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I can't function anymore


firebolt422
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I'm fifteen and I know I'm supposed to have my whole life ahead of me but right now I can't see why. A friend told me I make her into my therapist and she says she's okay with that but it's not fair to me and I can't stop thinking that that means she hates me, I annoy her, I'm a child and I make her into a mother she doesn't want to be and it hurts so much to think about, since I really love her, and I feel like all I am is my mental illnesses and I really am embarrassed to still be alive and I really, really, really just want to die. It's my birthday. I really want to die.

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Hello, firebolt, welcome :)!

I'm sorry you're feeling suicidal :(... But I'm also glad you came here to talk about it :).

It seems your low self-esteem and your overall attitude towards yourself don't allow you to believe others when they say positive things about you - also such as that they are OK with "being like your therapist". It's a pretty common problem, not just your "peculiarity", you can believe me. It's not easy to start to believe others when they express their care about you and their positive opinions, it needs "work" to get an appropriate self-esteem, but it's all possible (I'm one of many examples prooving it ;)). It needs many small steps and one of them is to try to accept when your friend says she's OK with helping you and supporting you. Offering support and listening to the friend when (s)he needs it - that's what all good friends do! Why should yours be different? She wants to be your friend, in other case she would just "let you go"... It could help to talk about this feeling (that it's not fair etc.) with her...

You mention your mental illness. What kind of illness is it? Have you been diagnozed? Have you been in treatment? Please, tell us more about your condition...

In any case, please do know that you're NOT the mental illness; you only have it - the same way we can have any other illness. When you have a flu, do you say about yourself that "you're the flu", that you're defined by it??

You also mention embarrassement. What is it realted to? "Being alive" is somehow too broad... What makes you feel this way, in particular?

Take care and, please, don't give up...

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I have anxiety and depression: I go to therapy and take Zoloft and Abilify. I have self injury and purging problems. She knows everything. I just so hate that she wants space, that I'm so clingy and pathetic to need her as often as I do and I'm so terrified she's going to leave me: I know she's going to leave me. I'm so high maintenance and she can't deal with it any more and God she really wants space and I don't know if I can give it to her: I'm such a drain, and she's relapsing with bulimia and she says she thinks she hurts me more than she helps and I don't know if that's true, and um, I'm embarrassed. Her telling me I treat her like a therapist, or that my self deprecating and constant apologies hurt her: I'm embarrassed I'm so fucked up. I'm very embarrassed that I continue to live with my mental illnesses instead of just... offing myself, um, to be blunt. I really want to, at this point.

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I hope you're already calmed down a bit and my words won't be somehow triggering to you...

You said also that you love her. Loving someone includes also respecting his/her needs. You need to define the "space" with her, to understand what she wants - now you don't understand it, you have only your fantasy distort by your illness - by the general negative thinking.

It's good that you're in treatment and I wish it will help you soon. I believe that you will talk about these problems and thoughts with the therapist soon... In the meantime, I'll try to give you a brief overview of your situation from a general perspective:

One of the basic problems of a big part of those who hate themselves (and it seems this applies to you, too) is that they derive their self-image from approval and love of others and when they don't get enough of what they need from them, they suppose they're bad, wrong, unlovable. Of course, it's a natural mechanism to some extent - but it's basically here to teach the child that he's lovable, but then, after childhood, we should be less dependent on the love (and other positive feelings) which others express towards us. The problem is that when somebody doesn't "learn" this "self-love" (and a kind of independence which arises from it) during childhood, because of his dysfunctional family, then it's much harder to achieve it later.

You need to know that there will always be some people not liking you and also some others liking you. And it's, of course, right when you want to be kind towards others and don't want to act awkwardly, but not for the reason "to make them all like you". It's up to them to decide if they do and when somebody doesn't, then he can have so diverse reasons but no-one of them means that you'd be "bad" and "should change". It just means that we have all our subjective preferences... (Of course, I don't apply this without limits - there are many kinds of intolerable behaviour (like crimes, obscenity, ...)... but I'm sure you're not doing anything of that kind, so...)

Meeting people with the idea "I'd like to convince them to like me" puts lots of pressure on you and makes you uncomfortable, so you can't feel fine about your behaviour (and also might seem odd to others).

Now, to your friend: We all have some (or sometimes just one) people (/person) we love and we care what they think about us, we want their support, approval, ... This is fine, but only to a reasonable extent. When you try to analyze your feelings, when you try to look at them “from the outside perspective”; can you see they’re irrational and exaggerated? When you imagine your friend to leave you or even to hate you, it seems to you like “the end of the world”, like the final reason for you to die. But your life is much more than “something being here to be approved and loved by that one person”! Your value doesn’t depend on what she say or do. Your value remains the same, the only thing that would change if her attitude / relationship to you changed, would be your emotions and your space for venting your problems; you would miss her, but you would have still the same reason to live and still the same value as a human being.

I don’t say by this that she will probably leave you!!! (Although not giving her the space she needs could possibly lead to this end, after some time - we cannot exclude this possibility.) But I’m trying to help you to realize that you would survive also this worse alternative; that also in case it would happen, you would be lovable and worth of care, help, support. There are surely other people who would offer this to you.

If rational thinking doesn’t help right now, at least try to distract yourself from the thoughts about death. Is there something that can sometimes make you feel better and is unrelated to the friend?

Take care!

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She said she needs space, but that doesn't change her opinion of me and that she needs space from everyone, not just me and she has no plans to leave me. I can't not think she's saying that to make me feel better, but it helps. I know objectively I shouldn't care as much as I do, but I love her, so I care about what she thinks about me a great deal. I feel sort of better now. I still have the suicidal thoughts that I always have, but um, they're alleviated since I talked to her just now and a different friend let me cry into her for a little and didn't make me explain why, so that was nice. I'm lucky to have a support system.

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Hello, firebolt, and welcome to the community. :) Was yesterday your birthday? I hope you were able to find some joy on your day. I'm sorry you have been feeling upset and sad.

All of us have different needs for intimacy and closeness and also space within relationships. I am like you and often want closeness, even in my friendships. I know it can feel like rejection when the other person doesn't share the same need. That person is respecting their own needs, though, and that doesn't reflect on you or speak to how they feel about you. It means they are taking care of who they are and what they need, which is a beautiful thing. When each partner takes care of themselves within the relationship, this is a very positive thing for the relationship. I hope you won't be too hard on yourself, firebolt. I'm in my 40's, I've been married for over 2 decades, and I am still learning in my marriage and in my friendships.

Anxiety and depression can be such a struggle. It's great that you are getting help for yourself. All of us have things that we struggle with during our lives. I do too. Hopefully we can learn together. I hope you will be gentle and kind with yourself.

Take care.

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Thank you for the kind words. It still hurts to be clingy, because I know it'll drive her away: the power is always in the person who cares less, I think the quote goes. I think I'm taking the steps to get better that don't put the pressure on her: I made an account her, I bought a diary, they're upping my meds. I still feel suicidal and I still hate myself, but the hysterical crying is over now. I feel ashamed that I hurt her by being too close, I feel very guilty for that. I'm sure if I think about it long enough, I'll cry some more, but right now I'm okay. Thank you again: it means a lot to me. My birthday was less than stellar, but I think I can manage now. It helped to talk to her again afterwards, and she told me she saw me as more than... well, a side-show freak. She sees more in me than I see in myself and I have to keep reminding myself that or I'll just explode again.

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Why are you labeling yourself 'clingy?' In truth, I sometimes worry that I might be a little 'clingy.' I'm aware that I have a fear of loss, so the thought does enter my mind sometimes. I agree that it's painful to think this about ourselves. Maybe it's okay to give yourself a break, though? You have needs, as all of us do.

How do you feel about yourself, firebolt?

I hope your night is serene. Take care.

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I care more about her than she cares about me: I'm always going to be the one trying harder to communicate than she'll try. I just think my needs and her needs shouldn't conflict like they do: I shouldn't need more of her, while she needs less of me.

I really hate myself. I have a lot of self image issues, that I objectively know are wrong but I just can't stop feeling like the ugliest, fattest, parasite of a person. I take and take from people and I can never give anything back, and I'm just so awful. I'm dramatic and an ashtray of a person and just so revolting. I objectively know these thoughts are so ridiculous, that I'm mediocre and substandard and all that, but surely I'm not the ~worst~ in the world. But it sure as hell feels like I'm the worst.

It's hard because she's relapsing with her own mental illnesses, and I feel like, because she needs different things than I do, such as time alone to work things out, that I'm a horrible friend, that I can't be there for her like she's there for me and even when she does talk about how she feels, I never know what to say. I'm very horrible. I just wish I could help her like she helps me, and that she wouldn't hate me. I'm worried and confused and scared.

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One thing to be aware of, firebolt, is your self-talk. It is very critical and harsh. Have you ever tried to be compassionate with yourself? It takes some practice at first, but it is okay to be gentle and kind to yourself.

