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A 20 something female's lifelong experience with mental disorders and messed up situations


smudged
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Hello everyone. I'm here because I want to tell my story. I really need to get this out and many of these things have never been told to anyone except my diary.

I'm a 24 year old female who's dealt with depression, ADD, eating disorders, self-mutilation and drug addiction for most of my life. My father, the only man in my life who loved, supported and was affectionate to me, suddenly passed away a couple months ago from a massive heart attack. To say the least, it was devastating and has changed me. I have been feeling very depressed and emotionally desperate for attention and support lately. I have always been the strong one, my sister was always the emotional/dramatic one. I feel myself crumbling when left alone to think. I get lost in thoughts that are nothing but hopeless, it drags me further into isolation and away from getting help.

I am scared to live in some ways and also scared to die. Being faced with my own mortality after my Father's passing has made more driven to accomplish more and build a new life for myself. However, I feel crippled because I can't speak out and talk about what has happened to me in the past, particularly my dark side and the guilt I feel.

I was an overweight child who wasn't diagnosed with ADD and given a prescription until my junior year of highschool. I was teased all the time and yearned to be thin and accepted. I was ignored and unimportant when I was overweight, I was uncool. I began taking ADD meds mainly because they made me lose weight and helped me wake up in the morning. I was so depressed I would fake sick all the time to avoid going to school, I also couldn't wake up in the mornings because I stayed up all night.

I abused my medication and began to experiment with anorexia. I didn't like starving myself because food was a comfort for me, so I became bulimic when I was 17. The bulimia worked like a charm, I dropped the weight fast. The problem was keeping it off. I started to exercise obsessively until I ended up losing over 45 pounds in a 3 month period. Suddenly, I was liked and accepted at school. The boys who used to taunt me an call me fat were now flirting with me and checking me out. It really ruined my self esteem because I hated what I was doing to myself but I was satisfied that I was finally getting attention. I started to cut myself on my legs when the emotions were so strong and overwhelming that I couldn't sleep and all I could think about was killing myself or running away.

Soon, I turned to drugs to help cope with the damage I was doing to myself with my eating disorders. I started smoking weed, experimented with cocaine, ecstasy and mushrooms. I was stealing money from my parents and selling my clothes to get money for drugs. I became more reckless and looked for any drugs to ease my pain and give me an escape. Sex also became another drug for me to abuse. I lost my virginity to one of my sister's friends in his garage when I was 17, he was also my pot dealer. I became promiscuous and wasn't safe with some sexual partners. I ended up getting the HPV virus because of this. That was also very emotionally damaging because I had to talk to my parents about it and deal with the shame and responsibilities of having an STD. It is still something that haunts me to this day.

A couple of things happened that eventually ended up contributing to breaking my vicious cycle of self-abuse. One of my friends who I had known since the 6th grade ended up accidently overdosing on oxycontin and alcohol the weekend before the first day of college started for us. The teacher of my first scheduled class in college read my friends name off the class attendance list. My heart dropped because no one answered and I knew why. I was already emotional unhinged and now that one of my friends suddenly died from an drug overdose, I pretty much lost it. I really let myself go after that. I checked out emotionally and physically and I ended up failing my first year of college. I really hit rock bottom when I was waking up not knowing what happened the night before except for short time lapses.

I also fell in love with a pick-up artist who promised me the world and instead went on to lie, cheat and rip out my heart when I was only 21 and he was 28.(I knew him since I was 10 yrs old and he was my next door neighbor.) He destroyed any ounce of self-respect I had left and crushed my hopes of finding real love and being happy. He made me question everything about myself- Who I was and why. What was my purpose of living?

Since then, I quit all the drugs except for pot. I became an A student and have been pursuing my dream of being a professional artist. I stopped partaking in my eating disorder and found a boyfriend who supported and accepted me. I found myself feeling normal and not depressed. It was amazing for awhile but now things have changed.

Back to where I started...my Dad unexpectedly passed away a couple months ago. It has emotionally unhinged me yet again. I feel like I'm back to where I was years ago. I feel myself wanting to hurt myself, wanting to do anything to get rid of the pain and emptiness in my heart. I have an urge to scratch myself and watch myself bleed when I'm in moments of high anxiety and sadness. I have purged a few times when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I find myself obsessing about the relationship with my boyfriend and the validity of our love. I find negative in everything and I obsess. I am very hard on myself.. I feel very alone and have been thinking about suicide again. It's so scary having thoughts like these on a regular basis and feeling like no one understands. I feel like I can't talk to anyone. I'm not close with my family. My boyfriend is the only person who talks to me on a regular basis but even he doesn't understand what I've been through. I don't know what to do anymore and I'm desperate for answers but don't want to speak up about myself. I feel like people don't want to talk about "depressing" things and avoid conversations about it. I have many "friends" but no one who I can truly open up to and pour my heart out. I'm crippled with fear, sadness and lonliness and I hate that. Where do I even start?

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You've open up here, smudged, and expressed your feelings. Thank you for sharing yourself and your story with us. Self-expression and the confrontation of painful feelings is a place to start. Welcome to our community. I'm sorry for the loss of your father. :( I'm sorry that you are hurting so much. :( You've been through a tremendous amount in your life. Have you ever spoken with a professional about your struggles? I think it's understandable that in your grief, you have found yourself coping in ways that you have in the past. Grief can be such a rocky road, and especially difficult when the loss is sudden and unexpected, as the loss of your father has been.

