Want to see therapist but feeling scared and overwhelmed

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More and more I am coming to the realization that I want to see a therapist because I feel like it would solve all of my problems but I'm just overwhelmed because I've done very poorly in life (so far, I'm 24) and I have so many problems, mostly social.  

I honestly feel like the therapist will give me several labels, not just one.  I know it's bad to self-diagnose and I won't accept any labels until I'm diagnosed but I feel like I could possibly have social anxiety, anxiety in general, depression, ADHD or OCD.  I feel like it's very likely that I have social anxiety and/or depression.  The talking doesn't scare me as much as crying in front of them which is very likely to happen and a diagnosis of something (I would both be excited and scared for that).  I'm also afraid of the cost and the feasibility of therapy long term if I need to do it and very apprehensive about medication (I'd prefer talk therapy.  I really don't want side effects or to somehow become addicted to a medication so I'd really have to think carefully about that.)

I guess I will list my problems in life:

1. I have a very tough time socializing.  I'd say I'm both shy and introverted.  I have had friends but none that I've kept in touch with my whole life except for my family members and none in the past few years.  I haven't had a really good friend since childhood but I moved away from that friend and although I saw her again a couple times, we haven't been in touch in years and I'm afraid to reach out to her.  I've never dated.  I've never had sex.  I had a kiss when I was a child with another neighbourhood kid (I honestly don't remember why that happened but I remember it happening) but that was my only kiss.  I feel like people don't like me and I fear rejection and awkward silences.  I was a loner in public and middle school, got some friends in high school but never felt that close and still felt like the shy kid and I remember feeling excluded in mingling situations like recess/lunch sometimes and when people picked partners for projects when I was almost always one of the last to be partnered.  Worst was birthday parties.  My mom sometimes pressured me to have them when I would have rather just celebrated with family instead of friends I didn't feel that close with.  I liked going to their parties but not inviting them to my own.  I don't know; I can make small talk and talk to some people I feel comfortable with but I find it harder to have long, meaningful one-on-one converstaions and certainly to ask to hang out with anyone from school or work.  This is a problem with one of my jobs (I am a cashier and a very part-time writer for a community magazine).  I have to interview random attendees for events but it is absolutely excruciating to approach them and talk to them because sometimes they will reject me and oftentimes I feel like they are judging me and thinking I am inexperienced (which I am).  I've been avoiding them and interviewing organizers instead who are less intimidating but my boss really wants attendee quotes so I haven't taken stories in a while...  I've been approaching people less and less because I don't feel like it will ever lead anywhere beyond casual chit-chat.  I thought I was starting to become friends with my brother's friend but I haven't talked to him in a while.  I also feel scared about talking to coworkers because if I open up to them enough I have to tell them that I have a music degree and that I'm 24 and that I still live with my dad and that I don't have any plans for the future.  This is all very embarassing and there are only a few people at work who know these things.  I've been working there 2 years.

2. I have no direction in life and I'm really trying to find it but I don't know what direction I should go.  I used to want to be a singer, then I wanted to write but I wasn't that serious about it and now I just read career books occasionally and try to explore interests but I have a lot of different interests and I don't know if I should just pick something and go with it or if I should find a really practical job that pays the bills and do that or if I should keep exploring my interests and looking for an entry-level job or two to pay the bills in the meantime.  I'm told that you have to really love your job and that you need to work a lot of hours to have an artistic job but if you love it, it will be enjoyable.  I don't know if there is any interest where I want to put all my focus and spend my days doing mostly that.  Is this a myth?  Is it that you should pick something that you like and sometimes love instead?  I don't know but at this point I don't feel that I could be a music teacher or a singer or anything else in music because I would have to live and breathe music or want to live and breathe music and I don't know if that's me, if I could spend at least 40 hours a week on music and neglect other interests.  Is it maybe that I do like a lot of things but I'm too lazy to actually try to give something my all whether I fail or not?

3. I feel sad a lot.  This has been going on a while but I feel like it's been worse the last few years, mostly as I've been losing more and more hope of my life changing because I haven't made much effort to change it and I'm stuck in a rut working the same retail job every day.  I don't know if this is the result of me not being happy with what I've accomplished but not being sure how to move forward or just depression but I cry a lot and I feel lonely a lot and oftentimes I have to distract myself with entertainment so that I feel better.

