recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I am a former fashion model, biology MS, and a musician who had been a hikikomori for six year til recent, and I am slowly changing things. Ask me anything.

Hikikomori is someone who doesn't go outside and/or has a social impairment.

I was a former MS in biology, published fashion model, and a classical and jazz musician. MS and BS in biology, BA in composition, AA in music performance for piano&guitar. Mostly scholarships, always had been mocked with the stereotypical over-achieved Asian pseudonym.

My first ever girlfriend committed suicide largely due to me and family disputes. I was on suicide watch, got sued by her parents, and made other grave mistakes and poor decisions.

I wouldn't say I had depression; moreso that I thought of my life as undeserving after all the mess and that I have no reason to be anywhere for anyone nor even for myself.

Hence I lost the will towards everything, abandoned everything and everyone, and locked myself in my room for about five years, and one year of trying and giving up constantly.

I was living off of savings and knew that it wouldn't last long. I was either incredibly selfish or just too afraid to actually kill myself, only attempts.

I decided to change things not because I am coping with myself, but rather because I am afraid of aging.

Therefore since last year I started working small hours, started to build a new model portfolio, practice music again, study, had a second relationship briefly, make daily video documentations as a self therapy to keep myself in check, relocated to start anew, and just try to be outside more even just by taking a walk or something.

I still have many problems and would never forgive myself nor forget anything about my past. I am still not socializing and even completely disconnected from my family and everyone related to my past.

I don't know why I thought of doing an AMA, or whether if anyone even cares to begin with, but I guess I'm just trying to stay connected to the outside world and socialize.

So I don't understand myself but feel free to ask me anything.

Thank you,

tl;dr : Hikikomori for six years not going outside, recently decided to change.

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/tmhHLU6

Model portfolio since after I began to change myself: https://photos.app.goo.gl/i3L7E7ghN1JcBEMg7

Music: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwIHpc9enu49UnHNz-GxRHq4to3GcXhMH

Daily self-therapy Youtube videos I started recently: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyPPSRGlcdsQVvNLspyHOeg


184
questions
1,044
score
September 23rd 2019
interview date
whattodo-whattodo

It turns out the hikikomori is more closely related to PTSD than the other disorders. Based on what you've said, it sounds like it's true in your case.

PTSD is entirely treatable, even curable. It would seem that hikikomori is also somewhere between treatable and curable. So the question:

Given that you have access to a therapist and you've turned a corner in your own life where you now have a will to move on, have you considered more serious professional help than the one-off check in?

.

EDIT: Thanks /u/CabbieCam. I stand corrected. Reading Wikipedia I see that "...A disease is said to be incurable if there is always a chance of the patient relapsing, no matter how long the patient has been in remission...". So any chance of relapse over any period of time means that CBT or whatever else would be a treatment and not a cure. My use of the word "cure" was incorrect.


_Hieon

Seeing a psychiatrist kind of is relaxing, not because I am thinking that I am being treated but just having to talk to someone. So I guess I am just paying someone to talk with.

AWildWilson

Glad things are looking up.

During your time in hikikomori: how did you spend your time, what did your average day look like?

How are you coping with your lifestyle change (exiting hikikomori) now?


_Hieon

Sleeping a lot til I feel so nauseous I can't do anything. My sleep cycle was in a completely havoc and still is.

Or if I am awake then I will just do nothing mostly...just thinking. Otherwise just waste time on the internet or music.

RooSparkles

What are some "normal" things that most people do without thinking twice that still seem like too much for you?


_Hieon

Going outside. Sometimes I didn't have anything to eat but I would either procrastinate or be too wary of going out so I end up just sleeping it off or fast inadvertently.

frankIIe

Hi OP! Congratulations on your decision to walk out of withdrawal! You said what triggered your change of attitude is the fear of aging. Can you elaborate more about the events that lead you there mentally? You probably have the power to help others in a similar situation. Thank you!


_Hieon

My parents were abusive and controlling. My first suicide attempt was when my biological father choked me. I questioned myself why I was born into this family and had negative influences forced into my persona.

I never wanted to despise my family; I ever wanted, and still want a good family. But because of their presence in my formative years, my psychology developed to be against them and structured in the ways I never wished to be. So I always hated that I possess an unwanted consciousness.

But I began to think that if I had a good family background and good development of myself during the formative year, then I would probably feel too comfortable with life and accept that I am happy. But I thought to myself that the negative influences on my consciousness are part of hormesis that made me to realize I have to deter away these stresses and think of stress as the reason to survive; that stress is the reason for my existence to survive against it. And that I would take whatever means to prolong myself and be alive against them, and against the people who are driving me into hormesis unwillingly. Because it is my animal instinct to survive.

So I took that as a reason to live forever, because there is no reason not to.

Patsson77

How did you start becoming a hikkomori? Did it start off as simply staying in more often or was it simply one large transformative moment?


_Hieon

I never decided to nor thought of myself as one...just stopped and abandoned everything and gave up on myself.

negasonic1

Why not enter a career in your majors, like teaching or writing?


_Hieon

I had been an instructor in music and general aid before the whole mess. I think it might be an option later but for now I feel how quiet and socially awkward I am wouldn't suffice such a job for now. I rarely speak in front of anyone.

littlesoubrette

Have you sought professional help or therapy of any kind?


_Hieon

Yes, both voluntarily and involuntarily. After my ex killed herself I was on sort of a probation and suicide watch for six months with mandatory psychotherapy sessions. Now I occasionally go see a psychiatrist to keep myself in check and talk to someone as I have no one.

fushiao

Were you living with your parents, did they try to intervene, if not why did they not just force you out? I’ve seen a few videos from NHK about Hikikomori and it always seems like the parents really don’t know what to do and enable their children with continuing to fund their escapist addictions to manga, video games, etc.


_Hieon

I had a very toxic relationship with my family. I disconnected from them since I was 16 and moved out, but still ran into a lot of legal troubles with them.

KamenAkuma

I myself am what you call a "Hikikomori" not by choice but by health and circumstance and over the past four and a half years iv read hundreds of books, watched hundreds of TV series and seen almost all movies i found interesting, i ended up resorting to anime and when i got bored of that manga, moved onto western cartoons and gone through that as well and my question is, how do you get over the repetitive grind of boredom that is everyday once you have done everything?


_Hieon

I sleep.

rickypaipie

How are you doing right now?


_Hieon

Still not going out almost everyday. Very little actual work or going out for grocery. No feeling towards anything.

cosmicdissonance1

From what I understand you're a hermit and a social recluse with a tough past which you have blocked out and/or abandoned. Your interests in music and biology seem quite traditional and understandable. What compelled you to pursue fashion modeling?


_Hieon

Never that I wanted to do so, but I always took care of my physical health both internally and externally. Got hired once and began to get gigs from there. So I did it for financial benefits not for passion.

Treesexist_

By doing this AMA, are you hoping to achieve something, perhaps trying to understand yourself better? Are you hoping for someone to ask anything specific?


_Hieon

No...as I originally stated, I don't know why I decided to do this. Just suddenly thought of it from an impulse. Maybe I am seeking attention or in need of sense of belongingness or else unconsciously. But I'm not here to promote myself.

OniTan

Why did the girl's parents sue you? Did they win?


_Hieon

Yes. Both in their emotional damage compensations and restraining orders. Also was facing criminal charges for her death but was dismissed. I deserved all of it and they had every right to do so.

Gp3rog

Are you trying to understand yourself better? And if so, in what ways?


_Hieon

I talk to myself a lot. Ask and answer myself as like having two personalities. Not really doing it to be better but just became a habit.

mutuum

Years of solitude would likely be accompanied with years of introspection. Is there anything new you learned about yourself, and/or the world, while living in isolation?

Best wishes as you rebuild community for yourself.


_Hieon

That I am quite violent in nature. Perhaps years of oppression, anxiety, and self degradation gradually turned into anger and vengeance.

Aluthran

In your daily self therapy video you said you like to read and take walks. What sort of things do you like to read and where are your favorite places to go? I really liked that video labeled "Another day of life" and wanted to know more about you.


_Hieon

I read a ton of studies and abstracts on NCBI or Researchgate everyday, anything from med to psych. Never read actual books.

wh1036

How did it feel the first time you went outside again, first small interaction with a stranger, first genuine conversation?


_Hieon

I still went out on grocery runs or shopping for necessities during night occasionally. But when I had actual reason to go out or meet someone, I felt nothing. I don't talk to strangers, neither they ever do to me because I look intimidating probably and just too quiet.

[deleted]

[deleted]


_Hieon

Aging.

eris-lotuseater

Im not sure if you'll see this but I hope you do.

