Struggles with mental health, work and a secret 2nd life

Some things in this post might be triggering. Hope it’s okay to post them anyway.

I’m not even sure if I should say these things here - I’m a bit paranoid about not being sufficiently anonymous.
It’s really hard for me to verbalise the problems I’ll be talking about. I struggle.

Maybe I should start with a bit of background information.

About 8 years ago, I’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I was psychotic back then - full blown psychosis, all with delusions (about being poisoned and under surveillance), hallucinating, afflicted with permanent anxiety, thought disorders, etc. It was so bad that I could not even properly process or produce language.
At some point, I stopped eating and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. There, I was drugged into a zombie - like stage. I remember sitting in the edge of a bed, staring at a blank wall, salivating onto my lap without being able to help it.
The medical professionals quickly changed the medication. I responded better to that and it didn’t affect me as badly in negative ways. Few weeks later, I was sufficiently stable to go home again and started therapy.
I learned a few things. For example how to identify my emotions, how to cope with remaining symptoms such as a lack of motivation, thought disorders, sleep disorders etc.

I improved. I got a job and it turns out I’m good at it. Very good. My clients appreciate my work.
I love my job in principle - but the amount of work is getting out of hand. The sheer pressure I’m being subjected to is too much for me. I can’t bear it. No matter how much I’m working my ass off, it’ll never be enough. It’ll never be good enough and I’ll be scolded by my boss time and time again for not exceeding expectations every single week.
But I’m caught in this workplace. I’m stuck. I can’t leave.
I make very good money and I don’t need to commute at all. No comparable job that could sustain our lifestyle will be that close to our apartment. But my workplace must be just around the corner so I can keep caring for my disabled brother.

Now that I keep living a few years through this, it’s getting to me. I feel exhausted. Voices occasionally pop up again. I can’t sleep properly. I can’t eat properly. Once food touches my lips, I feel disgusted. When I look into the mirror, I looking at a stranger.
Each evening, once the noise of the day ceases, my mind directs itself to suicidal ideations over and over and over.
I just feel overwhelmed and I can’t escape. Neither can I fight - I’m just too exhausted.

Add to that that I’m having a secret second life. Twice a month, I’m driving hundreds of miles into another city. There, I meet my chosen family. It’s a drag family. The first people that accepted me unconditionally the way I am. The people who introduced me to the art of drag and now I take part in their drag shows. I’m not just a boring investment consultant anymore. I’ve got a second life now. As Gomorrah Sins.
Drag is frowned upon here though. If it made word around my city that I’m doing drag, I’d lose my job, my reputation, my family.

I can’t win. I just can’t win.


It sounds like you’ve been pretty heroic in managing your struggles. I admire that. I think it’s really really important that you make it clear to your employer that there is a limit to how much you can do. You also need to make it an absolute priority to get enough rest. Exhaustion will trigger voices, anxiety, depression, etc.

You may have to make a choice, if getting enough rest and fulfilling your commitment to your primary family, makes it too hard to spend time with your second family.

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It’s not so much about not having enough time. It’s more the fact that I can’t share it and have to keep it secret that I’m doing drag with them. I don’t want to feel anxious about being caught doing this art. Art is supposed to be seen.

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From: Kattelogger (Discord)

Hi Gomorrah, First of all, welcome and thank you for sharing your story. It can be very uncomfortable sharing ones stories and I am proud of you for sharing it with is, so thank you! It sounds like you deal quite a lot with not being able to be yourself and that is a really big pressure and stress to have on you. Not only don’t you seem to feel like you are enough in yourself at work, but also having to keep you “second” life a secret on top of that seems even worse, especially since you seem to feel home there. I am sorry that you have to deal with these feelings, and I am not surprised if you start to have some of the old things come up again. This seems to happen when we lose the energy to control things, and the more we have on our plate, the harder things are to deal with. I do think you have to make a choice of thinking of yourself, and maybe check the options for you to deal with these things. I am not sure what there are of options where you are, but I would recommend contacting your therapist about these feelings (if you have one you are in contact with now or get in contact with one if not) They might be able to help you to find a way to deal with these and help finding the energy to fight. Can you maybe see if it is possible to get an agreement with working less for a time being, a sick leave or something so work would take less energy giving you more to take care of yourself? Do you have someone you feel like you can trust to tell about your 2nd life? It might give you something being able to share your happiness and how proud you are for you chosen family instead of having to keep it secret. Sometimes if there is something we are really proud of, but cant share, can have an affect on our mood and mental health too, so maybe allowing yourself to share about this somewhere would do good for you? It also sound like you chosen family is far away, are there any options of you to maybe get closer to them in the long run?


