Self Help books and websites.

Once way back in the mists of time bought a book on conquering shyness. I was sitting in the canteen at work and came across this small ad in the back of a newspaper. Its so many centuries ago it was before the internet was common and was the first time I had even seen any apparent cure for shyness, I had not even come across the term social anxiety back in those days.

It was quite expensive considering when I got it the book was a  slim paperback but was supposedly by someone who had suffered the crippling effects of shyness and had recovered and of course the desperate and mad will try anything. I was a bit disappointed to say the least. Much of it was about his own struggles with anxiety but when it got to the cure bit it was “Go out an talk to people and then keep doing more until cured!” Yes, exposure therapy! I was working in a large company and struggling to cope despite many opportunities to talk to other people so his advice seemed so obvious as to be shit and ignored a lot of my problems. As I was a chronic stammerer and blusher at the time I found that even small talk was very hard(especially with girls) but lots of them appeared to dislike me for being shy even when I did FACE MY FEARS and make the first move so the advice that most people dont notice and I should just smile and say hello to everyone seemed absurd. Some of it still does as lots of things made me more paranoid.

The thing is this is no magic cure whatsoever. All advice for social anxiety is to try small social things and get used to speaking to other people and then do more and more. A doctor may help with meds especially for added depression but apart from exposure to feared situations the only other thing these self help books talk about is relaxation techniques and changing your way of thinking.

Even then dont buy a self help book because everything but everything for social anxiety is available for free on the net. I have downloaded many full PDF books myself for free. All these people with cures and advice, even the ones who claimed to suffer so badly themselves are just trying to con you half the time. If the price of their book or “system” is so much more than the price of a normal book then its a waste of time. There is absolute no magic cure or special advice that you cant find for free online.

 

 

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Blue Monday

So I went to stay with my friend for a week again. I did feel much better but after having been back a week now I am starting to go back into the usual mood swings and feeling negative.(What a surprise!) I am still thinking about therapy and whether its worth seeing my doctor considering the bad stories online or if I could even see a private therapist while I still have some money left. Its not cheap at £40 a session but I think private therapist are probably much better than those available on the NHS and more importantly there is not a 12-18 month waiting list.

Just speaking to someone does help and lift my mood. Even speaking to Jehovah witnesses who sometimes knocked at my door had some kind of effect from weeks of near total isolation and speaking to myself.

However the biggest problem I have is still with CBT and exposure therapy which is the holy  grail treatment plan for social anxiety. I have absolutely no motivation and had almost given up on life and at my age things are simply much harder and less likely, fact! I go out on a walk every day but even though I sometimes make eye contact the thought of saying hello and smiling at strangers on the street as advised makes me feel like a creepy pervert rather than someone trying to be friendly and I am certain I would get bad responses and this would make me feel more avoidant.

Motivated for what?

I have still come across nothing that really gives me the motivation and enthusiasm to carry on. There was a post on the forum about someone surviving a Nazi concentration camp and how he wrote a book about it. Yet lots of people in camps killed others, stole the food off of the weak and collaborated with the Nazis so does survival prove anything apart from having the instinct to do whatever it takes to live? It does not necessary prove better morals.

I am too old to have a family now. Getting any kind of job that I dont hate looks ludicrously hard. And why the f**k would I want to just survive working in a factory or other shit job on low wages just to watch the TV at night. My body aches a lot now and I find exercise harder than I used to so manual work would probably kill me.

Lots of motivation seems to just bully or shame people to carry on, to fight to survive. It ignores all problems as excuses and is nothing more in reality than survival of the fittest. Its the same with help for social anxiety. They are obsessed with telling you how much hard work it is and yet also seem amazed that so many people dont want to do it or give up. I would almost certainly go to war if I was young enough and had to fight just as my grandfathers both did in WW1. Yet doing a hierarchy list for CBT? No chance! Fear of humiliation is worse than fear of pain or even death. Thats what so many therapists just dont get and why they should resign. Extreme social anxiety will make you do anything to avoid humiliation,shame and ridicule. Even non existence is preferable.

Giving people hope is what keeps them alive and the motivation to carry on and yet in reality most self help sites and advice is useless at doing this and is more content with ridiculing you as a loser or not worthy of success if you are not already motivated. Its like being told that some people win the lottery so you can too even though the chances are many millions to one. Thats because life is incredibly hard if you have certain problems especially mental health. You have had no normality in years then you dont have the confidence to carry on or believe any more.

Living alone for long periods of time and even never having a relationship is one of the worst things possible for mental well-being and general physical health and yet chronic social anxiety is more likely to create loneliness than virtually any other common mental health or physical condition yet you get nothing but ridicule for not trying hard enough.

Getting Medieval

So yesterday I went to some local medieval festival. There have been several events on over the last two weeks as part of the annual city festival which was started a few years ago. Going out and taking pictures helps. I suppose it forms some kind of routine which is why they tell you to do stuff all the time to take your mind of being a completely isolated lunatic who speaks to himself all day. The problem is now its over there is nothing to do again and so the monotony and depression reignites.  Perhaps I should be a re-enactor. If I wore a helmet all day it would also help to hide my face and act as another safety behaviour. Much better than sunglasses if rather more noticeable. I could then dress as a medieval knight to go shopping at Tesco. The way this city is going, wearing armour and carrying a sword will be essential in a few years time.

 

No Motivation,Too Negative? Go F**K Yourself!

I am still interested in how much choice we really have in the way we think and what we do. Do we chose to be negative? If yes then do we also choose to be depressed? Yes, no? Are some emotions valid but not others. One in three people with long term anxiety apparently get depression so of course many are going to be negative. Some even kill themselves.  Yet on forums and even sometimes on here we are panned for being too negative as if its simple a choice and no different than simply choosing to have extra ketchup on my chips. If negativity is a choice is being shy or being anxious. Can I simply choose to be confident and burst into witty banter because a stranger on the net tells me to?

