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Author Topic: I feel out of control
copper86
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Hello;

I feel so horrible for posting here about another worry of mine, but this time I really think it is interfering with my quality of life.

Ever since I had that vaginal cut and had gotten tested for STI's, I've been absolutely paranoid that I would find a sore, wart, or something else on my vulva. I'm finally more relaxed about that, and I'm trying to remind myself that my test results were negative and that I should be fine.

I don't know if I just latch onto a new fear every couple of months - as it used to be, as you all know, pregnancy fears and obsession for a long time, and then paranoia about my vulva - but now I'm terrified of my mouth. Every day, I look at it to make sure I don't have any sores or dots or anything. I have a few Fordyce's spots, but those don't bother me.

I did get cold sores as a child, but only a few, and I haven't had one for at least over 15 years. I've never had any issues with my mouth, but now I can't do anything without being afraid I'll get a sore. I don't kiss my cat, I examine cups, I freak out over the smallest dot (I just found a small dot on my lip, in the corner of my mouth, that looks like a little hole), and I refuse to kiss people close to their mouths. I gave oral sex a few days ago, and though I enjoyed myself, I notice that the upper and lower parts of my mouth (gums area?) hurts and tingles a few days later. I never thought much of it before, but any tingle or pain near my mouth and I cry or get paranoid. I have some canker sores and chew my lip, and I also put on a lot of lip gloss; so lip irritation can easily occur, but I never think it's that simple. I feel alone and almost insane, as I can't get through the day without washing my hands ten times (and they're cracked and bleeding) or examining my mouth and even my tongue. It's honestly to the point where I don't want to even do anything for most of the day... I'm at my wit's end. I keep showing everything to my mom - who keeps assuring me that it's nothing, and that I'm fine - but I'm just so terrified. I'm starting to think that I need to speak to a therapist, because this is making me feel "unlike myself." I'm crying as I write this, and I feel like I hate myself each time I find something I think could turn into a cold sore or something else.

I guess I just need some reassurance. I'm afraid to go to the doctor as my last few visits were very unnerving. I wish I could just relax, but whenever I do, I see something "new" (but could've always been there, or from chips poking my lip) and lose it. I'm so afraid to infect people and I feel like I'm alone.

[ 12-13-2012, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Hey copper: I agree, and think I've already previously suggested, that a therapist would likely be of great value to you. And I don't think this is really at the "starting to think," place with this: I think you've been in need of some ongoing counseling for a while.

In terms of your anxiety, what you know I think are unhealthy patterns in relationships, and the enmeshment with your family, I think it'd be a very good call.

I'm so sorry to hear you're having such a hard time, but I think the very best we can do for you in terms of this is to encourage and support you in seeking out therapy. And I'd say it's really clearly gotten to the point where it's become critical, okay?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Robin Lee
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HI Copper,

Hmm, let's try this. If there was a sore or mole on or in your mouth, what would happen then?

I also want to check in with you as you had talked a while back about seeking some psychological help and support. Is that something you've considered or investigated more?

While this isn't specifically sexual health related, I also want to check in with you about how life is going in general. Sometimes when things are rough in other parts of our lives, or not a lot is going on, it givs us more time to glom onto things; put another way, it gives us more time in our heads.

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Heather and Robin,

Thank you so much for your responses. I really appreciate them!

In terms of therapy, I truly only think about it when I think something "bad" is going on. I guess I just miss having someone around - who is a third party - to talk to, as I did in university. I haven't looked into getting a therapist, and though I see no problems with talking to one, admitting that I need help and potentially letting other people know I need it (though my mom suspects I'm going through a hard time) is hurting my pride, though I hate using that word. Maybe my "independence" would be a better choice.

You do have a point, Robin. I'm doing nothing at the moment... I'm still looking for work, I can't write due to lack of a computer (which is killing me, especially when I find solace in writing when I'm stressed out), and I'm not occupying my mind with school like I'd usually be at this time of year. I've been home from school for almost a year now, so that could also be making me feel out of sync; as I've always been living in two cities at once - school and home. Maybe I do have too much time in my own head. It's a scary place!

