Low self-esteem strikes again

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My sister moved into her university accommodation yesterday. My mum, my other sister and I went with her to help her unpack and settle in. I suppose I’m jealous of her in a number of ways. The campus there is beautiful – they have a pond, lots of greenery and wildlife, with beautiful views. She gets to do the whole independence thing and (hopefully) have some of the best years of her life. I wish I could become more independent and live my own life but I don’t think I’d last 5 minutes in student dorms because of how socially demanding it would be. She’ll get to make loads of new friends and go to parties and have all sorts of new experiences. I suppose I just wish I could’ve done it all myself, but it’s just one more thing that SA has ruined for me. I only went to one event during Fresher’s Week – a field trip to Holyrood Park, which made me anxious enough. I obviously didn’t go to any parties or any other social events. I haven’t made any friends. I’ve had all the stress of uni and have done all of the hard work but I’ve had none of the fun parts of the university experience. When I was at high school, it was constantly shoved down our throats that “These will be the best days of your life” – which clearly wasn’t the case for me, and only served to make me feel worse at the time. But most people give me the impression that university is supposed to be full of good times also. This hasn’t been the case for me either – or at least, certainly not so far. So I’m left wondering – when will the best days of my life make their elusive appearance? Will I ever find a time when I actually enjoy life and can connect to other people? Most people have led me to believe that after this, it’s just a case of working in a shit job that you hate (if you’re even lucky enough to get a job, in this day and age) for 50+ years. What fun that sounds.Β Β I have missed out on so, so much because of my social anxiety and depression. I will never get that time or any of those missed opportunities back. I hate living this way. Will it ever go away?

Is the best yet to come, or did it pass by long ago?

I suppose, at the same time, in a lot of ways, I don’t envy my sister at all. Just sitting in her dorm room with my other sister (while her and mum were out shopping) and listening to other people introducing themselves and having conversations in the hallway made me feel anxious and very socially incompetent. I was scared to even leave the room to go to the toilet, for fear of bumping into anyone who might try to talk to me. Someone knocked on the door, wanting to introduce their self when my sister was out (she’d told us not to talk to any of her dorm-mates when she was gone) and it made me feel sick. I imagine that if I was in that situation, I’d probably never be brave enough to actually answer the door and introduce myself to people. My sister was a bit anxious about/ reluctant to introduce herself to her dorm-mates, but she managed it no problem. Another person introduced herself to us while we were unpacking my sister’s shopping in the kitchen, and (even though my sister did almost all of the talking) I still felt very, very anxious. If I lived in dorms, I’d probably end up using the kitchen at about 3am – to avoid having to talk to other people – or I’d hardly eat. Just being there made me feel extremely anxious. I don’t know how I’d ever cope with living there. My dorm would literally become my cell. I’d hardly ever leave it. I’d be living in solitary confinement. I’m convinced that the people in my dorm would end up hating me anyway. At the same time…I find myself wishing that I could be around other people my age. Maybe if I listened to some of their conversations, I’d have more of an idea how to go about making conversation myself? Still…as much as living at home, or at my grandparents’ (who fight almost constantly) house gets on my nerves at times, it’s probably the best option for now. At least I can actually venture out of my room without intense anxiety there. At least I get some social interaction.

It will be strange not having my sister here, since we’ve shared a room since she was a baby. As much as she gets on my nerves and upsets me at times, I will miss her a lot. Hopefully her university experience will be a lot better than mine has been so far.

My self-esteem has generally gone down the toilet over the last few days. Over the last few weeks, my self-esteem has see-sawed between being the highest it’s been in a long, long time, to being extremely low, with very little in between. My mood and self-confidence are up and down like yoyos at the moment. Welcome to another day on the dynamic rollercoaster ride of Gemma’s mood swings. I keep mentally beating myself up. The criticising ‘voice’ in my head is constantly telling me what a worthless, useless, ugly, incompetent, stupid, horrible, disgusting piece of shit I am. I hate myself. When I was walking my dog earlier, I didn’t even want people to look at me or see my face. I didn’t want to offend them with my ugliness and my worthlessness. I don’t even feel worthy of going out in public when I’m like this. I can’t believe that there is anything good about myself as a person. If anyone tries to tell me that I do have positive qualities at all, my immediate reaction is to think “What a lot of rubbish”, but I obviously don’t want to say that to them because I don’t want to offend them. I just can’t see it though…and I don’t know how anyone else could see anything good in me.

I keep thinking about my lack of friends, the unlikelihood of a relationship, and my inability to connect with people (yes, I’m obsessed with those things – it’s difficult to ignore them when you are so intensely lonely). I long for friends; I long for happy times to share with other people; I long for people to like me; I long for human contact; I long for touch; I long to feel part of something; I crave love. And it seems that social anxiety decided long ago that I can’t have any of that. I don’t deserve a life or to be happy like other people. I don’t get the chance to have friends, or to fall in love, or to have a family, or to be myself around other people. I don’t know how to get over the self-hatred I have. And I feel so ungrateful because I have things so much better than a lot of people in the world.Β I even feel awful posting this on here because it must be annoying to read about someone who is so caught up in their own self-hatred and keeps whinging about the same things over and over again.