Again I feel much of this is simply evolution. Positive people are more likely to succeed so are applauded and liked while negative people end up failures so are ignored and avoided.No different than avoiding homeless people as potential dates really. I say this as I saw a bit of a dating show earlier during the break from watching Neighbours hosted by the girl from Gogglebox where they pick people on the street to go on a potential date with. Pick the homeless man sitting on the pavement behind you I cried! The only reason she didn’t even consider him is that we are all judgemental and homeless people are losers. Ugly people,weird people, strange people. They all have trouble getting a partner(unless they’re rich and then its easy!)

We are just so used to thinking this way that we ignore its all because of evolution.By implying that we choose to be negative then we deserve to suffer, not get better and receive no support or help. Its our own fault! Even though being socially anxious is entirely due to other people. Human behaviour being cruel and selfish. After all I have not done the HARD WORK to get better by forcing myself to make witty banter with strangers at bus stops about the weather (while being careful not to come across as a creepy weirdo if I speak to females) even though I did real hard work by having a job for 20 years.

I am bound to be somewhat negative as a 786 year old who has never dated and am long term unemployed and socially isolated who often thinks that suicide might be the only alternative to being homeless. So are older people with social anxiety more guilty for having longer and still not doing enough to cure themselves? There seems to be quite a few of them(older people) that still come on the forum. Do I have to validate my shyness? Perhaps some people have different problems, perhaps some regress after life changing situations, perhaps some and I know that this is difficult to take but some might be much more anxious than others and not everyone’s anxiety is identical. After all much of the advice seems to imagine if you just force yourself to approach strangers you often make great banter! They never take blushing, stammering and acting awkward into account at all so how do you cure yourself of that first? Come to think of it how do I cure myself of depression first so I am not miserable and irritable and have absolutely no motivation to even try any more? Bully it into me? Guilt trip me? No, doesn’t work. It just makes me want to kill you. F**k off you judgemental wanker! You have absolutely no F**king idea!( Directed at lots of arseholes on anxiety forums and self help sites)

Almost all of the advice is shit and contradictory, all of it.

Support Forum?

I think I have pretty much said many times that I have a fairly bad opinion of some support forums for anxiety.  Its hard with mental health problems as you may be paranoid anyway but there is always the opinion that you are being deliberately ignored like you are boring or a nuisance and thus actually increasing your feelings of being disliked and so actually lowering self esteem.(on a forum that’s supposed to help.)

When I first joined I had the naive idea that I would connect with people having exactly the same problems as me. Finally people would understand me!  I would emphasise and sympathise with them and they would do the same with me and I would even make online friends and feel connected for the first time in my life. After all isn’t what support forums are supposed to be for? In reality I would have had more luck at a Donald Trump convention and probably  come across nicer more tolerant people too. What? Too far again? My experience of SAUK is that I have often come across some of the nastiest, selfish people one could which to meet and the sort of people you would travel several miles to avoid. In fact they claim to help their anxiety by going on meets when after reading some of them online I would be in two minds as to if I should take an axe with me, maybe three dragons and a Dothraki horde too.

Meanwhile the same group of people seem to talk to each other each day while demanding there are no cliques. If you are not totally ignored you often get a quite hostile, sarcastic or snidey reply to a quite normal post which you would not expect even if you had called someone’s mother a whore. Its that bad. Its been that bad for years.  In fact only last night I had such a reply when I was not in any way being hostile or aggressive and it got me into such a state of anger I had trouble sleeping. And yet this is normal on such forums. You either get ignored or attacked.

I think when you are a bit mad and not exactly stable mentally then using such sites can push you over the edge. I made one real life friend from using the forum but in all other regards using SAUK which is the main social anxiety forum for the UK and second only to the American site in size has been an absolutely awful experience which has not only made my anxiety and paranoia worse but has left me thinking that many people with social anxiety are well complete bastards, especially the ones who claim to be better and then belittle other people for being cowardly and not doing the hard work. I often think they are just attention seeking as if they were really that much better they wouldn’t be so ANGRY all the time.

At times its like trying to break in to a secret club while treading on eggshells in case the slightest thing somehow upsets people who almost seem to enjoy taking offence often on behalf of others.I also think its quite common for people with SA to copy the behaviour of their parents which gave them their anxiety in the first place so they then just pass it on to others. I once likened using SAUK to using sandpaper for wiping my arse when I have chronic diarrhoea. It just makes things worse. In conclusion just because some people suffer the same condition does not mean they are especially good at giving support or help to others. Blind leading the blind?

Festival

I went to an Asian festival at the weekend as we have one of the biggest Asian communities in the UK living here. Alone of course. Its really the photography element that interests me at most of these events as it can be quite colourful although hard to capture with so many people in the way. I also think its easier to hide behind the camera as people cant see my  face.I already use sunglasses and a peaked cap.Perhaps I should permanently wear a helmet like Darth Vader.

I was still a bit jumpy. My mood can be al over the place. In fact I took another sleeping tablet last night as I was still awake at 3AM. It interests me that after going to numerous such events for over 10 years that I dont find them any easier to attend and I still dont like crowds of people around me much. It proves that just doing something over and over again does not lead to habituation. Perhaps that is because you would need to do them every day and for several hours and this is why exposure therapy does not always work. Many social situations are impossible to make last for over 90 minutes as recommended and then to do them every day.  This is why going to the gym once a week may not work as it would have to be combined with doing things almost every day.