I know I sound very distressed in my posts, but I'm usually a very outgoing and happy person. I'm always running around and talking to people, and I guess when I'm alone or have more time to think than I should, I go a little over the top. I was toying around with maybe taking a night class, which might still be a possibility, as I miss school and the challenges that presented. Instead of analyzing my mouth, I was writing papers!

I think I'll start looking around for professional and affordable help in the area. I would talk to my pastor, but there are many things that I'd have to leave out; and that probably wouldn't help me or him.

Thank you again for reading this post. It really means a lot to me that you're all so friendly and encouraging, and helpful.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Copper,

There's a misnomer that therapy is only for people whose lives are absolutely falling apart. This really isn't true for all therapy patients though. Lots of people have a mix of good and bad in their lives and they go to therapy to help with the bad or awkward, while still enjoying the good in their lives.

Maybe it would be a useful exercise to define what independence is. This is personal perspective as well as professional: As a disabled person, dependence and independence have been really key, and sometimes very stressful, issues in my life. I'm still defining independence for myself. One of the things I've come to realize (and while independence looks different for everyone, I think this is universal) is that independence allows someone to be the person they want to be. I don't think you want to be anxious and stressed right now. [Smile]

You know, because you're an outgoing, happy person is even more of a reason to get help with the rest of this.


Would it be helpful for you to check in here on how the search for affordable therapy is going?

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin,

I agree with you about therapy being beneficial for talking about the good and bad situations in our lives. I did talk to my Chaplain about the good and bad things; so I do see your point. I guess it could be a matter of pride that sometimes stops me, but I know that's a silly reason. I guess I'm just used to trying to handle things by myself (which obviously has moments where it does and does not work); but I do like the notion of having a third party help me. Now that I have more permanent access to a laptop, I will do some research on local counseling areas. Hopefully there's something near me; but I don't mind walking and taking a bus. The one other thing I would need help with is talking to my parents about my wanting to pursue it (and if it's not costly or free, then that won't be an issue). I'm not trying to say that my family runs my life or that they wouldn't let me go; but I'd like to do this without lying about where I'm going, and I'd rather have support from them than suspicion. I will definitely check back here when I find some therapy options.

I have a quick general health question, though I know this is not what Scarleteen specializes in. The small dot I saw on my upper lip was fine until Friday morning, when I checked after breakfast and saw that it had bled. I panicked and went to a walk-in clinic to make sure it wasn't a cold sore or something infected. The doctor examined the cut, my throat, and the inside of my mouth and even my ears, and told me it was totally normal - that it was a small nick in the skin. She said I could use Polysporin to heal it if I wanted to, but that no medicine was necessary. The alcohol in my lip gloss stings the cut, so I've been using a lot of Blistex. I think it's getting better, but it's in a pretty difficult spot - my toothbrush and food always get in the way. Is there any other way to speed up the healing process? I'm not touching it or chewing on it (chewing on my lower lip or biting my lips is an issue sometimes).

Thank you for your definition of independence, it has definitely helped me greatly. I definitely want to be less stressed out and anxious, so I agree with you there!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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HI Copper,

You know, sometimes things just need time to heal on their own. Are you using the Polysporin as the doctor suggested?

What about seeing how your lips do if you don't put *anything* (other than the Polysporin on the sore spot) on them.

Best of luck locating local counselling opportunities. Whether or not you need to ask your parens for money to help with that certainly will impact the way you have this discusion with them. [Smile]

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Robin

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copper86
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I've been looking at local counseling in the area, and have come up empty-handed and disappointed. Everything is too expensive. I knew any kind of counseling wouldn't be cheap, but I can't afford this. I gave up looking once I saw all the practices' prices, and my anxiety is worse. I wash my hands all the time and inspect cups before I use them. I feel like a freak. My parents are mad at me because I have outbursts of anger and frustration and they snap at me to stop. I might reconsider talking to my Pastor, as at least he knows me and will be able to at least help me with my fear of getting sores on my mouth. All the logic in the world doesn't make me as relieved as I want to be. I hate blowing up because then my parents get mad and then I feel like I've ruined their day.