It's great that you're moving towards change.. slowly but surely. As someone who has had mental health issues and isolated herself.. I can relate to being a hikikomori.

Change doesn't happen overnight, it's a process and it's uncomfortable but keep pressing on. Whatever your reasons maybe for stepping out.. in your case, aging. It's okay.

Any reason is still reason enough to move forward.

Everyday you get to choose.. to make a choice and there may be days that you don't want to step out but that's okay, go out onto your porch or balcony in the mornings.. take a deep breath. Soak it all in. And try again the next day.. baby steps, friend.

I wish you well.. and if you ever get lonely or need someone to talk to, you can hit me up.

Since this is an AMA, how is it connecting with so many people on the internet, but connecting nevertheless?


_Hieon

It is nice to have questions from different perspectives that I will never question myself in such ways, and that is perhaps one of the reason why I decided to post this AMA; to better understand myself.

math-yoo

If you don’t go out, how do you manage to earn enough money to support yourself?


_Hieon

Never did. I lived off of my previous savings, lasted me enough and still can for maybe a decade but I would need to be very frugal.

IcyKnowledge7

Whats the story behind your girlfriends suicide? What were the disputes you said, " due to me and family disputes "?


_Hieon

I cannot disclose that for her sake. But I fucked up and admitted to whatever her family demanded.

dombo4life

Do you have any long term goals or will you be focussing on short term goals? What are those goals?

Good luck with your change!


_Hieon

Perhaps too farfetched and insane but I would want to achieve immortality. Investing a lot of my asset into senolytic drugs and supplement and kind of fasting/caloric restricting to an absurd amount of durations.

Short term...I guess having more reasons to go outside.

levelupdude

What made you decide to change and be better? More elaboration please. :)


_Hieon

I am afraid, and also do not want to age.

And so the realization that I need to be financially active at least to preserve my life, not because my paychological state is any better than before. I would say worse; just ever so slowly rotting.

lokiisacat

I'm glad your slowly changing things! I appreciate people who see the need to change, and do! I have a smiliar story to yours, without the suing part.

My question is, how did you eat?


_Hieon

Always have been eating healthy as I think of each food as medicine, to a degree that I eat for the dietary benefits not for the taste nor hunger.

99.89% vegan. I consume natto daily and it says 00.11% is bonito/krill extract and I don't care much if I consume tiny amounts of animal products. I am not an animal activist nor vegan for the sake of being a vegan, just that I don't find any reason to consume animal products.

Pandasonic9

What kind of music do you like to listen to or make and do you think it’s helped your mental health? I personally got into metal after a tough relationship issue and have since started to learn guitar to play some of my favorite songs.


_Hieon

Nikolai Kapustin, Hiromi Uehara, Yamandu Costa.

Sometimes it puts me in a deep emotional state, I don't know whether that is helping or not.

Number7-Defective

How do you like modeling? Have you thought about working in a biology lab one day?


_Hieon

I only graduated and never had any work experiences in science. So unqualified probably.

Hugo-Drax

what are ur thoughts on the increasing amount of hikikomoris in Japanese culture? i have been taught that the digital age is a large influence on this increase

edit: congrats on trying to make a change :)


_Hieon

I do not know much about Japanese culture but on a global scale especially Eastern Asian countries, it does have a negative effect on birth rate I read.

phi_array

How the hell did u managed to do all that?


_Hieon

I didn't do them all at once, double majored in four years, and grad school while going to music school. It wasn't a lot of work, just few more extra classes really. In terms of achievements outside schooling, I have zero.

whiterose_92

I relate to everything you’ve shared more than you could imagine. If anything, this is the most relatable thing I’ve seen someone say in I don’t know how many years. I went through a series of traumatic events before, during, and after college that have landed me in the same position and frame of mind as you, minus the improvements.

Basically my entire life is like one unending flow of abuse and trauma. Experiencing bad luck is an understatement. Was in the middle of a mental breakdown and somehow convinced myself to see a psychiatrist for the first time in my life. Diagnosed CPTSD, likely repressed CSA, OCD, and bipolar depression although I’m not quite sure I agree with that one. It pains me to even type this out..... but I need you to know I’m here with you, I understand. Hikikomori .... never knew there was a name for it.

I’ve gone entire years barely speaking. I forgot how to have conversations after my last few years in college with little to no interaction with other humans. Literally my voice became groggy/ hoarse from not being used for months at a time. Now, I still only speak when it’s necessary to communicate: at the store, to order food, at the doctor etc. that’s it. My entire day to day interactions are comprised entirely of strangers. I don’t have friends that I talk to. I have absolutely no one. I have no ties to my abusive “family” other than the fact that I have nowhere else to go which leaves me here with my “parents”. No relationships with relatives, cousins etc... they’re all cut from the same cloth.

I’ve been graduated for 3 years now and have regressed back into myself more each day. I had to move back home last year. I’ve become a shut in. I go for months barely stepping foot outside my parents house. And the worst part is I want nothing more than to be the EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE of this. I just can’t go on living like this anymore.... i had such high hopes for myself. I was supposed to go to medical school but I’ve completely given up. Fucked up my MCAT. I agree with the fear of getting old as being the only motivation you have to get a move on with your life.

my question for you: if you could tell me one thing that helped you to dig yourself out of your self made hole, other than the fear of getting old, what was it? Because I need more than this to regain my will to live.


_Hieon

I am no better in terms of my mental state than before. But my savings will run out. And I need to get out and work. That's it mostly.

There is a funny but cruel and realistic joke in cellular science. If you want to force a cell to either die or turn on its survival mechanisms, just starve it.

mindfungus

Can you recall the general time, or even pinpoint the exact moment, when you started withdrawing from the outside world? I know you stated that you had a traumatic experience with a past relationship and her family. Did you experience the same kind of apathy before, or only after?


_Hieon

After hearing that she killed herself, I walked out of whereever I was. Not to avoid her parents, but that I didn't know what to do nor why I must do anything but give up. I just walked whereever that was straight. I was homeless for maybe three to five weeks, I never counted.

Police found me sleeping or passed out and brought me back to my house. I then told the police what happened and that they should take me in so I wouldn't disappear or die if her parents were seeking to put charges or sue me or whatever they want. They did notice a missing person report and some other potential charges from them and took me in.

Then I was put on suicide watch while undergoing trials. I just stayed home awaiting for any notices or legal actions, not doing anything. Days went by just going through hearings and legal procedures and refusing to hire a lawyer to just admit anything and everything her parents and judge ordered. So I guess that was when I began to not go outside.

Afk94

First of all I’m really sorry that you had to deal with that situation. The fact that you’re still here says a lot about how strong you are.

What are your goals/dreams/aspirations? I feel like even when people go through emotional trauma they still have goals and dreams they hold onto.


_Hieon

To survive forever in youth.

elgatothecat

Did you find it difficult transitioning out of it? I shut myself in for about a year, and the few weeks after that I was like, Shit, I forgot how to have a conversation.


_Hieon

Not difficult to go out, but difficult to find a reason to do so because I have no connections with society and that I just don't have any reason to go out in the first place.

screenname7

Why do you care about aging? If you start holed up all the time, what does it matter that you're age? You don't know what happiness is, why do you want to live unhappily forever?

Forgive yourself


_Hieon

I do not understand my psychology either. However I live by my primal instinct to survive and I seem to understand that at least.

Yuzucha

Did you ever consider getting a pet ? I think it could be helpful. A dog needs walks - all pets need food etc. And they give you lots of love no matter what state of mind you’re in when humans sometimes don’t. My dog made my life better for sure.Or was that never an option for you?

Im happy you’re working on getting better though. Ganbatte :-)


_Hieon

I had a cat. I like cats.

johnis12

Don't really have much of a question myself, just wanted to say that I'm really the same way, been inside for sooo many years, barely get out (Been 13 years I think?) and after my lawsuit (Longstory, basically got hit by a txtin' driver) goes through and if I win I'm goin' to try and turn my life around too and talk with some old friends and whatnot.

I TRULY hope things go well for you, my friend. :)


_Hieon

To you as well.

Txyaos

What inspired the change?


_Hieon

As answered previously, aging.

Isogash

Can you release your music please? It's awesome. I'm also a musician and songwriter if that helps this feel any more genuine to you.


_Hieon

Maybe. But I never did any album work. Just some jazz gigs, small sessions, and classical concerts, never done recordings.

MaximumCameage

Have you thought about starting a band and writing songs about your feelings and experiences? Honestly, you would make one hell of an emo band. If you can sing, you’d make a perfect frontman. You’re good looking and have a ton of pain inside. Even if you can’t sing, you’d make a great role as guitarist and so g writer. Pete Wentz is the mastermind behind Fallout Boy and he’s not the singer.

