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Anxiety has affected my life since I was 8

elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Since childhood, I've always been an anxious/shy person. Growing up I had a best friend who we'll call Mandy. We used to do everything together and were really close, however I always had the strangest feeling that her mother didn't like me. One day, Mandy stopped coming into school, and her mother claimed it was due to a kidney infection. I thought nothing of it and patiently waited for her to come back in, which she did after about two weeks, however she always appeared to be in pain, crying etc. I comforted her as best I could and always did my best to be there for her.

Not long after, her mother called my mother, claiming that I was bullying Mandy, that I had caused the kidney infection etc. My mum asked me about this and I was so confused. We went to their house the next day (it was a Saturday) and spoke to them both face to face. When Mandy came downstairs she wouldn't stop crying, and all her mother did was accuse me of bullying her. My mum asked them both directly what exactly I had said/done to constitute "bullying". Neither of them had an answer. They just kept using the word over and over again without having an actual reason.

For over twelve years now, I have never received an answer. I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I genuinely do not know why they made this accusation and for what reason. I spent many years going over it in my mind over and over, trying to understand what I might have done wrong. The day this all happened is still so vivid in my mind because the mother made me feel like such a terrible person. I even remember it down to what I was wearing, and what Mandy was wearing too (I often associate clothes with bad experiences).

To make matters worse, the mother took it upon herself to confront the school with this "issue", and really made a bigger deal out of it than was necessary. Mandy was removed from my classes, I wasn't allowed to speak to/even look at her. Being 8 at the time and still not fully understanding the situation, I had no idea why the teachers and parents suddenly took such a dislike to me. I was pulled out of lessons and shouted at for even looking in her general direction, and there was even an incident where a group of girls asked why I wasn't friends with Mandy anymore. I told them the honest truth; that I didn't know, and they proceeeded to go and ask her. I was then pulled up infront of 90+ students who were lining up to go back to their classes and was shouted at infront of all of them. I was pulled out of lesson again that afternoon.

For the longest time, I felt that teachers and parents treated me very unfairly and that everyone started to hate me. Since this incident, I have always felt very unworthy and undeserving of friendship and love. And the worst part was that Mandy and her mother never really got over it either. Two years later, when the mother found out we were going to the same secondary school, she went up there and made the same request to have us completely separated, and the same happened for sixth form. We never really managed to escape each other until sixth form ended, and even now I still see her out and about and am terrified to look in her direction. Even at the age of 16, I still had people come up to me and ask if I bullied her, meaning that she was still talking about it.

Fortunately, I have been able to open up about this issue in recent years with a counsellor who has been very helpful. The reason why I bring it up here though is because my whole life my friendships have never really lasted and has usually ended in them betraying me in some way. Most recently, my best friend of 4 years tried to steal my boyfriend for herself. Unfortunately the trust issues that ensued ruined the relationship and now I'm all alone (I've gone into more detail about this in another thread I started). So I guess my big question is, does anyone else have a similar experience? Or have any advice for friendships, loneliness etc? Also does anyone have any idea why I may have been treated in such a way? Could it be something I'm just simply unaware of? I'm interested to know.

Thank you so much for reading x
 
Flameheart

Flameheart

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I've found that being a shy and awkward person, you do get used a lot and people don't take you as seriously, so that might be partly why you aren't getting treated well

I'm extremely picky with friends now and I always think quality over quantity, and you also feel less alone if you have good friends rather than lots of friends

If all your friendships are falling apart though then maybe it isn't always the other person who is in the wrong, so maybe its time to also do some self reflecting, but don't feel bad because no one is perfect and I'm also shit at friendships
 
elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Thank you for your words, that helps. I've had this discussion with my parents before and they'll always say things like "oh that person's just jealous, don't worry about them!" but then I think to myself; surely not every friend I've interacted with is jealous of me? Although I've been quite fortunate when it comes to my home life, family, job etc I don't consider myself a very boastful or arrogant person, so I know I'm not deliberately making people jealous.

A lot of my friendships over the years have ended and I've never fully known why, mainly because those people didn't give me a reason, they just turned suddenly. I've often thought about whether I'm the issue which is something I've been discussing at my counselling sessions. You're definitely right about quality over quantity, I think I've just picked the wrong people over the years.
 
Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

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I've had this discussion with my parents before and they'll always say things like "oh that person's just jealous, don't worry about them!"
Hi. I want to mention something about the words offered by your parents. Supportive friends and family are important and they are the backbone of my support network. However, when they offer words like "Dont worry" they often dont realize how dismissive that sounds. Distress from mental illness symptoms aren't easily put aside. If I could simply not worry, dont you think I would? As if perhaps I'm some silly person who hadn't thought to try that?

