One of my biggest fears growing up was falling into a pit of quicksand and not being able to get out. There was such a state of panic in my mind when I would see characters fall into quicksand and the harder they would try to get out, the more impossible it seemed. The other scary part about it was that the characters never knew where the quicksand was. Without even realizing it, they would be stuck in this deathtrap. (c) Can Stock Photo
This experience of “being stuck” has become a reality for many of my clients. I hear it in a lot of forms: “I just feel stuck,” “I feel like I am in a rut,” “I am going around in circles,” “I feel like when I take one step forward, I take two steps back,” and “I feel like I have painted myself in a corner.” Maybe you can identify with this state of helplessness or hopelessness?
Q: I’m 26 and very lonely, a virgin and I have no close friends. I’m socially awkward and it has affected me all my life. I’m so alone that I made a time limit in my journal that if I don’t make friends or have sex when I reach 30, I’ll kill myself. Crazy right? I even know it’s crazy. I’m a really nice girl, but quiet. What is wrong with me? I have no help what-so-ever around me. I don’t even know what to do anymore. I’ve tried making friends, but it’s so hard. I’m getting desperate, I’m so alone.
A: Thanks for writing in about your desperate need to connect with others. I hear that your overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are so painful that you have considered putting a time limit on your life. Ironically, putting a time limit on getting close to others will likely increase your anxiety level and create situations that will make it less likely that you’ll create close and successful relationships. Instead of giving yourself an ultimatum (“You get close to someone or else I’ll end your life”), I suggest that you work on seeking sources of emotional and relational support, on self nurturing, and on actively seeking relationship skills.
I strongly recommend that you seek a psychotherapist as soon as possible to get someone on your “team,” someone you can explore your pain with, ease your loneliness, and help you find the tools to connect with others. Opening up to a therapist may feel very scary; however, therapy can be extremely helpful in resolving emotional blocks that are making it so difficult to get close to others, and help you develop emotional and relationship tools. Your therapist will also assess for a mental illness that is contributing to the feelings of loneliness or isolation. If you need help to find a qualified therapist please click here. Group therapy may also be a helpful treatment option for you at some point. Groups are a wonderful place to explore your relationship patterns and to practice relationship skills in real time with the support of a therapist. Thank you again for writing in.
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