Poor Self Image/Esteem Issues

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#1
Recently, I was rejected again. By someone I thought felt the same about me as I did them. This is an ongoing joke Fate has with me, but that's another rant.
With as often as this has happened my entire adult life, I have severe self esteem and image issues that once more came to the surface. Weight, height, appearance, inability to be independent, shyness, anxiety, depression, etc. I don't know how to deal with these things, much less overcome them. I honestly feel like a scared little kid trapped in a middle-aged body most of the time. Academically, I know I'm a smart person. Socially and emotionally, I'm a moron. I'm just so tired of being stuck like this.
 
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#2
I'm sorry you see yourself that way, Cheesy. To be fair, I only know you from when we interact online, but you've always come off as a kind, funny, and talented person. I know that doesn't help when it comes to personal contact, but I genuinely enjoy it when you're around here.
 
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#3
I know you've said before that you've tried drugs and therapy, and neither worked, but I wondered if you would mind me asking what medications? Have you sought second opinions or other doctors?
 
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#4
I know you've said before that you've tried drugs and therapy, and neither worked, but I wondered if you would mind me asking what medications? Have you sought second opinions or other doctors?
I'm curious about this, too. Therapists/counselors are not always a good fit for the client. Medication takes time to work. Plus sometimes you need to get on a different prescription a few times before finding the right one and the right dose. Or, like me, Zoloft worked for a few years and then I had to go on something else because that medication wasn't as effective. You also have to be ready for committing to your mental health because it can be years before you unlearn old patterns and get some solid coping skills in place. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.
 
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#5
Zoloft worked for a few years and then I had to go on something else because that medication wasn't as effective.
I would not be surprised if you to have to find two medications that are effective, and then switch back and forth between them as your body adapts to each one.

--Patrick
 
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#6
I don't know if I should write this or not, but it's the truth for me. I feel very much like you quite often, and I am married. I don't feel rejected anymore, but I still struggle with self-image, self-worth issues. Some of that stuff won't go away with any companion. That's all brain crap. Whether it's nature or nurture or a bit of both, IDK. I do know that if you keep putting yourself out there, you will likely find someone. There's a ton of people on this planet, so the chances are good. As for the hurt, I found that by going to social events and forcing myself to strike up conversations without the romantic notions helped meet people. When you do meet someone you would like to know better, try not to let your imagination fall in love with them. Really concentrate on getting to know them in a platonic and non-committal way. Make friends essentially.
 
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#7
As a very introverted person, it's hard for me to put myself out there to try to make friends in person. I end up doing more online with people (including an online D&D game that's voice-only), as I don't always feel comfortable going out to do things. Now, my job forces me to not be introverted (IT Consulting, so I have to deal with people), which is hard to overcome - I've gotten pretty good at faking it, but I've been working on being able to for 15 years. Outside of a work situation or online, I can count the number of friends I have on one hand.

Depression is an issue that medications are a paint to try to find the right match - I've been on several myself - I take one currently that kind of works some of the time.

As for trying to make friends - have you tried doing anything with people online (games/RPGs/etc)? You're somewhat anonymous, and if you do up to voice-only, you don't have the physical things to worry about. I don't know if that's something you'd be interested in, but it's worked out fairly well for me.
 
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#8
I would not be surprised if you to have to find two medications that are effective, and then switch back and forth between them as your body adapts to each one.

--Patrick
It's possible that I could end up switching between the two. I hope not because now I realize how much Zoloft dulled my emotions.

But that's something else too. Just because it works for me doesn't mean it works for you in the same way. You might need to switch, I might only need one medication, and Poe could do best with a combination. Brains, man. They're a bit complex. ;)
 
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#9
One of my son's medications is effective but it also made him gain something like 50 pounds, so we're going to try a newer med. It might not work, but if he could not have the associated weight gain, it would be great. (It's also going to cost us *a lot* more money if it does work, but would be worth it)

Also, we went through a lot of different medications before we found one that was effective, and it was hell.
 
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#10
Fellow introvert here, also married, also suffer from a lot of the same fears/doubts still. I have never been on medication or gone to a therapist, but there was a big stretch of my life where I definitely should have. I was a loner and had zero social interaction for over 10 years. If it hadn't been for a new guy at work inviting me over to watch MST3K with him and his friends, I may not be alive today. I now count them as my best friends and just being able to hang out with them and get out of my own head for a while made me a better person and is what led me to be able to go out on dates, eventually meeting my wife, etc. etc. etc.

