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selina
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not sure if this is the right topic but right now i just need to tell someone about something and i feel like i can't trust my friends. when i did mention it once, they told me to get over it and that there was no big deal. but i feel so alone and ashamed about it and i never told my family. here's the thing.

i'm 23, never had a relationship in my life, moved schools several times, from being physically and verbally targeted at one to the point of being slammed into doors and having my things broken and torn up and being compasses being pressed into my skin (and when i lashed out my teacher told me i was unstable and crazy and needed help) to another where i was invisible. i was a ghost. i was never invited to anywhere and even now i can count on the fingers of one hand how many times i was invited out up until now. my mum told me i used to be a happy child until i started school and from the age of about 7/8, the bullying started and never seemed to stop until i left when i was 18. i got depressed from that age and i've been up and down ever since and everyone told me i was moody and crazy and needed help. but i just can't explain why my mood switches and why all of a sudden i get depressed and start to cry at random times. sometiems i can spend a whole day crying and then when i felt happy for a change and came to school, people would as why i would be smiling and happy like i had done soemthing wrong and i would switch back to my bad mood straight away. i could never relate to anyone and i didn't have any real friends til i was about 15/16 and people see me now and don't realise that i had to evolve into who i am now. my friends expressed shock recently when they learned that i rarely apoke when i was a kid because i happen to be a lot louder and more flamboyant now. but recently, things have been stirred up and now i feel like i need to let it out. since leaving school, every 2 years, a girl from school with a bad reputation messages me and asks me why i accused her boyfriend of rape. i didn't know until i left school that rumours had been circulating about me, that one of the popular girls came up to me and asked me if i had been raped. i was so shocked. i was so upset and told some friends about it but they didn't seem to care. they told me that it was no big deal and it didn't matter if he hadn't actually done it. but it didn't stop this girl from accusing me of it. and it didn't stop me from feeling so alone and ashamed and hurt. someone pinpointed me as a girl who had got drunk and slept with her now boyfriend at a party. as i never drank and never went out as a teenager, i know thats not true. but at first i thought that she was referring to something else. the truth is, when i was 14, i was assaulted by a boy i knew at camp and although it wasn't rape, it affected me. a year later a boy at school physically jumped on me and put his hands around my neck and tried to strangle me. both times these guys did it in front of a class or their friends, all of them thought it was hilarious. i knew i was the joke, just the ugly girl that they could make fun of. they seemed to think that i was grateful for having some sort of attention, they were doing it to mock me. in my school, if you wreren't cool or popular, you had no sexuality. and i never did. i thought i was asexual because i wasn't interested and nobody was interested in me. but i lied to myself.

in truth, i was attracted to girls but i never realised it was that until much later. i then assumed i had to be lesbian because i didn't like guys. in my life i've ever only liked 1 guy but he was out of reach. and i am expected to marry a jewish man so anyone else is out of the question. its not easy to find good jewish men at my age tbh. but then when i hinted that i might be lesbian to a friend she walked away and never talked to me again. apart from a few occasional hugs with male friends (and i only have about 3) i have not touched a man. i hadn't before i was assaulted the first time, i hadn't before the second time and not after that. i have never touched a man of my own free will apart from a hug. its like sometimes i can't physically stand to be near men, i just don't want them near me. i feel threatened and hostile towards them much of the time and my mum wants to know why i can't just make an effort. i turn men away because of this and i have only seemed to have had 1 man ever interested in me but i didn't know it at the time. and i know i'm expected to be in a relationship with one but i can't be right now and i don't know if i'll ever be. i physically back away when a man comes near me at times. i'm afraid of them. i've only just established last year that i do like some men (which makes my fear of them make no sense) but i am also attracted to women. my first crush was a girl at school and i didn't know it then.