I feel myself wanting to hurt myself' date=' wanting to do anything to get rid of the pain and emptiness in my heart.[/quote']

I hear you, smudged. Have you tried offering gentle comfort and compassion to yourself during these painful moments? It helps me to think of my love for the person and how that love always stays with me. That's one way I feel always connected with someone I have lost. There are places they touched in me and light that they brought out in me and I can always go back and touch them there. Everyone has to find their own way to healing and what works best for them.

I have an urge to scratch myself and watch myself bleed when I'm in moments of high anxiety and sadness. I have purged a few times when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

When you feel this urge' date=' maybe try using a form of distraction until the feeling passes. You could write down your feelings, call a friend, post here, take a walk. I often talk to myself in a comforting voice when I am feeling distressed and upset. Therapy might also help you to learn new methods of coping with your pain.

I am very hard on myself.

This is something to be aware of. When my inner critic starts playing up or I catch my own distorted thoughts, I try to remember how I might treat a friend who was in a similar position. i would naturally treat them with respect and gentle compassion. I hope you can be gentle with yourself, smudged. This hurts and you need kindness now.

I have many "friends" but no one who I can truly open up to and pour my heart out. I'm crippled with fear' date=' sadness and lonliness and I hate that.[/quote']

Support during the stressful times of our lives can be invaluable. Have you ever tried opening up to your friends? Maybe they might be receptive and offer you comfort and care?

I hope you feel better. Take gentle care.

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Smudged - I know how you feel. On top of dealing with mental issues, to lose a parent, or any loved one - it's almost debilitating. Like ImaJean said - therapy can be a great outlet. Or local support groups - for grieving, depression or anything else. It can be hard to talk to friends or other loved ones because you feel so alone. And you feel like you'll be judged, or they won't understand. Exposing that part of yourself is very scary. Many of us can't or won't do it. But you won't know for sure until you start to open up to people. Some may get uncomfortable when you talk about it - others you know you can't talk to them about it.

Which is ironic considering the statistics regarding mental and behavioral health. 1 in 5 adults are likely effected by some form of mental illness - that's 20% of our population. Which means we all know someone, or at the very least know someone who knows someone that is effected.

I'd encourage you to seek counseling or therapy. Look into local support groups, and keep posting on forums like this where you have a voice. And where others will listen. I'm in the process of telling my story too. I'm at the point that I hope that my story will encourage others and begin to chip away at the negativity and the fears that are often associated with mental illness. At first only the afflicted will listen. But I hope to one day be able to help others learn to cope with loved ones who suffer mental illness. I hope to someday help make it okay to be depressed. It isn't any different than cancer or any other disease, except that it's in our brain. And by varying degrees it can be managed to great success. Why should we be ashamed? If you're interested, here's a link to my blog: http://theicygripoffear.tumblr.com/ I mix current news items with my own stories. It's pretty unorganized right now, I'd love feedback though.

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Thank you both for your support. I have held in emotions and bottled them up for so long, I finally felt I had to let them out and I decided to post in this community because it was better than nothing.

I have thought about going to a therapist before but I often put it aside because I'm so busy. I have managed to put many of my problems on hold because I'm in school full-time ( it's been like that since I graduated high school). When you're so occupied with finishing assignments and projects, you really don't have any time to yourself, let alone having enough time to go to a therapist on a regular basis. I also work on top of my school schedule so that just adds to it. It's just very overwhelming.

I also forgot to mention in my post that my Father passed away a week before I was scheduled to leave on a two-week study tour to Italy with my University classmates. I ended up going on the Italy tour because my Father paid for the trip as an early graduation gift (I'm graduating this December) and I knew he would've wanted me to go regardless. I was at my Father's wake and funeral just two days before I had to leave the country. I was planning my Dad's wake and funeral, when I should've been happily preparing to be in Italy for two weeks. I had always dreamed of going to Italy, so the trip was something I was looking forward to for a very long time . It was a very surreal time for me, I felt like I was in a daze. The trip helped me cope with the pain but it also made me miss him even more. It brought up feelings that I hadn't thought about before. For example, I began to realize that my Dad wouldn't get to hear about my trip, he wouldn't get to see me graduate, he wouldn't be there when I get married or have kids. He wouldn't be there anymore and it sunk in more with each passing day, as it still continues to... I know it's normal to think these things, it's bitter sweet.

Dealing with my Dad's sudden death while juggling school, work and my social life..just became a nightmare I couldn't wake up from. I'm proud to say I managed to get all A's despite missing 2 weeks of school (Took off one week after my Dad passed and one week for the Italy trip, my University's spring break was during the 2nd week of the Italy trip, so I technically didn't miss that) I have become more independent and realize that I have to grow up and not rely on my mom to always help me out financially. I want to further my education and go for a Master's degree. I want to get better, I just cripple myself with my emotions sometimes.

I don't know if I mentioned above, my focus in school is Art. Art has always been a way for me to escape and find refuge from my problems. However, after the spring semester ended I really didn't have any enthusiasm to make anything. I'm trying to channel my pain into my artwork but it's difficult to open up and truly show my pain. It's difficult to manage but I am getting by a day at a time. After I graduate in December, I'm hoping I'll have time to see a therapist or join some kind of support group. Right now I'm just trying to finish my Bachelor's degree, apply for Graduate school and save money so I can move out with my boyfriend.

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