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15 year journey

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I'm 27 years old, and have been a suffering from a combination of mental health issues since I was 12.

I have been in online fandom since I was 12. At this point, I read fics because it's something to do when I'm starting to panic. It's my coping mechanism.

I was EDNOS (purging everything I ate, fasting, diet pills, and binging) from about 12 to 19. I still have the urge to purge, but have not since I purged in the hospital the night my mom died. That was a huge kick in the pants for me.

I was a child model. I remember my last photo shoot, when I was 13 or 14. It was for the Limited Too. They wanted me to wear a size 12 kids. I could fit into it, barely. My mom put me on a liquid diet for a week before the shoot so I'd fit into the clothes. I got to the shoot, and the pants didn't fit. They had to cut the butt out of the pants. I found out much later from the photographer that the pants were actually a size smaller than they were supposed to be, but I was humiliated and felt so fat. I was asked to do a swim suit shoot for them a couple of months later, and refused. My eating disorder, which had mostly been skipping meals and eating little at that point became purging 5 times a day, not eating for days, or only eating a bagel and a bag of M&Ms a day.

I'm Jewish, but my dad's Irish Catholic and I look like that side of the family. Growing up, it was always commented on by my Jewish acquaintances that I didn't look Jewish. It was a good thing. My mom, Hebrew school teachers, and others often told me that it was good, because if there were another Holocaust, I could pass. During lessons on the Holocaust, I'd be pointed out as someone who would have survived the war because I "passed" as Gentile. I was so self-conscious, constantly trying to prove my Jewishness. I was obsessed with the Holocaust, and read everything I could on it. Once I was banned from reading books about it, I read obsessively about AIDS, then the Civil Rights movement, then Israel. I could name every director of Mossad, but didn't study for my math tests.

I have suffered from social anxiety, depression, OCD, and ADD for years. It's taken a huge toll on me academically. I have this mindset where everything needs to be perfect, so I research and research for weeks, still feel like something is missing, start panicking and don't turn in the assignment. For example, I started a paper for a class on World War I about machine guns. This turned I to me researching German shellshock, because I couldn't find anything on it. I looked everywhere for information about it, and didn't turn my paper in. I could tell you a dozen types of machine guns used during the war, who invented, manufactured, and used it, the number of rounds per minute, and reliability, but didn't write the paper. The things I do submit, I force myself to, even if I haven't proofread. I have tried to attend seven different colleges over the past decade, but dropped out of each one because I wasn't able to go to class.

I analyze every single conversation I have, play out all the things I said, what I should have said, and what that person must now think of me. This was especially problematic with classes. If I said one wrong thing, turned in one bad assignment, I'd have panic attacks when I even thought of going to class.

I burst into tears randomly, at any sign of confrontation or asserting myself. If I went to talk to my boss, I cried. If I went to talk to a professor, I cried. It added to my sense of humiliation and embarrassment.

I pick my skin, nails, and scabs. I peel paint and nail polish, and developed tendonitis in my thumb and wrist as a result.

I've been able to hold down a job for the past three years, but it requires very little social interaction, and when I do interact with people, it's in a scripted way, like I'm playing a character. It can be dangerous because I'm often alone with my thoughts for hours, and if I start to go down a panic-inducing train of thought, it's hard for me to get out.

When I start thinking about my screw ups, I have trouble breathing, feel nauseated, pound my thigh with my fist, pinch myself, and start saying aloud things like "I'm such an idiot." I do think that the latter has evolved as a way of my body telling me I need to breath, because breathing exercises do help.

I avoid going out with friends, and avoid socializing with coworkers. I hide in the bathroom after work to avoid anyone that might want to take the train with me. I don't invite people to do things, turn down offers to hang out, and assume that when I am invited, it's out of pity or because they have to. I agree to do things I don't want to do. All of my sexual interactions have been because I felt bad saying no. I never said what I wanted, never told them to stop, and never really wanted it. I've never been on a date.

I still see myself as fat and ugly, even though I rationally know I'm thin and actually very pretty when I try.