Your girlfriend’s suicide is not your fault. That was a decision she chose. Any American therapist would tell you that. I know because that’s what they told me.


_Hieon

I thought of it. However my interest is in instrumental music. I used to listen to just songs a lot, like John Mayer or some oldie ballads. But as I gotten into more jazz and classical, I found vocals distracting for the music I enjoy for its complex harmony.

But I still sometimes enjoy John Mayer, Ray Charles, Lee Juk, and an Isreali singer I can't read the name of.

kkbsamurai

What was the hardest part of leaving your hikikomori lifestyle?


_Hieon

I guess I am still one because not going out became the norm to me. But correcting my sleep cycle has been difficult and still an issue.

ohlinrollindead

What do you think contributes to the development of a hikikimori?


_Hieon

Family and formative year influences.

kula_shakur

I’m curious about the distinction between what you’re experiencing and depression. Is this simply a rebranding of depressive tendencies as is seen more prevalently in Japan?

I ask because I have struggled with bouts of major depression and steady low-level depression for many years and, honestly, regardless of what you want to label it, this is just depression, imho.

The solution, for me personally, was getting my testosterone levels checked, finding out I had the testosterone of a 75 year old and then getting weekly injections to remedy what ended up being a pretty normal chemical imbalance. Every symptom you’re expressing was exactly what I was experiencing on some level.

Now, after 4 months of treatment, I cannot imagine my life any other way. I don’t feel hyped up or strange or not myself - just normal for the first time. Have you explored medical options? I tend to think there is a tremendous percentage of the population that is experiencing symptoms of low testosterone and thinking it’s untreatable depression. There’s hope out there in different forms.


_Hieon

The reason why I say I was and am never depressed is because I do not consider depression to be a disease or disorder or treatable with drugs.

boyinmansclothing

How did you manage to have a second relationship if as you say you are still not socializing?

Would you say your biggest challenge at this point is lack of will to step outside or actual social impairment from staying indoors for many years?


_Hieon

As I described, the final year among those six years was me attempting to change and reverting. I met my second girlfriend during that year and I had issues but I hope I managed to be better to her after trying to not repeat what I did to my first girlfriend.

I guess it is the lack of any reason to go out. I am unafraid to go out, but if I have no reason then I won't go out.

praisethebeast

How did you feed yourself without leaving the house? How did you afford food, and rent?


_Hieon

As replied in others comments, savings from pre-crisis. Had some investments and passive income, enough to last me til now and about a decade more if I restrict myself to be very frugal as how I have been.

khaleesi2018

Are you sure you don't have bipolar disorder?


_Hieon

Funny that the psychiatrist diagnosed me with multiple personality disorder after probation and psychoanalysis. That may be true or untrue depending on what disorder means to you.

dxjustice

Would you say that your Asian background (particularly expectations and pressure) had an effect on your mindset?


_Hieon

Not for the fact that I am Asian solely for its ethnicity, but because of being under Asian family household influences and Asian parents' oppression.

i_eat_payste

Anyone else unsure of the validity of this post from an account that’s only a few hours old?

I’m honestly curious if this is genuine or if there are ulterior motives by posting links to YT, and portfolios.


_Hieon

I don't know either.

philosoph0r

Hello! First, thank you for putting yourself out on a limb like this and doing this AMA! As for my question, I would like to ask how do you feel this has effected your mental persona regarding the aspects of society and what we feel is important towards a socio-economic status within our society? Is there a duality and ambivalence that is experienced when one has isolated themselves from society? Did you ever miss the connection with another human being?


_Hieon

One thing certain is that because I was living off of savings and not wanting to go out as much as possible, I adapted a very frugal lifestyle and finance management. Just had to result to that since I knew I have to survive on as little spendings as necessary. I still am incredibly, perhaps too much, frugal now. Even when something is a dollar or not discounted for weekly sale for something already cheap, I contemplate a lot whether if I should buy it.

Yesterday I walked an hour to a grocery store to not spend money on public transportation to buy 1kg of chestnuts for $1.59 on sale. But the store was closed for maintenance so I came back empty handed.

kitikitish

Care to share your favorite recipe?


_Hieon

Caloric restriction mimetic concoction miso soup that I eat everyday:

Ingredients: - Japanese or Korean soybean paste (aka red miso or doenjang) in 90% whole soy beans, sea salt, and starter culture only, 15g - 5g Turmeric powder + 3g black pepper - 3g Ginger powder - 1g Cloves powder - 1g Cinnamon, Chinese. Not ceylon. - Sliced daikon radish how much ever you want, microwaved for 6 minutes - Korean Pyeongyang green chilis - Leek - Green onion - 3 cloves of garlic - And whatever vegetable you like in addition. Sweet potatoes can be a good addition because its enzymes will interact with above ingredients, or red cabbage or cruciferous vegetables since sulforaphane and daikon radish's myrosinase will interact.

Cooking instructions: - Cut all the items and let them sit for 5-10 minutes. This activates their enzymes and will prevent nutrient loss when exposed to the heat and enhance bioavailability. - Boil water. Let it cool til there is no steam. - Put all the produce items, then add powdered spices, then soybean paste last. This will prevent maximum nutrient loss.

abbotist-posadist

ok so why are you "Hikkomori" and not just "a shut in"? What's the difference?


_Hieon

Not that I assume that I am one, but just no other words to describe it in one word.

ijustneedtotype

As a biology grad, I'm going to assume you don't have an aversion to medicine. I'm wondering, why haven't you either now or earlier decided to speak to a doctor about your depression?


_Hieon

I never considered myself to be depressed, nor consider depression a disease or mental condition to seek a doctor. But I did see psychiatrists both by myself and forced to when I was on suicide watch.

BunnyLoverMudahubber

I saw you mention Hiromi Uehara as one of your favourite artists!

What is your favourite song by Hiromi?

Mine is Seeker, it makes me want to look forward to the next day as if everything is okay. That song almost feels like she is speaking to me but maybe because of her phrasing that sounds like Japanese sometimes (I’m Japanese too).

You also said you don’t know what happiness is, but I feel happy when I listen to good music and I hope you will slowly feel it too. Immortality is great to pursue (I’m sure most people don’t want to die) but if you can slowly enjoy small things in life, it’ll make life more meaningful :)


_Hieon

Desire. And the entire duet album with Chick Corea. I listen to them everyday.

UniqueUser12975

You sound profoundly mentally ill. Are you in therapy and/or on medication?


_Hieon

No psychiatric med. I do see a psychiatrist once biweekly.

Glorpo25

Have you ruled out low testosterone?


_Hieon

I do monthly health checkups and lab tests. Testosterone level itself is not low, below average. However I probably have a lot less libido or sex drive. Possibly more due to chronic caloric restriction.

Autisum

My brother is similar to you, but he's not seeking any help. I dont know what to do with him and neither does my parents. Is there anything advice you can give so that I can help him?


_Hieon

I am not in the position to advice anyone.

HairyBazooka

What did you do during your shut-in? A lot of people in documentaries stay in and play a lot of video games while living with their parents. Did you have any physical changes during the 6 years? Your photos have you posing in LA, do you live here/there?


_Hieon

I grew up in LA. A lot of changes, and visible aging whether it is from stress of all my issues or not.

I slept a lot.

Eolu

Have you ever considered meditating? Or some other way of making effort to understand yourself on a deeper way and find more of an inner harmony? It’s easy to fall into stagnant habits while alone in a room by yourself, but even in this situation it’s possible to grow and improve in ways that have genuine benefits which will eventually extend outside of the room.


_Hieon

I do meditate, as research suggests it has some effects on telomere length and telomerase activities. However the length is less important than telomerase activity, which its rate of activity is unproven.

So I meditate just before sleeping. I lay still in dark and repeat in my head:

"In times of stress, is when you grow. In times of stress, is when you change. In times of stress, is when you become impervious. In times of stress, is when you become immortal."

And also:

"It is only a phase, it is not forever."

CrazyDaimondDaze

I partially understand how you feel. I myself became a hermit when I was 15 years old. It was because of the stress of bullies and lack of friends that I couldn't move on. Stayed like a hermit, with no studies whatsoever until 4 years later, when my father died due to cancer. I always spent all my time with him... however, his last year was the worst: his marriage was falling apart (and was partly his fault), had no job, his dream job plans which he worked on for 2 years went down the drain in one night, his family despised him... and I didn't want to talk to him because I was tired of constantly being involved in my parents' fights. Ultimately, when he passed away, I felt incredibly guilty with him for how cold I was to him on his last year. I was constantly depressed and thought that I deserved to always be miserable because I failed dad. But I didn't want to be utterly alone with my thoughts as it was, so I enrolled into high school and quickly finished it in 2 years. There, I met my best friend... however, when I tried to tell her about my father's situation, she fell asleep (we were having a phone call and she fell asleep out of boredom). That further increased my depression and suicidal thoughts... if anything, I just didn't do anything; not because I was afraid (I wasn't)... but because I felt feeling miserable while being alive was my punishment.