This sort of thing is tough, there is no one thing you can do that will guarantee you success. When I was still single, everyone told me that I would find that someone special when I least expected it. They were sort of right on that. I had been doing online dating for a few years and was burnt out on it, deciding that I would message one last person before quitting entirely. That last person wound up becoming my wife. I was still actively reaching out and was hopeful that something would come of it, but had no expectations that it would work out as it did.

I think the thing that helped me the most was that friend I mentioned earlier that invited me over to his house. I had been hanging out on forums and such for years but did not have a single real-life friend that I could call on. I started hanging out with him and his friends (who quickly became my friends) and that just helped me grow as a person.

I don't know you outside of this forum, so can't say what will work for you. My suggestion is to find some friends interested in hanging out weekly/monthly and just do whatever you like to do when you get together (watch movies, play games, modify cars, drink excessively ...that last one may need some tweaking). Social interaction takes practice. And I know, as a fellow introvert, that doing that is hard. I was lucky in that someone invited me or I would never have taken the initiative myself. I can only wish you good luck.
 
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#11
. . . I wondered if you would mind me asking what medications? . . .
I think the first time it was Wellbutrin. Shit, I don't remember the crap they put me on the second time. All I know is that both times it just made me feel "nothing", like numb. And the side effects kicked my ass.

. . . I do know that if you keep putting yourself out there, you will likely find someone. . . .
Somehow after 23 years of searching, I kind of doubt that at the moment. Especially when I seem to be a dumbass at understanding people.

. . . My suggestion is to find some friends interested in hanging out weekly/monthly and just do whatever you like to do when you get together (watch movies, play games, modify cars, drink excessively ...that last one may need some tweaking). . . .
My brother, his wife and I have been doing a couple of D&D sessions every Saturday at a local game shop for about half a year. Problem is, there's hardly ANY women there. And the ones that are there are WAY too young or are already married.


I've tried looking at online dating sites, which is just more depressing. Everyone my age is married, and I can't relate to any of the more younger women who aren't.
And at this point, I'm not sure if I can handle romance anymore. With this last person we both shared some very intimate things about ourselves with each other, things I had only shared with one other person before. And me being the idiot I am, I thought it meant something more than what it was apparently. I don't think I can keep reliving this pattern of rejection again.
 
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#12
If you think a romantic relationship is going to make you feel better, well, I can't say with certainty that it won't but I can tell you it wasn't the answer for me. It's hard to be in a relationship when you don't like yourself, and relying on someone else to define your worth is pretty dangerous.

I still would 100% suggest talking to a doctor again. I know it can be frustrating and scary, and I know it can seem pointless, but I can't begin to describe how beneficial finding the right medication was for me. It's not a cure all, and you need to find the right drug and the right dosage, and you need to juggle the side effects, but if you can find that right balance it makes every step forward towards improvement so much easier.
 
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#13
My brother, his wife and I have been doing a couple of D&D sessions every Saturday at a local game shop for about half a year. Problem is, there's hardly ANY women there. And the ones that are there are WAY too young or are already married.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I feel like this is not a helpful outlook to have, and by that I mean looking at a given social situation as an opportunity to meet women. You need to put yourself out there, but do it for yourself, you know? Do it to have fun and relax, I think it's hurting you to put that kind of pressure on yourself to meet someone. I know you've mentioned how lonely you are, but I strongly agree with Ravenpoe above re: relationships and self-worth. Probably not what you want to hear, but I think you would benefit from not trying to date and just working on being happy within yourself. On that note, I wonder if something like cognitive behavioral therapy would be helpful? Anyone know anything about that?
 
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#14
. On that note, I wonder if something like cognitive behavioral therapy would be helpful? Anyone know anything about that?
It could help. It makes you examine your thought process and challenge the irrational thoughts. For instance, you go to D&D at this game shop with the intention of finding a SO. No one has expressed interest. You think "I'll never find someone who could love me". This makes you feel depressed, lonely, isolated, etc. So, you become distant with people at the game shop when you're there for D&D because no one is interested in talking to you anyway. That behavior reinforces the thought that you'll never find someone to love you and it becomes a cycle. (This is a pretty simplified example using the current situation, btw, so take it with a grain of salt). CBT could help you recognize that thoughts like "I'll never find someone who could love me" contain cognitive distortions and allow you to take a more rational view. It can work for depression, PTSD, and anxiety.

