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Author Topic: things really suck and i need some support !
cool87
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Okay, things just haven't been going very well with me lately these last few weeks. First, I have just been stressed over a lot of things, like I have had anxiety over a lot of things lately. And it's even about totally normal stuff sometimes. But it's not what worries me most.

Most importantly, I've been told that I'm too introverted and shy and don't talk enough at school and this is becoming sometimes a problem when it comes to talking in group. This isn't news to me. I do talk but not enough. I'm just really sick and tired of being told that and being like that. It's like I wish I could change that, I wish I couldn't be shy at all and extremely extroverted instead but I can't. It just sucks. I'm so tired.

I've always have been dealing with low (and maybe even very low) self-esteem (well since a few years) but it just has been bothering me a lot more lately. And I think that this could somehow be linked to me not talking enough. I also have big problems with assertiveness in a lot of aspects of my life. I also have problems with trusting people. I just think I'm wasted sometimes, that so much things is wrong with me.

I just don't feel good. It's like there is moments when I feel like that and it goes away, I try not to think about it but it all comes back eventually and hits me again, sometimes even stronger. I'm usually quite good at trying to avoid things that I don't want to deal it, trying to forget about those, even though it's a big flaw. But no matter how I want to believe that it doesn't affect me or my life, it does.

I am just strongly in need of some support...I don't have much right now. I'm sorry for venting but I had to let this out.

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Heather
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Cool, I'm sorry you're dealing with this: it's so hard to unlearn certain things, and it's a lot of work to up low self-esteem.

Might your college perhaps offer any sort of assertiveness classes, or might those telling you this is an issue for you be able to direct you to help?

Too, I found that being in a college that was ALL discussion classes, it was often helpful for me to take notes on questions I'd pose and input I'd give before class. I wasn't always so great at speaking up for myself, either, and not feeling like I had to come up with questions and comments right on the spot was often helpful for me.

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cool87
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Well I wouldn't say they offer any sort of assertiveness classes, as far as I know. They do offer some psychological help which they say is totally confidental, but I don't entirely trust that.

It just seem obvious to them that I am shy especially in groups. And in social occasions, when with other people, I generally don't talk much either. Like I'll be the one who speak the less and listen to other people talk instead. I really don't open up a lot. I'm quite distant with people and don't trust people much.

Like I'll listen a lot to what other people are saying instead of being more active in the discussion. I'm afraid sometimes that people will judge me if I say something that isn't right in a discussion(I do have low self esteem issues which I think is part of that), that I'll make mistakes but very often, it's because of anxiety or something like that. It's kind of a problem really.

I do prepare what I'm going to say ahead of time sometimes, just as your proposed, I found that it helps a bit but sometimes I like get anxious and just decide not to ask or well most often other people will ask/tell before me because they feel it's some kind of a rush of who will say things first. And it's like it's always the same people talking, the one who are big talkers. They just don't let me much time to say anything.

Like I'm anxious they'll get me out...I just don't know what to do. They just tell me everytime to like speak more, not be shy and introverted, but it isn't as easy as it is and I just get really frustrated sometimes. I often found that I get anxious before I say something in a discussion. It just brings out a lot of anxiety to me because I know I have to speak more. I just seem to be easily anxious lately, be it over class discussions or even like some social situations like a party, stuff like that.

And yeah assertiveness issues, I really need to be more assertive and I have big problems with that. it's not getting really better.

Things just really suck big time. I just find that I'm really messed up sometimes.

[ 10-18-2007, 06:24 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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Heather
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quote:
And it's like it's always the same people talking, the one who are big talkers. They just don't let me much time to say anything.
And in a class where you're being evaluated on your participation, that is an issue to bring up with your profs.

In other words, part of their job is to moderate class discussions so that any one person or group doesn't dominate: if they're not doing that part of their job, you're only so responsible.

So, I'd voice that, and ask for their help in making that dynamic better for everyone.

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cool87
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Yeah, I get that. I guess it also comes down to assertiveness here too, which is a problem for me. But, although I admit the class dynamics don't help much, I think that the biggest problem here is myself.

(I'm sorry. I just feel that my posts aren't so clear and rather confusing. [Frown] Can't say though that it's better in my head right now.)

[ 10-18-2007, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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-Lauren-
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Hey, cool! I'm really sorry you're so down right now, especially since this seems to be a compounding of stuff you've been concerned about for a very long time per your assertiveness/trust issues and social anxiety/shyness. It can really creep up and hit you all at once; I've had a bit of that recently, so I really feel you.

Are you sure you can't consider going to counseling/psych services, if only to ask about their confidentiality policies? I can assure you that many institutions take student healthcare and confidentiality VERY seriously, and the most they might do with the information you give is to inform your professors of any potential problems in regards to your studies, with your consent. They do this for physical limitations/illness, as well.

How many friends would you say you have at school? Are there at least a few people you can open up to, or is this problem so disabling you really feel like you can't participate academically or socially? If that's the case, it's truly in your best interest to let the school know; it reflects well on a school for students to get high marks and be well-adjusted individuals, so they'll usually really go to bat for you to help you get the most out of your education. It goes without saying, too, that a good circle of a variety of supportive people is essential for anyone's well-being.

Hang in there, and hugs your way. It can get better. [Smile]

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September
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Hey, Cool! Heather and Lauren have already covered a lot of bases up there, but here's another: Have you talked to your counselor about this? In many ways, your insecurities and trouble to be assertive tie in with your other issues, so this'd definitely be relevant. Do mention it to the counselor, and if she herself can't help, I'm sure she'll know someone who can.

I'm sorry things aren't really getting better yet. But you're working really hard to make it better, and that's awesome. Just keep going, you'll get there.

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Johanna
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cool87
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quote:
Are you sure you can't consider going to counseling/psych services, if only to ask about their confidentiality policies?
Yes, kinda. I just don't want to.

quote:
How many friends would you say you have at school? Are there at least a few people you can open up to, or is this problem so disabling you really feel like you can't participate academically or socially?
I have about 3-4 friends I'm more close with/I connect most with and with whom I am comfortable talking with. But these are not really close friends with whom I share any personnal stuff usually. It's more like school talk and what did you do this weekend, this sort of talk.

I just really seldomly share personnal stuff with other people and if someone's succeeds at getting to know me more as a person, it's pretty much a miracle, really. I just have a huge problem opening up (and obviously that's more an issue in real life than it is online). And with guys, generally even more so unless I really trust them.

As for my social life, it's so-so. It's a problem too at school. I generally don't have much of a social life. I don't really like going to partys. Like getting really drunk at parties and kissing everyone is not really my thing and most activities at school involve that. I don't engage in lots of social activities. They have lots of things they do, but I generally don't engage in most of these things. So well people pretty much all know each other since they all go out but I don't a lot so me and few other people don't really mix very well with the group, if you know what I mean.

Part of that, is that I generally prefer putting my time on my studies but well we do have kinda still time to relax, go out, do stuff like that so it's no excuse. We still have some free time to relax. But I generally don't spend it much going out I mean with people at school. It just creates anxiety for me. I'm kinda very easily anxious.

And Joey, I kinda stopped the counseling thing. I haven't gone since a few weeks. I know it's not good but that's just how it is.

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September
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Oh hun. I know therapy can get really tough to deal with, but there are some things we just cannot deal with on our own.

What made you want to quit? If you didn't feel very comfortable with your counselor, then maybe it's time to start looking for a different one. Therapy is about being able to open up and talk about things we don't usually like talking about, so it's important to have a counselor you feel really good about.

But if it's simply about counseling being really tough -and it is, I get that, I've walked out on therapy before because it was too much to handle- then really, that's something you'll have to accept and deal with. It'll take a while to start feeling like your therapy is really taking you somewhere and you're improving, and sometimes getting to that point can be really painful, but I think it's important to stick with it. Because really, the alternative is not going to therapy and dealing with all of these issues on your own, which clearly isn't working very well.

I hope I don't sound too harsh, Cool. It really seemed to me like the therapy was off to a good start for you and you were going to learn how to cope better, and it's sad to see that you've given up. I think it would be really good for you if you called up your counselor and talked about setting up a few new sessions (or ask for a referal to someone else, in case it's a matter of you not feeling comfortable with her).

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cool87
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The reason I quit, if you want to know, wasn't because I didn't like my counselor, I think she was okay, it's because it was just way too hard just as you said and it seemed to go nowhere. And also it was bothering me--I was thinking more about it than before I started to go--all the other days of the week and I felt this affected my life more. And my family noticed that I was getting more agressive than usual--I felt I was too. (But well I'm still sometimes kinda agressive still. I guess this is some kind of coping mechanism I use in order to try to get my feelings out, I don't know)

I just hated it big time. I hated her questions, I hated her wanting me to talk, I hated everything there. And I thought I'll be able to talk since I had been able to before but I couldn't when she brought it up. I thought this would have been easier. I just stayed there crying saying almost nothing during the entire hour and I was angry, this makes me agressive. I just hated it.

