I did a number on myself, didn't I? - Mental Health Sup...

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I did a number on myself, didn't I?


Often when I read about people's struggles with depression and (much harder to find) loneliness caused by shyness and an inability to form connections with others, I tend to find that most of those people are dealing with PTSD stemming from abuse or neglect in their childhoods. It makes sense that someone who was dealing with that type of violence, be it physical, emotional, mental, sexual or a combination of abusive behaviors, would struggle with making and maintaining cohesive relationships. Trust issues must abound and worry over triggering an outburst would make anyone overly cautious about getting involved with others.

Here's the thing with me: I did not experience any of that. When I say I had an idyllic childhood, I mean it. I would go back to being a kid in a heartbeat. My parents are the type of parents that sitcoms struggle to portray because they seem too good on paper, how can you make a 22 minute episode that's supposed to have some sort of tension when there isn't any tension to be found anywhere? I never worried about gaining their love or approval because I always knew i had it. Sure, they had to punish me when I didn't clean my room but it wasn't physical and more often than not, it was just me cleaning my room which would have fallen into such a state of disarray that cleaning it was punishment enough. My parents worked hard so that I got to attend good schools where I never had to worry about my safety or the safety of my classmates. Our teachers were mostly kind and cared for us above and beyond what most kids in regular schools here get.

Someone with that type of upbringing is supposed to go on and do well in life. No obstacles here....just my crippling shyness and inability to deal with failure that came out of nowhere. The shyness has always been part of me, I've said before that being quiet in school was mistaken for good behavior and the positive reinforcement I got most likely contributed a small bit to me continuing to be quiet later on in life. However, I can't lay my abject failure as a human being at my teacher's feet, that's not at all their fault. They thought I was a "good kid" when really, I was scared to be bad. I thought that bad kids ended up becoming bad adults and I didn't want that for myself. I was sure that I could be a success by being quiet, not knowing that eventually I would be expected to open my mouth and push out a personality. I thought my shyness was ok because I was smart and of course brains would always be appreciated even if they aren't loudly trumpeting themselves to anyone who cares to listen.

No, I can't blame anyone for how I am, I did this to myself. I crawled into being the quiet girl and couldn't stop until she became a sad, lonely adult. There is no joining a group for me (although, people, how are you joining anything now? There's a pandemic afoot.). I tried it once and it worked out with everyone else becoming lifelong friends and me commenting on their Instagrams every now and again. I don't deal well with that, I don't have anyone to listen to me cry about how I failed at yet another thing that everyone else seems to be able to do in their sleep. I know being this way isn't sustainable, when my parents die, I will be all alone and I am scared of what I will end up doing. I'm scared of being me, I'm also so tired of being me. I would be willing to do text therapy but it's not covered by insurance so I can't do it and I know that I can't talk to anyone about this. Saying this stuff out loud makes me cry and I refuse to cry in front of anyone but my mother. I never went through those normal developmental stages where one has friends that one goes to for support, which also means that I have never supported anyone through their own problems. I don't know how be an adult friend which is pathetic to say as a 46 year old.

I did this all to myself.

26 Replies

Hello. That must have been very hard to type. I am so sorry you feel this way. I like you had an idyllic childhood but still suffer with lots of issues as an adult that I can’t blame on anyone else. I have very few friends and avoid going out much as I constantly worry that I will say something that will upset people so avoid it to make it easier on myself. I wonder why we put all this pressure on ourselves? I wonder what it is that makes you feel so shy? What are we frightened of? Please don’t say you are pathetic - be kind to yourself. If you haven’t done something for most of your life then you will not have learnt the skills of how to do it. I don’t think you meant to be this way either. I wish I had some answers for you but you are not alone, lots of people feel like you. It’s how to find a way through and take baby steps to change. If you really want to change then you will make it happen. I haven’t been on here for a while. The first post I read is yours and it made me sit up and think about things. I’m not having a very good day today so I need to thank you for making me not feel so alone. Have you posted on here before? Maybe take some to read through some posts and see if you can get some ideas or inspiration from people. Please be kind to yourself and maybe you have taken the first step by reaching out and trying to change how you feel. 😊

Thank you for reading all of that. I've been on here for a few months now and there are plenty of kind people here who are always willing to listen. You are right, there are a lot (too many) of people who feel this way. It's debilitating and I suppose we all have to muddle through as best we can.

HiddenThis reply has been deleted
in reply to Hidden

Do you mean sad or angry? I'm guessing those are both "negative" emotions. Sure I got sad when a pet died and I would cry and my mom would hold me. I didn't really get angry as a kid because there wasn't anything for me to angry at. If you could explain more about what you as negative emotions I could give you a better answer.