As time has passed, many things changed along the way: my grandma passed away as well, I got into University, I managed to get a part time job, I have more friends now (some of them really feel like genuine friends, some just don't feel like "friends" sometimes...)... all of that has somehow helped me to forget about some negative thoughts I had when I was 19. Now at 24, with the life style I explained, I don't think too much about my past or sufferment, and even if I do, I don't give it too much importance and just decide to move on, to see "what happens later on" (whether if it's good or bad).

I know it's weird saying all that, specially since this is an AMA, but what I'm trying to say here is that some of the reasons why you became a hikkikomori will stay there; some will just banish and instead worse things may happen to you... but you should just move forward at your own peace. No need to hurry on going out all the time, and as for how you handle your life, just follow your hunch and keep it going. Who knows? Maybe whatever decision you made wasn't the best... but there's always time for a second chance somewhere else at something. Just try to see "what happens next" with the path you follow; you may enjoy on the long term run where you got yourself...


_Hieon

Glad you found your way.

heydeanna43

Why do you call this condition hikikomori and not AVPD? Avoidant Personality Disorder. It's pretty well known and can improve with regular therapy. Also why modeling and put yourself on the spot for judgment and possible rejection/disappointment?


_Hieon

Not that I define myself as hikikomori verbatim, but it was just the most easiest way to describe my situation in one word.

SnarfRepublicCA

But look at you, you are socializing. So glad to read the progress you’re making. What was the final catalyst to make a change?

We all have our own past and demons, although different, you are not alone.


_Hieon

Aging but also that I know my savings will run out at some point. So I need to work.

KrispyGauntlet

Could you please describe the journey from a “proper functioning human being who’s of use to the society” to the lowest point of your life to your current situation?

Right now it feels like I’m entering this phase which sounds like what you describe. In addition, ignoring people’s messages when they ask how am I. Feeling frustrated of how useless i am in this environment where everyone is doing better than me. These two is kind of like a negative feedback loop where they feed off each other. I don’t wish to head down this path, got to pick myself up before it gets bad.


_Hieon

At my lowest I thought there is no need for me to the society and to survive in such a society seemed meaningless and unwise.

IamAbc

How did you lead your girlfriend to suicide? What did the parents sue you for?


_Hieon

Poor selfish decisions and hurtful words that I never realized were traumatizing to her because of how stupid and unaware I was. I still am.

Jenifarr

Have you had a formal psych evaluation?

What you’re describing is a pretty common sign of depression (not thinking you’re worth anyone’s time, just wanting to disappear, trying and giving up a lot because things are just too hard). It may help a lot if you make yourself see a professional. Also, remember that the professionals want to help you, and you’re not wasting their time by going in there and being perfectly honest with them. It’s what they are there for <3


_Hieon

Psychoanalysis and six months session, during probation.

DudeAsInCool

Have you considered the possibility that you have wrongly blamed yourself, or accepted other's recriminations against you, and that in fact they may be wrong? One of the key religious tenets is forgiveness; don't you think it's time to forgive yourself? Have you considered writing a book about your experience as a therapeutic exercise, or using your musical and photographic talents to do the same?


_Hieon

If words count as manslaughter, I am not in the wrong to say I am to blame for the death. Maybe I will write a book about something but unrelated to my past.

Patsson77

What's making you happy right now? What are you looking forward to?


_Hieon

I don't know what happiness is.

mpbikeman

Not really a question, but I can relate. I was a classically trained pianist. One year a bunch of things just went wrong, I didn't know there was a term for this but I was Hikikomory for over a year. Depressed and never left my apartment except to get food once in a while.

What do you think it was that made you want to retreat from the world?


_Hieon

Guilt.

curious_bee1212

How did you pay rent during these 6 years?


_Hieon

Savings from my previous careers. Still mostly depending on the same savings.

ExtraPlus

Thank you for doing this AMA. I hope you are doing well now.

Do you think there is a largely negative stigma in Japan regarding being open about mental illness? Follow-up question: Do you think this public perception will ever change over time?


_Hieon

I grew up in the US so I do not know. But I think mental conditions get worse when the individual accepts it as a disorder and begins to perceive it as a treatable condition.

greenspiral40

Any advice for a starting classical composer?


_Hieon

I am not anyone to advice about music. Whatever sounds good to you will be good for you. But not necessarily guaranteed to be good for anyone else.

JediLibrarian

Your interesting experiences and perspectives prompt several questions:

How does modeling affect your self-image? What about music? Do you feel that potential work would lead to healthy validation?

Have you studied the perception of time? Studies tend to show that our perception of passing time slows down the more we do/learn (decent write-up). You talk about caloric restriction and nutrition in general as a way to extend life, but have you also considered learning/doing as much as possible to change your perception of the passage of time?


_Hieon

As I prioritized my health as the utmost importance, skin care has always been the same too. And so I always kept myself in rigorous skin care but also overall style. I do believe how I present myself physically represents who I am and that I can also tell people from their overall looks or facial construct. I guess my self maintenance was suited for modeling.

Music too in a way. I gave up on myself altogether and led to giving up on music as well. Maybe if I didn't give up music and kept pushing it, that alone might have made me better. But stupid that I didn't.

I am not sure what healthy validation means.

Very interesting, I will read more about it. I knew about the general time hypothesis but never looked into it closely. But yes I can relate. When I do prolonged fasts, 48 hours max for me as my BMI is very low, time seems out of order for that duration. I don't know whether if it is because the physical stress causes me to be more conscious of the passage of time flow and making it feel like time is slower. Sometimes when I underwent grave thoughts, I felt the same as in that time never seem to go by when I am under stress.

The-Gribbler

How is what you described not a depression...?


_Hieon

Maybe it is or it isn't, depends on how one perceives my state of psychology.

lustyoccultist

Okay, last comment. This is my 4th post to you. It's weird, I'm aware. You likely will not even read any of them but whatever, I'm compelled. I find you fascinating and find I relate to you and your plight well.

So my question is: the short film you were part called "Abundant Knowledge" (for you redditors that don't know, it's one of the last posts in OP's modeling portfolio he linked, the one with the apples. The 2 minute video.) Were you hikkikomori before or after you did this? If it was before, have you thought about the parallels between the message and how directly that message informs upon and has directly affected your life?

I find it to be a hilariously cruel cosmic joke almost how a pretty hikkikomori models for an abstract film about how technology is emptying and socially isolating us, creating mass distortions of our perception of reality through this isolation in which you are extremely entrenched at this moment. If you tell me you did this then became hikkikomori, I might fucking die laughing from how crazy that would be. But even if you did it after the fact, man, that is some crazy shit. You should do more stuff like this because I think it aligns with you.


_Hieon

That is after. I began to try changing things around May last year 2018. I had some work lined up earlier this year, all those photos in my portfolios are mainly from Spring 2019, few from late 2018. It was relatively easy to get gigs once I started to put myself out again.

But after May 2019, I stopped working again. Lack of enthusiasm mostly and because I relocated to another country so no connections nor source.

JustChillaxMan

Would you ever allow a butterfly to crawl on your hands and face?


_Hieon

As long as it isn't predatory or carrying some kind of pathogens, yes.

easytokillmetias

Hello your life sounds exhausting. You ever think about just kind of simplifying and just maybe going for one thing and just playing some Xbox and smoking a lot of weed?


_Hieon

I think of that sometimes that being too conscious and thinking too much makes everything seem more worse than it is. I agree simplifying would help I think.

ShadowKyll

Are you open to solutions? I can recommend many ways to work towards inner peace. I’m an American studying Japanese and would be happy to talk to you if needed.

The most important part of the whole process that you are missing, is forgiveness.

I understand you are struggling with regrets and choices of the past, but the only way it will be possible for you to move forward in life is to truly accept your present situation and forgive yourself.

Truly forgive yourself, know that there is nothing you can do at this point to change what happened all those years ago. Know that you are loved still, even if you don’t feel it. The world loves you still, people love you still, no matter what choices you made. You can still find peace and tranquillity and happiness but the only way that will be possible is to first forgive yourself completely, learn that self-harm will get you nowhere, and that happiness comes from within, not from others. YOU decide what you want your world to be like. If you decide to be dreary and sad, the world will reciprocate that.

