I've been struggling with severe anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts for over 10 years. Most of that time has been filled with countless hours, days, and weeks of being completely isolated and just wishing that someone would save me. I've never made a suicide attempt, maybe because more than wanting to die, I've wanted to have the feeling of trying to kill myself but having someone stop me -- to have someone *show* me non-verbally that I'm worth loving and that my life is worth living. My self-esteem took a lot of hits from sharing things like this on Internet forums when I was a teenager, and getting really critical remarks, like people making fun of me, telling me to 'do the world a favor and kill yourself,' and things like that. I opened up to a lot of girls I was interested in over the years because I was craving emotional support, and two times I found out through other people that they were calling me a loser behind my back, and how they really thought I was just annoying and pathetic. The isolation thing hasn't gotten much better, and touch and affection still aren't a part of my life after all these years. But one thing I've found that's really positive in all of this is self-love. When I think of it like this, I start to feel a little better: even though other people have rejected me, and even though I have flaws, I'm human, and I deeply and completely love and accept myself. I do think that love and compassion are important. Otherwise it wouldn't be wrong to make fun of people and put them down. I think it's important for people to take responsibility for each other (within reason). That said...even though I'm still too afraid to open up to people face-to-face, to pursue a relationship, to even build up the courage to ask for a hug or to tell someone that I need help...I've found a lot of success in simply *not* beating myself up about that. If I had someone here with me right now who was supportive, they wouldn't call me a worthless coward, hit me and call me retarded, and tell me to stop complaining and just grow up. They would tell me that they're happy I'm alive, that I should keep trying to build my confidence up, keep learning more about how to respect myself, and that it's okay that I'm afraid of loving people and letting them love me. That it's okay that I'm going at my own pace, and that they're glad I opened up to them because they care about me and they want to see me be happy. This whole dialogue is just taking place in my head as I'm sitting here by myself, but it's making me feel better as if it was actually happening with another person. I think this is because I'm not judging myself for my feelings, and I'm not trying to explain them or make excuses for having them. I'm just imagining myself telling someone face-to-face how horrible I feel and then letting them hug me and comfort me. The message that gets through to me, I think, is that it's okay for me to be who I am right now. In this way I'm giving myself the validation that I've craved to get from other people my whole life. Ironically, I have a feeling that knowing how to love yourself is the best way to open yourself up to letting other people love you. They say to love others as you love yourself. If you don't know how to love yourself, I think a good place to start is to imagine how you'd want other people to love you. I did this intuitively throughout my whole teens and thought I was worthless, weak, pathetic scum for wanting to be held and hugged and comforted and protected from all the pain I was going through every day. Now I can see that I wasn't mistaken at all, and the deeper problem was that I felt like I didn't deserve it, and I was terrified of seeking it out because I was more afraid of rejection and humiliation than loneliness. I can see now that I'm not pathetic, and I'm starting to learn how to appreciate my imagination and my sensitivity instead of seeing them as issues. So I guess what I'm saying here is that while a lot of things in my life haven't changed externally in the past 10 years, a lot has changed internally, and it's made a world of difference for me. Even though I still struggle, my quality of life has gone up a lot and my mood has stabilized a lot compared to a few years ago as I've come to accept myself (gradually) for who I am, and (started) to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be different and to "stop having problems." I hope at least some of this can make some kind of sense for some of the people here.