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having a rough time of it

Community Member
So I'm a 45 year old woman, half-asian/ half-white. Qualified doctor. Grew up in three different countires. Racist bullying in country towns in two of them. Never felt like I fit in. Anywhere. Have had opportunities to develop friendships but always shy away from them (I feel like on some deep level I'll be rejected so no point in trying). Have a partner who is lovely but sexual relationship hasn't existed in years and I feel guilty about that (and I must say, he is the only bright spot in my life). Recently burnt out at work and haven't worked since feb. Have had dysthymia most of my life with 3-4 dips into major depression. Been on antidepressents on and off and they help my mood but don't get rid of the underlying problem of not trusting others and completely destroy my libido. My parents are living in the country town I left as soon as I could. My sister lived there and got involved in an abusive relationship there. She is basically no contact with her ex and her (now adult) kids. There was really nasty racist abuse thrown at her. I don't really talk to her. She was really rejecting of me in my late teens and early 20s and part of me now thinks that this is because she felt she had to fit in with her little racist country town abusive family. My parents. My mother is really upset. She doesn't want to live in the little racist country town but feels she has to support my sister. She lost her own friends when we began moving around the world. My father just doesn't talk. He just keeps saying you have to live every day. Personally, I am really, really, angry at him. We didn't have to move between all those countries growing up. It was his selfish decision to keep moving that destroyed our lives. The thing is. He gets away with it. I've never confronted him. He gets away with it because he is such a quiet and passive person. But he has never ever taken responsibility. And he has never ever apologised. He won't. He'll just keep staying quiet and passive. My sister will just keep on being emotionally dysregulated. My mother will keep on being sad. And I'll keep on being lonely and depressed and lacking motivation and always thinking that I'll be this way forever and what's the point and even if I try everyone's going to hate me for something I can't control. L feel like one of those 'learned helplessness' dogs from those terrible experiments in the 1950s. What I need is a damn good psychologist. Sorry.I just needed to get this out to someone somewhere
3 Replies 3

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Outside observing,

Thanks so much for bravely sharing. Your post struck a chord with me. You sound frustrated, perhaps angry and (understandably) hurt by your experiences...

Sometimes I feel people can have this misguided perception that racism isn’t an issue, because they haven’t personally been on the receiving end (or haven’t witnessed it). But when you’ve experienced it (& continue to experience it),I think you really do understand just how hurtful & unjust it feels...to be singled out for something so intrinsic to a person...a person’s cultural background/culture.

Yet sometimes I feel the irony is that when you’re the one trying to voice your own experiences, some (thankfully, not all) people try to shut you down because it makes them feel uncomfortable. I feel that’s sad and self serving, because it suggests they are more concerned about protecting their own comfort than showing compassion to those those who are subjected to those prejudices...

That aside, I can empathise. While my experiences aren’t the same as yours, I’ve also been on the receiving end where I have been targeted for my cultural background, and yes, it did (and does) hurt...a lot...

I feel the attitude in the place you live is clearly (& understandably) affecting your mental health. It sounds very toxic to have to live in a place where there is a strong undercurrent of those prejudices...

I’m glad you at least have support from your partner though, despite issues like the lack of intimacy. It sounds like he really helps get you through each day...

About needing a good psychologist, I know sometimes small towns don’t always have adequate professional mental health support...I imagine maybe that might be the case for you?

I’m thinking of you...

Kindness and care,


Thanks for getting back to me Pepper. Thankyou for empathising with me.

I don't live in that town anymore, I live in a large anonymous and multicultural city, thank god. It's an immense relief to walk the street and not be stared at or risk being called all sorts of expletives. My family still lives there and my sister still suffers abuse there. I left it when I was 15 (am 45 now). I left it as soon as I could. The abuse was that bad. The denial of my parents and their unwillingness to do anything about the situation was that bad. I realise that my anger may be the reason why people might be hesitant to respond and I am really glad you did. It takes courage. I am grateful for it. It makes me feel there is someone who can listen and believe me. My anger is justified and I have to express it healthily and not bottle it up. I've been told to bottle it up my whole life and all that ever did was make me depressed.

I think many who haven't experienced severe social exclusion simply do not believe how extreme it can be and how hurtful to be excluded on the basis of something you have absolutely no control over. It happened to me when I was a child when I was forming my sense of identity and self-worth. In my experience, the only people I have met who understand real social exclusion are other people of colour, LGBTQI people and people who are neuro diverse. But that is just my experience. There are others who are able to empathise. But these people are rare.

For anyone who reads this and automatically thinks 'snowflake' I would like them to consider just how they would feel if no one spoke to you for years at school, literally turned their back on you and would only occasionally show you kindness to only withdraw it if the class bully decided they wanted someone to torture again. This is not something that happened over a few weeks. This happened for YEARS.

My first episode of depression occurred at 7 years. No one seemed to notice or care.

I had a horrible experience of depression as a young person. Was extremely withdrawn to the point of hikkokimori withdrawn for a period of about 3 years. I decided to change things because I really hit rock bottom. I worked. I got two degrees, I became a doctor, I helped people who were in pain or depressed, I worked crazy hours helping people. I found I couldn't have children. And then I collapsed.

I think this period now is a real mid life crisis for me. I'm safe. But at a low ebb.

Hi Outside observing,

I feel for you, and to a large extent, I genuinely do understand your (understandable & justifiable) feelings. I know that people have hurt you many, many times before for something completely beyond your control. I’m relieved you’re no longer living in that town, but feel saddened that your family and sister are still suffering there...

I know you’ve been carrying that load in your heart for a long time, and it sounds like that pain needs a way out. You can emotionally purge a little here...maybe lighten your load a bit...

When it comes to giving space for our narratives, sharing & learning from one another....sadly, I think racism is still one of those issues that many people choose not to discuss. I think some people end up putting it in the “too hard” basket, and unfortunately that’s often before even really attempting to understand...

I feel some people with good intentions may shy away from the topic, because they are scared they might accidentally offend. Or in other cases, I think it forces some people to confront certain issues that they would rather avoid...and the thing is, I think if someone isn’t personally affected by it, they have the freedom to avoid the topic if they wish.

But because I (you) live it, I can’t just avoid/ignore it. I don’t have the space/privilege to avoid it, because it’s often, and as much as I wish it wasn’t (and isn’t), a part of my reality...

I agree that social exclusion is very damaging. I imagine it must have been so lonely at school for you. In addition to the ongoing bullying, you were unsupported and didn’t really have a friend (or even an ally). I feel that that would have been very painful and confusing, especially as a child.

So I think it’s particularly remarkable and inspiring that, despite your vast struggles, you became a doctor. That’s incredible! I admire your drive to help others. I wonder if maybe part of your desire to help stemmed from your own struggles. Perhaps you wanted to give others the help/support that you never received yourself.

I’m deeply sorry to hear that you’re unable to have children. It sounds like that was the final straw. I can only imagine your feelings of grief and shock at the news...it seems to have triggered so many other emotions in you too...

Thanks again for being so brave by sharing some of your struggles. It’s good talking to you and exchanging experiences 🙂