Marcy S., age 47, North Carolina

And now I’m in the depths of despair again. Up and down, up and down — all my life I’ve been emotionally unstable, vacillating between hope and despair. I’m so sick of myself that I can’t stand the sound of my own voice or the sight of myself in the mirror. I’ll never change — it’s better to face it than to keep hoping I will and ending up in the depths again. I don’t even believe God can change me — because if He could surely He would have in all these years. Punished. I can remember telling my playmates when I was a child, “I’m being punished” and couldn’t play with them. That’s the way I’ve felt ever since deep inside — that I’m being punished, first by my parents, then God (or maybe they are one and the same to a child), later by other people when they rejected me — and then I took over and have been doing a magnificent job of punishing myself.