I don't want to seem unkind or ungrateful to my loved ones when I know they believe they're being supportive and helpful. But this is why I prefer to share my feelings and problems with the people who understand them - my therapist and members of this forum.
 
elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Yeah I have to say I agree. Though my parents have tried to be very supportive, they often say the wrong thing without realising it. For the longest time I believed that I was being rather pathetic, as people would often say to me "oh this person goes through so much worse than you!" and things like that. I've spent a large majority of my life feeling that my problems were pretty much irrelevant compared to some of the struggles other people face, especially when people have said "there are starving children out there! why are you complaining!?" etc etc.

I know these people don't always understand the harm they are contributing to when saying these things and it is usually those who don't experience it themselves. I find that speaking on this forum and to my counsellor has helped a lot recently. Thank you for your support x
 
somedaymaybe

somedaymaybe

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Hello,

I agree with what others have responded with here, and not sure I can contribute much myself. But I did want to say that I can relate to your situation somewhat.

I had a friend since the second grade, and at age eight you don't really notice much, but as we grew up I started to realise that her Mum didn't like me either and I couldn't understand why. I don't think my friend knew either. But my friend was sometimes distant because of it, and we never really saw each other outside of school. When high school came around, I think her Mum's dislike for me played a part in my friends eventual lack of interest in me; amongst other reasons, completely of her own. I noticed half way through my first year of high school that she wasn't really my friend, and my question was...how long had she not been my friend? I was bullied a lot and she never tried to defend me, comfort me, she just stayed silent. Then one day she completely left me, and joined said bullies. I was alone, with no one else, as she was my only friend and had been for a long time.

I've had anxiety and depression for a long time (though I have recovered a lot in recent years), and I do sometimes wonder if my unsupportive and poor friendships in my childhood somehow contributed to this. Ever since I lost that friend, I've not had one since and I am now 25 years old. It's been a lonely 10-11 years without friendship, but it's almost like I've grown accustomed to it, which I guess is a bit sad. But it's normal for me now.

I do not wish it upon anyone though, and I'm sorry that you went through similar experiences and that you feel lonely. I can't say why things turned out for you the way they have, why your friendships have ended, etc. It could be multiple reasons, as I think it is with me; I feel that a lot of the time I just chose the wrong people to try to be friends with, and ultimately it backfired and I ended up the one hurt and alone again. But loneliness makes us do things like that; try to find someone/something to fill the void, when really we just need to accept being lonely, be comfortable with our own company, so that when the time comes we can meet the right company to share ourselves with.

It's not always easy, and I can say for a fact that it doesn't always work. Everyone is different, and everyone find their own way of discovering things and finding ways to deal. Hopefully you can find your way.

:)
 
elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Hi there,

I'm very sorry to hear that you've gone through such a similar experience as I know first hand how difficult it can be. Though it is rather refreshing to know that I'm not alone when it comes to this sort of thing. I think learning to be comfortable in my own company is definitely something I need to work on as most of the time when I am on my own my mind tends to wander and I end up having anxiety-provoking thoughts and feelings. This often occurs while I'm at work.

One thing my counsellor has said to me is that sometimes we do pick bad friends, especially if we're very nice people then we tend to (unintentionally) let them walk all over us, which I think is somewhat true in my case. Did you ever find out why your friend left you and/or why her mum didn't seem to like you? This is a question that has haunted my mind for over 12 years now and I've had a very hard time accepting that I'll never get a real answer.

But thank you for your kind words :) It helps to know that others understand.
 
somedaymaybe

somedaymaybe

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Hey,

Thank you. And I understand; it's sad to know that someone has felt the same, but also slightly a relief to know you're also not alone in that feeling! Learning to be comfortable with our own company is very challenging, and still sometimes I find myself with the same thing as you, the anxiety inducing thoughts and feelings at knowing that I am alone. But some days it's easier, and I guess with time it almost becomes natural. These days, I can just sit at home with a book, on my computer, or with my animals and just be content with my own self. However, we all need company, so it's still always best to hope and find healthy ways to find it when the time is right.

This is true, I believe my therapist has told me this as well. Whether it was the truth at the time, or just a way to reassure me, it did give me a different perspective. I never did find out why my ex-friend's Mum didn't like me. I often see her Mum around town, and my own Mum has spoken to her a time or two, but she's never asked about me. I guess I don't expect her to, but I was in her daughters life for a long time until things ended. Regardless, I've done my best to put it behind me. There's no logical enough reason, in my mind, that someone could dislike an 8 year old girl and then continue to dislike her in her teens. Just bizarre to me, and I've realised it's not worth my energy and emotion to worry about it anymore. I hope some day you can reach this stage as well. :)

You're very welcome. If you ever need to talk, just send me a message. If not, I hope you are able to conquer through this and I wish you luck!
 
elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Hi,

Yeah I agree that an adult taking such a dislike to such a young child is very strange, and I've always told myself it's her problem and not mine. I know exactly what you mean; I see this girl and her mum in our local town centre all the time and they will usually just ignore me if they see me. My mum used to be friends with her mum too but after she saw what a toll this whole thing took on me she decided to distance herself. Despite myself and Mandy not being friends anymore, my mum and her mum would still wait and chat together when picking us up from school, but I wasn't allowed to talk to her or the mum would kick off.

