From a teen in the U.K.: I’m not really sure where to start, so I’m going to vent. All my life I have felt disconnected and as a child I barely used to talk and kind of drifted my way through my school years, not feeling sad, but empty, waiting for it to end. I had no sense of direction or purpose (and at the time mental illness was never a thought that crossed my mind) but what upsets me the most thinking back is that there were clear signs that something was up with me and I wish someone would have stepped in.
I do remember that once I came home and cried once and told my sister that I thought I was depressed (which was hard because it was like showing emotion) my mam didn’t want me to take antidepressants, so I binned them and just shrugged everything off and said I was just having a rough week.
I feel like I don’t even have a personality and never know what to say (which makes me more socially anxious). Sometimes I would drink to get me through work and would even imitate people to try and get their “social energy”; until I soon tired of the act and returned to becoming monotone.
I always perceive other people as being fake, like most things they say are just empty words and it makes me feel tired watching their acts and I always get paranoid that the only couple of friends that I have left only ever hang out with me merely just to be with someone different and to show how social they are and how much they get out. I wish I was just being paranoid about the way people act and think, but from becoming good at reading people I’m always right. I don’t want to be in a relationship, and have drunkenly engaged in one night stands that I did’t enjoy, I don’t know why, maybe to show that I’m not broken or something.
I know I’m attractive and yet my self-esteem is shot and I feel like people only like me for my looks anyway. It’s as if I self sabotage my life at every opportunity and then mentally blame it on my family for being emotionally unavailable and for why I done bad at school. Yet, I won’t see a doctor because maybe I’m being paranoid.
I have no idea who I am, but can read others so well while I just keep acting my way through life.
A: Thank you for writing. I do sympathize with your pain but I, frankly, doubt that you are always right about people. The fact that you have a job and that there are people who still are willing to hang out with you suggests there is more to you than you think.
You say this has been going on for about 10 years. That’s too, too long. You are adding pain about your pain to the original pain. You deserve to get to the bottom of what goes on with you that you feel so detached yet angry. You need to do something different if you are to feel better.
The first stop should be with a medical doctor. It’s just possible that there is an undiagnosed medical issue like a vitamin or mineral deficiency or a thyroid disorder contributing to your problems.
If you are physically okay, then you really do need to see a therapist for a thorough evaluation. I don’t think you are paranoid. I do think you are scared. But until you see a mental health counselor, you won’t have any new information to go on and you won’t get treatment and relief.
All you have to lose is an hour or so of your time. Why not talk to someone who can offer you some answers?
I wish you well.