I take and take from people and I can never give anything back, and I'm just so awful.

Sometimes it helps to work with a distortion until you see things differently, and more realistically. Are you certain you don't give back? Sometimes giving and receiving are more complex than they appear. For instance, you might be giving by allowing yourself to receive. A moment such as right now for me might seem like I'm only giving as I support you. But, when I give and try to comfort another person who is hurting and that person accepts my care, I receive a great deal. Make sense? Can you think of some ways that you are a giving person?

....because she needs different things than I do, such as time alone to work things out, that I'm a horrible friend, that I can't be there for her like she's there for me and even when she does talk about how she feels, I never know what to say.

Sometimes the best way to be there for someone is to simply be there. It can be very comforting to know a friend is there to listen and stand by you.

I care more about her than she cares about me: I'm always going to be the one trying harder to communicate than she'll try.

Is this an accurate statement, do you think, or could it be another distortion? If it does feel that you have to try harder to make the relationship work, maybe branching out and enjoying other friendships that are more equal would be a positive thing?

I'm wondering what your situation is like at home. Are your parents supportive? How are things for you aside from your struggles in this relationship? How is school? Friendships?

I'm sorry you are feeling down. :( We are here to support you.

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Firebolt - I was very much like this when I was younger. It can be excruciating trying to measure up to your own standards. And that's okay - but like IrmaJean says, try being a little compassionate towards yourself.

You're using a lot of negative words directed at yourself - you sound like a worthy, caring friend. Anyone who is going through a mental crisis that has someone to talk to is already in a better place. Just by listening, not judging, you are doing your friend a great service. Sometimes we all wish we could do more than we should. We all wish we could be a little different inside. The big turning point for me was when I stopped being so harsh with myself.

I hope you're doing better in these coming days.

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It hurts a lot because I feel like because I need her to help validate myself, I need her to tell me she doesn't hate me and I'm not all the things I say I am, not because I'll believe her when she says it, but if she doesn't I think it confirms my self hatred? And that's so much pressure she doesn't need. I feel like such baggage she doesn't need, which is why I can't believe she's okay with being my therapist. It hurts to feel unneeded, and when she does need me, I'm incapable of doing anything but sitting and listening and apologising, and that's hardly helpful: it feels like I frustrate her. And it's not fair that she has to watch me spiral more and more into sickness, since she looks for progress and I can't give her that. I make promises to stop cutting and stop purging and I rarely am able to keep them. My parents kind of allow me to isolate myself, which I'm okay with, and I do have other friends: just nobody knows as much as she does, so nobody helps me like she does. Everyone knows I'm sad, but she's the one who knows the specifics and just how much I despise myself. Thank you again for the kind words, I am just so impossibly insane.

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Impossibly insane? Nah. I did a lot of what you are doing now when I was younger. It's rough. It hurts like hell. Honestly, if you were able to get counseling now you could start down that long, long road to recovery. But I understand if you're not there yet. Opening up like that is admitting to yourself and your loved ones that you need help. That's very hard to do. I could never do it when I was younger. Though I'm glad I did decide to get help at some point.

In the meantime, you DON'T NEED her to validate you. That's a weight you yourself are adding to your emotional turmoil. I know it feels shitty though. Self hatred breeds from deep inside ourselves - even if you look calm, reasoned and lovable on the outside it can consume you inside. It's important to realize that this is all brought on by internalizing everything. Holding ourselves up to impossibly high standards. And always feeling like not only can we not meet our standards, but those around us as well.

Most often, this is not the case. Believe me, I know it's hell sometimes. The only way out is to go straight through it - and that means someday confronting it - not just languishing in it. You'll get there someday. Hopefully sooner than later. In the meantime, feel free to let it all out here. I'm also part of many support groups over at dailystrength.org - it's a bit more active. But this is a great place to lie low and just let it out.

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I'm in therapy, the problem is, my anxiety makes it really difficult to talk about things that hit too close to home. I can talk about hating myself, punishing myself, and thinking I deserve this hell I'm in, but I can't go into the specifics like I do with her (purging, cutting, burning). Thank you for the link: I'll be sure to use it. I just need to get it through my thick skull that I can't rely on her, that that isn't fair to her, and I need other places to steam off my angst. So I'll definitely look there and try not to embarrass myself too much.

