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How can I get more confidence?

I'm 20 and I used to feel like I had all the confidence in the world. I had loads of friends and girlfriends and I was really happy. But when I hit 18 it all just seemed to go downhill. I started to get really paranoid about people looking at me and hate leaving the house. I even started to walk differently and I just can't stop it - why is this? Even my mum says I'm weird because I bathe more than once a day. I do it because I feel dirty just walking past other people in the street. I try to hide it when I go out with family or friends and I try not to go out with them at all. I do want to go out, I just don't want to be seen. It's got so bad that I want to kill myself, not that I think I could go through with it but I still think it. I hate myself. What's wrong with me? Why can't I get over it? Can anyone help me?
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Life may seem bleak at the moment and it’s clear things feel unbearable for you right now, but it’s important to realise you do have options and you don’t need to go through this on your own.

By talking about how you feel, and identifying the issues that are making you feel so bad, such as the loss of confidence and self-esteem, or the paranoia you describe, you may find yourself moving on from feeling suicidal. Or, you could consider seeking some form of support, to help you look at your situation and the things that are making you question your life. It can often help to look at the underlying issues that cause these difficult feelings.

When people feel as low as you describe, it can be hard to see things in life as anything but negative. Especially when you say your personality has changed so dramatically over the last couple of years, from being outgoing and popular to feeling shy and withdrawn.

You say your mum has said you are weird, and feeling misunderstood can be very frustrating. But, unfortunately, not everyone knows how to help someone who is feeling so low, or people may not even realise because they are so distracted by their own lives. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care. Talking to someone you know may help them understand you better, enabling them to support you more effectively.

If speaking to friends or relatives doesn’t seem like an option for you at the moment you can speak to someone about how you feel, without judgement and in confidence by calling SANELINE on 0845 767 8000. Or you might like to consider calling Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, if you’re not ready to speak to anyone yet you can email them on jo@samaritans.org.

It might be worth considering speaking to your local doctor (GP). Suicide, for some, may seem like the only option. But given time and the right support to explore your situation and feelings, a treatable issue may well be uncovered. For example, feelings of despair, sadness, low self esteem or panic could be indicators of an underlying condition such as anxiety or depression. Such symptoms could be relieved through medication or a form of talking therapy, helping you to focus on what is making you feel so low and ease some of the pressure. Your GP will be able to advise you of the options available and help you seek the right form of treatment or support.

Answered by SANE on 30-Oct-2013

Next Steps

  • Feeling stressed? Hatch a Stresshead and relax as you chase your very own pet peeve around until you catch it and smash it.
  • Visit Madly in Love to discuss mental health and relationships, share stories and get support and advice.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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