What is wrong with me?

I am 21 years old and I don't remember the last time I was happy. I am close to my family and have one good friend but apart from that I find it hard to be around people. I have been unemployed for 3 years (never actually had a proper job) and I'm finding it really hard to find a job. I spend a lot of time in my room because I feel safe there. I went on two work experience placements last year and the first one I was in the front office. Every time somebody walked through the door I panicked and I was too scared to answer the phone. I was bullied through my whole school life and have always found it hard to make friends. I look at other people my age and wish that I had what they had. The jealousy and hate that I have towards people scares me sometimes. I have never been in a relationship. I went on a couple of dates but if they tried to touch me in any way, even on the hand, I panicked so I hate being touched. I find it hard to keep eye contact with people. I can't sleep and when I do I have a lot of bad dreams and when I'm trying to fall asleep I keep thinking about different childhood memories and think about things that depress me. I can't help it. I am a smoker and now I smoke about 30 cigarettes a day because it's the only thing that relaxes me.

I'm worried that I have a mental illness because for the last 5 years I have been unemployed and only managed to keep one friend and I feel like it's never going to change.

I've been to my doctor's surgery a couple of times the last couple of years but they've done nothing to help. I want to go back but I'm worried because I'm worried that they will think I'm wasting their time.

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9 Replies

  • Hi Caroline!

    I am a 35 year old male and I understand the majority of symptoms that you have. I at age 21 struggled very hard too in certain ways and no one seemed to have the answer or care. Now I can really sympathize with what you are feeling, and hopefully my answers help you understand a little. I want you to remember a very important fact, I wish somebody had told me this! But the human brain isn't finished growing until we are 25 years old, did you know that? Which is a wonder they want us to be totally grown up before that time!

    However, it is a change in brain chemicals from stressful environments that make us feel sad and depressed, and that leads to pulling away from people (anti-social behavior). We then become afraid to touch or love. Guess what? It doesn't mean that anything is actually wrong with you... it means you've been feeling too much pain through this part of your life - an overload. Sure, you may feel like hell and cannot find any enjoyment at all, but don't beat yourself down! It is a reaction to the environment, not necessarily the fault of the individual. We tell ourselves that it is our fault and it only leads to a downward depression spiral. As a sufferer of clinical depression, I go through it a whole lot. You may find that an anti-depressant works for you, or you might not. Great info to ask around here, lots of help.

    My really tough times also started with unemployment. Makes a person feel really sad when they cannot work, as work many times gives us a purpose, a very valuable point for being - and without it, we aren't too sure why we are alive. Times are tough in the world right now! Only the sharpest and most educated even get the chance to work where I live and it is the same in many parts of the world right now. Many people feel like you feel at this very moment in time. It won't make you feel better right now, but it helps to know that you are not the only one suffering. That is why websites like this exist, so you can chat, get opinions, help and suggestions. We're here when the rest of the world isn't. Please keep talking on here and don't stop trying to make everyday a better day! -Scott

  • Hi, my name is Stacie and I am almost 20, I had a very similar problem 2yeArs ago,I couldn't leave my house with out panicking and thinking that everyone was staring at me and that something bad was going to happen to me mainly because when I was younger everytime I went out o my own something bad did happen. And then I moved away from home thinking it would make things better but it didn't. I then started to develop social anxiety and depression when I couldn't even go into a shop not even with my sister and that's when things got scary for me and I knew I had to do something about it. I started to go to the doctor and they told me what they thought was wrong with me and gave me anti depressants and sent me to counselling which helped me alot! Although I don't recommend anti-depressants. After 3sessions of counselling I started to feel better. I relied on my family support alot but it was very hard for them to understand what I was feeling, and I managed to get a small job waitressing which helped ALOT! I found that putting my self in the situations that i felt panicked it in helped show me that nothing bad was actually going to happen. And cutting selfled off from social situations made things alot worse. So even if you start going to a supermarket with your mum or someone every week and then build it up to going out for a short walk everyday and just keep pushing yourself because them main key I found was that I had to be willing to give it everything thing I had to beat it :) and as for the boyfriend part, that will just come naturally to you believe me I was the same but then I met my boyfriend and he understands everything that's going on which helped me alot. Don't worry hun there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you need someone to talk to just message me :)