I don’t know you but know that I have love for you. A deep, primal eternal human love for another member of my species I see struggling. Love yourself!!! We all want you to be happy and have things to enjoy! Go out into nature and forget about everything material, try and meditate and feel the wind, smell the air, feel the warmth of the sun. Enjoy life my friend! If we don’t live, then we are only dying every day.


_Hieon

Thank you for the sincere words.

ifeelwhenyoubecause

Are you consciously or subconsciously trying to “punish” yourself by staying in? Like a self-imposed prison sentence of sorts? Could the longevity obsession be a way to recapture lost time?


_Hieon

Yes. To both.

LATABOM

Don't you think being honest would be the first step toward improving your life? A glorified social Media post in which you edgelord humblebrag in a clueless instafacespace manner is the kind of thing that at best will just continue me to foster your lamest and most cringeworthy qualities.


_Hieon

You are right. I am trying to be honest in every way and disclosing even those self therapy videos and sharing everything in my mind. I don't look back on what I've recorded because I realized I talk slowly and repeat "You know" a lot, and a lot of things I say are cringy.

My life has been built on my lies and guilt. If I put on a fake persona to justify my being and seek to be praised online, I wouldn't do any of this to begin with.

My intention was to be questioned of the things I would've never questioned myself. By no means I am here to promote or brag about killing my ex girlfriend or having to be put on probation and such. I did it so I could maybe understand myself better.

varishtg

Have you considered getting a pet or going into something like gardening / horticulture?


_Hieon

I had a cat in 2015, I liked her a lot. So now I like cats a lot. I found her on the street while on a walk. I gave her away because I moved to another country.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/NygJdJNvoSKapsxM7 https://photos.app.goo.gl/fwuji7YMQkVPZkYL6

morgensternx1

I would assume that you at least occasionally *want* to go outside and/or socialize.

If you did not want to go outside or socialize, would being Hikikomori still be greatly impairing (for example, in maintaining a regular job, or some other aspect of living that you found necessary or desirable)?

It may seem a strange question, but I'm trying to understand the nature of Hikikomori and how (or if) there is a parallel in cultural contexts other than Japanese culture, and if it would be considered just as or more detrimental in other cultures.

In other words, if one is able (and desires) to be a hermit, is there still harm in doing so, and if so, what are those harms?


_Hieon

I don't belong to their culture. And I don't have an answer for that. I just used the word because it's a convenient way to describe it in one word, not that I ever assumed myself as one by definition. I am just a guy who stopped going out for personal reasons.

yawnzealot

What was life like before all this happened? When you were younger, before your girlfriend died?

What was it like to be a musician and a fashion model for you? How did you get work at the time? Surely at those times you must have been more social in order to get work. And you must have worked a lot in order to sustain yourself now on savings.

Do you think you could become that person again? Would you even want to?


_Hieon

I had a good school-work-life balance. Many prospects and paths. Most of my work I did while going to grad school. Very high standards and self-esteem. Somewhat passionate and somewhat complacent.

But I was always very quiet, never talk to anyone first myself unless asked, and socially awkward as how others told me. Also always frugal with saving money. I would rather two hour walks than to take $1.75 metro ride.

I don't wish to go back, but I wish I could be as passionate as before. Even just half.

everydayismorepain

You sounds like a self appointed sad sack that is looking for attention. Why dont you go outside and introduce yourself to someone? Your girlfriend committed suicide because if you? Please elaborate. I get the feeling that you think the world owes you something ,bad luck has caused you to turn inward, you feel like you're not getting what you deserve so why try. The fact that you're a model generally suggests that you are superficial and vain. My main question is, why do you think anybody gives a shit about you? Why dint you get back to work and make something of yourself and stop complaining and pandering for attention.


_Hieon

I can't disclose any details in sake of her nor personal info.

I expected to be criticized or ignored as I thought no one would care. And maybe you are right that I am seeking attention. I don't really know why. One reason was I guess to be asked with questions that I will never question from myself in order to better understand myself. Negative criticisms too are also what makes me reconsider my life and how I should live from now on.

I always cared for my physical health and longevity. But never mental health til just recently. So I started changing things to try seeing a psychiatrist on my own and document myself for self therapy. I guess posting this is also another way of trying to do something about my mental health. I have been trying, really.

But maybe you are right about saying that I feel the world owes me something. I sometimes think of it in that perspective. More that I wish I had been born under a caring family and influences. I don't think I would've ended up like this. But I didn't and why is that. I do think sometimes it is unfair that I was robbed of the choice to be with people I like. Our current socio-economy propels inequality at birth and I wish it were to be different.

LoGMunKy

What do you feel the biggest block in getting help or stepping outside is? You seem to have some inner fire that you dont want to just stop or give up. What douses that fire? What curbs your desire when you get that urge to talk to people and reach out?

Im asking because I also stay indoors lots to the point where its a clear problem. I have a will to live and create and just BE. But my motivation seems to slump just as I think the urges might actually lead to something. Anything I can feel sometimes helps me and so, I want to know how others in similar positions feel.

From one human to another, have a digital hug.

p.s. you rock at guitar!


_Hieon

Before it was just thinking that I don't deserve anything nor anyone.

Now I just don't have a reason to go out because I am used to it and that I just don't have the reasons

OneFingerMethod

Have you ever thought of taking up strength training at a gym?


_Hieon

All I do is 5 front and 5 reverse pull ups, ten seconds of holding legs up while hanging on pull up bar, and leg stretching yoga everyday. Nothing else. Usually 8000-12000 steps of walk everyday.

PremiumJapaneseGreen

Do your fears of social interaction include emails and phone conversations? Would you consider remote work if you could find it, or do you think that would be too overwhelming at this stage?

Good luck with your recovery!


_Hieon

Sometimes yes but I accept it as smartphones are already becoming add-on extension of ourselves.

Inebriologist

What flavor of biology did you get your MS in? Im an aquatic biologist and find peace and tranquility while doing my job. Maybe you need the same. Nature and purpose. A great combo.


_Hieon

I wanted to eventually get into gerontology and oncology.

McBenny

Hi, my younger brother (26 years old) is going through something similar too. He still lives at home with mum and dad but I have moved overseas. Our parents are Vietnamese and still live in denial that it would somehow get better. Since he's still in our lives, is there anything you can think of that could help him, given your experience? Or do you believe it's up to him to decide and there's not really anything we can do? Thank you for sharing your story.


_Hieon

I am not in the position to give advices to anyone.

As for me, I decided to change things also because I knew my savings will run out eventually.

So cutting off any financial dependency and starving would make me get out I guess.

ceaandk

You say that you didnt necessarily have depression but that it was a feeling of undeserving.. could you explain the difference more? I feel most people would assume hikikomori and depression are almost identical is some ways.


_Hieon

I do admit I was and still am depressed from time to time. However I don't think of depression as a disorder nor disease itself alone. If so then happiness also should be labeled a disorder or treatable condition if someone deems it as negative. But that is how I see it, not applicable to anyone else.

I just simply thought I should be equally punished for what I did, and so if death is equivalent then I am undeserved to be alive.

Silverbodyboarder

Just read a few of these comments. Thanks for doing this AMA. I too struggle with not wanting to go out doors from time to time. It's not a major point of my issues but it is one that if I don't catch, causes me to spiral down a bit further because of the isolation factor before I can see what's happening and start the getting out of it process. now that you're putting yourself out there with your modeling and music how do you go about filtering whether or not time for yourself, indoors, is just that, abreak, and not a relapse?


_Hieon

I am sort if relapsing back constantly. Especially with aging out so I probably will not seek modeling anymore.

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[deleted]


_Hieon

Probably older than how I look.

TheDarkSwordsman

I saw somewhere that you still don't go outside much, and you really only think to yourself when you're awake.

Have you tried video games? I know for a lot of people it is a stress relief and can be calming. Even if it's a single player game, it can make you feel more creative.

At least for me, I had stopped playing counter strike for a long time. Just recently I started to get back into it, and I forgot the joy of playing online.

So have you tried them or do you think you'd be interested?


_Hieon

I am not into gaming. But occasionally I play Slay The Spire. My favorite game would be gomoku.

xvier

Have you ever thought about volunteering or doing something to help others? I get the sense you're maybe too focused on yourself.


_Hieon

I sometimes thought of helping cats. I like cats. But I don't like to go out for that and I'm too selfish.

Stormcloudy

I don't really have a lot of questions. I've been a shut-in most of my adult life, and have really only had caregiving and domestic work as any sort of distraction from my own isolation. So I guess I'm just saying your post really is something I needed to see tonight.

Your guitar work is truly gorgeous, and I will look forward to maybe getting to listen to your art.

I suppose if I had a question it's this: Does it just feel like momentum at this point? Are you still Hikki because you still are in the same emotional state as you were that caused you to isolate? Or has the fact that you've been living this way for so long just kind of... stuck?

Also, I guess, if you had to say one single positive thing overall has been helping you (that is, not fear of aging) be better, I'd love to hear what that is.

Regardless, your Pathetique was GORGEOUS!


_Hieon

I now go out when I need to or have a reason to do so.

But because I have been isolated for long, I just have no reason to go out anymore unless there is work.

If there is more reason to go out, I will. If not, I will not.

Blades_of_Grey

I'm from the states and it's interesting there's a term for it in Japan. Do you think it's a more common thing in Japan that they actually have a term for it? Do you know other people who actually go through the same struggle? Do you play any MMOs or online games as a form of controlled socializing?


_Hieon

I don't belong to their culture. I grew up in the US. I am trilingual and perhaps quad if you count very basic Japanese. Native in two. I only picked that word because it conveniently describes my case, not that I am one by definition.

Cuthroat_Island

What was the actual turning point to go out? And a follow up, do you remember what you felt when you finally exited?


_Hieon

Noticing that I am physically aging quite visibly.

Grim-Reality

If I had the money I would definitely live like that indefinitely. It’s my dream, but it’s oof that you are getting out of it because you didn’t do it intentionally rather it was because of environmental stressors. You are afraid of aging, are you afraid of dying?


_Hieon

I am afraid to age. If I can age much slower to take chances til medical technology takes over, then that would prevent death.

But I guess I am afraid to die too. I tried killing myself, but never actually intended to die. I don't want to.

emlovesmath

How could a person help a family member who might be a hikikomori? Is there anything anyone else could do to help you?


_Hieon

I would think it is only myself to depend on.

lolDankMemes420

Are you Asian Keanu Reeves?


_Hieon

I get that sometimes but I am nowhere "Nice" as him. Polar opposite and just a mess.

AinsGrimm

Does your family try to contact you?

I've disowned most of mine, and I hope you don't feel any guilt about not being with yours.


_Hieon

Yes. For whatever reason. I clashed with them afterwards couple times and it has been devastating to me. I always tried to get away from them at all cost. The last time was when they lied to the local government department to get my info and the agent gave everything out. Main reason why I relocated to another country.

[deleted]

[deleted]


_Hieon

I am incredibly selfish and have no intention on giving back. The Youtube videos were to just document my psychology in check to help myself and document my thoughts, not for others.

BunBunChow

In your opinion, why does it seem like hikikomori has been more prevalent in Japanese society lately? Was this around decades ago but just became popular with technological advances in creature comforts?


_Hieon

I do not know about Japanese society. However it has been inclining in developed countries and highest in Eastern Asian countries from a statistical population study I recall.

hiphipbuttbutt_efy

As a sister to a sibling who can’t leave her bedroom the past few years (and rarely allows visits), what advice can you give to me? I support and love her and keep my distance as to not upset her at the moment.


_Hieon

I am not in the position to advise anyone. But glad you care a lot of her, I believe you can help her somehow.

Rachms

How’s your faith/spiritual life?


_Hieon

Athiesm.

monodescarado

I think that if I stayed home, I would be able to keep myself entertained for about a week with video games and hobbies before getting extremely bored. What do you do for most of the days?


_Hieon

Still staying home mostly.

jgarnai1437

What were you like as a child/teen?


_Hieon

I answered in other comments in short, but I will forever wish that I could have grew up with a different family and influences.

I still really wish I had a family to just comfortably talk and share a meal together. I don't have a single family photo.

brittisdrunk

Have you ever tried any types of psychedelic drugs like lsd or psilocybin? If so, how did they affect your mentality? And if not, why not?


_Hieon

Never and never will. Only proven medicines and senolytics. Even skeptical towards naturopathy and against nootropics. Closest would be consuming reishi mushroom I guess. It has some hallucinogenic properties. But I eat it once in a while for its beneficial compounds not as psychedelics.

But if there are convincing proven studies behind them in favor of health, I would change my views.

commercialsnag

What did you primarily do during the day as a hikikomori? Was it complete social isolation or did you chat to people online?


_Hieon

Both of my girlfriends were from online, but never messaged anyone first myself. I sometimes reply on forums I frequent but that's about it.

Trans_am1978

How the fuck is this an Iama? This is just a depressed shut in.


_Hieon

Maybe you are right in your perspective. I don't know from my perspective because I admit that I don't know much about life nor myself enough to not have made poor life decisions and mistakes.

mindfungus

I have watched a few documentaries on hikikomori recently and I know there are support groups in Japan. At least from the shows, there seems to be surprising success for a lot of people. Have you considered seeking out these support groups? I know it seems daunting, but it’s worth a try.


_Hieon

Never have thought of it. But not opposed to it. So maybe I will.

Drew286

How did you pay rent?


_Hieon

From savings. High yield CD and some other investment acc. I would pay six months worth of rent in advance twice a year so I wouldn't break out of CD term.

duncanthrax

What are some things you learned about yourself when you were self-isolated for so long?


_Hieon

That I talk to myself a lot and unconsciously say "You know" a lot.

smutz

Do you enjoy a good wank?


_Hieon

Low libido usually. Testosterone level itself is fine.

NegativeX2thePurple

What is your plan from here? How do you plan to improve your activities socially and career-wise?


_Hieon

I do not know. But I would try to live forever.

Techon6000

You said you had a toxic relationship with your family. Why is that?


_Hieon

Just bad luck, cannot explain why I was born into their family.

negronizero

Are there any books you enjoy or could recommend?


_Hieon

I never read books, I just read ton of studies available on NCBI or Researchgate.

safespacesubreddit

How did you get groceries? Delivery service?


_Hieon

I took night walks to local stores, only time I would go out and still is kind of.

RU_Student

Have you ever watched Welcome to the NHK? Can you relate to it at all?


_Hieon

I have not and not into recent animes. I am a fan of Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Trigun, Ghost In The Shell and alike. Maybe you can guess which generation I am from.

TalkingMeowth

Do you take your own photos or hire a photographer? They are really cool


_Hieon

All with photographers for modeling works.

deadmintplant

how old are you? and how were you involved in your ex's suicide?


_Hieon

Won't disclose any personal details but lot older than I look. I finished masters eight years ago. That should give you an idea

carrotdadsupreme

Which have you enjoyed more, playing music or modeling?


_Hieon

Music. Modeling was solely for income only.

greyteal

Is there any way for us to support you in your change?


_Hieon

I do not know and also whether if I am in need of help or not. I really don't understand anything.

Face_McSh00ty

On the topic of immortality (picked from an answer you gave). Where do you believe the answer resides and what research points that direction?


_Hieon

Eliminating the dependence on natural evolution by any means.

NoSoup4Yu

Since you haven't really personally experience the outside world first hand for a long period of time, is there anything that you really want to do now that you're starting to change? Or what do you miss most about the outside world?


_Hieon

I would like to have more working opportunities for financial benefits.

aaracer666

Why did her parents blame you for her suicide? And why do you agree with them?


_Hieon

I made mistakes and I fully accepted them. I told them I will give up whatever they seek in compensation or put me in jail, if anything can compensate for the loss.

Funderwood123

Where were you raised?


_Hieon

In the US.

den8702

How did you decide on a new place? Was there a checklist that it had to provide? Did it seem like,"anywhere away from here is better than this".


_Hieon

I just wanted to get away and remove anything related to my past, even the country.

hkjnc

What advice to you have to current hikikomori or NEETs?


_Hieon

I am not in the position to advice anyone for their lives.

Permaphrost

How does one who doesn’t go outside/has a social impairment become a fashion model, biology MS and musician?


_Hieon

As stated as in the title and description, those were all before my troubles.

meradorm

You look good, dude.

What instrument/instruments do you play?


_Hieon

Piano, guitar mainly.

Epsilight

Man anyone can become a fashion model?


_Hieon

Yes

tinglesnap

I am so sorry to hear about your suffering. You are very brave for being so open. I truly see how much you are trying to change.

In my experience of things, for a long time it is the intention and the trying to change that makes a big difference. You should be proud of yourself for staying alive this long.

Staying in, having a huge degree of social anxiety, that’s ok; that’s ok as long as you’re trying to change- even if you stay inside today, tomorrow; you’re making an effort to change and you should be pleased with yourself about that. No, it’s not the bare minimum; it’s an insurmountable goal that you’re chipping away at even if you don’t feel like it is getting smaller. It is. You are brave enough to put yourself on display and be scrutinized by all of us, the fact that you’re willing to be honest and examine yourself are signs I see of someone who is committed to getting better.

