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Relationships and Dating Ask here for advice on dates, break-ups and other relationship concerns.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
KatlynMae Offline
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Name: Katlyn
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A Load Off My Chest... (tw: depression, self harm, suicide mention) - February 26th 2017, 05:19 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

This is not gonna be short but it is really important to me and I could really use some advice or opinion, so please bear with me.

I'm sixteen and I met him when I was twelve. It sounds crazy but I was unexplainably drawn to him the moment I saw him.

After a while I learned that he was very smart, that he had a kind heart and a witty mouth that gets him into troubles. He was such an amazing person that I can't help but adore him, though it wasn't a crush, just admiration.

I live in Asia and we praise those with good grades here. So when I passed the test and got into the gifted program, he was shocked. Because he thought I was just someone that studies hard and don't actually use their brain. He began to talk to me more often as I was more of his kind and he'd tell me nerdy jokes that no one else in our class understood.

Even so, we weren't close. I was quite anti-social and he was a social butterfly. I didn't have any female friends in middle school, my best friend was a boy named John. And besides him I was closer with my crush back then, but I often catch myself favoring him over the two of them and I couldn't explain why.

The gifted program had classes during the winter holidays. Then I've already noticed that he was strangely quiet when he was with the gifted group. I felt concerned since he wasn't like this normally and I finally decided to ask him what's wrong. It took some convincing before he told me that he liked a girl in the gifted program, he was always confident in himself but after he was rejected by her, he seemed to have lost that glow.

That was when I first felt grief for another person. I never had a friendship deep enough that I'd sympathize them. But with him, a person I could only refer to as an acquaintance, I was in tears when I saw him trying not to cry. I remembered feeling so sad that I thought nothing mattered and I was almost hit by a car from not caring.

A few weeks later we began talking again as if nothing had happened. The rumors of him being rejected by a girl soon spreaded in our class, but only his close friends and I knew who she was. Everytime she was mentioned, he seem so depressed. But everyone else acted as if it was nothing and kept making fun of him.

Since then I became very protective of him. I can't help but watch over him to make sure he's happy. He was beginning to affect my moods strongly; when he laughs, I'd be smiling; when he seemed sad or sick, I'd feel down and lose all my energy.

I've been aware of the way I was feeling but I always dismissed it since I had a crush on someone else at that time and there was no way to label what it was anyways.

In eighth grade, school work for heavier and heavier everyday and a lot of my classmates were stressed out. I never worried much for studying but then my grade started falling and I began losing confidence. I remembered him being completely careless and still got good grades. I was in awe and once I told him how much I admired him and he said that he always felt as him and I aren't much different.

Though it might seem light but that sentence alone was what motivated me to keep going. It's like hearing your idol acknowledge your strengths and I gain belief in myself.

It was also then that he became self-conscience of his appearance. He is generally considered attractive except for his heights. He'd carrying a pocket mirror everywhere he go and when he had a disappointing haircut he would refuse to take his cap off even though it's not allowed in our school. I remembered feeling ridiculed since I always thought of him as this perfect human being who couldn't possibly have insecurities.

I loved how he was regardless of what he felt of himself and everytime he made a change I felt like I was learning another piece of him.

For a while I didn't notice I was staring at him and looking forward to seeing him more than I did for my 'crush'. It wasn't until one afternoon in ninth grade when I felt my heart race when I saw him sleeping at his desk. Butterflies and everything, I couldn't even look at him without feeling like I was about to explode.

That was two years ago.

We had to take an exam to get into high school in the ninth grade (we only have three years of high school 10th, 11th and 12th grade). In our country, students are sorted into different high schools by grade so everyone was studying hard.

On some level I knew that getting into the best school in my city wasn't going to be a problem, but when he said he wouldn't attend that school even if he got in, I started changing my plans.

Around February of 2015 was when he began acting strange and distant towards me. He'd barely ever talk to me and our seat arrangements pulled us far apart. I thought he found out I had a crush on him and was disturbed. Then he oddly told me that he didn't like the girl in the gifted program anymore, and I thought that was his way of telling me to shut up and taking the last personal thing I have of him away.

The atmosphere in the school was tense and I was overwhelmed by the tests and the anxiety. I've always had a bad habit of picking at my skin and I guess that's when it got worse. From my shoulder to my fingers, I was covered in scars and wounds I inflicted upon myself.

There was an incident in our class where someone broke a mirror and the glass shattered everywhere. I can't remember exactly why but I began cutting myself with a piece I found on the ground.

The wounds were very shallow and looking back now I felt like I was doing it more for attention than release. When my classmates saw them, they had very different reactions. Some were shocked and told me to stop, some thought I was crazy and didn't care much.

There was one particular stressful day when I just felt like I needed release. I want looking for my shard of glass and was frustrated when I couldn't find it. At that time his seat was right next to mine and he told me that he threw the glass away so I couldn't self harm anymore.

