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I thought I was stupid and weird

Community Member

Until I was diagnosed a few years ago with social phobia, severe anxiety disorder and clinical depression, which I've had my whole life (I'm now mid 40's). The diagnosis only came because I had moved to the city to live with my partner and get a better job after living in the country all my life, and living/working in suburbia caused things to spiral completely out of control. Finding out I wasn't stupid, weird and weak was a relief, and knowing what was wrong helped me understand my life up to that point. The diagnosis also only came after I was able to talk to my partner and admit something was wrong, and with his support, sought help from a GP, and was then referred to a mental health nurse. 

There are many reasons I am this way, I'm quiet and shy by nature, was socially isolated apart from family, until I started school, my dad died when I was 6 (I didn't talk for days after, and made many 'wills' as a child among other things, so it had an effect). We don't show affection, feelings or encouragement in my family, sarcasm and teasing are our form of 'affection', feelings are weak and should be bottled up and you never hear praise. I love my family, I know they love me, we just don't say it or show it. I tried my hardest in school, at work and during a 16 year relationship which resembled the way my family is, no praise or encouragement, and shows of emotion are weak and embarrassing. I allowed myself to be treated as doormat and whipping post (not literally) until I couldn't stand it any longer and plucked up the resolve and courage to end the relationship.

I had absolutely no self esteem, no confidence and no idea what was wrong with me. I met my partner a few years later and moved to the city, I tried hard to get used to it, he is a wonderful and supportive man, I had a job I liked well enough with people who liked me (I continue to find that amazing), but I couldn't cope and slowly crumbled. It became dangerous for me to drive, I was physically ill with fear if I had to go out, I ate little, slept badly, was unable to work and some days could barely function. Even with medication and sessions with a mental health nurse over 18 months, things got worse and I was told I had little hope of recovery whilst living in suburbia, and moved back to the country, I was assisted with applying for a disability pension and pretty much left to my own devices because I'm not able to drive far enough to see a mental health professional. 

The only help out here is your GP, and the first 6 - 12 months were hard, I bought a pup to have something to make me get out of bed and getting on with life. He has been better than all the medication, and can make me smile and laugh and feel loved even on the worst day. I discovered a talent for painting, which also helps fulfill my need to achieve something and have a purpose, and my best days are ones spent with a brush or pencil in my hand. They're also the ones I feel hungry and sleep well. 

I manage the depression fairly well now, I've also started believing that I am a good and worthwhile person, and I deserve to be liked and loved. I still shake and sweat and feel like I'm going to throw up on my shoes when I have to go out every few weeks to do shopping, but I do it anyway and try and make it as positive experience as I can. I speak to people I know and ones I don't know, and no-one gets angry or makes fun of me, even if my mind goes blank and I stammer out something that makes no sense. It's a far longer process than I ever imagined it would be, but every step takes me that bit further, and when I look back now, I've come a long, long way from where I was. 

Don't give up, ask for help, accept help, and know that you aren't alone.

1 Reply 1

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Sharon.

I'm guessing since you're writing a story of success (as it is) and you're going by "BV" you're on top of things.  (If BV means what I think it means then that's me too, catch my clip on the anxiety campaign talking about "chest tightening".)

So this is just to say thanks!  Thanks for your story and for your encouragement. 🙂