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Yes, I hear you. My anxiety makes it tough for me to share as well. There are still things that I don't open up to anyone about, I just journal and write - a lot. But I'm getting better at it. Those anxieties - like you said - are about things that are too close to home. Those are fears and insecurities that you have yet to come to terms with. Things that you are afraid to address. And that's fine. We all have those deep insecurities. My epiphany came when I decided to recognize those fears, face them and discover their underlying motivations - and do it honestly. Even if I didn't share it with anyone else, I shared with myself. And even if I'm not actively working on addressing those specific fears - I know that they're there. And I know that I will, in time, face them when I'm ready. I horribly insecure and afraid of loneliness. Of being alone with myself, because that means looking at some pretty bad stuff. And accepting responsibility for it. And ultimately, being okay with it. In time, that will allow me to love myself. Because I know now that as long as I cling to others for my self worth, I'll continue to place my heart in harms way. And will only hurt myself and those I love.

You'll get there. Take your time, but always try to be honest, with yourself at least. That is the one thing that I ran from for sooooo many years. Eventually you'll begin to share that with your therapist. And the real healing can begin.

I wish you the best of luck. Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions, or vent, or whatever. It may take me a day or two to respond, but I do care and have the best of intentions. I want to help - and most importantly, provide hope or inspiration, or whatever it takes for you to believe that someday you'll be okay!

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Thank you.

I'm just so absolutely terrified of her leaving me, of her hating me, because I need other people to validate me, because I can't validate myself. I just honestly hate myself and spend every living moment trying to understand why other people even tolerate me. And then I think it's pity and then I just go insane, really. I feel like such a horrible, clingy person. I make promises to her that I can't keep, and I make them because I don't want her to leave me. I think they trigger me, making the promises to get better, because I don't want to get better because I think I deserve agony.

It's very hard to talk about. Thank you. It's nice to feel understood.

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I just like to add "Ditto" to everything David said. And I love how you expressed things, David. I'm on board with changing the world the way you describe.

Do you see any place for social advocacy of some sort? I guess maybe you're focusing on getting the word out that recovery from abandonment fear and early narcissistic injury, etc., really is possible? (I know it is, too, but it's been long, awful rough and "the system" hasn't always helped.) Anything that you would like people to help you with, apart from spreading the word about your website?

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Really I just want people to see that mental illness is something that you can live with. Yes, it's hard. But it isn't hopeless. Before my life entered this most recent tailspin I had everything a man could want. I just couldn't be happy with it. Now I'm losing my wife of 20 years and I realize that while I've been recovering, I haven't been actively living with my depression and anxiety so much as I've just hid from it. Meds and therapy kept me from feeling happy or sad - so I figured that was better than being depressed. But it isn't. I'm facing my fears and insecurities in an attempt to better manage my illness' - not run away from them. Of course I'm going to get sad and anxious - I realize that happiness and pain, joy and sadness, they are opposite sides of the same coin.

I really think there needs to be a platform for survivors to interact, openly, to provide insight, advice and to advocate. And we need to educate young adults, students, young professionals. Plant the seeds of acceptance, tolerance and understanding early on. At some point in the future I hope those of us who are living proof can find a voice and create a wave of change. Start chipping away at the stigma. At the embarrassment and shame. Where is our little pink ribbon? Where's the pride in being a survivor? 1 in 4 - that's a huge chunk of the populace that could be effected by mental illness. And yet, those who are diagnosed often feel like a second-class citizen. And they're afraid to tell people about themselves. Afraid they'll be seen as weak. Crazy. Unstable.

sorry to hijack your thread firebolt. DD - I'm not sure what else I can do. I'm starting out by sharing my past experiences, to let others see what I've been through, then when I get to present and to my future, they will see that, yeah, I've been through some shit. And yeah, it still effects me. But I don't let it control me. Not anymore. Sometimes it's hard. I've been in a deep depression for the last several days. But I know it will pass. And that's the big difference this time around.

Firebolt - I lived exactly as you are now for most of life. I can tell you that it can get better. But it is difficult. And it starts by slowly being okay with who you are. I know right now you feel like you deserve agony. Like you are a horrible, unlovable person. But you deserve the same love and freedom from suffering that any one else does. At the core, we are all only human beings. We all just want happiness and love. Some connection or bond with other people. And that starts from loving yourself. As hard as it sounds, it's true. That's why it is do difficult. We are our own worst enemies, our most vocal critic. But it is possible. One step at a time. One day, when you're ready, I hope you'll take those first few steps. Until then, take care, and always feel free to talk about things. It helps everyone involved.

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