It also made me feel like I wasn't strong at all and I didn't like her sitting there in front of me and seeing all that. And the others times consisted of pretty much the same thing happening all over again. It was kinda embarassing. I just had wished I had run out the door like you did, it would have been over sooner.

There is just too many things that hurts and I don't really want to bring those out on the surface again. I don't know... [Frown]

[ 10-19-2007, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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KittenGoddess
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I don't have much to offer that hasn't been already offered regarding being social in general, but I would like to toss out a couple of ideas about participating in class that may be helpful.

  1. Set yourself a reasonable goal for participation in class. I'll make a personal confession...while I am a "communication person," I wasn't always comfortable talking in class. Particularly, I had a couple of awful Spanish classes as an undergrad that absolutely terrified me, but participation was required. I would get so nervous about speaking in those classes that I would literally dread going to class and would feel in a panic and physically ill the whole class. Some people spoke a lot, and I just wasn't comfortable enough to do that. So I set myself a goal of speaking up in class once a day. While it may seem like a small goal, that's ok because it does make a difference and it's really reachable (which is the most important thing). Having that goal did a couple of things for me. First off, once I had "said my piece" for the day, I felt really accomplished. And secondly, it allowed me to feel relieved (hey, I needed to speak and whew, it was over!) and focus on the rest of class.
  2. Consider prepping your participation ahead of time. You may want to write down your questions as you are reading and preparing for class or note down some examples beforehand. I totally get that internal censor that you probably send everything you might want to say through about a thousand times in class as you're deciding to say it or not (I've been right there with you with being afraid of looking/sounding dumb). But what you can do is actually get a lot of that censoring done ahead of time by sort of pre-prepping your participation. It's not really extra work because you are already reading and thinking about the material, it's just a matter of making yourself a "cheat sheet" of sorts for the discussion that has things like questions and examples that you've already decided for yourself are "okay" for sharing. Once you've got them noted down, say your questions and examples out loud. I know this probably seems silly, but I often found myself worried that things might not come out right or that they'd sounds stupid when I actually said them or that I'd ramble on or loose my train of thought! By saying it aloud beforehand, I knew what my own voice sounded like while conveying my thoughts, which took some of the pressure off. You already know what kind of questions and discussion the instructor conducts, use that knowledge to prep these things (in other words, if you know the instructor asks for examples, then jot down lots of examples ahead of time that you've thought up as you read and then share one when the time comes)!
  3. "Fake it till you make it." Even if you don't feel assertive in class, you can do the behaviors that'll make you look more assertive and will get you attention. When you are ready to speak, make eye contact with the instructor. As dorky as it sounds, if the "norm" in the class is to raise your hand before speaking, then let your hand "shoot up" rather than letting your hand tentatively go up and down. That really says "Hey, I've got something to say!"
  4. Give your instructor good nonverbals. This is another (unfortunately) closely guarded secret, but your instructor will give you more attention and think you are participating more if you give them good nonverbal feedback during the lecture/class. It's a really easy thing to do and very few people actually do it. I've never taught a class where I had more than 3 people who consistently looked engaged and gave me good nonverbals. So, really simple things to do...look at the instructor. Make eye contact whenever you can (when you're not writing down notes, of course). Smile, frown, look confused...whatever is going on inside your head, it's ok to let it show. Nod your head when you "get it" or when you agree with what's being said. You don't necessarily need to constantly be moving...but think about it more like letting your face and body respond the same way that you would during a normal conversation with a friend or family member. Lots of students adopt the "blank stare" (sometimes consciously, sometimes not) in class. So if you're doing the right things and showing visibly that you're engaged, the instructor is going to assume that you're participating and since you're showing "favorable" signs at them, they'll be even more likely to call on you and to help you hold the floor when you are ready to speak.
  5. Finally, tell your instructors that you're having difficulty participating. This sounds really obvious, but your instructors simply may not know that this is difficult for you. In one of those awful Spanish classes I had, there was an instructor who thought I simply wasn't trying or that I didn't care. After I explained to her that I was really nervous and unsure and that I was feeling physically ill because it was freaking me out so bad, she was more understanding. I told her that my goal was to speak once a day (at least to begin with) and that she was able to help me accomplish that goal in ways that didn't freak me out. If you're uncomfortable saying it in person, then email your profs about it.

