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TW: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Hi there,

I'm a 20 year old male living in Queensland. I have always struggled with self-worth and my emotions because they have never been my ally. Running away through substance abuse and binge eating had always helped me in my time of need to feel good and I took every opportunity I could to change my 'unbearable' feelings. I would like to share my feelings with you guys so I can feel more understood and get things out. This is my first time sharing on a forum and whilst I feel I have adequate words to describe my feelings, some terms I use may seem a bit vague.


As a child, I grew up being a compulsive liar and that habit is still with me today, my parents divorced when I was 5/6 years old and both my parents moved up the coast from New South Wales. As a young child, I often enjoyed being with my mother more as she was more relaxed and her house was more comforting to me although I used to have distress when I would have to go to my father's house. I spent weekends with my father. My father was not physically abusive but I was always scared of my father because of his quick knee-jerk reactions and the outburst that he could have. I always saw my father as a scary man, I felt intimidated and I would actively count down the hours until I would see my mother was a common thing. I would get anxious to leave my father's and go to my mother's and that cycle would repeat every week for years. I never felt secure with my dad as a child and I believe that some of my struggles arise from these times. I would make mistakes, I would lie, I wouldn't do something the 'right' way and my father would yell and get angry at me, yell at me, pick me up and shake me sometimes and then when he had calmed down, everything would be fine. 

When I became a teenager, my mother stopped spending time with me and started focusing on her relationship with her partner (who I had met when I was 7 years old, they are now married and I live with them) and left both my sister and I to fend for ourselves. During primary school holidays and some days at school, lunch was not made and we never really had food prepared to eat, so my sister and I went without. When I started to go through high school, I struggled a lot with who I was and my own self-identity. My mother rarely made herself available and I would often have to go to her to spend time with her and she was always with her partner which, I believe, was something I didn't like. I could never talk to my mother or be open with her. Even now, I see my mother as a close friend, I love her but I think of the things she has put me through and I hold a lot of contempt for her. I believe I've blocked out most of these feelings because of the pain they have given me in the past. I don't believe she loves me because her way of showing it is very strange.

At High School, I would uncontrollably try to make people laugh and I was a huge 'people pleaser'. I wanted people to like me and I wanted to be accepted but I felt anything but. Every time I reflect on my High School times, I think about what was going on through my head when I acted in these ways and I never truly wanted to be that person. I wanted to be in control, I wanted to be relaxed and I wanted to be nice and kind. Instead, I was the boisterous, obnoxious, unlikeable, arrogant and abrasive type. I felt ashamed about the way I acted and since leaving High School, I think I have tried to block out many of the painful memories I have in High School. My 8th grade teacher disliked me and I went through suicidal thoughts and major depression for the first time when I was 12/13 years old. I also started binge eating around this time. My school also used computers instead of pen and paper, so I would never do my classwork and I would always be playing games on my school laptop. I was a member of the Student Council and Vice-Captain of my School Sports House in Primary School but I dropped off completely and lost all interest when I got into High School. I am a heavy procrastinator and I find that my laptop use is a huge part of my time-wasting and life because I get distressed and anxious when I have to separate from it. I was also heavily addicted to playing FIFA video games when I was 14/15 years old to the point where I stole my parent's credit card information to pay for in-game points and was kicked out of my mother's house to live with my dad.

I ran away from my father's house when I was 16 and avoided him entirely. I am still not entirely sure why I did this. When I would spend time with my father during this period, it was often positive and emotionally beneficial for us both. I still couldn't commit to seeing him regularly though. I held my first job at McDonald's after dropping out of High School just after 16 to pursue a career in professional football, which was my passion from the age of 8. I used to struggle with going to work and I would get emotional and incredibly anxious before shifts. I would panic before work and lied about having cancer (which was a mole on the back of my head) to get a week off. I hated being at work because I always felt uncomfortable and the customers were also very difficult to do this. I was not fired, I decided to leave. I never handed in notice or anything like that, I just left. The same thing happened at Hungry Jack's and other jobs I had. I felt under attack and so much anxiety when dealing with superiors and work that I just wouldn't show up. I couldn't commit to my obligations and I still have trouble doing that now. It feels like I can never do the things I want to do or have to do because my feelings never allow it. The pain is always too much and it changes who I am and how I act when I feel this way. Every job I have had has been this way, even school too. 

