My life is a mess (25f). How do I fix it or at least improve it so I can start a family?
I'll give the full story so you understand as much context as possible.
I didn't have the best childhood, especially when it came to friends. I found it really hard to make friends with other kids. I sometimes had a friend or two but they clearly didn't like me much. I gained quite a bit of weight around age 10 and after that the boys at school would say how fat and ugly I was (not directly to my face, but when I was within hearing distance... they didn't think I was listening, though they probably didn't care either way).
Possibly related to this, I massively struggled with looking in the mirror. I went through phases of just looking at my eyes in a tiny very rectangular mirror. Eventually I was able to look at myself again (this took a few years). However during all of this time and even up until now I still cannot look at photographs of myself. This made life very difficult because it meant I didn't have a Facebook or any other social media. Looking at any pictures of myself made me want to self harm and still does today.
One day my sister remarked on how small my lips were. Sorry to self-diagnose here but I think this gave me a kind of 'body dysmorphia'. I would think about my lips constantly. It was on my mind most of the time and I would avoid speaking to people in case I would embarrass myself by having them look at my awful lips.
I was also overweight and had a very chubby face and awful sense of dress during this period. I would leave home for school but would try to avoid any trips out at weekends because I thought I was so hideous and my self esteem was so low that it would be unfair to expose my face and body to other people!
Today in 2020 I'm in good shape and my lips are fine, probably a bit bigger than most girls but I do have a smaller mouth than average (but my face is slimmer now so it doesn't look that bad). Overall I do really like my face and I'm working to get slimmer right now. I just hate my face in pictures.
After primary school I went to an all girl's secondary school and my situation was largely the same until I lost all the extra weight at 15 and started to come out of my shell a bit more and talk to people.
Then, within the space of about 5 months, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my nan died, my house was completely flooded, my mom died, and we had to give up our dog because we could no longer live in our old house. We had to move around from place to place. I didn't deal with this properly, I tried to pretend it wasn't happening. Some girls from school reached out because they felt bad for me and I had more friendships than ever but these fizzled out.
Then I had a really good final year of secondary school and I was invited to a lot of 18th birthdays. 3 different really handsome and popular guys had crushes on me but nothing came of it. But I felt a lot better about myself because of it.
Next I went to college, which was really difficult socially because of the social media issue and I don't and have never drank any alcohol because my mom was an alcoholic growing up.
The first year of college was okay. I lived with 2 girls from home who I became quite close to, but they went on to make a lot more friends on their course than I did. I really struggled to make friends because I couldn't have a Facebook because of my photograph issues and people didn't like that I don't drink. I had my first kiss with a guy from a friend group of a friend's but nothing really became of that.
The summer and the next year I started to feel really down. I always tried to be optimistic and positive about things when I was alone previous to this but that really started to break down around this time. The guy that lived next door had a big crush on me and I really liked him but nothing became of that.
The third and fourth years were really difficult. I became more depressed than I was and didn't go out clubbing or to any activities and meet any new people. I focused entirely on my college work.
Then the summer after my final exams I met a guy online (long distance) and he traveled to see me. It went well and we texted for a total of like 3 months. He asked me to be his girlfriend a month or so after we met up. But then broke up with me a few days later because it would have had to be a long distance relationship and he didn't want that. I was struggling a lot in all other aspects of my life at this time because I didn't have any friends and I had a job that I really hated.
My sister really noticed my mental health decline in college and forced me to go get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy shortly after this breakup. My therapist was pretty good, but by nature I find it very difficult to open up to people and I tried so hard not to have a full breakdown in her office so I held a lot back. From the little I told her, she said I have a ton of past trauma that's impacting my life. I went to her for about 2 months and she encouraged me to get more help during my master's degree abroad, but I never went to therapy again.
Just before I started my master's degree, my sister and I completely stopped talking. We were extremely close up until she was about age 12, but then she went to secondary school while I was still in primary school and we naturally changed as people do when they get older. I tried to 'force' us into being close because I had no one else.
Basically she hurt me by saying some awful things behind my back and our relationship is irreparable. This was 4 years ago and I don't want to speak to her again. Looking back we are wildly different people and not meant to be in each others' lives.
I then did a master's degree abroad the next year and it was one of the best years of my life. I really liked the people on my course (much better than the people in my undergrad course) and life was (relatively) really good.
Once I had to go home after that was finished I felt completely empty. It was just me and my dad alone in the house at home. I had nothing to do and was so hesitant to apply straight away for another job because I had horrific experiences at my two previous jobs and already felt quite suicidal.
