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I'll vent my lifestory here, as suggested by a random stranger on the internet who was so kind to help me out a bit. But the question is, where do I start. I guess somewhere in primary school? I was a fun kid with lots of friends, popular, had many hobbies and nothing was off or weird. I had a girlfriend when I was but 12yo. I liked her, and we were "together" or a year. She then dropped me for my best friend. It sounds so silly now but it left a big impression in my mind as a kid. Anywasy, I have always been a bit clumsy too, and as a 10yo I noticed people found it funny when I tripped or something like that. I started doing stupid stuff like that on purpose, so people would think I'm funny. My self-confidence has never been really high I guess. Anyways, I continued that for a few years, something I regret ever since, because even now when I legitimately trip or clumsily drop something or say something without thinking, some people still believe I'm faking it. I managed to learn to brush it off however, something 14yo me couldn't do. Obviously that didn't do much for my confidence.
In secondary school I had some great friends, all nerds and gamers like me. We still hang out, even since it has been 5 years since we graduated and moved to different colleges. We had good grades, had fun, went out, were geeky talking about CoD and Runescape and the like over lunch. Not the popular kids in school, but not the losers either. I was still social enough but I was clearly, and still am, introverted. Again, not so good for that confidence. I never really got anywhere near girls except for being such a nice and good friend. I was the expert in getting friendzoned in notime. I got desperate, and you should never get desperate, because you get weird. Girls thought I was nice but also weird. Most of the girls I know now still think so, but now at least it is a good weird, I've come a long way. I had a 2 week relationship, if you can even call it that when I was 15 but she cheated on me because I was jealous. At least I got my first (and horrible) kiss out of it. Years went by and in my final year I had some "successes" with girls in the weeks leading up to prom and after, namely I had 3 kisses. The fact that I can remember who, how, where and when just shows how desperate I was for affection back then. I just didn't want to be alone anymore, I have so much love to give and am genuinely a nice guy, so whenever I kissed a girl at a party, I stupidly thought it would lead to something, and became "overly attached", or clingy in no time. Scared them away, obviously.
Next thing all my friends go to college but me, the mess that I was, hadn't been able to decide what to study so I took a year off, abroad living in Panama. Made some great friends there, who gave me tips on how to dress, what to say, what not to say, how to deal with girls and so on. I had quite some success there if I'm honest even though I was still desperate for a girlfriend or some steady affection (and wanted to lose my virginity badly too, glad I didn't make that mistake the few times I had the chance). I came home a different person. No more anger issues, full of confidence, ready to go to college and tackle the world. I felt just like anybody else, no more confidence issues, nice normal guy working out, social, nothing weird anymore. That's on the surface however.
The first week already I see this girl coming in the auditorium and I tell a friend next to me: "See her, she's definitely the most beautiful in this room." Next thing, she looks up, says something to her friend and they come sit next to us. Spaghetti yo, but I man up and strike up a conversation. Get her number, text a few times, fast forward two dates and we're a couple. We took things slow, seemed like a perfect match and half a year later, this guy had sex for the first time. And a lot of times after that. My grades skyrocketed, passed all my classes, a girlfriend, I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world. I got superattached, I guess I thought now I had it finally I shouldn't let go. Not healthy for me obviously, not for her either. I pampered her, thought I had to get her a lot of sweet romantic stuff so she would like me. I learned my lesson since then, obviously. You get it, it didn't last. That summer she cheated on me with her best friend and cryingly told me she had come to love him too and thought he would be better for her, so she picked him. They're still together, so I don't blame her, it was probably the right call. Still, my world collapsed.
Everything I worked so hard for to achieve was gone. Next year back at college my grades dropped, I skipped classes and went out and drank a lot (drinking age is 16 in my country). Party hard and convincing myself I was having the time of my life. It went downhill steadily but I never really noticed. I couldn't care about school or my old friends anymore, and hung out with some other guys in similar situations, drinking and partying a lot. I tried to date a few girls, but they rejected me mostly. It hurt and frustrated me. In April of that year I didn't do any workout or studying anymore, and kept to my room mostly, watching series. Then my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer and it spiralled down fast. Something horrible but it didn't feel anything hearing it. That scared me. Exams came round, and instead of studying I kept to my room, my bed even, curled up and looking for sad things on the internet that could make me cry so at least I would feel some emotion. I didn't want to think about anything so I bingewatched series and movies, or just surfed the web boredly. People noticed something was up, but I shut them all out. I didn't eat anymore, didn't feel like it. Summer came around, I managed to pass all but 3 classes somehow, had to redo only 1 class the next year.
I decided I needed to get out of the town I was studying in, and did a semester abroad believing the change would help me. It didn't. I did go to more classes and did more schoolwork, but social life there was bad. I had no friends for an entire semester and didn't want to go out of the house except for groceries and school. I decided I needed therapy. It worked. They diagnosed me with depression and anxiety (fear of failure to be exact). Those work counterproductive but two-weekly sessions made me feel more positive about myself. I still fell in the trap of trying to score girls, looking for hookups. I had some one night stands there, made me feel like a horrible person. I'm too emotional of a person for such close interaction without feelings.
Christmas break came round and I returned home. I met a Norwegian girl on the internet by accident, and for a week in a row, we talked on skype for 8 hours until 4 in the morning. She and I were so much alike. To this day I haven't met anyone else with whom I clicked so much as with her. We tried to ignore at first but we fell in love, despite the distance. I went back to college, enrolled in a group therapy for my anxiety and skyping became a daily thing. I was on skype with her for multiple hours a day, we talked so much, never got tired of one another. I was still clingy and afraid she'd abandon me, but she pushed me into facing that fear. She also had had her fair share of depression and anxiety problems, so she understood and supported, although she never really wanted to talk about what happened to her. We sent eachother gifts and surprises and after 5 months, she booked a flight and stayed over at my appartement for 5 days. Best days ever. We were so happy. She went back after and my exams started and our skyping became less regular but I sensed something was off. I confronted her after my exams were over, and we broke up. Apparently her problems were because she was raped a few years prior and us being together and the relationship becoming serious made her afraid of getting the anxiety back. She needed time to fix herself, so I agreed. Worse problems then mine obviously. Still, it hurt again, but I dealt with it in a much better way. I grieved for two weeks, then bought a train ticket to the Alps and hiked by myself for 2 weeks.
The progress I made however started lacking again even though I didn't feel depressed. I started dating a girl for two months, and separated on good terms. At least I'm much better at dealing with my clinginess, jealousy and fear of abandonment, as well as with my breakups. So that's good. But after that I got desperate for affection again, I spiralled down with Tinder, rejections, failed dates, and now it has been 4 weeks since I last went to clas, and 2 days that I haven't left my room. I don't want to have depression again. I feel it around the corner, but the viguour with which I seemed to battle it has gone. There is no more willpower. I decided I can't go after girls anymore before I'm confident and happy with myself again, but how to get there? It is going to be a hard journey that I'm willing to make. Starting after this. Let's force myself to do what I know to be good but that I hate to do right now.
Hey everyone! I'm Rose and I run an organisation called Tough Cookie, which I set up after I recovered from Anorexia to give other people hope and inspiration. The main message I share (and want to share here on Cathartic) is that eating disorders CAN be beaten. I know first-hand that it's tough. I know there are few resources (I went through it alone after I was let down by CAMHS and me...