Back then I became mad at him. He'd previously threatened to tell my mother (my mom's a teacher at our school, so he knew her) about it and now he actually stopped me from doing it.

Anyways, when the test results came out, he had the highest marks of the class and I the second highest. We were pretty much guaranteed a spot in the best high school.

And we did. I was glad I ended up going to that school anyways because now I could be in the same school as him for the next three years.

Though I never had high hopes for high school, I couldn't have gotten myself in a worse position. He had gotten in the gifted program in this school again and I was in a regular class, it'd be lucky for me to see him a couple times a month with our buildings being so far apart.

Everyone in this school was either a genius of a really hard worker, the competition was fierce and I was entirely pushed to the bottom from the start. There were no chance of me exceeding to their level and I grew sick of trying without any results.

I isolated myself from everyone else and became apathetic to everyone but him. I couldn't think, I couldn't eat, I was I'll with thoughts of him. All I know is that I miss him and not being able to see him everyday was killing me. I can't stop worrying if he was happy, if he was healthy or if he'd gotten himself into troubles.

About two weeks into the semester, I became depressed. There were a thousand pounds in my chest and I couldn't breathe. All I could think about was how useless I am as a person, how everyone hated me and wished I were dead and how I was so stupid to think that him and I was ever anything.

I lost ten pounds in five days. I was shocked because I'd only skipped a few meals and eaten less for the past week or so. And I lost interest in things I normally enjoy. My parents bought me a guitar like they promised if I got in the best school and they kept asking why I wasn't playing. I felt guilty for being so unproductive.

Drawing is what I've been doing all my life, but during that period of time, I couldn't take my mind off him and every piece of work I made were dark and confusing. Later, I tried writing and found myself writing a suicide note.

I didn't know what depression was at that time so I thought I was just being irrational from being separated from him. But I soon realized I was more mad at myself than anything else.

Sometime in October I carved a letter into the back of my left hand with a pencil. It was purely from frustration, I wanted to punish myself. That's when it all started, I began to see that what I had was a mental illness.

I was scared to ask for help because I'm scared that they won't believe me and call me an attention seeker. It took my parents around two months before they started noticing that I'd been acting weird and it took them nearly a year before they started taking me seriously.

Self harm became sort of a daily task for a while, I felt like I had to do it just to stay sane. I've never been triggered by the things most people have, the only people who could push me over the edge were my mother and him.

At that situation I felt like I needed to hear absolute positive responses, something that may not be helpful but is easy to hear. So I contacted my friend John. He purposefully lost contact with me because he had a crush on me for God knows how long and he knew I didn't like him back. But when I contacted him I didn't know it was gonna give him false hope and victimize myself with a stalker for the following months.

He'd text me everyday and expect me to come meet him at two o' clock in the morning. I felt really bad because I felt like I was using him. Everyone I need a shoulder to cry on, he'd be there and he'd give me comforting words I wish to hear. But when I wake up the next morning all I can feel is guilt.

Back to the topic. During the first semester of high school he'd greet me enthusiastically everytime he sees me and I try to return it but everytime I see him or know he's in the same room as me, my heart starts pounding out of chest. This time it wasn't butterflies, I just felt like vomiting and banging my head against the wall.

In the summer I realized the feeling of 'crush' had disappeared into something I couldn't quite define. Normally when I crush on someone I become insanely possessive and jealous but with him I just wish to be next to him and make sure he's happy. I wouldn't care if he dated another girl as long as she isn't a terrible person.

Plus, I'm asexual, I realized so when all my friends started to define all their attractions physically while I feel no such thing. Thus, the line between love and platonic became really blurry to me.

Sometimes I wonder if he had started to ignore me because he thinks In ignoring him, or that because I just simply annoy him. Not being able to see him makes me more and more anxious.

Though through social media I could see that he'd been pretty occupied with his friends and that he's enjoying himself, but when I saw him standing on the bus and drifting asleep with bags under his eyes, I was crushed.

During the second half of first year, he had almost completely ignored me. Sometimes we pretend we don't see each other when we cross parts until I developed a habit to look down while I walk just to not catch his eyes.

Everytime I see him I feel like I'm having a panic attack and I'm about to die, but when I don't see him, it feels like a slower, more painful death.

I was diagnosed with depression in August, 2016. Even so, when I explain to my teacher about why I was missing classes when I was having episode, they'd always dismiss me by saying that they've seen worse.

I started to reach out to people close to me who might be able to help me with my problem about him but everyone I asked just told me that it's a crush and I'm just a hormonal sixteen-year-old.

Since I could find no help, I tried to distract myself from thinking about him because I felt like he's plays a big part in my issues. I began writing profusely, stories and poems or a screenplay just tucked into the blanks that were meant for note taking. I enhanced my digital art skills and learned animation, post production and basic programming. I spent time on my guitar and also learned ukulele, I even taught myself how to sing which I didn't even think was possible.

But still, nothing.