I know this was a bit long, but hopefully there's at least something here that will be useful to you. I know how it feels to be freaked out about talking in class because you're nervous. I've been there myself, and now it's nearly impossible to shut me up in class (well, at least when I was still taking classes...) because I had so many things in my head that I wanted to share. A lot of it is just about building confidence in that setting, which is why it's important to start small. I agree with what everybody else has said about working on the general assertiveness and working on those issues that you know you have. But perhaps these tips can give you something tangible (and controllable) that you can do right now to deal with those class fears.

[ 10-19-2007, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

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cool87
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Well, yeah this was helpful, thanks ! I think you quite get it and know how it feels to be in a similar boat as the one I'm in per my anxiety/shyness issues and it's great to see that I am not the only one in that situation and that there is some hope that it gets better someday. This was kinda encouraging. Thanks for sharing your tips !

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cool87
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September-- I answered your reply right above the post Sarah made if you want to read it. It's not that I want to bump this thread, I just didn't really want it to get overlooked. :(

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cool87
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I'm scared one thing I might be dealing with is social anxiety, aside from other things.

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KittenGoddess
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If you've got social anxiety or a similar issue, your best bet is still going to be to get into therapy and start dealing with it.

I read what you wrote about the therapy you'd tried and a couple of things came to mind. First off, it sounds like this therapist wasn't a very good fit for you. That's not at all an uncommon occurrence. We don't always find a good fit with a therapist on the first try (sometimes it takes many tries to find the right person).

My second thought is that the results of therapy aren't always exactly the way we expect them to be right away. Sure, it'd be lovely if we could walk into the therapist's office, have something easy and magical happen, and walk out feeling 100% better immediately. However, that's not generally the way it works. Therapy is hard. It's taking out all of those things that we don't want to look at or think about and exposing them to the light so that they won't be so scary for us anymore. And often that hurts, and we hate it at first. In case you're wondering, I've been there too. Maybe not with the same issues you are dealing with, but I've been in therapy before. I hated being there at first. I didn't want to talk, I just wanted someone to fix me! I cried and I was angry, it was awful. There were days where I thought about nothing but the things that were being dug up in therapy. But over time, once all those hard things had been exposed, I could learn to deal with them because they weren't such dark secrets anymore.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that even when you're in therapy, there will still be bad days. There will be hard days. There will be days that seem worse than when you weren't in therapy. And yes, sometimes you'll act out. But that's got to happen in order for you to deal with what's going on with you. Now I'm not saying that everyday should be like that or that if you're feeling awful all the time and for long periods, you should just let that go on. That's something you should tell your therapist about and consider how you can better accomplish your goals.

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September
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Cool, I did see your reply.

I'm with Kitten here: Sounds like you didn't have the best counselor. That's not uncommon, as therapy involves talking about things we never usually talk about, and it's hard to find someone we mesh with so well that we feel comfortable doing that. And usually, a therapist gets that, too, so they won't be offended if you let them know that you'd like to try working with someone else and ask them for a referal (with my most recent therapist, when we got to talking about my sexual abuse, he himself offered to refer me to a female collegue if that'd make me feel more comfortable).

But even with a good therapist, it's not going to be easy. I had an absolutely awesome therapist the first time I started counseling. She was a wonderful, smart, patient lady and I trusted her 100% and yet there were times during our sessions when I felt like getting up and running out the door. It's the nature of the beast. To deal with things that make us feel crappy we need to talk about them, and that can make things even harder for a while.

So I suggest you get back in touch with your old therapist and tell her how you feel. In all likelihood, she'll understand where you're coming from and help you find a counselor that's a better fit for you.

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cool87
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It isn't going any better. I just wasn't able to handle anything this week, it just has been bothering me and well I just gave in and started having sex again with my bf again. I hate myself for it now.

Why I did that ? I don't really know, maybe I'm trying to prove to myself that I can live a normal life despite all of that or that I can go over this all alone but maybe after all I just can't like you guys said. I don't know...

I strongly feel that it is going to affect me for the rest of my life. There is just so many things wrong with me, too much thing wrecked me, this is how I feel right now. There is just too many things that happened to me. And I just feel that I am really weak, that I shouldn't be this affected by that. I just wished all of this didn't happen. Why me ? Why me ?

