Above & Beyond


Hi, I'm new to this sort of thing but as someone who's not very good at opening up about things, I thought I'd give it a try. Basically I've been strugg;ing with feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem for just over a year. I graduated from University in 2013 with an amazing girlfriend and felt like things would only get better.

Prior to going to University I had always been a very quiet and reclusive person, I form very tight relationships with people I'm close to, but I don't have very many friends at all. I've been obsessed with my body image since around the age of 15. I never had the self-esteem to feel comfortable speaking in front of other people, and consequently really struggled to enjoy my time at school. Exercise became my crutch because I was always of a fairly athletic build, and I felt that enhancing that part of me would help me to form new relationships.

Although it has never been medically confirmed, I have displayed the traits of an eating disorder for the past 10 years. My recent relationship had to become long-distance after graduating, which put considerable strain on my mental state. My girlfriend always treat me amazingly well, but this has lead to what I believe is an inferiority complex. I was only able to find a low paid part-time job after uni, and felt ashamed that I was unable to pay my way in the relationship. I'd also have to work some weekends, meaning we would sometimes have to go 2-3 weeks without seeing each other. Because of the circumstances and my low self-esteem, I ended the relationship in late 2013, telling my girlfriend that she'd be better off without me. Around the same time I became even more obsessed with exercise, adopting the lifestyle of a competitive bodybuilder though I had no intention of competing.

Months passed and I managed to get a new full-time job. Fortuitously around the same time my girlfriend and I had been back in contact. I now had my weekends free, and enough money coming in to sustain the long distance relationship, so we got back together. However, my feelings of inferioty remained because I was regretful of how I'd ended the relationship in the first place. So I continued to maintain the same obsessive exercise and eating habits, now using my better income to spend large amounts of money on gym equipment, supplements, and food.

This caused considerable strain on the relationship, and although my girlfriend identified what I was doing and told me that I needed to change, I continued to the point where I became neglectful in the relationship, and wasted so much money that I'd be unable to afford my train fare to visit her at the weekends. I was always a very caring and attentive partner for the first year of our relationship, and the change in my behaviour was radical. Despite sticking with me and showing nothing but love and affection for me, my focus on my body only intensified, and I now began to feel like my girlfriend was trying to stand in the way of what made me happy. My drive was now on bodybuilding competitively, in my mind having to travel to see my girlfriend in a place where I couldn't train, and didn't have my supplements and food annoyed me, and I became resentful of our relationship. Bodybuilding by definition is a very self-obsessed discipline, and for someone like me with inherenty reclusive traits this caused me to shut down completely to the outside world.

Because of my behaviour, things in our relationship hadn't been right for months, the only time I'd been able to stop obsessing over diet and exercise was during a brief holiday together, and it felt like a massive relief. Post-holiday normal service resumed and intensified, to the point where there was very little intimacy in the relationshop, and I rejected physical contact. It was late December last year that I again ended the realtionship, knowing full well that I was so lucky to be with someone so special, but feeling like a mental case that doesn't deserve happiness.

A few months on and I'm at the lowest point I've ever felt in my life, my exercise regime and dietary habits are at the most extreme they've ever been. I gain very little to no satisfaction from anything that I do anymore. I don't socialise at all, and have never been able to open up to family about my emotional or mental state. At work I am in a position where I am alone in a seperate building away from the main office, and can go the full 9 hours most days without almost any interraction. I frequently cry and fall asleep, and have very poor productivity. I'm not the sort of person who displays emotion subconsciously, and so I've been able to have small periods of interraction with other staff without seeming abnormal. I miss my girlfriend so much because I feel as if she's the only person that ever really understood me, but I can't erase the feeling that I'm not good enough for her, and it really stops me from trying to resolve things. My theory is that I'm experiencing depression, but I'm so scared to admit to anyone that I'm feeling this way. I was such a positive person before, but now I just feel like I have no redeeming qualities or anything to look forward to. Any advice would be gratefully received as I don't know where else to turn.

2 Replies

Hi there, i'm at work at the mo but I will post a reply for you by end of today....


Hi there,

One thing you need to realize is that everyone on this planet has certain good qualities in them. rich or poor, big or small, no one is born without them. you just not realized that you have good qualities in you that are your key strengths.

it seems like you need to keep a balance in your life. Its great news you like to keep active and that you have a full time job. i'm sorry to hear you feel low and have ended your relationship. I can understand how you feel about pushing people away because I too felt I wasn't worthy of their cause. That needs to be tamed and countered for your own good. there is no harm in having a gap so that you can find your ground but if you feel very vulnerable then may i suggest that long term isolation won't help.

Having someone special in your life is just about the most important aspect in your life to help to try and get better, as you have someone there you can trust and open up to, they understand you and want to help you because they want to but not because they pity or feel sorry for you. that is the distinction you need to make between the two, whilst the 1st is a selfless act of willingness the 2nd becomes an act of obligation. My advice is that if you still have feelings for her and want to maintain that relationship then maybe text her that you'd like to talk and maybe meetup or if it feels better then call her provided she will accept your call. maybe put in a brief text that you not been going through a good time in the past x number of years and you'd like to talk. you could tell her you only thought of her interests to end the relationship because of what you been through. i'm sure she will understand. bad relationship situations like these seem counter productive to our mental health but opening up about what you feel, what you been through is an important marque of trust in someone and the relationship and will strengthen the bond of that relation/friendship and through letting her in your life to help you will help you strike a better balance in you socially, and mentally.

With regards to your work, you have a full time job that is giving you an income so if you can stick it out then I strongly suggest taking counselling and opening up to your counsellor about what you are going through and where it all started. situations like these that lead to depression or isolation have a root cause maybe earlier in your life and you need to deal with that with the help of a counsellor or CBT therapist. try the private route if you can't wait for NHS. give that a try for a few months. changing jobs or career when you feel volatile maybe not be the wisest of all choices as you could make yourself worse but you need to make sure you have it within you to make that positive move to another job. I made a move to a new job during depression thinking its a good positive move but it didn't work out and i ended up leaving, again that was not the best move either.

you do gym workouts which is good but over doing it can develop into an obsession and you need to control that. look into other things that would keep you active. maybe volunteer where you meet people and get to talk helping your social interaction. if at any stage you feel in a certain way that is stopping you socialising then see if you are able to break it down why it's happening, what feelings you feel and where those feelings stem from, is it a situation you are in, does it stem from a bad memory in the past. this sort of feedback can not only help you untap your ability to greatly understand something but also help a therapist understand you better and give you advice on how to counter it. I did counselling and CBT therapy and it does help but you need to practice what they tell you and keep at it.

and keep one thing in mind you have no reason to be ashamed of anything or feel inferior to someone else, just be yourself and be proud. you are a human being and no one is expecting you be a super hero and never try to compare yourself to others, but prepare yourself objectively to be the best you can be. I have done a blog and I hope you will find some key advice in there for yourself to practice, as i do feel that I have gone through something similar to yourself.


If I can come out of severe clinical depression after a year, doing a fantastic full time job now, and going out with someone special who is a million dollars and makes me feel a million dollars then so can you dude! chin up and give this isolation and low esteem a weighty punch up so that it never returns back and don't give up trying to get better.

all the best!


You may also like...