HiddenThis reply has been deleted
in reply to Hidden

No there was nothing like that at home. If anything, my mother wanted me to express myself even more: emotionally and socially. I was always a shy person, even as a child. Expressing my emotions doesn't come naturally to me because that's how I am and not because of anything that happened as a kid. Although I do maintain that being rewarded for being quiet in school may have contributed a bit, I craved approval from adults, it might have something to do with being an only child and spending so much time around them.

Ok fair enough. x

You are stronger than you think. Just by posting this you are showing that you are ready to accept what has happened to you. I feel a lot of the same emotions and have trouble connecting with people.I don't think I am a bad person I just don't know if anybody else would like to be friends with me. Reply back and maybe we can be friends

Thank you. We can absolutely message each other here!

Maybe you are just a thinker like a lot of people are. Some people are naturally open and talkative some are quiet and don't talk much. You maybe should try to stop fighting it and accept it, doesn't mean you can't go out and work etc but it means that if you do go out you won't put so much pressure on yourself when you are with other people.

You come across as a very nice person yet you just seem to constantly pick fault with yourself.

Maybe if you thought more about how nice you are you might be more confident.

Stop putting yourself down.

Have a very good weekend.

No, there is nothing wrong with being a thinker but I'm so lonely it obliterates everything else in my life. It's painful to live this way, I don't know if I have the capability to love another person intimately because I have never had the chance. I hunger for a connection with other people, this is no way to live. Thinking is critical to existence but without connections, real life connections, I don't think it's worth living.

Life is always worth living no matter what.

I think you might make some friends on here, maybe if some live near to you it could end up offline, I hope so.

That would be lovely.

Yes it would be lovely..

Hello how are you ? I know meant and said leave you alone for a while.

Sometimes go in over drive and too many times with stories information and advice.

Understand the shyness the questions you have to ask your self are these.

By the way not a therapist learn told this by support worker mental health charities.

1. If you want to change right now what would you change.

2. Make a list of those faults we have them all of us from many stars of screen to music.

Create a way to render those faults is this going to be painful who is this for.

One way is to write it all down. I got told to do this by those supporting me . Bags boxes of stuff shredded dumped .

3. Have and create a list of advantages and disadvantages about the skills, abilities and talents you have.

4. List of these can see where to progress and create opportunities.

5. Make some brain storming ideas. All could be any high in the sky unreachable.

Anything you fancy wish to do daft silly make some plans.

6. Then on the list make small steps of ideas you could do these could be simple ones.

A quote if it is possible it will be done if it is impossible it could be done.

7. Think of ways to motivate your self hobbies interests help cooking crafts and anything to stimulate you.

Could be a part of anything that interests you.

I mean things period of history, politics, religion and any subject or theme.

This brings the person out of their comfort zone believe me seen this at Mental Health meetings.

Have to talk about a theme, subject, topic in front of member you have a support worker with you.

Just some points many people over come shyness.

One point further what exactly are the situations you are scared of.

My thoughts are if I am scared then I address these issues.

No matter how much costs health and much more.

Please think of making a plan of what would happen this if you thought shyness get in the way hinder you.

Scared something will happen.

So if it does what will you do.

Make a plan of scenario worst things.

Then identify what how to solve it.

Small steps .

If you want all the things opportunities you wish for then make it small to begin with and take your time, what is exactly is the worst can happen.

Mentioned last time volunteering please look at this on line services can do this from home. First thing helps confidence.

If you look at that does help.

I do understand told said a lot again but you have the power.

Please I am sorry the other day have and do been through a lot get reminders of my life so have to let go or make myself ill mentally.

Have to leave forums done this because it is hurting me.

Not every one has an ideal childhood sorry too upsetting long scars deep ones no one helped until mental health charities involvement.

I forget where ever you are must be local support women's group this is something all mental health charities have.

Am here if I can help further if this helps you.

Please take care

Thank you, that is all good advice. I hope I can implement some or all of it at some point. I'm sorry for the scares of your childhood, I wish everyone could at least have a happy childhood. Children are our most vulnerable members of society, it's not fair that they should suffer for our inadequacies.

Hi there. Through reading your post I felt I could relate quite a bit. I've also been really quiet throughout the school years and generally in life. I was always the "good kid" who was always nice and polite and never got into trouble. I couldn't be "bad" That just wasn't me and like yourself I was also scared to. Never had anything exciting to say. No personality whatsoever. Anytime I was around peers, I was always the one in the background listening to them talk. I felt shut out time and time again. I felt awkward and unable to express myself. And this continued into college, where I was shocked seeing everybody around me having the time of their lives and mingling and developing connections so effortlessly. *My roommate brought a girl over to our room after the first week or so of my freshman year and went down on her...I was struck dumbfounded to say the least haha. After a few years of struggling with crippling anxiety and depression I left and never went back. That was nearly 10 years ago.

