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Anxiety/depression associated with appearance

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Hi all :)

I apologise in advance for the very, very long post ahead! It's hard for me to know what's relevant, but I'd appreciate any advice.

Right now I'm a 30 year old woman who has had crippling social anxiety and general anxiety for about 15 years. In short, I've no education, no career or job and I've been unable to keep a job for more than a few months. Right now I am in a long term relationship and we live together, but my issues have reached a point now where I can't keep my head above water any longer.

As a child I was very upbeat, positive, very shy but self-assured! I loved sports, art, socialising and was generally a very happy child. There's always been some form of anxiety (shyness mainly) but this became worse because I grew up in a family with a father that has mental health issues. His moods swing like a pendulum and he regularly physically and verbally abused my mother. This later happened to me (in my teens when I became his teen equivalent in the mood department). The names cut to the core (fat, freak, ugly, etc) and hurt more than the physical abuse to be frank. This was the polar opposite of how he could be most of the time (loving, caring and helpful) so it's been very hard for me to acknowledge that side of him.

Then when high school came around this is when my life flipped on its head from all angles. I was bullied from day one (physically attacked by people who I didn't even know) and the names echoed that of my father. I went from being focused on academics, sports, etc, to basically doing what I could to avoid school.

I'd say that this point was a pivotal moment in that I slowly became absolutely obsessed with my appearance. To be frank, I was always a bit girly but I'd never worn makeup nor cared about how I looked. I couldn't understand why I was getting called "disgusting", "ugly" and "fat" because I never thought that I was, but I slowly began to believe it. Why would kids (and your own father) say those things repeatedly if they weren't true right? I would think to myself, omg I must be hideous for other people to say such things almost every day.

So around age 15/16, I would spend 2 hours every morning putting on my make-up and doing my hair until it was perfect. My academics went out of the window and all I cared about was trying to get people to like me through doing my best to look "pretty". And it actually worked sadly. It was so refreshing to have people call me pretty, for boys to ask me out, and I didn't want that to change. Unfortunately the bullying never stopped and in short, around exam time I became agoraphobic and didn't sit my final exams, so left school with absolutely no qualifications.

For several years I became house-bound and only left the house on special occasions and with a baseball cap on to hide my face. The old habits with the make-up were still there, my weight dropped even further, all the while living under the same roof as my parents which didn't help. I was put on prozac aged 17 and this helped with the anger I was experiencing but not the anxiety/depression (I've tried to come off this twice but the side-effects made me very ill).

Shortly after this, I met my now long-term boyfriend on a penpal website, and after two years of casual chit-chat we met up. He actually lived abroad and at that point I felt ready enough to make a change in my life and spontaneously moved to his country. When I look back, I was never ready (mentally speaking) and my problems only followed with me. I suppose I thought it'd help?

I can probably summarise the last 8ish years quite briefly because of how little I've moved forward:

- I'm still absolutely obsessed with my appearance and have spent a lot money I don't have on cosmetic surgery. I'm not happier but I can't stop.
(I'm ashamed of this :()
-If people don't compliment me, I interpret that as me losing my "looks" or they may treat me badly.
- I still have no education and have tried to return several times. Anxiety, being completely drained from waking up several hours early to work
on my appearance before class and then dropping out altogether.
- I've spent most of my time unemployed and the jobs I've had have been terrible for my anxiety (retail/customer facing)
- I've tried to conquer my fear of people and crowds by taking a job in London centre but ended up hospitalised with panic attacks
- The sense of shame that I feel when people ask me "what do you do" makes me avoid any social gatherings with my partner. He can't understand this.
- I despise myself and every single day  and i can feel my life passing me by. This causes me huge anxiety in itself and I can't relax. I can't sleep properly
anymore... I can't enjoy the things I used to in life. Stomach ulcers are the regular and I've had a benign brain tumour so my health hasn't been great.

I suppose I thought that with time I'd get better, and I'd be in a better place. But imagine being 30 years old, and everybody around you is advancing in their
lives. They've been to school, they've got careers, changed careers, and some are even having families now.

My partner is supportive and I am so grateful for this. But he can't understand my problems at all and we've had awful fights about this.

I've had to respect that I must fight this on my own but I've no idea how to go forward anymore. (By the way, I have had the help of a psychologist but I was unable to move past my obsession with my looks - my fault not hers.)

It's reached a point where, for the first time, I think about death on a daily basis and how I don't want to be a burden. I can't help my partner financially,
and what money I've had I've spent on make-up, surgery, etc. I can't stand on my own two feet ... I am like a 15 year old child stuck in a 30 year old woman's body and its an embarrassment. The other day I became so upset that I grabbed a pair of scissors and almost cut my hair off to the scalp because deep down I hate myself that much. It feels pathetic to know that there are people out there with actual physical disabilities and they fight forward. Meanwhile, I'm trapped mentally and it's for such a superficial reason.