You can look for counselors who use that technique with their clients. I think in the pinned post I put up links to sites where you can search for counselors/therapists and some of them state that they use certain counseling theories. Usually you get "homework' assignments as part of the therapeutic process with CBT, so as I said in my previous post, you have to be committed to doing the work that will lead to change.
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Sometimes it helps to unplug from the internet for a while and take care of yourself. I know you're getting a lot of support online, but I think you might also be encountering some...hurtful things too.
 
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#15
. . . It's hard to be in a relationship when you don't like yourself, and relying on someone else to define your worth is pretty dangerous.
. . . Do it to have fun and relax, I think it's hurting you to put that kind of pressure on yourself to meet someone.
I know. Deep down, I know. I've just had this feeling most of my life that my time is more than likely short. Between leukemia when I was young and Guillain-Barre when I was older, I keep expecting the next big thing that may take me out for good. I don't want to meet that fate alone.

. . . I know you're getting a lot of support online, but I think you might also be encountering some...hurtful things too.
Yeah. I've already had to block out some things.
 
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#16
While we don't interact much, I think and care about you, and I hope for the best for you.

You've taken several hard hits lately (savings, grandparent with dementia) so even when you aren't thinking about these things constantly they will still affect you constantly. Give yourself time and space to deal with the issues that are affecting you and recognize that this may simply be a more difficult few months for you than usual.

Things will get better.

Also, consider joining a service organization. This will directly impact your happiness and satisfaction with life, not just for the service you can render to others (which is strongly linked to happiness) but also to give you opportunities to learn how to manage your anxiety and depression, help a little with your loneliness by opening opportunities for friendships and platonic love, and increase your independence. You can start slow, helping out in small ways, and decide when and how you want to help. Make it clear to the organizers what your interests and limits are so they can link you to service opportunities that fit you well. I do this through my church, so if you already attend religious services it might be easiest to reach out to them. If not, or if you aren't interested in religious organizations, there are several organizations in your area that can use your help, look up Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Jaycees and Optimists, the top 5 service clubs in the US. There are some similarities, but there are many differences so take a look at their missions online and what others say about them and see if there's a good fit for you. Alternately look for local soup kitchens, social services, animal shelters, schools, or hospitals - they almost always have volunteer needs.

You are a wonderful, caring, loving person, so the only thing I would caution you about if you take my advice is to set boundaries and stick to them. Every organization is different, and every individual club within an organization is different. If you run into someone who runs their volunteers into the ground and guilt trips them into overwork for the needy you need to be able to stand your ground and make sure your own health is not at risk. This isn't common, and I hesitate to even bring it up, but setting boundaries on time, money, and what you're willing to do ahead of time is important for any volunteer. For instance you could choose not to volunteer your art skills, or you could limit financial donations to less than a certain percentage of your income. Once you've decided, stick to it when asked, "I understand the need, but I'm not able to fulfill it and will not discuss my reasons. Is there some other way I can help, or should I find another project to work on?"

I wish the best for you. If there's anything you think I could do for you, please let me know.
 

Dave

Staff member
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#17
Not only do I think @Cheesy1 is amazing and funny, but I really love @stienman 's posts

On a more silly note, I was looking for a motivational to send to my daughter and I came across this:

 
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#19
I think I've been too bitter for too long. I mostly despise people in general, and recent events have only solidified that notion in my mind. Whenever I've opened up and trusted others, it's always ended in hurt. I now doubt I'll ever be able to maintain a relationship when I can't trust the other person or myself. And at my age and lack of stability, it'll never happen anyways. Why waste time with me when someone better always inevitably comes along? Others say I always give up too soon, but how can I be optimistic when failure has become so routine that it's predictable?
 
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#21
I feel most of the time that I'm not allowed to be happy. And the rare times when I am, I fear that karma is going to over-correct it soon afterwards. And most of the time, that feeling ends up being correct.
 
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