Since then, I've been through many rough cycles of depression and anxiety and trying to come to terms with who I am. And the thing is it's ok to be who you are. Being a little shy or introverted is ok. That's just who we are. We don't try to seek out all that stimulation; we might be content with being at home reading a good book or watching a crappy movie, I certainly am. You know the saying, "the quietest people have the loudest minds" It might take a little while to warm up to people or for people to get to know us, but once that connection is made, it is not easily lost.

Could you join a meetup group of some sort. There are usually several events every week, though they are currently via zoom or some online video chat platform. You can easily search groups based on your interests. I am part of a social anxiety meetup and a couple of meditation groups. It gives me something to look forward to and it's a great way to meet people who share similar interests. If you'd like to talk more, feel free to shoot me a message. :)

in reply to Kainan_li

Thank you for the suggestion. I hated college, at least since I commuted to school I didn't have to have roommates.

in reply to alonensad

Yep that’s exactly what I ended up doing

in reply to Kainan_li

I think if I had resided in a dorm I would have ended up dropping out and never going back, at lest this was, I graduated.

Hi and thanks for writing this. It was really personal. Sometimes being unique gets lonely and if you add in sensitivity and sadness it becomes pretty unbearable. You don’t have to blame yourself for your situation because although you feel it’s your responsibility I am sure you did not just choose to be shy or to feel disconnected to certain people. At 46 you have a clarity some extroverts never get. You appreciate your parents and teachers, you made efforts to be social with others, and have the humility to look at yourself and see areas where you may not be perfect. You sound like a real person to me and perhaps that’s hard for others to accept.

in reply to Tikirob

Thank you. I'm sure that many extroverts have their own struggles and I would never presume to know what other people are going, especially now. At the very least, I need to appreciate the people I have in my life and those who have had a positive impact. Moving forward I hope that if I'm able to get to a place where I can socialize, that I continue to recognize those who brighten my day and the days of others.

in reply to alonensad

I have faith you will get there - wishing you the best in that journey.


I don't have this particular socializing problem (but I do have plenty of others haha).

In my case I found that I reached a point where I needed to stop trying to find the reason why I am the way I am and take action, because we can spend all our lives thinking but unless we take a first step nothing changes...action-reaction.

So maybe you could think of something you like and then you could look into joining some group related to that, that way you know you will be amongst like-minded people (e.g. a bookclub, walking group, etc etc).

Another thing to bear in mind is your language towards yourself, our words create our reality so if you keep saying things like "I did this to myself" or other things like that you end up believing it.

Anyway, you seem like a nice person and I'm sure you can make friends, you just have to take that first step. Good luck x

P.s. sorry about my English, it's not my first language.

in reply to Sasical

Your English is fine. Right now there are no groups meeting up anywhere for obvious reasons. I did try meeting up with some like minded people a long time ago and it was nice for awhile but they ended up forming close friendships among themselves and I didn't really gell with them as tightly. I'm loathe to try it again, I think I'm too quiet for group settings and I fade into the background. I know something has to change but I don't know how to go about it yet.

Don't give up, one day you will find someone somewhere. Even these groups online (like this one) you can little by little go chatting and make friends and then maybe one day you might coincide with one that is from your area.

The other thing I would suggests is that you don't expect to go from 0 to 100 very quickly. Slowly but surely is the way, don't give up! X

I think nearly everything as been said. I.. really feel for you darling it must be hell what you are going through.i was never like that but i was always the quiet one at school. i developed cancer in my spine at 43 years old i had worked hard all my life got a great husband 2 lovely kids and now 5 beautiful grandsons . it left me with disabilaties but with a lot of hard work after 18 months i was back on my feet again. then wham i realised all my friends were work friends and i had been retired through ill health so began to get depressed i spent a lot of time thinking i would never make friends again, until one day i saw an advert in the local paper asking people if they would like to come to a local craft group as i have always had an interest in crafts i decided to pluck up courage and go and it was the best thing i ever did. i then discovered social media and joined facebook i put up a profile and the rest is history all the kids that teased me because i was quiet at school got in touch i also joined lots of groups on there with the same interests has me i have made lots of friends old and new. im 64 years old so if i can do it I am sure it would help you . give it a go you are hiding behind a sreen at first so no one knows you just like being on here. hope things get better for you soon love take care . Anne xx

Thank you so much, you are a resilient person. I'm humbled that you would take the time to respond so beautifully, it means a lot to me.

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