Yes, It Can Be Done
I was depressed and suicidal for the first 29 years of my life. As a child, I didn't think my parents loved me or wanted me. (Now I know they did, but never showed it in a way that I could understand.) I was socially inept and didn't get along with my peers. I endured some horrible times in school, my parents got divorced, and I could never find a boyfriend. I got worse and worse until it reached the point where I either had to get help or die. At about that time, a very frustrated friend (yes, I actually had a friend, a very patient one), helped me make an appointment with a psychiatrist that she knew. The psychiatrist asked me about half a dozen questions. All I remember of those questions is that some of them had to do with my sleeping patterns. Then he told me, "There are two kinds of depression. One is biochemical depression, caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. That kind can be treated with medication. The other kind is environmental depression, caused by one's responses to external factors in one's environment. Medication won't help that kind. That's the kind you have, so you need to see a psychologist rather than a psychiatrist."
These words were a revelation to me. It was the first time I had ever gotten a hint that I had any control over how I felt. If my depression were caused by the way I responded to events in my environment, then I could change those responses. I sat down and took a good, hard look at all aspects of my behavior. I decided to stop giving myself negative messages (i.e.: I'm worthless, I don't deserve to live, etc.) and replace them with positive messages. I started making a major effort to be nice to people (I was extremely neurotic and people were often unkind to me, and I responded by being nasty back.), and to be forgiving. I decided that I couldn't rely on other people (particularly men) to give me the love I hungered for, so I stopped chasing (and scaring away) men. I just accepted that the only person I could rely on for company, love and acceptance was myself.
About a year later, I did seek help from a psychologist. By then, I had pretty much gotten straightened out on my own, but the psychologist helped me a lot. I learned that only I have control over my own feelings, thoughts, beliefs and actions (unless I cede that control to someone else), and likewise, that I have no real control over the feelings, thoughts, beliefs and actions of others and am therefore not responsible for them. So, if someone insults me, that's entirely their doing and has nothing to do with me. I can choose how to respond. The way I usually respond to such things now is to figure that they're having a bad day, or that they're an ***. I am no longer thin-skinned and easy to offend. I also learned about the different personality types, their needs, behaviors, and different ways of communicating. Types of people who used to intimidate me (like people who never smile) no longer bother me at all. I understand that it has nothing to do with me; it's just the way they are. I know how to get my needs met and how to communicate with different kinds of people, and I am no longer neurotic.
I am happy to say that I ended up in a good marriage and have two children whom I have taught how to be happy from earliest childhood. My only regret is that I lost those 29 years of my life to the pain of depression.