We had an activity at our school where every class have to come up with something creative while parading through the field. He came to my class because one of his best friends was in my class and he wanted to do something fun which his own class couldn't deliver.

I hadn't seen him in a while and I thought I'd build up the courage to talk to him, so I did. His reaction was what was stuck in my mind for months. He seemed so awkward and wouldn't meet my eyes. Only answering in short yes or no's, seeking to be in a hurry to stop talking to me.

After that I barely see him anymore.

It's actually a very uneventful story now that I've written it down. It's just that I've been feeling like this for far longer than I thought I would. If it was just a crush I would've moved on one and a half year ago, but I can't. No matter how hard I try.

I would love to know if anyone have had a similar experience and if you read this far then I both thank you and apologize to you, I hope I didn't completely waste your time.

If its not too much trouble, could anyone give me any advice/opinion on this? I'd really appreciate it.
   
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Re: A Load Off My Chest... (tw: depression, self harm, suicide mention) - February 27th 2017, 12:17 AM

Wow that's an amazing story! Thank you for sharing that.

The school system sounds like one big stress factory! So much stress!

I know stress is what triggered my depression. The stress of school was so endless and long I think it just finally damaged my brain.

Kind of ironic how I was so stressed that if I didn't do well in school my life would be ruined. Only in hindsight do I realize my life was already ruined by all that stress.

I spent a few years looking for an antidepressant medication that worked for me. Many of them didn't work. I finally did find one and it made a huge difference.

I slowed down my schooling to a pace I could cope with, and eventually graduated with a Master's Degree in a technical field. I thought, "Now comes the good life, now that I spent my life studying hard and I'm really smart. I'll make a lot of money now." But that good life never came, because they never taught me how to socialize, how to network with people, how to market myself, how to get a job. Apparently that is stuff other people just naturally do and it doesn't require any teaching for them, whereas I'm somewhat clueless how that works. Plus I have this stress induced mental illness now on top of that. It was as if the schooling that was supposed to prepare me for life instead destroyed me.

I'm reminded of this wonderful 2 minute explanation by Allan Watts, "Life and Music":
https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=iuUz9lUtPnU

(He has other great videos too.)

So, my suggestion to people following this path of high intelligence, is, stop worrying if your future life will be messed up, your life is already messed up now! And it's going to continue to be messed up as long as stress rules. Stress causes mental illness, it causes drug addiction, it causes alcoholism, it poisons the body. Stress will kill you.

Which is ironic because it was originally designed to save you.

Stress activates the body's Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). This is the "Fight or Flight" response. Our bodies and mind weren't designed to always be in this state. It's also hard to socialize when in this state. (It's hard to socialize when you feel you are being chased by a tiger.)

We need to learn how to get out of this state, and into the opposite state: the "Rest, Digest, Restore" state. We need to learn how to deactivate the SNS state, and activate the other state, which is the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). This used to be our natural state. It's the "Do nothing" state. When was the last time any of us did nothing? We're always doing things, we never take time to just be.

Doing, making producing, must be part of a rhythm in which being also has its place.

Activating the body's PNS state also activates the mind's Social Engagement state. This is when socializing becomes natural.

Doing nothing is what mindfulness meditation is all about. The art of learning how to do nothing. Except we're not doing nothing, we're allowing the body's PNS state to naturally become activated, by not doing things, by not thinking things, instead we return our focus to the present moment, and just observe. And when our mind wanders, as untrained minds have a habit of doing after about 10 seconds, we let go of that thought, and return our focus to the present moment.

This activates the PNS state, allowing our bodies and minds to heal.

(There are numerous guided meditation apps. "Headspace" is one I like.)

"Balance" is another metaphor I use. It's just a metaphor, a way of thinking about life. (Which reminds me of the movie "Koyaanisqatsi", which I personally like. The title translates to "Life out of balance".)

("Spectrum" is another metaphor we use; sometimes it's the wrong metaphor, and it leads us astray.)

("Have an open mind" uses the metaphor "open", which restricts our thinking to believing the only other possibility is to have a "closed" mind. The metaphor allows us to think, and at the same time restricts our thinking. There is another possibility, but we'll never find it until we recognise the metaphor being used and expose how it is restricting our thinking. A third possibility is to have an informed mind.)

I always disliked older people telling me that school isn't the real world. Or being 16 is somehow not a real age, and anything I think or feel while 16 doesn't count, because I'm only 16, and 16 will pass, and only later does the "real" world start, and only then will my feelings and relationships matter and count.

Sorry I don't have an instant cure for your problems. I can only outline a path to recovery. That emotional midbrain which can't verbalize anything, it can only communicate via feelings, it needs to be heard and acknowledged and the feelings need to be validated and listened to, and it needs time to heal. It needs to feel connected to other people, and it needs a break from constantly feeling like it's being chased by a tiger and your very life depends on doing more and more.

Instead your very life depends on doing less.

(Thank you for inspiring me to write this. It has made my own path clearer.)
   
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