the support that they needed.

I am trying to feel more positive about having more time for myself. I have limited funds right now, but I am planning on taking some creative arts classes and if I manage my budget carefully I'll be able to go back to taking dance classes twice a week. I'm trying to fill my time with things that I will look forward to doing. I also plan on going back to exercising on a regular basis.

However, I frequently feel ashamed of not being able to work. When I meet people that I used to know I never tell them that I'm not working. I don't want them to know. There's a difference about being laid off and not being able to work. I don't want them to see me as a failure. When I was in the hospital a few weeks ago I saw a woman who worked there that I used to go to school with. She finished her grauate degree and I didn't. All I could think of was that I hoped that she didn't recognize me.

Starting to exercise is making me feel somewhat better about my body image. The big test will be going back to dance class and having to show my body (I take ballet classes). Most of the people who I used to dance with used to know me when I was much slimmer and in much better shape. I plan to wait until I've been exercising for a while so that when I go back I can make it through a class with out feeling exhausted. Fortunately I tend to get in aerobic condition pretty quickly. Now all I have to worry about is dealing with my body image. I think I could handle it better if I come dressed for class and I never have to undress in front of anyone. I feel better when I'm wearing clothes.

I will also feel better when I start to take care of my appearance again. When I was working I was overwieght, but I used to wear makeup and I used to dress in a way that drew attention to my best features. I have a large waist and stomach, but I still have muscular legs. So I used to wear loose fitting tops amd close fittling pants that drew attention to my legs. Most people told me that I did't look like I was that much overweight, but when I undressed and looked at myself in the mirror all could see were the rolls of fat that I had on my upper body.

As far as having a relationship goes I know that I need to work on accepting and loving myself first. I know some men who were interested in me, but I have to feel more positive about myself before I allow them to get close to me.

Thanks for listening.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 1:11pm
Thanks Nikki,

You make me feel inspired. I still worry about how I will be preceive by other people, especially men, but I know that I should not let that bother me. I shouldn't focus so much on my outward appearnace, instead I should focus on the way I feel inside. The problem is that recently I haven't been feeling very good because of my depression, but I'm working with my doctor and therapist to try and change that. I'm also trying to fill my time with things that I didn't have time for when I was working. Creative things that I enjoy and that I will look forward to doing.

You're right about exercising. I had started to exercise at the beginning of the year, but I stopped. Now its 6 week later and I'm trying to get started again. I know that exercising on a regular basis will help me to feel better.

Thanks again.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 1:36pm
Dear Lisa,

Although it took me a long time to accept, I agree with what you said about leaving my job. I needed to have time to work on my problems and I couldn't do that while I was still responsible for treating my clients. The road to feeling better has been long and bumpy. It seemed like my life fell apart when I wasn't able to work, especially financially, but things are going better now and I feel like I have more control.

I also agree with what you said about starting new relationships. I can't use my involment with another person as a distraction from my own problems. Right now I still too negative and mixed up to allow anyone to get close to me. I have to focus on changing my negative self image and on becoming more accepting of myself, imperfections and all. Despite the negative feelings I know that I still have alot of positive things to offer. I still have the capacity to be a good and supportive friend and I still have the ability to use my creativity of produce things of love and beauty.

Thanks for the quotation. Its inspiring. I printed it out and posted it on my wall.

Thanks again.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 5:55pm
You are not alone.

I was an A+ student in high school. but then in college i was a C and D student. I felt like a failure because my friends who got B's & C's in high school were now getting A's.

To make matters worst, i gained 50lbs which only made my self esteem worse because I hated how i looked before I gained the weight. Friends became annoying and self centered. I eventually stopped talking to them.

It took me a long time before I could get myself to go to the gym. It's a slow process, but I am losing weight, I cry about how much I hate how I look and why do i have to look the way I do while others look so great.

So far, the only thing is I try not to think about it...
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 8:18pm

I know what you mean about having a poor body image. I look at myself in the mirror and all I can focus on are the rolls of fat. I just started to exercise (yesterday) and I really felt better after I worked out. I made a similar start 6 weeks ago but I became discouraged because I didn't see immediate results. I did lose a few pounds over 6 weeks, but I was disappointed if I didn't lose at least a pound EVERY week. This time I'm trying to focus on how I feel, not just on losing weight. I also remind myself that I am doing this to improve and maintain my overall health. My mother has hypertension and diabetes. If I want to remain healthy, which so far I am, I have to control my weight. Like you I know that its a long process, but I'm trying to make a life long committment, because active people are healthy people.

As for my self esteem, I'm trying to begin to focus on my positive atributes instead of only paying attention to my negative ones.

Thanks for your support. Let me know how you're doing