When I was 17, I started to train seriously to become a professional footballer.... except I found I didn't want to do it. I gave up and instead decided on being like Mr. Rogers, my hero, who helped children learn about their feelings and was their friend. I wanted to do that for people and I still do because I feel like I never had those things and it would have made a big difference in who I was and my life if I did have him around and his wisdom. I have enrolled in Tertiary College five times and have never gone to more than four classes each time. I just don't do it and I don't know why. I find it so hard to commit to these things and then pull through, it's almost like I don't believe I can do it in the first place. 

Thank you for sticking with me, I appreciate you reading all these things. When I was 18, I decided that enough was enough and through my mother's encouragement, I started taking antidepressants. This thing changed my life. For the first time, I was talking to people and iniating conversations, I had sex for the first time and over the next year, I had had sex with over 15 people. I realise now that this is dangerous but at the time, I didn't care. I started making friends and I felt comfortable and confident in who I was. Eventually though, the medication stopped working and I started being on-and-off with it for the next year. I moved out of my father's house into a unit with a great job although I lost it for being too open and asking girls out on my shift and missing work. I then moved into a resort as I was kicked out of the unit (the lady who lived there hated me for being unmotivated and spending most of my time there) and moved into another unit with five other Brazilian guys. This was when I started using drugs heavily. I was using drugs everyday and I fell into the habit of doing nothing and being lazy. I got a job as I had no money and had to move out but the guy didn't like me and I was back in square one. I ended up selling one of the televisions in the house and cover my rent for the week. I was then homeless for a while and moved back in with my mother. I found another job at a pizza restaurant where I made some great friends and ended up moving in with one of them. We would use drugs constantly, I then lost my job and my car broke down as well, one week after I moved in. I then started using drugs constantly and was being extremely self-destructive. I just couldn't pull myself out of it. Eventually, I had to get a job and I hated it so much. I would shake sleeping the night before and even though it was only weekend work, I would start fearing it Monday morning. Eventually I was kicked out of the house by my friends for not paying rent and I went to my mother's house where I am now. Over the past 7 months, I have had extreme lows and good highs as well. I still haven't tried to look for work and I am anxious to go to school because I don't really know what to do or what to aim for. When I need to set goals, I feel uncomfortable because my feelings stand in my way of what I want. My mother left our house because she left my stepfather and reneged on a trip to Thailand she had promised me and disappeared from November to February 2. My girlfriend also left for France and Serbia for Christmas which upset me greatly. I felt so much pain when she was gone that it was very hard to do simple things. I was going to the gym for a long time and I've stopped now etc.


In summary, I want to be able to get rid of the feelings of intense distress, feeling like my emotions control everything I do and I want to feel like a normal person. All I want to do with my life is be normal, I want to help others, I want to do extraordinary things and pursue my passions and goals without having this huge black dog weighing me down. It's been too long. I'm 20 now and I fear being 35 and not having made progress.


Thank you


Re: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Hi @Paijache 


Welcome to the forums and thank you so much for sharing. It must have been really hard to write that all down and share that with us - that takes a lot of strength. I'm really glad you found our forums and hopefully we can be of assistance. We have a lovely community of accepting and helpful people here Smiley Happy


It sounds like you've been through a lot - feeling nervous about spending time with your dad, feeling unloved or unprioritised by your mum, and issues with attending school/work and completing your goals... it seems like your emotions are really getting in the way of you doing what you want to, and I can really understand how that might leave you feeling trapped Smiley Sad


I think it's really great that you sought professional support at some stage (I'm guessing this is the case given then you started taking antidepressants). I'm wondering whether you've ever received talking therapy, or if that's something you'd be open to. Is it? 


Dealing with mental health issues can be really tough, but it's important to know that there is help out there, and you can get better. A lot of the time it involves learning what works for you, and how to best manage your mental health. You've taken the right step by posting on here for support Heart


Throughout your post I noticed how reflective and insightful you are, which I think will really help you with your journey towards better well-being. 


Also just letting you know that I had to edit out some of your post - the name of the medication you take and also the illicit drugs you have used. I also removed your first name from the end of the post. The reason I have done this is because these things go against the set of guidelines that we have, which can be found here. It's okay by the way, most new users do not know about these guidelines when they first join Smiley Happy


Also - sorry that your post took a while to appear on the forums. For some strange reason it went into our "spam" section and we only just noticed it. 


Re: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Hi @Paijache I just want to echo @Maddy-RO's post above- it takes a tremendous amount of courage to be open and honest in an online forum (particularly the first time you post).


One thing that really stands out to me in your post is your ability to keep going, even when the times are hard. In the face of some of life's biggest challenges, you have continued to find a way through.


