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Depression: Depression & Related Conditions

Ask Dr. Schwartz
Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

What is This, and What do I do About it?

I am becoming increasingly distressed about various personality issues which, while not immediately obvious to the outside observer, leave me feeling isolated. I am in my late 20's, and began having issues at 18. I live alone and rarely leave my apartment except to go to work, at a food service job which I know is below my intellect but which I have remained in because I am appreciated there. My natural instinct is to avoid eye contact unless I am intentionally attempting to manipulate somebody, not necessarily to any ill end, but it's made me a very good salesperson/ service personnel.

Sometimes I am so full of free-floating anxiety that I physically feel like a ballon about to pop, and sometimes the only things that relieve the pressure are elaborate fantasies about hurting myself or someone else. I cannot fantasize about hurting animals. I have two cats whom I love like children. I have one close friend who is not related to me by blood. My other two friends are my sisters. I am so close with one of them that it feels sometimes like a romantic relationship, albeit a platonic one.

I am not asexual because I have an elaborate collection of masturbatory fantasies, often revolving around control, but I am uncomfortable with emotional intimacy to the point that I have no desire to date. I have never had a relationship, and I have had sex twice, with two different partners. I don\'t know either of their last names. Sometimes I think it might be nice to pursue a one-night stand, but don't think that I am sexually desirable.

I take on the personality traits of whatever friend I am with or even the fictional characters I am reading about, to the point that I have never had a strong sense of self. It is only recently that I have begun appearing as myself in my own dreams. Before that, I was always someone else. Sometimes, when I am uncomfortable, I quite intentionally slide on someone else's face if I think that they might handle the situation better than I.

I don't have enough money to seek professional help. I was on a re-uptake inhibitor for a while and it helped with some of these issues but not all. I feel so alone, and I don't want to live like this.

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