Hey everyone, I know I am new here and have not posted much since I joined a couple weeks ago, but I thought I'd post a topic about myself and some of my experiences. I will try to keep it short and to the point. Before I start, I just want to let everyone know that I love philosophical conversations and can (and have) talk for hours about ideas and theories about things, so I encourage and hope for some replies, if not as feedback to what I write, then just anything that relates to it or ideas it gives you about anything. Ok so now that I've said that, here is some of my story. My name is Jenn, I am 25 and have lived alone for almost 2 years. I work full time in a secretary/customer service position that I started at in 2004. The main things I like to do when I'm not at work is to be inside, away from people, or seeing my younger sister, pretty much the only person I feel I can talk to and who cares about what I say and gives some kind of response to what I say. My reasons for not wanting to be around people are a mix of some paranoia, extreme discomfort with being in any kind of risky situation and having a general sensitivity to energy which overwhelms me most of the time and increases my irritation level. In Feb 2007 I started taking an antidepressant because my depression (that technically began when I was 11, maybe even before that, but worsened since I was 15) was getting worse due to confusion, frustration and stress about some choices I made. The thing I feel like I need now is support with the fact that I am making so much effort with trying to get things more together in my life on a mental and emotional level. I am seeing a counselor and it is helping give me more awareness about a lot of things but I still find it very difficult getting the energy to somehow make even more effort than I'm already making in terms of taking more risks with regards to meeting people or getting some kind of hobby. I feel like if no one cares about it anyway then it can't be that important. To have someone older than me to give a bit of encouragement and assurance that I'm doing the right thing, or if they don't have the energy then at least care enough to help me or remind me to work on reminding myself of that would mean the world to me. The main things that have led to me seeing things this way and feeling so insecure, lost and stuck are basically family influences. Besides my sister I don't see anyone in my family by choice. I see my mom also but only because she lives with my sister. The main reasons I don't want to see anyone in my family is that they are ignorant, over critical, disapproving, insensitive and narrow minded. It seems I've truly been born into the wrong family, because I do everything I can to not do any of those things. Another thing that added a lot to my insecurity level is my stepmother. She was verbally and emotionally abusive and did not like me at all. She was a mean bully. My dad, sister and I were all afraid and intimidated by her as she also had a bad temper. Most of the time she was mad about something, and it never mattered how hard I tried to help out or anything at all. She didn't value me at all and didn't want me living with her, my dad and my 2 half brothers. She wanted them to just be a family without me. I moved back and forth between my stepmother and dad's and my mom's also from when I was 8-14. How I felt didn't matter at all and every day I was more worried about what her mood was than my own. It wasn't safe for me to be anywhere near my own feelings, and it started a pattern in my brain of not daring to care about anything to do with what I thought or felt. It just didn't matter. There was no one to say it was ok or to be reassuring in any form at all. So I basically never really developed myself in terms of being my own person with interests or hobbies or anything. I'm so lost and mixed up in all of it that I don't even know now if I really care anyway. The most I can say is that I am trying for some reason, and even that I constantly doubt and change my mind about. It seems I'm torn between wanting to care more and knowing that will give me a higher chance of feeling better, and feeling overwhelmed by all the risk that is involved, that a part of me really doesn't want to worry about at all. It's like some kind of proud and maybe even a bit judgmental side of me that really doesn't want to have to be "weak" and "give in" to needs that, because of being dismissed for so long, it wants to believe aren't important or necessary anyway.