Dear Capt. Awkward,
I feel like I’m an inveterate fuck-up. Everything I touch eventually falls apart, and I make decisions rashly and avoid the fallout by never peering too closely at myself. My most recent debacle started when a guy I was sleeping with in another city introduced me to his friends in this new city I just moved to, with the warning that I was not allowed to sleep with two of his closest friends in the group. So, of course, I made out with one of the guys the very night I met him, and eventually ended up sleeping with both of them. I wonder sometimes if I’m a sociopath; sure, the first boy probably shouldn’t have made such an irrational demand, but in the long run it comes down to my knowing that doing something would hurt someone I cared about and doing it anyway.
I’m not exactly suicidal, but I feel sincerely like it wouldn’t matter if I died. I’ve moved 13 times since 1997, and while I have friends, I mostly communicate with them over IM or Facebook. I place way too much importance in what other people think of me, and a large measure of my (mostly non-existent) self-esteem comes from how many people IM me first, or invite me along with them to whatever they’re doing at the time.
I am aware that I would probably benefit substantially from therapy; I grew up with a bipolar mother who was only diagnosed a few years ago (my comment upon being told that she was diagnosed? “Wow, that makes my childhood make so much more sense.”) She was emotionally abusive and neglectful and at 12 told me she didn’t want me and sent me to live with my father and stepmother, who also mostly didn’t want me. I crave being wanted. Unfortunately, I’m unemployed and have no money to spend on therapy. Oh, that’s another issue. I think I might be depressed and deliberately (though unconsciously) sabotaging my life. I’ve been in this new city for a month, and haven’t applied for any jobs. If I can’t make rent in three months I honestly don’t know what I’ll do, but that doesn’t seem to motivate me to actually search for a real job. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I don’t know how to fix it, and just jumping off a bridge sometimes seems like the only option that will actually solve everything.
There are so many personal details in this that anyone who read it and knows me will immediately identify me. I feel like I should care, that I should hide my issues and keep pretending, but maybe it’s just that self-destructive side of me coming out again and pressing send.
I don’t have issues, I have subscriptions
Would you mind letting me know (confidentially) what city you’re in, maybe I can look up some mental health services there and at least get you started.
I’m in [MAJOR CITY]- I feel sure that if there’s anywhere in the country that would have free mental health care it would be here, but I’m 31, straight, white, cis and otherwise average. I also have the problem that my mother took me to a shrink when I was a kid and having issues with lying and stealing. The shrink who was supposed to help me was useless, and as a result I have absolutely no faith in the mental health establishment. There’s also kind of this stigma — I may be crazy, but at least I’m not *going to a shrink* crazy, you know? (Even though clearly I am going to a shrink crazy.)
I have this feeling that if I just did one thing right, everything else would fall into place. Like, if I met that perfect boy I would magically get an awesome job and have an apartment where I don’t have 5 roommates and my hair would cooperate. But boys ignore me and my resumes are apparently sent into space and I still have five roommates and frizzy hair. There’s got to be more than this, right? Being an kid sucked ass, but I moved out and away…but it still sucks. I can’t move out of my head, I guess.
I don’t want to practice unlicensed psychiatric care over the internet, but I feel pretty sure that the the feelings you describe (meaninglessness, feeling lost, self-sabotaging behavior, feeling unmotivated, mentioning suicide, having a family history of bipolar disorder) are in the DSM somewhere and I feel comfortable saying that if you did seek out some care that you would tick a lot of boxes on those ticky-box forms they use at intake.
I know this not because I’m a mental health professional (DISCLAIMER: NOT A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL) but because I’ve been alone and new in a strange city where I moved more to flee something than to seek something new, sending my resume into a void, living with sketchy assholes including a man who wore so much cologne that it caused my cat to pee defensively on his things and a dominatrix who used to re-arrange my furniture whenever I went out of town, watching my savings dwindle while I slept with a grotesque series of The Wrong People, including one who I refer to as “A Three-Dimensional Interactive Display Of How Bad I Was Feeling About Myself At The Time” and who old friends reading this will remember by his 1) luxurious ponytail 2) “helpful,” “friendly” offers to have them come over so he could massage their feet. Also, for the record, HE dumped ME for someone else (and if I said something different at the time it was a lie to save face).