i was never taken seriously when i was kid and i feel like one now because people still laugh at me for saying things and wearing things i felt like i wanted to say or wear. i hate mirrors and being photographed and i'm extremely shy and uncomfortable on that level. i'm not pretty, i'm not popular in a large social circle and because of this up and down depression, very difficult to get on with, especially because of my terrible temper. so i have a reputation for being tough and a complete bitch. my dad died when i was 12 and everyone puts that down to my lack of interest in potential boyfriends because i find it hard to recognise male authority, not having grown up with it as an adult. i admit i do feel hostile towards men a lot and part of me despises them. and so i can be harsh towards them. i can't see myself in a relationship, i've always been alone but occasionally a guy would come to talk to me, then i just panic and cut them down. i can't bring myself to be intimate with anyone, i physically just can't even look someone in the eye when i tell them something personal (which rarely happens) and i usually breakdown when that happens which makes me feel so ashamed that i've shown it. its true i don't like myself and i have no confidence and such low self esteem. everyone told me to get over the bullying but its shaped me intensly and now that this situation has shown up again, i'm having to deal with the issues i didn't realise were there in the first place. i should have realised that i was attracted to women in the first place and it would be so much easier to think that i were gay. but i'm not, i've registered attraction to a couple of men and that freaks me out because i feel like i despise them because of what happened before. does that make sense? i feel like i don't deserve what other people have and i can't think of that changing. i've recieved nothing but violence and abuse by men, i just don't know what its like to be treated like he cares. and if a guy is nice to me (which happens occasionally) then i freak out and draw away from him. i'm sorry for the long post and all this rambling but i need to write it down and its been going around in my head and its such a muddle and i think i need to talk about it

[ 11-09-2011, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: selina ]

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Heather
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Well, I certainly don't understand how anyone could expect anyone to "just get over" all of these things.

You don't need me to tell you that this would be a LOT to get over. Hopefully you also don't need me to tell you that I'd be very surprised if anyone experienced any of this as feeling like "no big deal." In fact, I'd be very concerned about a person who had gone through all of this and felt that way about it, because that would suggest to me that that person was in a truly awful space where they'd just totally dissociated, basically. Not good.

Obviously, there's far more than one issue you've talked about here. Is there a way you'd like for us to get talking about all of this, perhaps with one piece at a time?

My primary concerns for right now, right from the top, are a) it sounding like you don't have anyone truly supportive in your life around any of this and b) the social anxiety and rough mood shifts you're clearly having a very hard time with. What I think would help you right away is for us to come up with a way you can get in-person support and help with those things. We can be part of that support team, too, but there are some things we can't do. For instance, I think if you haven't done it already, you'd benefit from an evaluation from a qualified mental health/counseling provider around both of those things, as well as seeing someone, perhaps that same person, to get started on help with healing from the many traumas you've been through. Trauma, the impact it has on us and our feelings about it, after all, don't just go away. Rather, we need to go through a process of healing, and that often tends to require supportive help and guidance with that process.

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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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selina
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its just that i'm being questioned by people on why i don't have relationships and its always been on my mind with the thought that because my experiences wasn't so extreme as to go as far as rape, that it didn't matter so much so there was no reason to react the way that i have. but now i've come to the conclusion that i really do have issues with relationships and men in particular and now i can't help thinking that its because of these incidents that i don't want to go near men. which feeds into how i am with people in general. does that make sense?

[ 11-09-2011, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: selina ]

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selina
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and i don't have the courage or the money to go to someone professional. i tried councilling once and it made me feel so awkward i never went back. i just can't trust anyone. i can't say it out loud so i'm writing it here but how can i tell it to someone i don't know? and if i can't trust my friends then how can i trust a stranger?
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Heather
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Well, you don't know me either, right? And yet.

I know that if we try counseling once and it doesn't go well or as we'd like, it can be tough to try again. But I've been to a bad restaurant before, and I didn't stop going to restaurants, you know? Obviously, this is a lot more loaded than that. However, it sounds like you are awfully isolated, like your friends aren't serving you here, and my sense is you could really benefit with help from the right person. You don't necessarily need money, and I'd be happy to help you find out what's available in your area. It might help to also know that many counselors now will do phone or online services, too, so those can be ways to start if you don't feel ready to talk to someone face-to-face.

If nothing else, might you at least be open to talking to a basic healthcare provider at the NHS about the mood issues? You wouldn't have to tell them your whole history, just about the mood swings.

I don't know how you're defining rape, but rape is only one kind of trauma. There are many, many other kinds of trauma in the world, and it's not like people are only deeply impacted by rape. People tend to be deeply impacted by all kinds of trauma, not just sexual assault.

By all means, if men have been the people who have harassed and attacked you, it's not uncommon to have fears about men, especially if you've had no help at all in processing your trauma and starting to heal.

--------------------
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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selina
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i don't think i can speak to someone face to face. but even on the phone i just can't articulate what i want to say and i fear i'll just start crying. i feel more comfortable writing because then i don't have to admit it in speech. i just can't say it out loud
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Heather
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Do you feel uncomfortable crying or afraid of crying? I ask because it's not like it isn't okay to cry when we feel upset.