I'm a French tutor and other than some occasional nibbles at my ad I'm having no students. I plan on handing out a bunch of resumes tomorrow or Monday, so if I do get a job soon, I'll just opt for the counselor that has the easiest fee, but all are in the hundreds (I can't remember how high, but the one I really wanted charged way too much for one session). I feel really lost and every day I keep thinking something will show up. It's a nightmare.

But I do feel better venting on here, and I guess I'll do more research to see which rates might be doable when I get a job.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Copper,

I'm not sure if we've talked about this before, but have you shared with your doctor that you're experiencing anxiety? It sounds like the anxiety is starting to control you (the emotional outbursts, the frequent handwashing, etc) and that you really need some help and support with it. Your doctor may have some resources for lower-cost counselling, or be able to refer you to a psychiatrist, which is covered.

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin!

Yes, we have discussed this before, I just didn't have the energy or maybe the time to ask my doctor. I'm not sure if I want to see her again. Could a walk-in clinic doctor be able to help me with that? I do have a family doctor (not the one I had seen a few months ago, who was female), so perhaps he can help me.

I'm worried because the lower right hand side of my lip hurts when I press down on it. The area on the inside of my mouth hurts, so I'm not sure if pressing down on the lip is making the inside area tense up (my gums hurt a bit too in that area); but I'm worried it's a cold sore coming in, though I haven't had one for at least 16 years. There's no itching, burning, or tingling, or redness; and I've been keeping an eye on it for 19 hours and nothing has changed. I could've bitten my lips while eating a burger yesterday and the salt irritates my mouth, and I know there are thousands of other reasons for lip pain... But I'm just so scared. I'm avoiding seeing my partner until I figure out what this is. I'd feel awful if something ever happened to him and it was my fault. I just can't deal with this. I'm so afraid he'll ask me to hang out and I know I'd have to lie and say I was sick because the last thing I ever want to do is hurt him.

They say 24-48 hours is the norm for cold sores to show up... Is this true? What if you haven't had a sore in over a decade? I know my immune system is good overall, and I've had sinus infections and fevers and almost mono and no sores ever came up; but I'm just so worried. I don't want to go near anyone, and I don't want people touching my cups and I already use gloves to insert a tampon since I'm on my bleed now. I know it's time for therapy, so I need to see a doctor and get on that. I know what I'm doing is not normal. I just can't see a way out. I'm afraid my mom and dad won't support therapy, but to be honest, if I can get it at a reduced cost and can get a bus or taxi there, I really don't care if they don't think I need it. That sounded pretty mean, but I can't live like this. Life seems terrifying and I don't want to live in fear all my life; or think that I'll infect everyone with the plague by being with them (that wasn't meant to be judgmental towards anyone; that's just how I feel about myself now).

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Hey, copper.

I'm sorry that you're feeling this way, but I just really feel like we're doing the opposite of helping you to continue to talk about illnesses and symptoms.

As you know, I have long thought that any physical illness, infections, any of that really aren't the issue here. I think, and only more and more as time goes on, that your mental health and your interpersonal environment are the issue. I feel like more discussion about things like STIs with you are really only helping you to find a distraction from the real issues, and to do our jobs responsibly, one of the biggest ethos we have to follow is to aim not to do anyone any harm. I feel like enabling around this does just that, I'm afraid.

So, as I think I've said before, I'm willing to talk with you about making real changes to your interpersonal life and this relationship. I'm also willing to see what we can't do about helping you get connected with counseling resources.

(Have you tried starting by going into the ER? I know it sounds extreme, but sometimes going in that way can be the best way to get into the system. I think going into the ER and reporting what sounds more and more like very extreme anxiety, possible OCD, and perhaps even hypochondria, all of which have been going on for quite some time is not unreasonable anyway, but that if you're clear about all of this with a healthcare professional, you're very likely to be able to access mental healthcare.)

[ 01-10-2013, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Hi Heather,

I understand your position. I've already talked to my partner about using condoms for anal sex and he agreed. Now the only remaining thing is to make sure he does it as I clearely heard a "yes."

