Well, let me make this very short. When I was younger, I used to isolate myself a lot. I had a computer, so I was addicted to it. I couldn’t spend a single day of my life without it. It was similar to a drug addiction. I was 11 when I got it and 17 when my grandma sold it. Which means I spent 6 yrs of my life in virtual life. I was 17 when I looked in the mirror for the first time and realized I was obese. I became anorexic at 17 and also started self harming, had a suicide fail and had social anxiety. I was so self conscious about myself and my body that I just isolated myself even more. It was like that until I turned 19.I no longer cut or starve, but I still have constant thoughts of suicide. The problem now is that I’m 20 and I still have to face consequences of the past. I never had a job cause I’m terrified of working. I ran away from all my job interviews. I stutter when I’m on the phone. I can’t even order pizza myself. I don’t know how to interact with people. I had a very lonely life and I still do, I have literally no friends and never did, and I feel like no one likes to be around me. Why am I such a coward? Why can’t I just go out and get a job like everyone does? (age 20, from Brazil)
A: You ask “why am I this way,” and yet you explained why in your letter. It sounds like you are really asking “How can I get better?” You already have insight into your problems but you need some guidance in correcting the mistakes from your past. This does not make you a coward, it just means you have some work to do.
Our developmental years are extremely important in helping us form our personality, learn coping skills, learn socialization skills, etc. You missed some very important steps along the way, but you can start catching up now. Good thing your grandma finally broke the habit and sold your computer. Virtual reality doesn’t really help us much in the actual reality of everyday life.
I think you would benefit greatly from therapy. A therapist can help you build social skills, confidence, self-esteem, communication skills, as well as treat the depression and eating disorder issues. Although it might be scary at first, you would also be a great candidate for a therapy group. Being part of a group could help speed up your learning curve.
Once you start feeling better about yourself and interacting with others more confidently, then you can focus on finding a job or enrolling in college. You are still young enough that you can change the path you are on and lead a full, successful life. It is time to start living!
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts