I wrote you a weeks... month? I'm not sure, I'm bad with time. Anyways, I wanted to let you know that I got my fursuit (fullsuit) and I absolutely couldn't be happier with it, you're advice really helped me and I thank you for that.
Onto my actual question, well... its not easy to explain but I'll try to keep it short. I grew up in a very isolated household where my parents weren't around often, me and my two brothers pretty much learned to fend for ourselves growing up. Because of this experience I kind of forced myself to be strong and try to make everything ok because back then I couldn't afford to be soft. This unfortunately has followed me throughout life, I seem to be unable to show my true emotions. I know I'm sensitive and am often hurting, but for some reason I am completely unable to outwardly show it. I can't cry, I can't even tell people what's wrong, my instinctual response to when anyone asks me if something is wrong, is to say "nothing" and "I'm fine" or sometimes its just "Don't worry about me, I'm tough" and these are all lies. Ugh, this is already getting to long and I'm sorry for that. But there's a prime example, I feel like I'm not worth anyone's time, I'm not worth help. And this st ems from my childhood as well as other experiences I've had, because the few times I've actually opened up to people, they've left because they didn't want to deal with me. All these things have led me to just build a wall around myself and not let anyone see the real me, and because I've been doing it for the majority of my life, I'm not even sure what the "real me" is anymore. I've sought out therapy and medicine, neither worked so I stopped. At this point I'm just kind of forcing my way forward day by day pretending I'm fine when I'm not.
Sorry about the potentially unnecessary backstory. My question is this, how do I let people in? How do I open up to people who want to help me? I'm terrified of what will happen when I do, I'm terrified if I stop being what I am now, there isn't anything left. What do I do?
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I'm glad to hear my earlier response was helpful to you; thanks for telling me :-3
Yes, having a difficult childhood can certainly lead to the problems you're currently experiencing. As you say, you had to be tough to survive your travails, and now this toughness has become entrenched into your personality. Fortunately, I would not say you are suffering from an emotional or mental health issue because you do feel emotions (and I assume they are appropriate emotions); you just are unable to let them out. What we have here, then, is a habit issue. You have programmed yourself not to show emotions to other people and you can't figure out how to break this habit.
How do you break a bad habit?
One classic way to do so is to replace it with a good habit. I suggest you already have such a habit available to you now: fursuiting! When you feel the need to express yourself, do so in fursuit. Being in fursuit (and in character) allows you to reduce or eliminate feeling self-conscious about your emotions because you have a secure barrier around you, so to speak, to protect you from feeling judged. When people react to what you are doing, they are reacting to your fursona and not "you," you see. This is the same method that actors on stage use. Many actors are quite shy in person, but when they are in character on stage or in front of a camera, they have a tool for letting out their emotions.
And you don't always have to do this while wearing your fursuit. You can also do it while just being your fursona in, say, roleplaying games online. You might think this is "hiding," but what it really is, is a way for you to rehearse and exercise your emotions. Just like working a flabby body gives you stronger muscles, exercising your self-expression will improve it over time. By doing so under the protection of your fursona, you will get lots of solid practice on how to openly let out your feelings to others in a relatively safe and productive way.
Another method you can use in concert with the above is to practice expressing emotions in a private setting. While no one else is around, go into your bedroom or bathroom and practice all sorts of emotional outbursts: cry, scream in anger, laugh out loud, express passion, express anguish. It is important to do this out loud and not in your head. Talk to the mirror about what is frustrating you or bringing you happiness or sadness. You can also try doing this with a plush toy or other object. Talk to, say, a teddy bear and tell it you hate it, you love it, it's driving you crazy, whatever you're feeling inside. Let it all out.
Keep doing these things over and over and eventually you will become comfortable enough to wean yourself off the teddy bear and fursona and begin expressing yourself to others as yourself. Do this on your own schedule and don't push yourself and don't give yourself unrealistic expectations or deadlines. This could take weeks, months, even years to happen, but it will happen if you keep at it diligently.
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