The core issue lies with my obsession with my appearance. The full on make-up is essentially a mask and I don't want to wear it anymore :( But I am so absolutely terrified of even wearing a little less - what if my boyfriend thinks differently of me? What if people treat me badly again? I truly don't know what to do...  I want to go back to my natural care-free self and feel "normal". Right now I'm at the tipping point and I'm scared that I'm going to snap :( 

I'd appreciate any advice and so sorry again for such a long post!

Thank you in advance :) 

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I'm very sorry you have had to go through this. Just know that life doesn't have to be horrible. It is possible to turn it around by healing your mind.

I suggest start watching Teal Swan's videos. She is amazing and understands people like us. She has answers to your questions, check out her Youtube.

Here's one I especially like:


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Hi Meraki! I feel so sorry for all that happened to you.I'm going to try to give you as much helpful advices as I can.

Just know that you're perfect the way you are ; being perfect doesn't need any acknowledgement or complement from anyone to confirm its truth. Try to look at the mirror without using the usual judgements about yourself , and you're going to see the real natural perfection that doesn't need any makeup or cosmetic surgery to improve. You actually lack self-love, which results in lacking self-acceptance ;those two are very critical to doing self-development. Be aware of that for a second here. And even if you're 30, it's better to start now than to push self-development 10 years more when you would actually be old, and it would be really difficult to start actualizing. 

To unhook yourself from anxiety, depression and fear I would advice you to turn inwards and face all of them ;you're eventually gonna discover that all of them were unreal. Start taking right actions and build healthy routine that can bring the aliveness energy to your day. And start building the following habits : 

  • Meditation (I recommend do-nothing meditation as its main purpose is accepting yourself).
  • Concentration practice
  • Doing yoga ;it has a high potential to cure your anxiety and depression. 
  • Reading self-help books or searching for self-help material 
  • Waking up early and working out ;you are going to see the difference in your well-being and your mood. 

Beside that I would suggest to be closer to yourself, and to treat yourself kindly as you are your best friend, and the best companion you'll ever have . After overcoming your anxiety, depression, neurosis and fears, and after building the right habits, the next step would be determined by your inner voice or your intuition as you would have taken the absolute responsibility of your life. Believe in yourself and take a courageous step that would make the real change in your life. Feel free to message me if you would need any help. Best of luck ♥️♥️

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The inner child has been kicked around quite a bit for so long, the Truth within has become unrecognizable. You are so much more than appearances have led you to believe. 

Some understanding of why people project To actually defend, and how to know your true self and not get sucked into other people’s’ stories when they express their ignorance would go along way. In kind, seeing the falsity in these narratives liberates you of them. 

Appearance is entirely relative. Overthinking & under feeling - ignoring the voice of the inner child - won’t feel good. This can most definitely be turned around. It’s never going to settle, if identifying as the body continues being reinforced with thoughts. It’s always in change, while the eternal & perfect self (you) never changes. 

When there is emotional pain, unbeknownst to us, awareness is imbalanced, disproportionately shifted away from feeling almost entirely, to perception and thinking. Overthinking distorts what is perceived to compensate for the lack of feeling. You meant to have lots of amazing feelings, and the good news this is within you to be tapped into. Many false narratives can be let go. 

Thought overcompensates for the lack of feeling, and weaves stories about who you are to make sense of it. But of course, this never works, never “makes sense”, as sense is sensation, feeling, and more feeling is what was needed from the get go. More love.

So it’s not your fault! It’s created in total innocence. And you can reconnect with a proper understanding of thought, sensation, and the source within you. 

Creating emotions based on the experiences of the outside world and identification with the body will never feel great. It is imprisoning. You can come to understand this, and feel amazing unconditionally. This clarity is the light, and it is accessible equally for everyone of us. 

What we all too often label as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, “something‘s wrong with me”, etc... is a complete misunderstanding of ourselves, and the functionality of thoughts with feelings. This results in the absolute unconditional love that we truly are being entirely misunderstood and shuttered up. The inner being is not going along with terrible self referential thoughts - because they’re not true! You’re so unthinkably awesome that it feels terrible when you believe these negative things about yourself. 

The absolute love you are + tons of thoughts to the contrary = chronic suffering...because you’re awesome, not because anything is “wrong with you”. How you look is is in the eye of the beholder. This suffering is indicative of overthinking, trying to make sense with thinking, of what can only feel better in feeling. Sometimes we learn a really deep environmental / micro cultural defense of judgment. This can be understood and let go. The belief in need & judgment is the foundation of this suffering. 

When there has been such chronic unwanted feelings in the body for so long, it feels at if it must be justified & validated, which perpetuates the suffering. It can be very tricky. 

You can become free of this suffering. You can understand the past and transcend it with presence of now, and enjoy the amazing future it’s naturally leading to.  Alignment of thought, feeling, & source will change everything. If you want to talk anytime, just let me know. :)





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