So, let's figure that for right now, you're not open to seeking out qualified mental or other healthcare and in-person support.

In the interim -- because I really do think that it's something you will need to seek out eventually to feel a lot better -- how can we help? What, of the things we can do online, do you think we can do to help you here? happy to dive into whatever you feel those are with you.

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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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selina
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i'm afraid of crying in front of people. i feel ashamed for them to see me like that. and i feel like when i cry in private, i still feel like an idiot. but i just switch moods in an instant and i can wake up happy but then i switch, nothing has to have happened necessarily or i might listen to a sad song or watch an episode of something where somebody is being told that they need to have more confidence and i start crying and i can't stop for the rest of the day. and it carries on for a few days. and then when i see my family at the end of the day i snap at them because they ask questions all the time or something and then because of me, the family isn't very happy. its insane, i feel like such a fool but i just can't help it. i want to be happy but i can't be. i don't know what to do
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Heather
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So, one of my concerns is that you may have a mood disorder, and if so, without some kind of treatment, you're not likely to feel much better.

By all means, this could also be about all the trauma you have been through too, or both.

But what I want is for you to be able to start feeling better, and to feel better and better over time, not like this.

In order to do that, you're going to have to do some things, though. Voicing all of this somewhere was a really great start. I'd also say that not hanging around people who aren't supportive of you would be another step you could take.

But can I make one more nudge to just even talk about the possibility of simply seeing a general doctor to have them evaluate your mood issues? Even just finding out if they're chemical -- in which case you're going to keep feeling like this without some kind of treatment -- or situational -- about the trauma or anxiety or nonsupport -- is something huge for you to find out. Without knowing that, it's going to be mighty tough to even figure out how and where to get started so your life and the way you feel can improve.

But just so you also know, I don't think the way you feel and have mood changes is anything to be ashamed of. If this is a mood disorder, you are not alone: millions of people suffer from kinds of depression and anxiety. Not just you. As well, dealing with and healing from trauma is often very hard and very trying, and feeling the impact of trauma will tend to make it very hard for anyone to feel okay.

--------------------
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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selina
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i'm scared to make an appointment. i don't know if i can state it clearly to a doctor without starting to cry. i'm still in that melacholy mood right now
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Heather
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You do know that doctors are used to seeing people crying and generally very patient around it, right?

If you get that, but the possibility of crying still seems like THE obstacle keeping you from the very care which could make you less likely to feel like crying so much (dig that irony, eh?), maybe we should try and talk it through.

Let's say you do go to the doctor, and you do cry. Let's say the doctor is patient, offers you a tissue, gives you a minute to get yourself a bit together then you go ahead and try and keep talking. Can you look at that situation and identify for me what's so potentially awful you'd nix a visit that might make you feel a lot better?

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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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selina
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i know but its that thing with people that even though they are doctors, i still don't feel like i can trust them in a way. right now i'm back to my previous state, having calmed down a bit because you replied to me, this girl has stirred it all up again by keeping writing to me about the thing that started it all again and i know she doesn't believe me when i say that i didn't do it. she thinks i'm crazy and a liar and i don't want to go to the doctor and say all of this and then i'm paranoid because i think the doctor is going to think that i am lying about this as well. i've not had to lie about it before because nobody ever asked me about it before but i feel like i'm being judged for being a liar if i tell someone about this. one of my friends that i told about the first incident only asked me afterwards if i was still a virgin. like it was the only thing that mattered to her. as it turned out, it was, pretty much. but it made me feel such a bad person for some reason. it was like she'd suspected me of lying. it doesn't make sense but what if i tell someone else and they think i'm lying about all of this?
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Heather
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Okay, let's do some steps here.

This girl? How about you block the way she's contacting you right now. Okay?

A doctor is not going to accuse you of being a liar if you go to see them concerned you have a mood disorder. Seriously, they are just not. I understand you are fearful of that, but that is an unreasonable fear. A doctor you are seeing about that isn't going to ask you about things like if you have had sex or not. Grilling someone about their personal life isn't the way one evaluates someone's health.

I get that you're having a hard time with trust, and I can certainly see some things in your life history that would make trust hard for you.

But what is also clear is that you are very, very unhappy and frequently very upset and do not want to feel this way anymore. If that's true, that may mean you have to take some positive risks to try and change things. I know it can be scary to step outside of your comfort zone, but it's clear it's not making you very comfortable at all, you know?

