A long life full of dread, and losing hope that it could be different

I’m a bit nervous to post here so I hope this is okay.

I’ve always had anxiety issues as far as I can remember, but recently have seen things get increasingly worse - OCD in particular has reared its ugly head the last few years and made me feel utterly trapped and helpless, to the extent that I can’t even walk from one room in my own home to another (never mind do things to look after myself or do things that bring me joy) without having to perform a certain cycle of actions completely right for the correct amount of times (3 sets of 3 times each, then an extra 3, then another 2. Sometimes I have to do all that a set of 3 times) - otherwise if I don’t do those things, something terrible will happen. As you can imagine, if I can’t even walk around my house without dread-inducing thoughts and impulses holding me hostage, it’s fair to say I avoid doing anything, going anywhere or doing things required to look after myself in order to avoid triggers.

Most of the time the ‘terrible thing’ i’ll tell myself i’m preventing by indulging my impulses to complete the sets is something terrible happening to my pet, like her getting sick or stolen. My counsellor believes is the main focus because she’s a source of unconditional love, which is something I’ve been starved of throughout my life.

Things have gotten slightly better since talking to a counsellor, who is helping me address the things that traumatized me in the past, unravelling piece by piece how i’ve become so anxious and fearful all the time, and how to learn to cope better with these feelings. I’ve had counselling before a few times, which I always finds helps a lot but is not a complete cure, and I find the effect eventually wears off. I worry that maybe despite my best efforts perhaps too much has happened in my life and maybe i’ll never actually be okay. After all, i’ve been trying to be less fearful and anxious throughout my life and nothing has worked so far - so why would this? I know it is unreasonable, but it’s a hard thought to shake. The older I get the less hope I have that i’ll ever be okay, never mind truly happy. I’m losing the battle I have fought as long as I can remember.

I always thought that if I kept working hard, i’d eventually reach the point where I am fulfilled, happy and safe, and that all the anxiety and dread would go away - because by then i’d have beaten all the imperfect or problematic things in my life right? So surely there’d be nothing to be sad or worried about! For example, I may think things like ‘i’ll finally feel happy when I lose that weight’, ‘the anxiety will end once this project at work is finished’, ‘if i move there, i’ll have a new start where i can be happy’, ‘when i have a partner, then i’ll feel loved’, ‘if i buy that shiny thing, maybe i’ll feel happy from now on’ - and so forth - but what I’ve found out is that despite my best efforts that i’m still ultimately very sad, panicked and anxious most of the time - in fact, my anxiety issues are far worse than they used to be when I had far less, a thought that makes me feel selfish, unreasonable and guilty. I’m like a spoilt child.

I’m not looking after myself physically, partly because it’s terribly difficult as requires going head-to-head with a thousand triggers as mentioned, but also because I don’t think I really want to. I don’t like who I am, and I don’t really think other people like me much either. I try to be kind, but i end up a bit of a doormat to try and avoid displeasing anyone as I’m fearful of what their displeasure may lead to. I am lazy, selfish, obsessive, unattractive, pathetic, a people pleaser, a coward, and overemotional. In fact, increasingly overemotional the last few months, to the extent I think I was mean to someone recently who did nothing wrong at all just because I took something the wrong way and then got horrid and defensive and humiliated myself. So I am a mean person too. I apologised, but it’s not enough, I have caused someone to hurt for no reason. Because I’m emotional, selfish and crazy. I always ruin everything. I don’t think I am a person who makes other people happy. I think I make them sad, or annoyed. I try not to, but I know deep down that I do. And it breaks my heart.

I find I often retreat to try to be alone and unreachable to avoid how stressful I can find social relationships to be, but then I get lonely so i’ll try to connect with people. But then I quickly feel like it’s too stressful, or that i am too unlikable or unpleasant to have around, or that they’ve spotted that i may not be a good person, and run away again (and the cycle continues).

I don’t want to physically hurt myself, so I hope this doesn’t sound like i’m suggesting that I intend to do anything to harm myself. But I do increasingly find myself thinking that maybe i’ll get terribly sick and pass on, and that i’d be completely okay (even relieved) to find out if that was the case - because the constant dread and fear would end. The constant struggle would end.