Whenever I got employee reviews I always received excellent ratings from my boss but I felt such anxiousness and worry about letting people down it would drive me insane and completely rule over my life.
During this time after my master's, I was in the house all day everyday, but every weekend or every second weekend me and my dad would go on a short day trip somewhere. For about 6 months of this year-long period I was walking a lot outside by myself for exercise (this took a lot of courage for me every day). But I live in quite a rough area and one day, after being harassed twice on the same walk I completely broke down the minute I got home. Then I stopped going for the walks. My dad kind of forgot about the fortnightly trips out eventually and before I knew it, I had gone months without leaving the house. And then I *couldn't * leave the house. I still feel afraid of leaving the house now.
The last time I left the house was February 2019 so it has been exactly a year now.
Eventually I found a way to make a living at home for myself (online digital business) and it's going well so far. Although I haven't made a stable living yet, an amount I can live on looks on track for hopefully the end of this year. My dad lets me stay in his house and buys me food. He is happy to have me here so he can make sure I don't harm myself. I don't want to leave him because I don't want him to be all on his own. This is where I am at now.
Although I am introverted by nature, not talking to anyone your age for years and not having contact with any other humans except your dad for over a year is really difficult for me.
I'm not someone who was ever prone to FOMO, but I've reached a stage where I realise I'm just wasting my life and will regret being this way. I already do. I cry a couple days a week and get extreme suicidal thoughts. My situation is probably a combination of mental illness and my own fault.
I don't think it's because I'm some awful nasty person though. People always described me as kind, nice, and sweet. Those are always the 3 words they used.
I'm 25 and I want to get married and have kids. I want to find a guy within the next two years. I don't want to wait around until my 30s when it will be even more difficult.
I'm a conservative person and I'm generally looking for a traditional conservative guy. I just want to know what you think would be the best way to get my life in such an order that I can meet someone who is right for me?
Especially in terms of my life experiences (or lack thereof) and also the fact that I struggle with social media. I know I will have to take a picture of myself for dating apps. I understand that. I can deal with one picture (even though it will upset me that week). It's just a whole profile of my pictures and being tagged in stuff that makes me want to severely self harm.
Although I do engage in some self-pity I'm not someone who denies all responsibility for this. I should have had a lot better foresight to prevent myself from getting in this place.
I do think my very neurotic, agreeable, and introverted personality contributed to my struggles making friends, being incredibly anxious at work, and having some potential severe mental health issues. These are my Big 5 Personality results if you're interested:
Agreeableness - 98
Compassion - 96
Politeness - 98
Conscientiousness - 69
Industriousness - 56
Orderliness - 76
Extroversion - 5
Enthusiasm - 21
Assertiveness - 3
Neuroticism - 97
Withdrawal - 99
Volatility - 89
Openness to Experience - 45
Intellect - 41
Openness - 51
TL;DR: I probably have severe mental health issues that have led me to a place with no genuine friendships throughout my life, barely any experience with guys, and a situation where I haven't left the house in over a year or talked to anyone my age in 2 years. I've managed to start earning an income online so that aspect of my life is partially covered. How do I begin to sort my life out so I can meet someone to have a family with?
It sounds like you've been through an awful lot in your life and have overcome lots of different issues in the past, so I feel confident that you'll also be able to win the battle against the fear of leaving the house that has developed now.
One thing that could help is making a list of all the things that make you scared about going outside and then you can work out solutions to all of those potential problems and manage a very brief trip outside to start with. Would your dad be supportive in helping you to get back outside?
I don't know what kind of area you live in but maybe something like meetup would be a good place to start with trying to rebuild your social life. You'll find all sorts of people on there, some of whom may well struggle with similar issues to you.
Thanks for taking to the time to read my post and replying, I really appreciate it! Yes I think I need to tackle leaving the house in some kind of way first.
Unfortunately the place I live in is kind of a ghost town for people my age, everyone moved away. To have any sort of life I'm going to need to move myself but it's not feasible right now because of my mental health issues, including not leaving the house, and because I'm too scared to leave my dad in case anything happens.
Oh that's unfortunate about your town! Is your dad very settled or would he be open to moving?
For now let's focus on the first step, just getting out of the house and leave meaningful social interaction for when you're able to travel further. Can you think of somewhere that would be a nice first step to go? It could be to spend five minutes in the front or back garden, or to walk to the end of the road and back or something.
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