Have you ever felt insecure in yourself? If yes, have you ever thought that it could impact the way you behave and many areas in your life? Since I was a teenager, I knew I was not the one that would volunteer to lead a group, present my own idea, speak my opinion or talk in front of an audience. I would shy away from such opportunities because I did not have that kind of confidence and I was feeling someone else might be better than me. When I entered adulthood, I discovered I had another insecurity: the fear of being abandoned and feeling useless. I would share you a piece of my story on how I discovered them, greatly affected myself and other people around me and lastly, how I overcame them.
I am a very curious person and easy to adapt at the same time. After I graduated, I worked in a lifestyle media company then I studied in Melbourne, I encountered many different people that were totally different from the people that I grew up with: different races, skin colors, religions, backgrounds, values, and languages. I met many people with different lifestyle choices: who enjoyed a glass of wine every night, attended book writing club regularly, studied, joined and believed in Mormon, tattooed or pierced one’s body, needed to smoke marijuana before going to work, believed that a cohabitation is better than a marriage, and many other choices that were totally different from mine. Honestly, I was not having culture shock at all and not arguing with them. Instead, I became more and more curious that I dived into some of their worlds. Unknowingly, I got sucked in and lost myself in the process.
This excitement led to a subtle paradigm shift, which resulted in leaving few of my important values behind. I started to hang out with some of them. Of course, we are actually encouraged to go out from our comfort zone and hang out with people that are different from us which I would also encourage every one to do so. This will keep us open minded and learn to accept different people. However, I made a fatal mistake and let my insecurities played a big role: I felt the need to join and get accepted by a certain group to feel loved and belonged, to have an identity as a member of ‘a group’ so that I could feel accepted, valuable and loved.
I over accommodated people that I looked for the acceptance and love I needed. I would always say “yes” to their requests and I have trouble saying “No”. I would apologize repeatedly even though I only made a minuscule mistake, feeling fearful that I would be abandoned. However, even though I had put an extra mile of effort, my needs were not often met. I once overheard one person in a group would talk about me that how unusual I was because I was too nice. Other person said to “be careful with Irene.” I admitted that my behaviors were quite unusual to them so that they might perceive my behaviors differently. I also admit to you that my motivation was wrong: to be accepted and loved by people as a source of my identity. It was like… Giving to take. Get it? Yes, that was it.
My insecurities became much worse when the co-dependency/toxic friendship happened which led me to overthinking and feeling useless, hopeless and worthless that I would just end this suffering through an easy way. For the first time in my life, I experienced panic attacks. I was slightly feeling slightly detached from my body, then continued with sense of choking, trembling, crying, overwhelmed by a mix of running emotions and suffocated. I thought to myself, I should do something about my current mental state. If other people can have a normal life, why can’t I? I tried to grab to a minuscule of hope that I had left by reaching out to BeyondBlue.Org Australia and I began to write:
Dear BeyondBlue team,
I have been experiencing extreme downs for few years already, starting at the age of 19. But it gets worse in the past year already. I think I have anxiety. Maybe also depression. Or even BPD. I don’t know. I came here to Melbourne recently, six months ago for study.
At first I thought I was just PMSing, then few months ago I found out that there is a worse type of it, it is called PMDD. Maybe I have it. I don’t know. So I researched over the internet for the treatment and the articles stated that I am lacking of chemical in the brain called serotonin. Then I started taking the pill from Swisse for Moods since two months ago. It worked for 1 month.. I think.Then I stopped taking it for two weeks then the downs keep coming back like crying, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, etc.
My feelings are so intense and extreme. When I get irritated, I could do things impulsively. Someone got angry at me while I was driving, I had the urge to press the pedal so hard to crash the car in front of me. I cried a lot too because of fear of abandonment or the thoughts of being not good enough as a person, lacking of qualities.
The triggers are usually in social situation which I can feel that either I am not fun enough, I am not good enough, and any other negative thoughta that lead me to feel anxious. Or I keep seeking other’s people approval. My best friend told me that I let other people’s opinion define my values and worth. Dunno I can’t think the other way (inside out), I can’t stop my thoughts too. Its crazy. When I feel irritated, I am really irritated. Like one case in a train station, there is a miscommunication between a friend and I of where I should pick up. And then I was already trying so hard to meet my friend at certain place but the message just didn’t go through. My friend started blaming me and said things like I am not good in communicating, and any other things.
