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Roy H.

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Hey there,

I figured this post belongs in another forum, but since it's my first post, I figured I would post it here. I guess I don't know where to start because my life has been pretty much a disaster, and I don't want to ramble because I understand how hard it can be to read long posts, so I will do my best to describe the situation I am having right now, as opposed to some drawn out version of what I feel is a life that is a mistake.


I'm afraid of people. I'm terrified of them. I'm in my late twenties and I can say that some of the current emotions I am having have gone back some time...at least to high school. When I was in high school, I never went to lunch and always ditched because I was horrified of being in that tremendous social environment. I always went different, alternative routes in the hallways as to avoid people I would ususally see or who knew me. I got in a lot of trouble over this, from ditching and skipping school, and my grades suffered because of it. Believe it or not, I was involed in athletics - hockey, soccer and tennis - for whatever reason, I don't know how I was possible to carry out such activities.

Nevertheless, this patern of behavior seems to have followed me , and haunted me to this day from that horrible experiece back then. I have never really been able to hold a job. One particular job I had, I froze up, on this line because I didn't know what to say to my co-worker and started acting weird; keeping to myself. He then started to taunt me...wherein I walked RIGHT OFF my job that day. It was a job I cared about, and this has truly haunted me to this day.

When my neighbors are outside and I have to go somewhere or have to mow the lawn, or do yard duties, I stay in and watch until they are gone. When I have to be somewhere right away and neighbors are present when I need to get to my vehicle, I do my best to rush to my car when they are not looking or simply do not interact in any way with them

Keeping a long story short: I'm extremely depressed and alcoholic. I have been this way since out of high school. Ironically enough there is a silver lining: I went to a community college and recieved an Associates degree, and also, believe it or not, found a girlfriend who I have been with for some 3 plus years now. However, a great deal of time I spent at that school I self-medicated with Alcholol, vis-a-vis vodka to get through the social situations, etc.

I can't go on any farther right now as I am in tears trying to get this out. I hope to post more here after some of you gracious people respond. There is much more to this story, but I don't want to overwhelm you with it as it has grown to the point where I have now considered suicide.

Thanks in advance.

Roy

PS: There is a great deal more to this story. There is mental illness in my family.
 

lallieth

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Welcome Roy

I am glad you have found this site,it truly is filled with gracious and helpful people :)
 

David Baxter

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I'm extremely depressed and alcoholic. I have been this way since out of high school. Ironically enough there is a silver lining: I went to a community college and recieved an Associates degree, and also, believe it or not, found a girlfriend who I have been with for some 3 plus years now. However, a great deal of time I spent at that school I self-medicated with Alcholol, vis-a-vis vodka to get through the social situations, etc.

I can't go on any farther right now as I am in tears trying to get this out. I hope to post more here after some of you gracious people respond. There is much more to this story, but I don't want to overwhelm you with it as it has grown to the point where I have now considered suicide.

You may or may not already know this but alcohol abuse is likely aggravating your depression in several ways, including deep stage sleep disruption and B12 depletion as just starting points. That is definitely something that needs to be addressed... and probably soon.

Are you taking any medication for depression or anxiety, Roy? Are you seeing a therapist now?
 

Roy H.

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Thanks for all your replies. They mean a great deal to me.


Are you taking any medication for depression or anxiety, Roy? Are you seeing a therapist now?


No I am not. I took an 'out of patient' class in relation to some trouble I was having a couple years ago about a suicide threat, and they prescribed Lithium. My alcohol consumption never really stopped. They made it crystal clear that alcohol was a big no-no, and I have periods were I desist completely, and periods when I go non stop. It has always been my "medication," more or less, particularly when I am faced with social environments.
 

Retired

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Hello Roy,

There are many good reasons to not be self medicating with alcohol, as Dr. Baxter has alluded to. The long term damage to internal organs cannot be overlooked.

Have you ever enrolled in a program for alcohol use?

What has prevented you from seeking the help of a therapist?

Are you still taking lithium?

it has grown to the point where I have now considered suicide

Roy,

you need to call a crisis line in your area. Please look at this Psychlinks Posting for some crisis numbers to call.

It sounds like you have a good start with your Associates Degree and a woman who loves you. These are good reasons for living and to get help for your depression, which is a treatable disorder.

Can you keep yourself safe until you call a crisis center?
 

David Baxter

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I agree with Steve's suggestions, Roy. Perhaps this would be a good time to make an appointment with your family doctor and ask for some referrals. You're on a self-destructive path at the moment that will not lead you out of the depression and despair you're feeling. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are other paths.
 

moonriver

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I just wanted to let you know that I am so sorry that you are struggling, I too have struggled with social anxiety that has made me really unhappy. Mental illness runs in my family too, it has taken my brother and now there is nothing left of the person he was. It appears that I have multiple mental disorder myself that I struggle wih daily.

I just wanted to let you know that there is hope in improving it, if you could find a therapist and allow yourself to feel comfortable with them after awhile, you will find that will help. This forum helps alot too, everyone is so supportive and never judgemental. There is no need to feel embarassed here.

What helped me too was when I looked around and saw that there were so many people struggling with social anxiety, when I really could start to see that I was not alone in that, I began to slowly come out of my shell and see that not everyone was going to pass judgement on me and people could be really kind and actually help me with my problems. Its still hard, dont get me wrong, but it can improve enough that it isnt such a struggle. There is always hope.

I hope you keep going and get help, please dont ever give up on yourself.
 

Roy H.

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Hello Roy,

There are many good reasons to not be self medicating with alcohol, as Dr. Baxter has alluded to. The long term damage to internal organs cannot be overlooked.

Have you ever enrolled in a program for alcohol use?

What has prevented you from seeking the help of a therapist?

Are you still taking lithium?



Roy,

you need to call a crisis line in your area. Please look at this Psychlinks Posting for some crisis numbers to call.

It sounds like you have a good start with your Associates Degree and a woman who loves you. These are good reasons for living and to get help for your depression, which is a treatable disorder.

Can you keep yourself safe until you call a crisis center?

I am not to the point where I am actually going to do anything to myself, but I am to the point where I have actually figured a way to follow through with it. I contemplated it a thousand times in my head which way is the easiest to commit suicide and I have chosen the way I am going to do it. Obviously I am not going to go into that here. I guess I am hanging by a thread at the moment. If something bad were to happen in my life, it may push me over the edge.

To answer some of your other questions....

I would like to say that my alcohol problem is a direct result of the other problems I have had in relation to my fear of social relationships. I feel that if somehow, by a miracle, woke up tomorrow and I felt like the person that lights up the room and the person that wants to volunteer in the community, and the person who isn't afraid to go to my girlfriends family's for Christmas, I really don't believe that my alcohol consumption would be as chronic as it is. I truly believe this.

I have stopped taking lithium.

When it comes to seeking a therapist, I guess there are several reasons why I haven't sought them out: I am a bit embaressed. I am not sure about the cost of such medical help, and really, I guess I was always the type of person that thought it was something I could overcome. I felt that it would eventually just go away.

I agree with Steve's suggestions, Roy. Perhaps this would be a good time to make an appointment with your family doctor and ask for some referrals. You're on a self-destructive path at the moment that will not lead you out of the depression and despair you're feeling. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are other paths.

That's why I am here, David. It appears you are an unbelievable person to have contributed as much as you have to this forum. I recently found it and I felt it might be a world of help. It just might save me because I feel I have nowhere else to go.

I just wanted to let you know that I am so sorry that you are struggling, I too have struggled with social anxiety that has made me really unhappy. Mental illness runs in my family too, it has taken my brother and now there is nothing left of the person he was. It appears that I have multiple mental disorder myself that I struggle wih daily.

I hope you keep going and get help, please dont ever give up on yourself.

Thanks for your kind words. My mother is bipolar. I haven't posted that yet here in this forum, but she has bipolar. I don't know the type, but she has been hospitalized many times. The most recent was, I believe, was last year. There have been many times in the past when she was hospitalized. I wish I knew if there were some genetic connection to the problems I am facing and the illness my mother has.


I hope to post more of my story tomorrow, and I can't express how grateful I am to all of you who have given your time to communicate with me. It means a very great deal to me during this trying time in my life.

God bless.

Roy
 

lallieth

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Roy

There are many more constructive and successful ways to deal with your social anxiety/depression, and many medication options other than lithium if it is not working well for you. Talk to your dr about your feelings and or medication/therapy options.
 

ladylore

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Welcome to the Psychlinks Roy. :wave4:

I don't have anything to add to what the others have said other then I am in recovery and agree 100% that alcohol does make depression worse (from personal experience).

I am glad you found us. :)
 

Retired

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I guess there are several reasons why I haven't sought them out: I am a bit embaressed.

Roy,

Therapists are professionals who have undergone extensive training in both theoretical as well as clinical situations. There is nothing you will tell your therapist s/he hasn't heard before.

Furthermore, therapists are non judgemental; even though to us as patients we may feel a certain bond because we are sharing information that may be our deepest darkest secrets.

Help is available, Roy and I would urge you to seek it out.

I am to the point where I have actually figured a way to follow through with it. I contemplated it a thousand times in my head which way is the easiest to commit suicide and I have chosen the way I am going to do it

Roy, this is a concern, because although you are thinking rationally at this moment and are able to keep yourself safe, if circumstances change and your thinking becomes distorted especially with the use of alcohol, you might be in danger.

If you do nothing else at this moment, Roy, give a call to a crisis line in your area. It's anonymous and the counsellor can point you to resources in your particular area.

Or you can visit the emergency department of a local hospital and tell them you are having suicidal thoughts.

But if you feel you are going to carry out your plan, Roy, for the sake of those who love you call 911 for help.
 

Roy H.

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Roy,

Therapists are professionals who have undergone extensive training in both theoretical as well as clinical situations. There is nothing you will tell your therapist s/he hasn't heard before.

I know. I guess the fact that I would be labled by those around me is why I am afraid to make that first step. But I am to the point I am willing to make that step, particularly if someone would help me pinpoint my struggles I am having in relation to my first post. This extreme fear of people I have. Much like I believe that my alcohol consumption is a result of this "social phobia" (if that's what it's called, I don't know), I also believe that my depression and suicidal thoughts are a result of my inability to adapt and do the simplest things in the world. That's what really kills me, is the fact that I can't do as simple a thing as go to a family gathering without having a nervous breakdown. something 99% of other people seem to do totally without a second thought about it.



Roy, this is a concern, because although you are thinking rationally at this moment and are able to keep yourself safe, if circumstances change and your thinking becomes distorted especially with the use of alcohol, you might be in danger.

If you do nothing else at this moment, Roy, give a call to a crisis line in your area. It's anonymous and the counsellor can point you to resources in your particular area.

Or you can visit the emergency department of a local hospital and tell them you are having suicidal thoughts.

But if you feel you are going to carry out your plan, Roy, for the sake of those who love you call 911 for help.

Thanks for the kind words. I can assure you, I am not at the point right now that I am going to follow through with any of the suicidal "plans" I may have considered. I simply thought about all the different ways a person might go about doing so. I'm late in my twenties and I have never attempted to take any such action in the past.

I will consider contacting a crisis line if I do get to that point. I need to find out why I am deathly afraid of going outside when my neighbors a present; afraid to go to a family wedding; why I go out of my way in the hallway to avoid a teacher that likes me or gave me praise. These are the things I am trying desperately to figure out, before I find myself homeless because I cannot meet the most simple demands of everyday life. This is why I am here. I am just so grateful that there are people here who are guiding me through this, like you.

If I am not able to find out why I am having these problems, then the next time my girlfriend and I go out with her friends, I will find myself pouring back straight vodka, and perhaps further in depression.
 

Retired

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Roy,

Being uncomfortable in social situations or unable to go out of your home are disorders that are treatable. We're talking about your quality of life for yourself and for your girlfriend, and I can only imagine how difficult it is for you when you go out.

How does your girlfriend feel about your difficulties and your alcohol consumption?

I would be labeled by those around me is why I am afraid to make that first step

Is there a reason why they would need to know you are seeking medical help? If you have to get time off work, all you need to say is that you have a medical appointment.

Consider this...if you were having difficulty digesting your food after every meal, or if your vision were blurred..would you hesitate to call your doctor for a consultation?

Probably not...so mental illness is just another medical disorder requiring a consultation with a medical specialist.

I am aware of the stigmas attached to mental illness, which is why you don't need to broadcast what you are doing. But consider that your quality of life is currently compromised, not to mention the potential damage your alcohol consumption may be doing to your body.

These are treatable conditions, Roy. Life is too short to live it being unhappy.
 

Roy H.

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Roy,

Being uncomfortable in social situations or unable to go out of your home are disorders that are treatable. We're talking about your quality of life for yourself and for your girlfriend, and I can only imagine how difficult it is for you when you go out.

How does your girlfriend feel about your difficulties and your alcohol consumption?

She totally understands about my fear of social situations. She didn't grill me for not making it to her parents this year. I was surprised, because I felt obligated to be there, and because I missed some get together a year back or so and she was really upset. Things like this can't go on anymore because we might even start a family. As far as the alcohol, she is concerened, but she loves me so much that it is something she believes I will overcome. We stay at my house and I don't drink at all many times. When I first met her, it was a struggle for me, I would take a little shot here or there, but the more we began to understand eachother, the less I would consume. I don't have to drink around her at all if I don't want. She's about the only person I don't feel the need to be afraid around (in addition maybe my folks and sisters, though at times, with them I have felt anxiety).

Is there a reason why they would need to know you are seeking medical help? If you have to get time off work, all you need to say is that you have a medical appointment.

Consider this...if you were having difficulty digesting your food after every meal, or if your vision were blurred..would you hesitate to call your doctor for a consultation?

Probably not...so mental illness is just another medical disorder requiring a consultation with a medical specialist.

I am aware of the stigmas attached to mental illness, which is why you don't need to broadcast what you are doing. But consider that your quality of life is currently compromised, not to mention the potential damage your alcohol consumption may be doing to your body.

These are treatable conditions, Roy. Life is too short to live it being unhappy.

But I want to pinpoint this conditions name. It's like...what is it? What am I to say to someone about this?
 

David Baxter

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If you want to name it, bearing in mind that this is NOT a diagnosis, a good place to start would probably be Social Phobia or Social Anxiety... Generalized Anxiety Disorder is also a possibility...

But you don't really need to "name" it per se. You just have to be able to describe the symptoms and the conditions under which they occur. A conclusive diagnosis is really not a prerequisite for treatment.
 

Retired

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Roy,

Your lady sounds like a supportive, caring and compassionate person. She is your strongest reason for living and for getting help.

But I want to pinpoint this conditions name. It's like...what is it? What am I to say to someone about this?

To make a diagnosis requires a complete medical history taken by a doctor who specializes in treating psychiatric disorders. Roy, don't look for an internet diagnosis because anyone on the internet who would claim to be able to diagnose is doing you a disservice.

There are a few approaches you can take:

See your Family Physician (GP) and say "I am having difficulty in social situations, difficulty going out into crowds and deal with these difficulties with alcohol. I would like to see a specialist who can help me...would you refer me?"

If you prefer to go direct, then call a psychiatrist you might know about or call the Psychiatry Outpatient Department of your local hospital. If they cannot see you, ask them who on their staff takes private patients.

Call the local mental health advocacy group in your area for resources.

Did I understand you are student in university? If so, your university likely has a student health center, which probably has mental health services.

Prepare yourself by perhaps even writing down what you want to say, so you can read it if you become anxious. You want to tell them what you have said here that you have difficulty with social anxiety, difficulty going out of the house (if I understood correctly) and that you are currently dealing with these by using alcohol. Also you have had suicidal thoughts.

Just tell them you need help, and want to see someone.

The people who answer the phones in these places understand that you might be anxious and nervous, and they are generally people who like to help people.

Do any of these options make sense to you?
 

poohbear

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Welcome to the forum, and I hope it helps you to talk about your feelings here. It's certainly helped me, especially lately. Listen to Steve and Dr. Baxter. They both have given you nearly everything you need to get on the road to recovery. You just have to take that first step. Call someone and ask for help. Or tell your girlfriend how you are feeling. It doesn't seem she has all this information, or she might have already done so. The best of luck to you!
 
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i just wanted to say welcome and also that there is help available to you out there. many of us here struggle with various things and it's all treatable and/or manageable. it will involve work on your part but it is so very well worth it (speaking from personal experience :)). best of luck and let us know what you decide to do.
 

Roy H.

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If you want to name it, bearing in mind that this is NOT a diagnosis, a good place to start would probably be Social Phobia or Social Anxiety... Generalized Anxiety Disorder is also a possibility...