I've definitely tried to keep myself occupied and figure out exactly who I am, what I enjoy etc as I find this helps, whether on my own or even just doing stuff with the family. Don't get me wrong, it still doesn't fully fill that void, but some days are easier than others like you say. I recently started a pottery class with my mum which has been good, definitely makes me feel less lonely.

And I definitely have a cupboard full of books I've never read before so I should probably get started on those at some point :) Learn to be comfortable on my own at least for the time being.

And thank you again, I might have to take you up on that :) And you feel free to message me too if you like and who knows maybe we can help each other more. I wish you luck too x
 
whitelection

whitelection

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Hello, friend. Reading about your relationship with "Mandy" reminded me of something similar that happened to myself.

I had someone I used to call a best friend--we'll name her Alice. We had another best friend, Anne, and the three of us met when we were 3 years old. We were inseparable and did everything together.

Alice had an older brother. When we were 10, he was 18, so you could imagine the age gap. He had two girlfriends who used to send love letters through Alice's hands. I didn't like this at all. I confronted her once and told her she shouldn't let them treat her like some kind of messenger. Interactions between boys and girls like this weren't appreciated at my school, and you could get in trouble for it. His girlfriends overheard and harassed me. Her brother used to harass my younger brother all the time too (he was 9 at the time.) My parents got really mad when they found out and told Alice's parents about it. Her parents did nothing.

Move forward a year, and they changed Alice's school. That's when her personality REALLY started to change. She was colder and often mocked me when we spoke, or refused to listen to what I had to say. I was a very naïve child and I didn't understand how evil people can be. She used to tell me about a boy that came in her bus whom she kept as her boyfriend--then had the AUDACITY to say she doesn't want to come to my house because my brother "lives there." WTF? My brother was a CHILD. That crossed the line for me and I stopped talking to her as much.

She even insulted my father on multiple occasions. Then one day, she started cyber-bullying me out of the blue and sent her entire posse of new friends after me. I was 11 and I remember crying to my parents because of all the disgusting things they said to me. I cut her off completely after that. My mother spoke to her mother and her mother brushed it off.

When I was 15, Anne asked Alice why she did the things she did to me. She replied, "Don't mention her name in front of me again."

Today, I'm 20 and I still don't know what I did wrong. What I do know, is that I'm blessed to have an amazing support system. Wonderful friends, wonderful family. Anne and I are still friends too, and she stopped talking to Alice after that conversation. You and I, we don't need anyone toxic like that in our lives. I don't know whether you're religious, but I have a firm belief that God doesn't take anyone away without replacing them with someone better. People like this give us an example on how we SHOULDN'T act. That's the beauty in growing up. Much love to you. :)
 
elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Hi,

Thank you for your comments, another example of how this sort of thing in early childhood can have an effect on us. I'm 20 too and for the longest time I've never understood what I did wrong either. I think in all honestly, the reason why both my ex-friend Mandy and your ex-friend Alice are so hostile towards us is because deep down they know we didn't do anything wrong. I think if I were to sit down and have an actual conversation with Mandy and ask her what it was all about all those years ago she probably still wouldn't be able to give me a real answer.

I guess some people are just that way inclined, and their personalities definitely will tend to change especially due to the people they spend time with. I'm very glad you have such a wonderful support system in your life and that your religion is so important to you :) It's comforting to know that there are people my own age who have gone through a similar thing and have managed to see the positives. Unfortunately I am yet to find those more permanent friends as every one I've had since Mandy has never lasted, usually due to similar situations. I'm sure I'll find my feet again eventually though :)

Thank you and best of luck to you x
 
whitelection

whitelection

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You're right and I agree with you completely! I don't know what joy people find in bringing others down and why they think being a bully is the answer to everything. It only displays their narrow-mindedness and sad mentality. All we can do is either ignore them or sympathise they have no moral compass to differentiate between what's right and wrong.

I'm glad my experience was able to bring some comfort to you, friend. And hey, don't worry about that too much--We all are following our own path. When the timing is right, you're going to find the greatest support system you'd never have even dreamed. Such amazing people are going to walk in your life and STAY there, and you're going to be grateful those fake people didn't stick around. Everyone knows life has this crazy way of working itself out. When it's dark, you find this flicker of a flame, even if it's in the distance. Hope, believe and feel. 2019 is going to be a great year. :) Thank you so much. My best wishes for you as well. You can do this!
 
elliepaige20

elliepaige20

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Thank you so much :) That's really kind of you to say.
 
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