I’ve noticed that before I go into situations where I will have to meet new people, I just become so convinced that they will hate me anyway so there is no point in even trying. I’m so convinced that other must think so lowly of me, even if they don’t even know me. It’s bizarre. I’m convinced that they’re all judging me negatively. Even if I’m just passing someone in the street, I’m convinced that they must think “What a disgusting, ugly, pathetic freak”. I’m just waiting for the insults, even though I know logically that it probably won’t happen. It worries me that I don’t even operate in logic at times like this. I become paranoid about what other people think of me, completely convinced of my worthlessness as a human being. Meh…sorry for the word vomit. I think that getting back to regularly doing CBT is probably what the doctor ordered.

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4 Responses to Low self-esteem strikes again

  1. Keshav says:

    Hey Gemma. I’m sorry to hear that things are bad again. I was worried that you hadn’t logged in on the other site for a while. My advice to you, as stupid and patronising as this may sound given your problems, is to take things step by step. So cliched but meh. It’s useless thinking that you’ll never have friends or fall in love or have a family or be yourself around other people because these things take time and, as much as we may dislike it, are not instant. For one, speaking for myself, you do have at least one friend (*waves and smiles*). Perhaps at the moment you aren’t capable of finding a boyfriend that you deserve or starting a family. I don’t know. But remember that you are only 19, and a lot worse and evil people than you have managed to settle down and fall in love and make friends. So the first step would be CBT, like you said. That’ll help you get out there more. If you’re out there more, you’ll make more friends. If you make more friends, there’s a chance you’ll find that special person and fall in love and then you’ll get the chance to be all mushy and happy, too.

    The only problem is that it’s all hard work. You do seem very pro-active though, and I don’t doubt that you have it in you to be happy one day soon. Go forth and be strong, my friend.

    πŸ™‚

    (I really hope this comment doesn’t sound patronising. I’m really sorry if it does. I didn’t mean it to).

    • Gemma says:

      Hi Keshav. Yeah, you’re right about taking things step by step but it is very, very frustrating sometimes. Thank you. πŸ™‚ *Waves and smiles back*. The discouraging thing is that I don’t think it particularly matters how evil or not someone is when it comes to being in a relationship – it seems to be mostly about confidence and having a social network through which you can actually meet someone (two things that I completely lack). I’m going to try and make time to do a minimum of 2 hours of CBT a week while at uni. It’ll probably just be through reading self-help books. I’d like to find a specialist in social anxiety in my area but I’m skint apart from my savings at the moment, and I wouldn’t know how to find someone good. I’m also worried that I could potentially spend a lot of money but find that it hadn’t actually helped me at all.

      Thanks, Keshav. It wasn’t patronising. πŸ™‚

      • Keshav Bhatnagar says:

        I got the notification about your message on the other site, but I’m afraid I’m on a week long break from the site. I shall take a look on Saturday though.

        It is soooooo frustrating. And it’s so hard to be patient. You want to see a change to your life straight away. But unless you are on a wonder drug, it is highly unlikely with a mental illness.

        I’ll give you that, it probably is about confidence and having a social network. So, really, those are the only things you are lacking. You’re not a monster or a disgusting person or anything. And even if you were, there is still hope for you to make friends once you develop confidence and a social network :P.

        Which uni are you at? They should have some sort of service that offers CBT, surely? I may have asked you this before, but is your GP helpful and can they refer you to someone? There may be a community mental health team that they can refer you to. Yeah, spending money on treatment can be a risk. I went private for a short while and it was fair extortionate. They were helpful though.

        No worries. Just let me know if there’s ever anything I can do to help. πŸ™‚

  2. Gemma says:

    Yes, it’s very frustrating seeing how much further I have to go before I could even consider doing the things that many people take for granted. I keep trying though. Developing confidence and a social network seem pretty much impossible at this point. I want to make friends but don’t really know how.

    I don’t want to say which uni I’m at on here, but I see a counsellor there. He’s quite supportive and I usually feel better after talking to him but he doesn’t do CBT or anything – he just listens and sometimes gives advice. I generally haven’t found GPs to be very helpful or understanding when it comes to mental illness so far. I’m going to see my GP soon to see if I can be put on beta blockers or another type of anti-anxiety medication that will help with the presentation that I’ll have to do in a few weeks’ time.

    I’ve seen both a psychiatrist and a psychologist through the community mental health team. I was referred there by CAMHS when I was 18. The psychiatrist is completely useless and I only see him about 3 times a year. The psychologist was at least understanding, I suppose. I did about 12 sessions of CBT with him, which helped a little bit, but he’s stopped seeing me now. So now all I have is a crap psychiatrist who just makes me feel worse when I do see him. The counsellor is okay but I’m not really getting anywhere with him because he doesn’t do CBT or anything. I’m not sure if I want to see about seeing someone else from the Community Mental Health Team because most of the professionals I’ve seen generally haven’t been very helpful. What I dislike about the NHS mental health services is that they seem to be suited only to people with quite mild depression/ anxiety, or to people who are just going through a bit of a rough time. If you have a chronic anxiety disorder with episodes of severe depression, how on earth are 6 sessions of CBT (I was lucky to get 12 but even that didn’t change very much) supposed to help? How are they supposed to magically change a lifetime of deeply ingrained thought patterns? And it seems that CBT is all they offer. None of the other options are looked into. So if it doesn’t work for you, you’re stuffed. After a certain amount of time, people just want to fob me off. If I tried to get referred to someone else on the Mental Health Team, I’d probably just get much of the same. So it seems that going private is about the only other option. The trouble is finding someone who would actually help though. And, like I mentioned, I’m skint other than my savings, which I don’t want to fritter away on someone that may not even help. Not really sure what to do. :/

    Thanks. πŸ™‚ Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you as well.

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