Thank you for your response and your kind words.

I don’t think I can reduce my workload. I’m literally the only person in our company with certain legal permits. Also, less work means less cash and we’re needing it. I pay for our home, my brother’s care, my mother’s full-time care, debt of my sister, …Once I bring in less money, someone will be let down.
That’s one reason why I didn’t just end my life weeks ago. It would mean letting them down.

I don’t have a therapist anymore. I can contact though. But I’m scared of having to pop those pills again.

I have considered sharing my drag with a friend of mine. She might be supportive of that. Moving closer to my chosen family would be so valuable! Though I’m not sure how to live up to all the responsibilities I’ve put on my own shoulders.

I don’t even understand why I did that. It seemed manageable at some point. I was so full of energy and positivity back then when my psychosis died away. And now I’m feeling the opposite - no energy, emptiness, negativity. I don’t understand it.

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And all the concerns you put forward here are very much valid. You do for sure have a great amount of pressure on yourself, and for that i am truly sorry. But we tend to do that for one reason or another. We might not be able to let our self feel better or supported, so we give it to others and this is surely not a bad thing to have with you in life, but what we have to learn is to accept when it is too much, allow yourself to think of you, because until you can do that, the energy you use on others are loaned. It is tough to stand in a situation like you are right now, and the way back might be even harder since you might have to let some people down in your mind, but the realistic thought is that these people will understand it in the end. And this is so much easier to say to others than it is to yourself, trust me. I wish someone could make me understand the exact same thing for myself, but it is the hard truth.

I know i am very fortunate with the country i live and have lived in, and there has been help to get from the government. I know not everyone else have the same thing to help them. But maybe it would be a possibility to check if you go down to working half time maybe, if they can cover at least some of the lost money?

I would definitely recommend you to contact a therapist again, i think just the fact of talking about these things, not walking around with it alone, and being able to share with someone who has no emotions in it but sees it from the outside would take a great deal of the pressure you feel off your shoulder. And that might help you see things a bit more clear. I am not saying it would solve it all, but maybe help a bit and maybe they can help you with some tools.
And you are in your full right to decline taken medication if you dont trust that process. They cant force you to take pills, and if they do find another therapist.
I do get medication, but this has been my own choice the whole way through. I am allowed to say if i dont want it anymore and they will try help me in other ways. I have gotten medication which made me a zombie for days, and I have told them that i cant take them, and then i wont. It is very much possible to get help on your own terms, sometimes it might just take time to find the right place!

I will say, even if i recommend sharing this with someone you trust, it is only yourself who can answer if you are ready to do such thing to someone close to you. Even if you trust them, you have to make up with yourself if it would put any extra pressure on you that someone knows.
If that is how you feel, maybe even sharing it with us here in the community could be a thing. You dont have to worry much about us you know? We barely know who you are, only what you have told us and that you are important in this world and that we are here to support you :slight_smile:

The moving thing could seem like a bit step just like that. But maybe it is something you can think about. Maybe you can make small goals to figure it out. Can you help where you need from further away, could you make it work? ask yourself such questions. Don’t ask yourself if it is too difficult, ask yourself what you could do to make it manageable. It might not be in the end, but you might be surprised what options you could have to get closer to the family you need.

To the last thing, i feel like i already said a bit in the beginning. But we tend to care much more for everyone else than one self. When we have extra energy we tend to use it to make all these plans and ideas and start things which makes us feel good. Because that is what it does. Helping others and making sure they are good, gives us a form of satisfaction we cant give ourselves. And we might be able to do all these things, WHEN we can make ourselves happy too <3

I know it might not make things sound easier saying these things, but we can learn to help ourselves, and at that point help others too, and i want us both to trust me on that.
You are not alone, you are not doing anything wrong and if nothing else you have a community here with people who will support you.


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