I do feel like i’m just ranting, and i’m fearful that maybe i’m using this resource wrongly - I am so sorry if that’s the case, please do feel free to delete this if so, I won’t be offended if I got it wrong. I think I am just frightened that my lifelong hope of one day living a life without constant fear is diminishing. Perhaps I am fishing for hope. I feel like i’m giving up, and that scares me. Has anyone else ever reached a similar point in their lives, and if so did you find happiness and freedom from dread? Any advice on how you achieved this if so would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this if you’ve made it this far, and I hope you’re well.

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hey @uowl ,

thank you for posting your story here and using heartsupport’s forum to help you articulate your emotions and receive support. you mentioned how you were unsure if this post was how to use this forum appropriately and if i can be the one to say, you did it perfectly. posting here on this forum is a way for you to share your struggles, progress, anxieties, all those emotions that make us human beings. and as it’s also your first post, i want to welcome you to this amazing community of love and support. we are all in this together and are never alone in our struggles :’)

in regards to the things you wrote about here, you are absolutely not alone in these feelings. it also brings me comfort knowing that your counselor is able to help you work through your trauma, fears, and learning to cope. getting help from trained professionals is a huge step and i am so proud of you for taking it. but you’re totally right when you say that counseling helps momentarily but eventually gets drowned out by new emotions and experiences to fight through. would your current counselor be able to offer some resources, mantras, or ways of thinking to adopt for long-term usage?

your line of “The older I get the less hope I have that i’ll ever be okay, never mind truly happy. I’m losing the battle I have fought as long as I can remember” hits so close to home, my friend, and i want you to know that it’s going to be okay. a good friend of mine (who’s actually in the HS community as well!) recently shared with me that life is like a garden. there will always be weeds that we need to pull out of the garden but there is so much beauty behind the ugly parts of life. it’s that hope that we are able to enjoy the beauty of the garden’s flowers and produce after weeding out the bad that helps us to keep moving forward.

you also mentioned how you don’t feel as confident in your own worth as much as you should. i, too, can be like a doormat in the same way with the same fears as you. but finding value in ourselves to be able to make mistakes and get a lil messy is just a part of being human. you said that you apologized to that one person you were mean to and honestly, that’s the best we can do as people. you just need to learn from past interactions and apply the qualities that make you so amazing to the next friend/relationship.

as i said, i have been in your shoes, my friend. and as we both know, life has many dark periods that cause dread and impulses to weigh us down. but happiness and freedom is possible. it’s that fight towards hope and a future we all envision that makes life so interesting and worth fighting for. i hope through this response that you are able to find the support and love that i am fully and unconditionally sending your way. i am cheering you on as you work through these emotions with yourself and your counselor. you are not alone in your fight and i can’t wait to hear from you in the future! you are so incredibly loved, valued, and appreciated, uowl, never forget that.

love,
twix

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Hey there @uowl I can definitely relate to the OCD, I have it too. I know how scary these thoughts can be and how hard it can be to even get out of bed every day without having anxiety that you might even step wrong. One thing that helps me when I have an intrusive thought is let it play through. So if the thought is about something bad happening to you let it play out but change the ending, change the ending in your head so that it turns into something positive. It can be extremely hard to learn but it gets easier. Everything that comes through your head is just a thought, and I know it’s extremely hard to remember that but it still always remains true. It’s easy to feel helpless going through this but you’re never alone and there’s always help out there, and you know that because you’ve seen a counselor. Therapy/counselling will never be a cure but if you consistently go and keep going it can always help as long as you want it to. You’re always worth it and your life has meaning, more than you know. I’m extremely proud of you for posting on here and I’m glad you did. Like Twix said, you 100% used this resource the right way. You’re always loved and supported here friend, you mean the absolute world to me. Hold fast. :hrtlegolove:

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@twixremix and @ofmiceandben - thank you both for your very kind responses, I really appreciate your kindness! It has made my day a bit brighter reading these. I hope wherever you are that you are having a good week, and thank you again.

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