My mom was always opposed to seeking help for mental health issues. There's a strong history of undiagnosed mental health issues and addiction on her side of the family. She always told me that it was about willpower, and snapping yourself out of it.

I saw a therapist my freshman year of college. She was great. She got me to stop purging, to try new things. Some months I only left my dorm to see her. I once slept for 36 hours. My grandpa, my role model, died around Thanksgiving my freshman year. I was across the country from my mom, whose health was rapidly deteriorating. Between my mom and my grandpa, I was flying back to Ohio every other week. All of my professors said I was brilliant and offered me opportunities first semester. I was being recruited by a government agency. Everything just fell apart for me in November.

My mom died that June, after 2 liver transplants. I was with alone her that week, thought she was just being stubborn and not responding. Then we found out she had sepsis. I called our family and friends. I had to tell my little sister, who was out of town. I wrote my mom's obituary, fought with our rabbi because she's wanted to be cremated and have her ashes spread with my dad's when he eventually died. I lost.

After my mom died, my dad was depressed and my sister was out of control. I remember my dad buying a gun. A few months later, my sister chased him around the house with it. I was afraid for years that I'd come home to my dad and/or sister dead. My dad depended on marijuana, my sister started drinking, using drugs, and moved to LA. I hid in my room. I tried to go to school, but couldn't.

I got a job, still couldn't go to school. I joined Americorps, served for two years. I panicked every time I had to give a presentation, I made plans and plans and plans that I threw away, spent hours researching, organizing, creating things that I never did anything with. I never went out with friends on weekends, or talked about anything other than work.

My sister moved in with me last year. She has a mix of mental health issues, attempted suicide twice, and was hospitalized. Living with her has been hard. I work every day. She's been fired from two jobs and is in the process of applying for disability. She never leaves the apartment, her girlfriend (who she has violent arguments with) lives with us, and it's hard. She's a social person, needs attention, but I am very closed off and do y want to talk to anyone when I get home. Watching her go through everything has been a kick in the guy. I need to get better.

I tried three different psychiatrists before finding the guy I'm seeing now. His personality reminds me of the Jewish grandfather I never had.

He has diagnosed me with anxiety, depression, OCD, and ADD. I started taking Prozac 20 mg about six weeks ago. I've noticed some mood improvements, and a decrease in my obsessive thoughts, though I am still picking and peeling. I went out with friends this weekend, and invited someone to hang out, which I haven't done in years.

I'm prescribed Klonopin .5 mg, but don't take it because I'm afraid of addiction. Also, it makes me sleepy.

I just was diagnosed Adderall 10 mg last week. I've noticed a huge improvement in my thinking and memoryZ I've always felt like there was a cotton ball in my brain, and it's starting to clear up. I can focus a little bit, but it's easy for me to focus on the wrong thing. Friday I spent 5 hours compiling a playlist of videos to introduce people to Sondheim.

I'm feeling hope though, and I think that's the biggest thing for me. The world feels a little brighter, and I feel like I can get better for the first time in 15 years.

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Welcome to CB, and thank you for sharing your story with us.  I'm very glad to hear that you have found a psychiatrist whom you trust and can work with.  I hope you continue to improve, and I hope too that the support and information you find here will prove helpful.


Please read our rules if you haven't already, and feel free to contact a staff member if you have any questions.



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Hi, it sounds as if you have been through a helluva lot for your young age. I hope you find the support and assistance that you are seeking right here on CB. There is a great deal of emotional backing and mental confirmation/information available herein.



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You have really persevered through a lot of difficulties.  I am so glad you pdoc is like the Jewish grandfather you never had.

That is wonderful.  It is good that you trust him.

You CAN get better.  I really believe that.  It just takes time, therapy, medication and courage - you already have courage


It is so disturbing that the child modeling lead to such a serious eating disorder


There are many people here who have had improvements and recovery from their MI

they will support and encourage you on your journey

this is a great place

there is a forum for eating disorders and you should check it out


Sondheim is wonderful

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