    I hope I helped xoxo

  • Hi, Okay just go back to your GP and say that you would like to be referred for some therapeutic support

    before the situation gets out off hand - a GP works for the NHS and have to listen to you cut it short when you see them tell him/her you have anxiety which prevents you from getting work and you require support

    learning and adjusting to the feelings you have. (Fear is a different thing so dont get confused with that)

    Once you see a professional you can talk through all your feelings and hopefully they can offer you the support you required at this time in your life. So make that appointment today you must try not to loose your confidence, just because you have not found your job or way in life yet that does not mean you are

    not a human being so girl get going seek the support you require. Copy what you have written and take it with you and give it to your GP to read if you dont like talking to them always find away around things that you can cope with. (one final note:nobody is better than you stop looking and comparing yourselve to other people everybody has things that they have to overcome in life )

    I hope you get the support your require also you could go down to local charity shop and work for free if need be dont stay in your bedroom thats not good for you at 21 life is for living.

    lov jue1xx PS good start writing down your feelings though very well written.

  • Oh I forgot please give up the fags??? you know you want to--- he he juex

  • Work I think can be a good distraction to depression but sometimes having a lousy job and knowing you have, makes it worse. On the other hand I wouldn't try anything too challenging or overwhelming. Perhaps a good secretarial job would suit but clearly you're not ready to be in the spotlight as the reception job naturally is all about presentation. I don't know if you have it in your area, but there are organisations, such as Work Solutions (I think) that can place you with employers that will recognise your issues and maybe in some way accommodate them. See what's available in your area.

  • Hi Caroline, I see you are new to the forum so welcome :). Everyone here is really friendly and helpful! :).

    I don't ever want to say anything that would scare anyone or speak out of turn, but perhaps you could look into being tested for Asperger's Syndrome..? This is what I have (I'm 24) and it sounds like you have several AS traits. The traits I've noticed from your post are:

    Panicking when someone touches you on a date (this was the biggest flag I noticed)

    Not being able to make eye contact (another tell of AS),

    Finding it hard to make friends,

    Getting incredibly anxious at work and feeling like you can't do the job,

    Feeling most safe in your own room and therefore spending a lot of time there.

    I think you should contact your GP and ask him if he can put you forward for an Asperger's test.

    And just so you know, it's not a bad thing to have and many people have been diagnose with it. Susan Boyle has it other famous people such as Dan Aykroyd and it can come in very mild forms. AS is about learning about yourself and knowing your limits and once you learn this it is easier to live with. It was a relief for me to be diagnosed with it because it meant I understood why I was different. It's always better to know who you are.

    Best of luck. And if you need to talk don't be afraid to message me :) xx

  • Thank you for all the replies. I am going to take all of your advice and contact my GP.

  • That's great to know Caroline. Just be honest with your doctor and don't minimise anything ok? What I mean is, it's so easy to dull your feelings down when describing them to someone else because they sound extreme otherwise and some of us are scared to admit how bad those feelings are. But being completely honest allows the doctor to see the extent of things and to give you the help you need.

    Good luck. And maybe let us know how you get on?


  • First off, there is no reason to be ashamed if you have a mental disability! After you visit your doctor and if you do have clinical depression, etc. You will be surprised at how many people in your life do have it already. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and I take meds for both. I was shocked to find out my best friend had it! Along with several other friends that I have... They kept it a secret because of the stigmatism that is related to it. But the only way people will learn about it is if we, who have it, teach them about it. We need to keep them from being ignorant of the fact that it is a chemical inbalance in the brain and that they need to understand that. I have had a really hard time with my work because there are times that I am soo depressed that I can't get out of bed in the morning. But my doctor was gracious enough to send in paperwork to my employer of my health conditions and that they need to be compassionate of my situation. She if filling the paperwork out now and I will give it to my boss. I will let you know what happens next.

    But please, don't stop fighting. You need to get out and meet people and, maybe, even volunteer somewhere. That way you can see how valuable your services are to your community. That way you will feel much better about yourself and that you are needed in life! I volunteer at a horse rescue and that makes me feel good about myself! Cause I am instrumental in helping those horses get back into shape and to finding them a good home!

    And you will see how valuable you are as well....chin up!


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