If you still feel like you just will not even try and see someone, then again, I need to come back to what I asked earlier, so I can have some sense of how WE can help: what have you come here looking for, and what do you think we can do that would be helpful to you right now?

--------------------
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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selina
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i just wanted to tell someone about it all because its getting too much for me. even if i didn't get an answer i felt like i needed to write it all down. you are wonderful for reading and replying to this even though i am just hopeless. i can't describe how i felt when i saw that message, i burst into tears and couldn't stop for some time. when i calmed down i wrote this post which is why its so muddled up and all over the place. i just feel like nobody cared about how i was feeling at the time and so i stopped caring how i felt for a long time. but now i have to care because i know i need to get on with my life but i can't help being so ridiculous. i'm still tempted to hide my head in the sand because i don't have to deal with it but i know i have to see someone in the end about it. i'm just scared
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Heather
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Okay, that's very clear, thanks. And you certainly are welcome -- and safe here -- to write out whatever you need to. And I assure you, we'll listen and support you.

Maybe you need a little more time to just have that space -- starting to talk about it all with someone supportive -- before you look into next, in-person steps?

If so, might it be helpful for you to have some things to read about mood disorders, and dealing with and healing from trauma?

By the way, I would make sure to cut yourself a break around your possible orientation and who you are and are not comfortable with right now. You get to be wherever you are with that at a given time, and if, for now, you'd prefer pursuing relationships with women instead of men, you absolutely get to do that.

--------------------
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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Heather
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Also? I don't think you're hopeless.

I think you've clearly been in a bad place in your head for a long time and have been very unsupported for a long time. And it can be awfully hard, for anyone, to see through all of that to the ways out.

That's okay. You can get there. You can.

--------------------
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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selina
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ok so i feel a little calmer today, having now dealt with the girl and hopefully she's not coming back. for once i had a good nights sleep and i feel a bit better. i still feel like i want to cry but slightly less. am again watching an episode of america's next top model and today they are doing a photoshoot with men and one of the girls backs away and starts crying because she doesn't want to come near them because she had been assaulted as a teenager. she identifies as lesbian and although i don't think i do asuch, at the same time, i knew how she felt in a way and i got depressed again. partly because my family doesn't want to deal with something like that. there is no 'gay' for them and i feel the disapproval will become too much if i say that i want to be with a woman. its a traditional jewish family and i don't think that they would be happy at all about it so i can't say it.
but i'm trying to play only happy songs on my ipod before i go to work so i'm a little calmer.
i'm getting some more memory back of times where i have been hostile towards a guy, like when i was 16, an someone in my camp group put his arm around my shoulders and near my neck. i freaked out and hit him and because i couldn't explain, i had to apologize to him and then everyone thought i was crazy. i didn't understand it at the time but i think i do now. do you have some links i can read about it?

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Heather
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In your last paragraph, what you're probably talking about is a post-traumatic response to things that happened to you before. Is that what you'd like some links on?

You know, with being queer in an unaccepting family, it's of course up to you if and when you come out. That said, plenty of families who were unaccepting learn to be accepting in time. Is that usually in weeks or months, when that happens? No. More like years, sometimes decades. Do people always change in that way? Alas, they don't. Some unaccepting families stay unaccepting. That said, I know people who grew up orthodox Jewish whose families are accepting, so being of that tradition alone doesn't mean nonacceptance for everyone.

--------------------
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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selina
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i don't want to think about telling them right now. at best i think they would probably say its just a phase or something. it might be, i don't know. but right now thats how i feel. i'd like some links that would help me on anything, if you have any
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Heather
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You know, human sexuality as a whole is phasal. For everyone, at evrey age. So, my take on that is that if someone is telling a person something about their sexuality might be a phase, that's okay, as long as they apply that same standard to their own.

It's not like, after all, a given orientation can be temporary or phasal for ONLY people identifying as queer at a given time: the same can be just as true for straight people. In fact, given that heterosexuality is so many people's "default," it's even fair to say that identifying as/being hetero is more often a phase for more people than being queer is. [Smile]

But again, coming out is something that's very personal and individual, and no one has to come out to anyone they don't want to or where they don't feel ready. No one had to ever come out at all, if they don't want to.

I'm a bit confused, with you asking for links on "anything." Can you maybe give me a better idea of what you're looking for? Thanks!

--------------------
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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selina
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i'm not sure. i don't really know what i'm looking for, i'd like some direction but i'm not sure where i'm going with it. you said something about trauma and i never thought of it as that so perhaps something on that?
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