 Lately I've been sad about how I feel like my family is pulling apart, which should be happening since all three of us kids are young adults and dad found his soulmate and we all need to find our new lives.  But my family are my only friends and with mom gone, my brother in school, my other brother moving out temporarily but maybe permanently with his boyfriend and my dad and his girlfriend planning to sell the house we live in and move somewhere else, I'm feeling hopeless, lonely and abandoned.  Sometimes I feel hopeful about turning my life around and finding a job that will allow me to move out and other times I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. 

4. Sleep issues.  I stay up too late, I find it hard to wake up early or wake up on time.  I find it hard to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.  Sometimes I feel like I have no willpower at night because I keep getting distracted and having to do one more thing, read one more thing, watch one more thing, like the longer the night goes, the later I have to go to bed and the fun's over and all that's left is work in the morning or another day where I attempt to do something productive with mixed results.  I do sleep well when I finally go to bed but that is because I smoke pot every night which helps with falling asleep.

5. I procrastinate a lot and I find it hard to just like one thing, build knowledge and skill on one thing, be focused.  I often take out a dozen or so books from the library, sometimes different subjects but often just career books.  Sometimes I'll read the books for an hour at night, sometimes a bit at work but often they'll sit there until I have to return or renew them.  If I do read them, I'll often read 3 in 20-minute increments because I can't decide on just one book to read.  Sometimes with TV or video games or even books I can focus on one thing for a while until I finish it but often I feel scattered, like I can't just do one leisure actiivity each night, I have to alternate or do two different things, I feel overwhelmed because there are so many different things to do and explore and I want to try so many things.  I also feel like I have to track and list a lot of things, like weight, exercise, sleep, movies to see, books to read, etc.  I have a million lists and a giant 18-page to-do list document on my computer with multiple categories.  I often find it hard to make decisions. 

6. I don't have any trauma I know of.  The closest would be the death of my mom to cancer 5 years ago and her parenting style which was kind of controlling.  I did miss her and I felt sad that she died but I wasn't devastated like many other people were.  However, it was sad, it was a massive change and it was hard to deal with.  I feel bad about this thought but she was very ugly toward the end and I felt a bit of relief when she died.  I feel immature about thinking that now because everyone has the right to be moody and grumpy when they're dying.  It wasn't sudden since we knew these would be her last few months.  She was very stubborn about rules (some of which seemed unreasonable), wanted me to dress conservatively, and picked things for us kids too much; school courses, clothing, what we watched on TV, the movie for movie night.  I was forced to go to church right up until her death even though in the last year of church-going I was atheist, but I had hidden that from her in fear of retaliation.  She was often pushing me into uncomfortable social situations, like having to email my singing teacher because I got an B instead of an A asking for a better mark (I just wanted the B), approaching performers after concerts when I didn't want to, things like that, always trying to get me to be more assertive and to do well as a musician, which is good but it didn't really work for me.  Honestly, I wish I could remember more.  She wasn't a monster but she was controlling.

7. My weird romantic habits.  (1) I tend to obsess about my crushes a lot (I've never dated); poetry, online stalking, fantasies, playing superstitious "does he like me?" games.  I crush on several guys at the same time so that if one does something that makes it seem like he doesn't like me, I still have the other ones.  And it could be something very little that makes me think, "well, I have no chance."  And if all of the guys do something that indicates they don't like me, I get kind of sad (but not very sad) and I think that I need to work harder on myself and interests and finding a better job and being a better person but I only believe it for a little while and then I go back to liking them when I see them again and they do something that makes it seem like they like me.  But in all likelihood, none of them like me (I'm average-looking and a bit plump - 5 pounds overweight) so all of this is useless. (2) I really like thinking about guys being tortured, vulnerable, scared, helpless.  Whenever I see a guy I am attracted to in that position (especially a guy who is kind of gangly, nerdy and skinny or already kind of vulnerable in physique or personality) I get really turned on which makes me think maybe I'm some kind of sadist.  However, if any of this happens in real life, I am not turned on. (3) I was debating for a while, but now I'm 90% sure I'm bisexual.  I've been into lesbian porn way more than straight porn for a while and lately I've actually been eyeing real life women and thinking about having sex with them or picturing them naked, however I feel my attraction to men is both sexual and romantic while my attraction to women is more sexual although maybe in time it will be both.  It's hard to know for sure if you've never dated or had sex but I'm pretty certain.

