From a teen in Canada: I will be very helpful if you can give me free advice that can save me from huge mental loss.

For the past three months, I am not able to concentrate properly on everything. My mind automatically does functioning and let me do focus on how should I speak to others (present myself) than actually focusing on them or what they are saying. I am not being myself when I talk to others.

After really focusing on myself, I understand that its the fear of mine of people calling me ugly and my mind automatically manipulates my body into fear, lack of confidence and insecurity. When I walk outside my body language and my eyes speaks fear and thus I am not able to focus on things properly.

I am international student and cannot afford psychiatrist appointment. The only way to get advice is by using this method. Please help me by responding to this mail. I will be looking forward to talk with you further regarding this.

A: What you are describing may be social anxiety. People who suffer from social anxiety are worried that other people are judging them negatively and may reject them. This leads to self-consciousness and feelings of embarrassment and sometimes depression. Often it leads to the person deciding it’s better to just be alone. Sadly, this makes the situation even worse because being alone leads to being lonely and more depressed.

Your appearance is not the problem. Your lack of self-confidence is. I’m sure there are many people in the world who would find your look interesting and attractive. But they can’t “see” you if you are hiding behind your shyness and low self-esteem.

There are limits to how much we can change our appearance. But there are no limits to what we can do to change our self-esteem.

The key is to get out of worrying about yourself and instead to focus on what you can do for others. People with high self-esteem are people who work to make a difference in the world. Find a cause you believe in and volunteer. You will find other people who are also involved in making the world a better place and who will be happy to have your help. Don’t wait to have self-confidence to do this. That’s not the way it works. The self-confidence is a result, not a cause, of doing good.

I also encourage you to look into joining one of the forums here at PsychCentral. People from all over the world offer each other support and advice while they work on themselves.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie