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Having a hard time keeping this mask

Toasthead

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Just found out today that my friend’s trip to Florida to meet his girlfriend’s family before they get married is permanent. I’m really worried about him, but I’m also really missing my best friend and I don’t even want to talk to him about it because I know I’ll just get angry and make things worse. He left without even saying goodbye. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. I don’t have many other friends and as is I’m going through a bit of a mental health crisis before this news even got to me. All of this is happening while my aunt and uncle are visiting for my brother’s graduation. I’m trying so hard to put on a smile and pretend everything’s ok, but it’s exhausting. I just want to lay in bed and cry, but I have to pretend I’m ok otherwise they’ll worry or call BS on my mental health and make me feel bad for feeling this way. I can’t talk to any of them about this, and it’s just really hard to smile when you’re on the verge of tears. It’s so hard to crack jokes and tell stories when it hurts to laugh. I feel like I’m breaking down, I feel like less of man because I don’t have the energy to entertain or be my normal self. I want to be with them and hang out because they’re super fun to be around and I’m really close to them, but I feel more depressed than I have in a long time and putting on this act is really exhausting. Letting them in would only make things worse, it would change how they see me, I know it would, and it isn’t just my anxiety talking, they’ve made very clear to me that they don’t take mental health seriously at all or at least if they do they hide it like I have to. I know my uncle’s in therapy for ptsd, but he won’t admit ptsd is the reason he’s in therapy. You don’t quietly sob in the garage clutching the shell from your first kill and go to therapy just because you felt like it. Like me he’s afraid to admit that he needs help, and we both won’t admit to each other because we’re a lot alike and we’re both stubborn. Neither of us wants to be the first to admit any kind weakness. I feel terrible referring to it that way, but that’s how my brain sees it and that’s why I hide my pain like this. It’s just too painful to admit how much I’m suffering under this smile.


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cheer_mom

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Admitting you need help is not weakness. It takes a lot of courage. It may actually help your uncle if you talked to him. Maybe he feels alone and thinks no one will understand. Never hurts to try. I'm praying this turns around for you. I am sorry about your friend moving. Weren't you thinking of going to Florida to move as well?
 

Toasthead

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Admitting you need help is not weakness. It takes a lot of courage. It may actually help your uncle if you talked to him. Maybe he feels alone and thinks no one will understand. Never hurts to try. I'm praying this turns around for you. I am sorry about your friend moving. Weren't you thinking of going to Florida to move as well?
It’s funny you mentioned that because I actually did, my uncle told me about a recent bout of depression caused by intense nerve pain caused by neuropathy and it gave me the courage to let him in and he said if I’m ever going through that kind of hell again to give him a call. My folks and grandparents are far less understanding though, most of them believe a lot of mental health problems don’t exist or they downplay their severity. My grandmother went so far as to say it’s all just a way to get attention and that therapy is a joke and every time I’ve ever told my parents about these kinds of problems they want to pour medication down my throat as though taking a pill that makes people suicidal will prevent me from wanting to kill myself. As is I’m pretty sure half my problems are the result of taking heavy doses of amphetamines to “fix” my ADD when I was a kid. They thought “wow are kid has a lot of problems with attention and impulse control, let’s make him a drug addict at 7 years old, that’ll make everything better. I think that’s part of why I have such low self esteem, growing up I was always told that there was something wrong with me that needed to be fixed, whether it was ADD, anxiety, anger issues, depression, or even that short period of time that my parents thought I had Aspergers, when in reality it’s just social anxiety caused by their constant and progressively ridiculous fears about the outside world, like I couldn’t even go to summer camp as a kid because my parents told me I could get molested. They filled my head with fear and doubt my entire life and then were surprised when I grew up and became afraid of everything. I was taught to trust no one and fear everything and that there is something fundamentally wrong with me that no one will ever accept and needs to be fixed. Even to this day, as a 22 year old man that has conquered the many of his demons and lives a relatively normal and productive life they treat me as though something’s wrong with me and still believe I might be autistic, which who knows maybe I am, but they always treated me like whatever was wrong with me was unacceptable, they could never just love me faults and all, everything needed to be fixed as a condition of their love or at least that’s how it felt.


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cheer_mom

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Just remember you are here for a reason. Talk to people that don't make you feel judged. Sounds like your uncle has given you a helpline. Use it. It could be just what both of you need.
 

Toasthead

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Just remember you are here for a reason. Talk to people that don't make you feel judged. Sounds like your uncle has given you a helpline. Use it. It could be just what both of you need.
I’ve been calling a buddy/mentor of mine from church. He’s been a huge help and I’m doing a lot better now, definitely in the future I’ll use my uncle as a helpline. I often forget just how much the people in my life care about me. I get so diluted by misery sometimes that I can’t feel their love.

Now that I’m in a better place today I’ve come to some realizations that I’ve been blind to until now. I’ve realized that for better or for worse I’m a different person than I was 1 year ago. I just looked in the mirror and I’m actually proud of myself, I’ve lost so much weight with Keto that I look amazing. My face is so thin now and my double chin is completely gone! I quit vaping, I don’t drink much anymore, in fact hardly at all, and I’ve cut back on my spending and learned how to budget better, I’m literally investing my money and putting it in savings, like I’m actually doing everything I should be, I’m honestly killing it. Like I’ve been sitting here thinking I’m some deadbeat loser making peanuts at a thankless job, but I did the math and realized I make $48,000 a year, my job requires all the skills of a manager, but without the staff or massive responsibility, my job is stressful, but it isn’t demeaning, I’m making more and doing more at my job than most people my age. I have amazing experience and I’ve always been great at every job I’ve had. For god sakes I’m pretty sure I make more than my mom! I have no reason to worry as much as I do about what people think of me. Time passes by so fast now, I thought I was still falling behind my piers, but I’m ahead of the curve. I’m making smarter decisions than most do at my age. I’m moving to another state within the next year at no real cost to me. I’m specifically going to that state for better job opportunities, I’m doing great and I don’t congratulate myself enough for it. I keep looking for someone to throw all this at to prove him wrong, but the only person putting me down lately is me. Even my boss and clients aren’t usually too harsh when I really do screw up, I mean they’re all kinda worthless and don’t care about their job so they all know I’m the only one picking up the slack, but still. I am for more valuable than I thought, why can I never admit this kinda stuff to myself? I’m incredibly kind and considerate, I’m funny and interesting and I have a huge heart for people and animals. I have my problems, but so does everyone. I focus on the bad so much I fail to see the overwhelming amount of good in my life. I don’t have many friends and I’m bad at socializing, but if I start believing in myself more almost all of my problems go away. Why can’t I just let myself be happy? Why do I punish myself for trying to get better?

I was so busy stuck in the mentality of the old me that I lost sight of the person I’ve become and the progress I’ve made. The sad part is that I won’t always have this kind of clarity, whenever I get anxious I forget about all the times I’ve over come it and ended up being fine. I’m sure this feeling will be forgotten the next time I have a hard day at work or go through something difficult, but I’m hoping the worst of this is behind me for now at least concerning my friend. I’m definitely not out of the woods though, this experience has taught me that I can’t let myself go mentally like that anymore, every time I care for my mental health I get better and when I stop I just get worse. I really don’t want to be like this anymore, I have to start maintaining my mental health even when I’m doing good. It’s like I can’t trust myself sometimes.


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cheer_mom

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Well, I for one am proud of the change I have read just since you joined this forum. You just have to keep thinking of all the good things you are doing. Our minds like to drag is down and sometimes it does, but I try every single day to think about my blessings and I feel a lot better afterwards!! Keep up the good work!
 
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