Afterwards, I was feeling really angry, to myself, to people. I have done my best but people don’t see that. I was really angry. As angry as I wanted to break the glass door, yelled at strangers in front of me, or even hit people with my train case.
So BeyondBlue team,
Please help me what’s wrong with me. I have mood swings too. Higher than up and lower than low in the same day. My friend suspected that I might have rapid cycle bipolar. But maybe BPD too. I don’t really know. I feel lost. I need to get help.
Looking forward to your reply. Thank you so much for reading my email.
And this was their reply which encouraged me to take an actionable plan:
Firstly, thank you for contacting the beyondblue e-mail service. It sounds like you have been going through a lot and that you care tremendously about your mental health and well-being. It takes a lot of courage, strength and patience in reaching out, and it’s great that you are resourceful in getting the information and following up by contacting us.
It must be very hard for you to be experiencing extreme emotions Irene. It must be hard when you are unable to control yourself when you are feeling irritated and do things impulsively. This can be really dangerous Irene. We are also concerned about your suicidal thoughts. If you feel that they are getting worse and that you might act on them, please do call your local Mental Health Team on:
Psychiatric triage (administration, information, assessment and referral)
24 hours a day, 7 days a week Telephone: 1300 874 243
Do not hesitate to call “000” if you need immediate help. We also encourage you to see your doctor as soon as possible.
It’s important to know that you understand that clinical depression is a medical condition. It significantly affects the way someone feels, causing a persistent lowering of mood. It is often accompanied by a range of other physical and psychological symptoms that can interfere with the way a person is able to function in their everyday life. While depression symptoms vary and affect everyone in different ways. Symptoms include: feeling extremely sad or tearful; disturbances to normal sleep patterns; loss of interest and motivation; feeling worthless or guilty; loss of pleasure in activities; anxiety; changes in appetite or weight; physical aches and pains; impaired thinking or concentration. Struggling with suicidal thoughts can be overwhelming and scary. You don’t have to go through this alone, and there will always be help available to you, when you reach out for it.
It is so important you remind yourself that you do not have to put up with how you are feeling and it is very important that you take that next step to access treatment as soon as you can.
We believe in having a good doctor to talk with about your concerns as a good first step. The doctor is the best possible place to make a thorough assessment of your concerns and to discuss support options with you. One such support option could be counseling support via a psychologist. Counseling support can be helpful in working out positive ways around thinking patterns and implementing skills and techniques that may be helpful for you. As we move through our different life stages, we encounter losses in different areas of our life and need to make adjustments and find ways to accept and move forward as best we can. Talking with a psychologist can be a helpful part of this and this can be made available to you via the Mental Health Care Plan through your doctor so that you can receive 6-10 sessions per calendar year where the bulk of the bill is picked up by Medicare.
You said that you often feel negative about yourself. Here are the things that you can try to build up your self-esteem Irene:
-Positive self-talk – practice talking about the positives within yourself. This have a huge impact on how you may perceive yourself. If you keep talking about the negative things about you, you might start believing in it even though it is not true.
-Learn new things
-Exercise – physical activity will help you improve your mood and subsequently, your health!
-Stop comparing yourself to other people – we are all different and we all have our own strengths
-Surround yourself with positive people
-Focus on the positive things in life. We all do make mistakes but you have to forgive yourself for it and move on. It is OK to make mistakes. Sometimes, mistakes are our best teacher. We learn best from experiences. Focus on the things that can change you for the better and move forward.
We know things have been hard Irene, but you have shown so much resilience and once you take that next step to see your doctor and start treatment, things will feel much more manageable. Remember you can always call our Support Service on 1300 22 46 36. Our Counsellors are available 24/7 to support you with information, referrals to ongoing support services and brief counselling. We also have web chat service available from 3pm-midnight 7 days a week; you can access this from our website: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support . Take care.
beyondblue Support Service Team
From this rock bottom, I knew I had to do something to my mental health, to my insecurities. After finishing that letter, I knew I had to get better by asking for a professional help. From that darkness, I looked up to a glimpse of hope. A hope for a better life and a healthier mental state. The stronger and more confident version of myself was coming soon. I can do this. I have faith and I am a daughter of God who are given the power to overcome strongholds. I would find ways to win this war. Please fasten your seatbelt, because I will tell you a story of a glorious victory.