Shutting Themselves In – New York Times

I’m late in Stumbling this link, partially because I found the concept of hikikomori so intriguing. I’ve spent a good part of the last few years feeling a lot like the subjects described herein, where on most days leaving the apartment is a major struggle. I don’t know that I fall under the hikikomori diagnosis, nor do I consider myself any kind of victim uttering a cry for help, but I do identify heavily with this last sentence:

He has been supporting his 28-year-old daughter, among the minority of female hikikomori, for the last eight years. “I have been to hospitals; I’ve read books,” he said as he sat in the lobby holding a folder thick with newsletters and reports from the support group. “My wife and I put her in the hospital, but doctors couldn’t help her. So what do we do? I don’t know what caused it. She wanted to be an animator, but found it difficult to find a job.” Over time, he said, she lost more and more weight. “I worried about her.” So he asked her to move home. “Then she was worried about people in the neighborhood seeing her, and that’s when it started. I think she hates to be out because she doesn’t want to be compared to the neighbors. I’m trying to get her to gain energy to do something.”

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