I'm very open to talking about finding a counselor. You will find this extreme, but there are days where I'm just not wanting to deal with anything anymore. I feel shut down and I end up alienating everyone, or feel like nobody cares about me. It's scary when I get so upset that I can't always see a way out. I never used to be like this, even when I was with my partner earlier, I was never like this. Just the past few months I've been really feeling not myself. Every day I find something else to worry about. I'm my own worst enemy!

To be honest, it scares me to think I could have thos disorders. Of course, I've thought about those things, like I might have mild OCD about some things, or I might be a chronic worrier, but I never thought I could have a diagnosis. A hypochondriac actually sounds like something I might be. I've been called neurotic and obsessive in arguments, and that hurt my feelings, but it's something I've thought of to myself.

The ER does sound drastic but I doubt my parents would take me. I could get a cab but again I'd have to lie and I'm sick of lying to my parents. I just recently told my mom about how I got tested (without divulging anything about my partnership) and she was really caring. She said she would've gone with me and everything and would've just waited for me outside; and wants to help me if I ever need anything. She made me feel so good but I just don't know how to tell her I've been thinking about therapy or counseling. I just hate thinking I'll be diagnosed with a bunch of things and I don't know what I'd do. Do you take medication for these disorders, or just behavioural therapy? I know every therapy approach is different, and I may not have all those things anyway; it just freaks me out that I have more things to worry about.

Thank you for being gentle with me, Heather. I've been doing a lot of self-blaming and beating myself up lately, so I appreciate your concern.

--------------------
"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I'm not the person to ask about the specifics of those disorders, because that's just not the work I do. But, on the whole, there are a range of therapies, and medications, available for all of them.

When I talked about your relationship, I was talking about more than getting your partner to use condoms. I was talking, as we have in the past many times, about the larger environment of that relationship, including, for example, you feeling like you'd have to be dishonest with your partner about your concerns about the herpes sores, rather than being honest about any concerns like we can be in healthy relationships.

I'm not at all surprised to hear that it's getting to the point where some days you just totally shut down. I think we've got some longtime deferred maintenance here when it comes to your interpersonal relationships -- including with your family -- and your mental and emotional health.

Personally, my vote remains as it has been: to take real steps to get out of your head, where you beat yourself up and work yourself up, and to start being proactive about all of this. With actions, not just thoughts.

I don't think your parents need to take you anywhere: you can get places on your own, you are an adult. I also don't think you need to lie to them: I think you can say you are going to get care you need. (And it sounds to me like your mother has all but said that quite directly to you.) But if you don't feel able to, personally, I think not being fully honest with them and getting yourself that care is a better alternative than staying so stuck and feeling worse and worse as more time passes.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Hi Heather,

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked you that. I could always look it up, too. I guess I should just wait and see what's up with me mentally before worrying about that.

I don't want to paint a negative portrait of my family. My parents are so supportive of the parts of my life that I let them see: my education, my church life, any problems I divulge, my friendships... It's just these other problems I don't feel comfortable telling them. Even if I had no partner and had an issue with my mouth or vagina, I'd still probably feel some embarrassment or anxiety over admitting it. I admit that I myself am part of this issue, as refusing to open up is not helping them help me.

I'm currently thinking about confessing to my mother that I want therapy, and that she does not need to play a part in it at all. If I can see a doctor and get a referral and I can get a low-cost option, then I will definitely do this on my own terms. I have no qualms with going alone and getting my own way there. I'd just feel more drained by lying. And I would like my mom to know that I'm actually struggling and this isn't just something silly I'm whining about.

It's not just my partner when it comes to my concerns about my mouth. If I get a sore, I won't want to go anywhere. My friends make fun of cold sores and how "gross" they are, and no way am I putting myself in that situation. I feel they wouldn't understand. I don't even want my family to see me if I get one. I know this seems extreme, but I'd feel like a walking virus and I doubt anyone would even want to get close to me if I had one. I really hope this is not what's happening to me.

I feel like just not doing anything. It's an effort to stop stressing over it. I can't do things I enjoy. I'm scared to talk to my partner and I just don't want to talk to my friends. I cried so long last night that my eyes were swollen and I'm pretty sure that could've hurt my mouth too (I'm not sure if this is the case for you, but when I sob, my mouth stretches and clenches, so maybe sore muscles can occur). My brother has offered me his help but I just don't know if I can.