[ 10-25-2007, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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RandomGuy09
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Alright, well, I'm going to risk making myself look like an attention-grabbing jerk by telling you my story. I'll be candid and tell you that my reasoning for this is twofold: first, to give you a firsthand example of how things can get better no matter how bleak they seem, and second, to get you to reconsider visiting a therapist, because it seems like you are really down and I agree with the others that it can really help. So yes, this is propaganda, but it is truthful propaganda.

quote:
I strongly feel that it is going to affect me for the rest of my life. There is just so many things wrong with me, too much thing wrecked me, this is how I feel right now.
I can definitely relate to this. My senior year of high school, I was certain that my life was only going to go downhill. I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. I was certain that I was so shy that at college I would never make any friends, I was convinced that I was so unattractive that no girl would ever be interested in me, and I was positive that I'd be so depressed my studies would falter, meaning my grades would go downhill, meaning by job opportunities would go downhill, etc etc. With all of these things weighing down on my shoulders, I felt awful all the time, and I really wished I wasn't alive.

As a result, my school and parents started sending me to a therapist. I thought he was completely insane - I saw no relevance in the questions he asked. Often I felt humiliated to be there. Sometimes he would tell me that he knew things would get better for me, and I hated him for it - I felt like he was filling me with false hope which would only make my depression worse.

He also had me do things I didn't want to do. Some were just a nuisance, like keeping a log of my moods throughout the week. When I felt like I was behaving in a manner that was making others uncomfortable (a fear I often had), I was supposed to subtly challenge them to explain why. Another included asking out a different girl every day for a week (which, truly, was a horrifying ideal, but actually doing so eventually led to the best relationship I've ever had, and which I am still in). All in all, therapy sucked.

But in the end, he was right. Life did get better. I'm at my junior year in college, and I have friends - not tons, and maybe not as many as I'd like, but I have a handful of really, really good ones that I can always depend on. This only happened after I took a class on shyness my first semester. I also have a girlfriend of almost 2 1/2 years now. I never would have had the courage to ask her out if not for my therapist's challenge. My academics are doing fine, because I'm not depressed any more and can focus on my studies. I'm as happy as I've ever been. Life's not perfect, but I'm happy, and that's what really counts.

You might hate hearing it, but I think things can and will get better for you too. But you do have to do something, make some effort. If you don't want to take classes, try getting a couple of books on social skills or assertiveness. Truly the best thing is probably to go to a counselor, no matter how much it sucks, because I believe that it does pay off. But, most importantly, you have to remember that these things are never as hopeless as they feel.

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-Lauren-
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(Such great responses and support you've been giving others, RandomGuy. Great to see! [Smile] )

[ 10-25-2007, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: *Lauren* ]

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cool87
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It isn't just about shyness--assertiveness here, it is mostly about other stuff.

I get that therapy is important. Even if it makes me feel awful and all those things. It's just that I do not have the courage to call my last therapist or well another one again. I'm not even sure I want to go there again. I don't know.

Right now I just want to get drunk and forget about all this. This way I don't have to deal with any of this ****.

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-Lauren-
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I'm worried that you're talking about drinking to forget what's going on -- that's never a good start, and what I've found with the experiences of people around me is that they think alcohol relaxes them and helps them forget their troubles. Instead, they're rambling the entire night, highly upset, and simply don't remember.

And anyways, any habit really does nothing to address underlying issues. My dad drinks himself sick on a regular basis, and still has a crappy job and fails as a father figure (both things he endlessly complains about when "relaxing).

Is there something deeper than shyness and anxiety going on? Are you having trouble processing other things, like, say, your abuses?

Hang in there, babe. I know it's hard.

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cool87
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Well I just want you to not think I'm an alcoholic or anything. I'm not, I don't drink that often, just sometimes. I know it's not a good thing to do, but that's one of the few easy things that I found works for me.

And yes, there is something deeper here,you guessed right, I'm having problems processing well my abuses.

[ 10-26-2007, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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cool87
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I just feel bad because you've all told me to reconsider going to therapy and I'm not that that much doing that right now. Even if I know that is the best thing to do in my case, I just don't have the courage to right now,and I think that sucks because I'm affected and I need help.

I'm sorry to vent here. I'm just hoping this will all get better soon.

(Edited : Just wanted to tell you all thank you for all the help and support you offered me. I appreciate it. I'll try to hang on.)

[ 10-26-2007, 07:37 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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cool87
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Just so you know, I decided to try therapy again and I did call a new therapist today, hoping things will work out this time and that I won't quit before it even start to show any result.

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RandomGuy09
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I'm very glad to hear that! If you're comfortable doing so, please let us know how it goes.
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September
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So happy to hear that, Cool! I hope therapy works out better for you this time. Keep us posted.

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