Fetishism Causing Severe Depression and Anxiety

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’ve had a sock fetish for as long as I can remember, and up until a year ago expressed it in unhealthy and inappropriate ways that leave me guilt ridden, feeling worse than scum, and like I deserve to die. As a teenager I had an attraction to my sister’s socked feet that turned into an obsession, there were times I masturbated and smelled them while she was asleep. This also happened with a few other people, and while on some level I knew what I was doing was wrong, I couldn’t stop myself. The past few years I’ve had a few mental breakdowns, the first one made me really realize what I’d been doing was perverted and inappropriate, like I’d been in a fog of denial for so long it slapped me in the face. I can’t live with the guilt; I’ve been addicted to drugs in one form or another for almost 2 years now. I also have paruresis, or “shy bladder syndrome” to a point that is debilitating, I cannot use public toilets or even urinate at my own home if too many people are around. I’ve had anxiety/panic attacks since a very young age, and depression off and on since I was 13 (I’m 23 now). I also believe I may have been sexually abused as a child, but I can’t remember any concrete details or even if I was for sure, just strange foggy memories. I’m a psychological mess, I feel like I should die because of what I’ve done, I have nobody to talk to. I just wish I could be normal, not have a sock fetish and am such a freak. I want to have a relationship some day, but I know that can never happen because I’m such a weird pervert. I try to do good, to help people and be a good person but no matter what I do the guilt of my past perversions haunt me. I can’t get a job because of all these problems; I can’t keep a solid sleep pattern and sometimes have insomnia. I have no medical insurance I need someone to help, please! Is all of this my fault? Do I deserve to die? Why did I have to grow up with so much sexual confusion and family that told me anyone who is gay/bi or different goes to hell? I don’t even know what my orientation is; I’m still a virgin! I’m sorry this is so long winded, but please please! I’ve tried other avenues for advice and nobody will respond. They either think I’m lying or get scared away. I’m desperate for any advice!! Please help a helpless confused soul before I lose my mind for good. PLEASE

A: You did the right thing by reaching out here. That is a very good step. It sounds to me like we have to do this bit by bit, and the first thing to do is get you hooked up with some people that have experience in your area. Here is a link to NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness. They have groups and a clinic in your area and online services that can help you. It sounds to me like we need them to direct you to an agency that can help give you some structure, hope and guidance as you get yourself feeling better.

In addition to the above connection I would Google mental health services in your county and email or call the agencies that look like they have treatment in psychiatry, psychotherapy and group therapy. You will have to do a bit of legwork, but most counties have services that are low or no cost. They are designed to help you feel better and can deal with how you are feeling. Until then check out our online forums — they are designed for supporting you through this.

You have taken the right step by writing to us here, now follow up and make the connections you need near where you live.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Fetishism Causing Severe Depression and Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/10/fetishism-causing-severe-depression-and-anxiety/