I just want to have a clean slate with my mom - no lies if I can help it. Telling her is my way of helping me feel less guilt and for me to have more air to breathe. I might do that tonight as my brother is out of town and my father is away for a bit. I just don't want an argument to ensue, as I've already felt tapped out. I just don't want to deal with this anymore, and I want to live a "normal" life again.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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It sounds to me like talking to your Mom very honestly about all of this might be a very good place to start.

Also, you've expressed worry you're presenting your family as bad people before: really, don't worry about that. I don't tend to think that simplistically, and I know that family relationships are made up of whole families, of which every member is a part.

Personally, one of the things I think you suffer from is Perfect-Me syndrome (that is not an official disorder, just my shorthand for this), where you seem to want very much for everyone around you to think that you're perfect, that nothing's wrong with you, ever, that you have it all together, that you don't need any allowances made for you or help extended. And yet, you clearly have all the patience in the world for other people not being perfect, for having flaws or weaknesses or things they grapple with. (I also think that if someone else was treating others or themselves that way, you'd be pretty mortified and consider them pretty inhumane.) I think taking steps to get past that is going to benefit you and all of your relationships, and I think trying that out by being real with your Mom might be a very good place to start.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Hi Heather,

I just spoke to my mom, and she said that we'll get an appointment with my family doctor so I can tell him absolutely everything I'm worried about and he can take things from there. She shied away from my therapy idea, but I'll still tell my doctor about my anxiety and chronic worrying and see what he suggests. I'd really like a third party to talk to anyway, as I feel like talking to a friend can sometimes result in judgement. My mom told me I had a fever blister when I was 2 or 3 and sick, so if it's been that long... Well, I still don't know. I'm happy she was absolutely willing for me to see a doctor. I've known this man since I was 11 or so and I'd feel comfortable just telling him everything about my sexual history and my experiences with doctors.

My mom was supportive, and I really appreciated that. She told me she was looking at family pictures of us together and laughing, and said that it's been a long time since she's seen me laugh like that. You're right - if someone was beating themselves up or thinking they were worthless, or if they were treating other people that way, I'd be very upset. Actually, if they were treating other people that way, I'd feel the urge to hit them - but would in reality just tell them to stop being so mean. You're right in saying I suffer from that kind of dillusion. I guess since I see that no one else has sores or "issues," then I certainly can't have any. I sometimes think my friends are very judgemental and look at things like cold sores, unexpected pregnancies, and STI's like punishments or just so horrible and it's the victim's fault. They're Christians, and I personally don't agree with that kind of mindset. No one should go through anything and it's certainly not a punishment. I'm appalled at some of the things I've heard, but I usually just keep quiet and say nothing; as I don't want to start an argument. If we're supposed to be Christians, then I think we should be accepting of everybody, regardless of anything and everything. But that's another rant. [Smile]

I don't know how long I'll have to wait to see my doctor, as his office is closed tomorrow (I think) until Monday. Just a question: if I had one cold sore as a toddler, if he were to run a blood test, I'd still be most likely positive for HSV 1, correct? I know those blood tests can sometimes not be extremely accurate if one does not have an active sore.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I think that's fantastic you took a chance and talked to her. [Smile] And it sounds like, on the whole, it went really well!

It also sounds like (have we talked about this before? I think we have) you could stand to broaden your social circle, eh?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Thank you so much! It did go really well. She was really kind and understanding. I'm glad I spoke to her and told her the truth.

Yes, I want to at times. My brother has suggested it and my parents too. I do hang out with my brother and his friends at times, but I do miss hanging out with the friends I made at school. I do have a really non-judgmental and close friend I made at school with whom I feel very close and w text each other often about different issues; so at least with her I feel like I can be very honest and don't fear too much of a consequence.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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This close friend, is she someone you're able to see on a regular basis?

If not, it sounds like, again, it would be a good idea to look for some folks you can hang out with in person. Sounds like you're also getting a lot of encouragement to do that.

So, how about giving that a try?

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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