But you don't really need to "name" it per se. You just have to be able to describe the symptoms and the conditions under which they occur. A conclusive diagnosis is really not a prerequisite for treatment.

I assumed it was something like those, just from browsing around on the internet.

There are a few approaches you can take:

See your Family Physician (GP) and say "I am having difficulty in social situations, difficulty going out into crowds and deal with these difficulties with alcohol. I would like to see a specialist who can help me...would you refer me?"

If you prefer to go direct, then call a psychiatrist you might know about or call the Psychiatry Outpatient Department of your local hospital. If they cannot see you, ask them who on their staff takes private patients.

Call the local mental health advocacy group in your area for resources.

Did I understand you are student in university? If so, your university likely has a student health center, which probably has mental health services.

Prepare yourself by perhaps even writing down what you want to say, so you can read it if you become anxious. You want to tell them what you have said here that you have difficulty with social anxiety, difficulty going out of the house (if I understood correctly) and that you are currently dealing with these by using alcohol. Also you have had suicidal thoughts.

Just tell them you need help, and want to see someone.

The people who answer the phones in these places understand that you might be anxious and nervous, and they are generally people who like to help people.

Do any of these options make sense to you?

Yes. My medical health coverage is a bit of an issue. I found out last year the hard way, after applying for MN care, and missing my premium. I sprained my ankle not long ago and it was pretty bad but I figured it would eventually heal. Well, my girlfriend thought it so bad that she made me get an x-ray. Sure enough, I received a $1,200 dollar bill in the mail that is still pending until I exhaust all my options for paying for it. I missed the first premium of my MN care and I am not sure when my coverage will start. I believe it will start a month from now. Health care really creeps me out because of previous experiences and because of the fact that I am not covered, at least not until I take care of this previous bill and follow through with the premiums. It just seems like everything is a disaster in my life right now. (Also, I receieved my Associates degree middle last year, so I am not currently enrolled in College).

Welcome to the forum, and I hope it helps you to talk about your feelings here. It's certainly helped me, especially lately. Listen to Steve and Dr. Baxter. They both have given you nearly everything you need to get on the road to recovery. You just have to take that first step. Call someone and ask for help. Or tell your girlfriend how you are feeling. It doesn't seem she has all this information, or she might have already done so. The best of luck to you!

i just wanted to say welcome and also that there is help available to you out there. many of us here struggle with various things and it's all treatable and/or manageable. it will involve work on your part but it is so very well worth it (speaking from personal experience :)). best of luck and let us know what you decide to do.

Thanks to both of you. I hope to make the step of combating this thing once and for all, soon.
 

moonriver

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Hi Roy,

I really relate to your story, thought you might feel better knowing you arent alone in feeling this way. I was so nervous going to see a therapist, I just finally decided I had to, I have told no one that I have gone, it isnt anyones concern the way I see it, and I had anxiety tacks right in the therapists office almost every time I went I was so nervous. He just acted like it was nothing, and was very kind and supportive. After awhile it really wasnt as bad, it took awhile for things to sink in, he also told me about some good books that could help such as "Dying of Embarassment.' (not sure if I spelled that correctly.) I had to do little assignments such as go to the gym by my self, which usully consisted of me sitting in my car for an hour because I was so afraid to go in the building because I would look stupid or I might feel stupid. Slowly, slowly, slowly things are starting to come together on this angle, and now I go to the gym three times a week. It can be done, plus exercise helps me alot.

One thing that helped was realizing I was never going to be a social butterfly and I have made peace with that. I think its more important to have a few solid friends and do the activities you like then feel like I have to be the life of the party. Also, sometimes I admit to people that I am shy and nervous and then they turn around and tell me that they feel the same or have other situations that make them feel that way. I had no idea how common this was and was surprised at how kind people could be when I realized not everyone was going to judge me negatively. It was me that was judging them really.

I learned alot from this site too, I recently went back to my therapist for another issue and he is helping me with that too. I dont mean to sound like its been easy, it has not, I have had to do alot of work and there are things that are difficult and uncomfortable for me, but you know what, it can get a heck of a lot better. I know I dont know alot compared to the moderators and Dr Baxter, but I can tell you from my own experience that you can get alot better if you get the right help
 

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