I am hearing that there is still a lot of pain, and you have some goals you would like to work on for future, and I hope that you will find this is a safe space to chat these through. At the moment, what do you do to cope with distress? You've mentioned you have a girlfriend, has she been a support for you to lean on?


We hope to hear from you again soon Smiley Happy



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Re: TW: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Hi @Paijache , thank you for sharing your story with us. With so many hard times you’ve had, I think it’s amazing that you’ve had the strength to post on here. 

Although different circumstances, I can relate to the parental difficulties. My father was scary when he was with my mum and a couple years following their separation. My mum also started dating following the separation and I also began to feel neglected. However I’m happy that I have developed really great relationships with them both now at the age of 21, 4 years after they separated. 
Would you say your relationship with your mum has improved? Her taking you in in your rough times has indicated some improvement, am I correct in this?

I’m sorry that you felt upset when your girlfriend went away. However have things been better with you both now she’s back? Do you find that she can help you with your feelings of anxiety and issues you have faced? 
In addition to good social support, I definitely think professional support is very important. Would you feel comfortable seeing a doctor and/or mental health professional about how you are feeling?
We’re here to listen if you feel comfortable following up with these questions or just generally sharing how you’re going ♥️


Re: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Sorry about that Maddy, I guess I should have more abstract with my terms. Thank you for doing that. I have received therapy and psychological help for a number of years now and it has temporarily worked but never made serious changes for my emotions. I think that it is partially being unaware of how I have felt and focusing on the wrong problems. I am waiting for a diagnosis for Borderline Personality Disorder to commence with DBT which has helped me in the past with my distress and going to work. I just need to manage my emotions better. Thank you for replying, I appreciate it.


Re: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

I don't have any real ways, normally I would cope with self-destructive behaviours. Something that has helped me recently is knowing that I can't run away from my problems and that has been a huge breath of fresh air for me. I am trying to educate myself more about it, cope with my feelings and accept that suffering is inevitable. Then I get on with things and it feels okay. Thank you for responding! Smiley Happy


Re: TW: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Thank you very much, I can definitely relate to what you have said. There is improvement between both of us although I still feel the same and I feel it will always remain that way. I know my mother loves me but it's almost as though incapable of feeling it. Things have been better between my girlfriend and I. I feel that she helps me cope with my feelings and emotions. She is very useful to have around and is a big part of my life. I have received help from psychologists but it doesn't really leave me with a long-term solution to get better.

Re: TW: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

@Paijache  Good to hear back from you! I’m glad you see your girlfriend as a positive in your life and it sounds like you open up to her. Social support is definitely very important. 
I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t found seeing psychologist’s helpful for the long term. Have you just seen the one psychologist or a few different ones? Because sometimes it can take a few different ones until you find the right fit for you who connects with you. It can also depend on your motivation to get better at the time. Would you consider trying seeing a different psychologist? Do you feel ready to seek and receive help? 


Re: TW: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

I do feel ready but it's also not as simple as me saying: 'Yes, this is fine. I'm ready, let's go", etc. There are costs and things along with the fact that it doesn't really fit into my schedule (school 5 days a week for the next 2 months), plus I have no income apart from a student payment I receive and have costs on top of that, I have no transport and the clinic I want to visit is 15 kilometres away from me and will continue to charge me, even with a MHP. Also, I also have 10 of these sessions and I have to go back to see my GP to get a few more. The reason why it hasn't been successful is because I cannot afford long-term therapy and I haven't really tried to combat the issues I've had. I didn't know about them back when I was 16, 17... Now that I am older and know more about myself, there is a chance it may work but I don't ever believe I will be able to afford regular therapy sessions.


Re: TW: Unsure how to face my intense feelings and personal flaws

Hey @Paijache ,


What a courageous insightful post.  I love how you've taken responsibility for the problems and learned that you can't run away from them.  I know it can be difficult to afford therapy especially when you're so busy.  I'm wondering if you've ever tried telephone counselling before?  You can call KHL on 1800 551 800 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.  They have trained counsellors operating 24/7 to help you.  Apologies if you've tried them before and not found them useful.  Sometimes it's good to try a few times to find the right one for you Smiley Happy


I'm glad to learn you've found DBT useful.  I'm also wondering what things you do that you find beneficial for you? I play soccer several days per week and find it really helps my mental health.  Certainly the days I exercise I feel a lot better and able to cope better with distress.


Hope this helps Smiley Happy