Is it people who are overwhelming? Is it the social interaction? Is it that being around others forces you to have to be someone? Is it the space of being outside? Is it all of it?

Do you want to be “a normal functional, productive member of society”? Is that your goal? Or do you want to suffer less?

I don’t know how you feel, I can only relate from my own experiences of shutting myself in. Nothing external really worked for me for a long time, it’s been mostly an internal process. Forgiving myself, somehow. Learning to like parts of myself, growing confidence and resilience in myself. I always have a choice to shut myself back in, and every time I desperately want to retreat but I show up anyways, I reward myself. I tell myself how good I am doing. If I feel that forcing myself to do something will cause a huge regression, I weigh the risks and if the risk is going back to where I was two years ago, I stay in. I think of myself as protecting my progress; I don’t think of it as a failure, instead I try my best to be proud of myself for coming this far and knowing what is a good amount of being uncomfortable, and what is going to hurt me more.

Don’t compare yourself to others, only compare yourself to yourself. But not who you were before everything happened, more like to the baseline of who you are now.

Something that has helped me is that I “become someone else” when I leave the house; a different version of me or a different person. This person doesn’t have the same limitations as I do, because they’re someone else. I find it easier to interact with others, easier to sit with the increasingly urgent buzzing feeling I experience when I am outside. They are outside in the world, I am still inside, as safe as I can be inside my mind.

I hope that something I have said has been helpful or resonates with you. I am really proud of you for getting this far. I know we are internet strangers but if you ever need a friend or want to talk I am here for you. I really mean it.

My final piece of advice is that if you are going to be hard on yourself, you need to celebrate yourself as well. If you are going to punish for wrongdoing, it is only fair to reward for being good.. whatever reward might look like for you. Sometimes for me the reward is being able to stay in without self judgement, to let myself enjoy being safe at my place, from everything else and from myself.


_Hieon

Guilt.

br0wnb0y

Have you ever used your steely eyed look in a meeting to get something your way?

(Seriously... I was taken aback when seeing your proof imgur post)


_Hieon

I don't know what you mean. Did I look too intimidating in the picture?

gousey

Have you ever considered having a dog? Rescued mutts are wonderful companions.


_Hieon

I like cats. I had a cat.

TheColdPolarBear

Do you think that eventually through a process of healing, spending more time outside, socializing more, and going back to work at your previous field of academic study will make you happier again?


_Hieon

I will never allow myself to cope or forget what I did.

Thehardthought

Me and my friend were debating and it boiled down to subjective vs. objective. Speaking from your view do you think there are natural hikikomori or is it a state you come into?


_Hieon

I don't know. My case was from guilt. Other cases were mostly from socio-economic factors from job and income inequality from what I recall.

Ballthax13

Why are you doing an ama?


_Hieon

I do not know.

archivillano

Well, I want to recommend you something; How do you fix a car if you don't know how the car works, what parts conform it and how do they work together? You obviously can't, so as I've seen you have lots and lots of free time and also you don't really know what you want neither know who you are so, I would recommend to try and focus on figuring out how yourself works, to know yourself, to know what parts makes you. That will start unveiling answers and its an advice that I know its not given enough. I'm a scientific method type of guy and I worry a lot of objectivity so truly understanding how a mind works has been always seemed like an impossible task but I discovered this, https://youtu.be/461Dut8usiQ . It has worked wonders for me to not only know myself and discover all the real answers but also know others. Im still critical of it as im critical of all my beliefs but i cannot not recommend it.

Even if you don't really want to look into it, it doesn't matter, that is just a framework you can use to understand yourself, what is important is to know yourself, to understand everything about what makes you, that is the best advice I, an internet stranger, can give you.


_Hieon

Watched it, interesting. I try to apply empirical method-like thinking for anything. But the more I try to understand myself or anything, the more I don't understand. Any conclusion that I make is just speculative compromise to justify my lack of understanding. That is what science is to a degree, from my perspective.

Sunny_Sammy

I know this is irrelevant, but you're so pretty!!!

How are you feeling right now?


_Hieon

Just same as always, at home. Trying to reply to everyone.

karmenrider555

Hey my people!! lolll been a hikikomori for one year now lmaoooooo. But i am planing to find work to do soon cause yeah lol I’m not at that level to be hikkimori for long years. Sigh sometimes I look back at myself and think how did someone like me who loves to do art and create things not be able to pick up a pencil. It’s like the fire in me just died, and I do want to die as well but I’m a coward cause I hate painful death. I’m happy that you’re slowing changing dude, I’m also trying to do something. Just coming out of this dark box has been challenging, I wish you the best bro. What was your parent’s reaction to your lifestyle? Were they supportive? Or did they keep on nagging you ?


_Hieon

Disconnected from them since 16

Dirty_Flacko

Why aren't you posting on r/roastme? it would be a better use of time


_Hieon

Never knew about such a subreddit.

unsatisfying_dump

do your parents know that you're gay?


_Hieon

I am straight.

drakenskar

Haven't left my house more than once a week for the past 2+ years. Does it get better?


_Hieon

Few months into my self confinement, I thought someday I'll get better or recover. But I did nothing but procrastinate and so got progressively worse for six years.

Lolololage

I live with someone who no longer socialises outside of his room/the Internet. We have been friends for over 20 years but for at least 10, he has only left his room to wash and buy essentials.

Is there anything I can do to help? Or is it better just to leave him to be himself.

Anything I invite him to is always a solid no and I've stopped inviting him at this point. Sometimes he will come and chat to me when I have friends over, but only rarely.


_Hieon

I am not in the position to advise anyone. But it seems good that you care and maybe your kindness will work. I don't know what would help though.

shotgunningstout

If you were a sandwich what kind would you be?


_Hieon

Consciousness in between two massive clusters of nonsequencial matter.

lioul

I've always been interested in the way social disorders affect musical pursuits. Did you have any musical groups you were a part of from before your seclusion and if so, have you had any desire to reconnect with them? Do you find that you enjoy performing differently from before? Is the public aspect of performing much more of a hassle and have you found any tips to overcome it?


_Hieon

I did some jazz gigs and sessions with others but never in a band. I was always socially awkward and not outgoing even before the whole mess.

-cyg-nus-

Your guitar playing is excellent. Music has always been a really therapeutic for me. I also really enjoy the social aspects of playing with other people. Have you ever played in a band voluntarily outside of academia? If not, do you think that might be something that could help bring you back out into the world through practice and performance?


_Hieon

Not in a band but gigs with bands, yes. Mostly jazz combos. Now I am bad at playing instruments, so probably can't.

Elastichedgehog

Do you have anyone supporting you right now? e.g bringing you shopping.

Would you consider therapy? Some therapists (at least in my country) are willing to travel to your house.

Hope you find peace, it seems you've had a rough go of it. You're clearly very intelligent so I have no doubt you'll succeed once you're through the worst of it.


_Hieon

No, independent since 16.

I see a psychiatrist once biweekly.

Same to you as well.

MaskDeity

What would you say you feel the biggest change is, whether society or technology its from 6 years ago? Anything that you find interesting?

Also what gave you that push to finally try to change, as I'm sure you probably had thoughts about it from time to time but what really motivated you to change after this long?


_Hieon

Not that the society changed much, but that I disconnected from it altogether left me hindered on finding any reason to socialize and find work.

codeSophi

Being isolated for that long, you should have more than ample time to think of various things in different point of views. What's the one thing that you often find yourself thinking about? It can be something about yourself, or something that you observe in social situations that no one else seem to notice but you.


_Hieon

What to do today.

invisiblette

You realize how beautifully you play the guitar -- right? And that this beauty reaches out to people and is a form of communication with them? So even if you are physically reclusive, you're still connected. What is your favorite type of music to play?


_Hieon

It was a blend of everything initially, then jazz, then classical, and now I don't listen to new music.

Gamer_Jack_Gameson

Is hikikomori strictly a cultural thing in Japan? Do you think the concept could exist outside Japan? I have a friend in the US that I've described as hikikomori before. I wonder if there is a similar cause or if it's something completely different.


_Hieon

I grew up in the US.

RNGreed

How aware were you of the hikikomori lifestyle before you fell into it?

Is there a support service for hikikomori in your country?

You say you're afraid of aging. How do you feel about having less than 20,000 days left to live, on average?


_Hieon

Never considered myself as one. But I guess fits the description now that I reflect back on it.

I was in the US. I'm not sure if there are any? Maybe some hotlines? I don't know.