I'm also afraid that maybe the diagnosis will be "lazy, needs to work harder."  I can work hard.  I just need a purpose that I believe in.  However, if that work is something interpersonal, I will feel afraid, paralyzed and then I will procrastinate.  And now my ranting is over.

IF YOU DIDN'T WANT TO READ ALL OF THIS I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND.  IF YOU STILL FEEL LIKE COMMENTING I'D APPRECIATE HEARING WHAT THERAPY IS LIKE AND ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO SEE A THERAPIST BUT IS AFRAID.

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Listen, im not a doctor. But reading your msg it seems you are working yourself up. You are not a doctor either. You should leave what ever diagnosis you have into the careful care of the expert doctors.  Trust the doctors. They will give you the proper care your life deserves.  You deserve to live a long healthy life like everyone else. =)  Go see a doctor and start living.
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  • Posted

    Hi Lana,

    I do think you should go to see a therapist. You have so much stuff in your head. You are kind of at the beginning of your life, and finding a hard time with direction. 

    About jobs or careers: I think that it doesn't matter so much what you chose to do - it matters how you do it, whether you do it with integrity and effort, do it well, I mean, or badly. Even your work now can be meaningful if you approach it right. It's great to be in a position to help people. I guess if you are thinking about doing art, you do need a 'day job' to pay the bills.

    You seem like a really sensitive person, so it is important to work in a non-noisy environment! Well, that's true for me. 

    As for your sexuality, oh I do remember it was so important for me at your age. A mystery. I think your imagination is leading you to explore a lot of fantasies, but it is a lot more real to have a real boyfriend or girlfriend and not maybe analyze it so much. 

    It must be really hard with your father leaving. Are you going to get your own place? Are you financially okay?

    It sounds like it is really difficult for you to prioritize things. Anything, career, library books. I was like that, before I took anti-depressants. I couldn't prioritize anything, the world swam around me like a painting. 

    Anyway, don't worry about crying in front of a therapist. Everyone does. They always have a box of tissues. 

    Just try one. And if you don't like him or her, try another one. 

    I do feel like your time of life is hard. I wish you the best.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the long reply. smile  Oh no, my brother is moving out and now it's me and Dad but he wants to sell our house and live with his girlfriend so I really need to get my ass in gear soon.  I don't blame him at all, though.  Should have been out of there years ago.  Financially I have a decent amount saved up but I don't know if I can live on my current job(s) so I'd need to find another part time job or get a different job with better pay or full time hours.

      Yes, I do find it hard to prioritize things.  Often I can have it all laid out on a to do list but get sidetracked and distracted and procrastinate.

      Thanks for your advice. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Lana just wanted to ask if you have ever and I'm not judging or asking to be an ass I'm asking because this a sounds like me however I have been taking my choice of prescription medications for so many years that maybe ultimately even though I don't want to take the bull they prescribe under their labels just under my labels so I'm self medicated myself I believe into these labels that essentially I may still have had underlying mental disease only gets worse with age. I am going to see an old therapist of mine that I caught up with haven't seen her since 2009. I've gotten worse over time I'm 31 female states I'm super anti pharmaceutical even though I'm a giant contradiction to everything I stand for
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    • Posted

      Not sure what the question is but I have not self-diagnosed or taken prescription medication for anything.  I think I am socially anxious and possibly also depressed, maybe even schizoid but I have been diagnosed so these are only ideas/theories as to what mental illness I might have.  I really should see a therapist though...
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  • Posted

    I think therapy sounds like an excellent idea. Dont worry so much about having friends that can all change at the drop,of a dime. Be very honest when in therapy because you want it to work. Good luck
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