I may or I may not live to that number. I'm taking chances that I will exceed it so I will try to do that.

ChallenAcceptd

If you feel nothing, why does the thought of aging frighten you?

If immortality were an option, would you really want it? What benefit would you gain from immortality on your current path other than continuing to exist in your solitude?


_Hieon

That there is no reason to die nor age.

Yes, I don't know for the second part. But probably no special reason, just live youthfully, work, try things, learn, adapt, and live.

legendarykiwi83

What motivated you to overachieve before you decided to become a hikikomori? And where did that motivation go when you did?

Did you spend the 6 years on forgetting the present or were you doing something that honed your skills?


_Hieon

I just did them because I had enough time and just simply wanted to try them.

I probably got progressively worse at all my abilities as I just stopped doing everything.

txsxxphxx2

Holy fuck, 6 years is a lot! I wouldn’t be able to handle myself alone for 2 days.

During that time when you live as a sage, do you have a hobby or anything that you enjoy to do to help yourself feel better?


_Hieon

No, anything I was able to do got worse. Nothing but wasting time and sleeping a lot.

DJSigmann

What musical artists have influenced you? Any favorites?

P.S. I liked your music, recording quality was a bit meh but overall, I think you'd make stuff I'd be pretty interested in if you got in a studio.


_Hieon

Nikolai Kapustin, Sid Jacobs, whole lot of all genres of music.

coolkwe

About your experience as hikikomori: did you receive any help from friends or family during this time? And, what, if anything, do you think could have helped you heal while you lived as hikikomori?


_Hieon

I abandoned all connections and have cut ties with my family since 16 years old so no.

leoenelaburonojuzgue

Do you think that modeling is a good choice for you now given your past struggles? I ask you this cuz I believe that the fashion world is a horrible industry, ruthless and invasive to the soul.


_Hieon

No, not due to anything of my history, but just the fact that I am aging out of the model preference. So I probably need to seek another career option.

tghy123

I really like your music, especially Georgia on my Mind. Hope to hear more of your music, will you keep adding to the playlist?

It sounds like you have a story worth telling, I'd listen.


_Hieon

They are all old videos when I was still musically active somewhat. Now I haven't touched anything in months and years.

nonibony

I’m sorry for your loss. I feel like I’m heading in the same direction as you although my life is nowhere near as tragic as yours. Are there any steps I can take now before it’s too late?


_Hieon

I am not in the position to advise anyone.

Coloredcontrollers

What did a typical day look like for you? I feel five years could seem boring indoors. How did you entertain yourself day to day?

Glad to hear you’re on track of getting better


_Hieon

A lot of sleeping, doing nothing, wasting time on the internet, being nauseous from too much sleep.

allenidaho

Would you characterize the underlying cause of your hikikomori status as depression or agoraphobia? What I mean is did you fear going outside or just not feel the desire to?


_Hieon

I think those kinds of terminologies are meaningless. I only used the word to describe my case in one simplest word, not that I am one by definition. And to put a term on a person means subjectivity and defeats the purpose of psychoanalysis if you confine one to a term and conclude upon it from its retrospective bias.

Xkingworm

They call the disorder in America agoraphobia. Since you didn’t have the problem before, what do you think may have triggered your agoraphobia? Sorry if that’s too personal.


_Hieon

Guilt.

JayG941

I don’t get this at all. How did you survive for 6 years with no income and pay rent and food that’s like retirement most adults can’t even do that.... How do you get groceries or eat daily? Do you drive? What do you do all day sit there? I feel like you live with your parents and aren’t being honest


_Hieon

I am a lot older than how I appear. I understand finance management to be responsible. My savings were enough to last me for maybe 13 years if I kept myself very frugal.

sweetp619

Does the world appeal to you at all? The sights of natural beauty make me want to be outside. I love a good hike or to visit new sceneries I had never experienced before.


_Hieon

Yes, but not in the sense of needing to physically visit. Understanding of the world is more than enough for me to perceive it.

bigmoof

One of the symptoms of depression is the feeling of underserving. But have you asked why that feeling? Everyone in this world is deserving, they just need to try harder.


_Hieon

You can speculate anything as a symptom if you deem it so. Undeserving as in that I should be punished for her death, and that would be death in equivalency.

LavaLampWax

I've read through all of this. You are seemingly a young man who lacks ambition. You are floating on other peoples kindness. What happens to you when those people die?


_Hieon

Yes I have no ambition now. I don't understand what floating on others mean. But when others die and I am alive, I will just continue to live.

javaslp

You’re so accomplished and very educated. What advice do you have for people who want to aspire to be as successful as you? What helped you accomplish your goals?


_Hieon

I am not and I am not in the position to advise anyone. Back then, I guess just acknowledging that I have a lot of time to try things made it easier for me to do them.

surgeric

So did you have any social interaction online at all? I know a lot of people who struggle socially in real life tend to be more talkative on games or reddit


_Hieon

Both of my girlfriends were from online. But nothing other than that. Not into games much, only Slay The Spire sometimes.

spaceman_spliff777

How did your lifestyle impact your music? Did you get substantially better by staying in and practicing? Did the music you played change in tune and tone?


_Hieon

I gradually stopped playing music and have not composed music in couple years now. No motivation to play either. Still listening to music and singing melodies and harmonies sometimes.

753UDKM

Serious question, are you autistic? I feel like Japan fails to properly diagnose it, and then shifts blame to the individual and calls them hikikomori.


_Hieon

I don't belong to their culture. Only used the word to conveniently describe my case in simplest term.

BZ-B

How do you go about finding relationships (romantic & platonic)?


_Hieon

Both were online.

Paul_Sawyer_11

How do you go about your past when getting acquainted with people? Do you hide it, or do you lay it out honestly? How do people react to it?


_Hieon

I don't speak of any of it. No reason to either.

Drakkoblood

Did you think that what led to being a hikikomori was burnout? It appears you were doing so much and it was taxing your energy reserves bro


_Hieon

Guilt

NeiceLeise

Since you are interested in living longer, how do you deal with exercise given its importance in delaying ageing and improving health?


_Hieon

Yes I agree. Daily exercise routine involving yoga, pull up bar resistance training, and HIIT. No gym nor weight training. And just walking whenever I can. But just as any interventions can be subjective, exercise might or might not be as important; what matters would be compare to what. One high dosage shock of withaferin A + metformin + turmeric + black pepper might be significantly more effective than two weeks of intensive exercise.

Luvmuchine

Have you been keeping in touch with people online? Additionally does talking about this here on Reddit make things better for you?


_Hieon

No. And maybe.

memercopter

Did you ever play music during your isolated 5 years? What instruments and songs did you play? Acoustic? Did you record anything?


_Hieon

I did but the amount of time got less and less, now I don't play at all for weeks. I still listen to music everyday.

NarcissisticCat

Wait like in Japan? If not then you're basically a more successful version of your average redditor.

Not AMA worthy material.


_Hieon

Grew up in the US.

mattheus38

As someone who isolated as well i need to ask. What do you feel you lost the most when you started the hikikomori way of life?


_Hieon

My past self.

olpdragon

I absolutely adore your music, it really speaks to me. What are some of your passions and hobbies from before and currently?


_Hieon

Before, music, art, design, languages, modeling, cats, sex, fashion, learning. Now, none.

omar2511

Based on your portfolio I can tell that you're in shape, how did you manage to stay in shape while not going outside?


_Hieon

I do a daily exercise routine but never weight training nor endurance cardio. I'm just skinny fit, not much athletic.

darknature

What do you expect the most for yourself. And what do others expect from you? Which one is more important for you?


_Hieon

I do not know what I want, but surely most for myself as how selfish I am.

SwimmingYesPlease

What about an anti depressant? Honestly they can help tremendously. Maybe a visit with a Dr. Through the phone?


_Hieon

I undoubtedly believe it will help other people, but personally I would never consider any drug interventions for my psychological state. And having had read a lot of evidential studies against antidepressants.

Popular_Prescription

Not to be rude, just curious. But why did you get two bachelors degrees and a masters instead of getting a PhD?


_Hieon

Music is something I always did since childhood, but I wanted to study biology. So I double majored and got accepted for grad school. I originally planned to do postdoc after PhD in long term. But I moved away, focused more on music and modeling, and things happened for the worse and so I never went back to school.

Jayce2K

Do you think the reason you became a Hikikomori was down to a sense of shame and guilt over the suicide?


_Hieon

Guilt, yes.

Tired_Zephyr

What gave you the motivation (hobbies, people... etc) to push yourself back into work and life overall?


_Hieon

Haven't yet. But savings running out.

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_Hieon