Its been a bad few years. Watching my elderly mother wither away both mentally and physically until she ceased to be was a quite hideous experience. If you have been through this I have nothing but sympathy and praise for you.I still have bad dreams about trying to keep her alive. One of the few people I spoke to answered with”Everyone has their parents die at some time.” as if that was supposed to comfort me. He does not live in the same house as his parents or care for them in any way so of course he does not know.
I think I basically shut down as a coping mechanism. This has been magnified greatly by near total isolation after being made redundant after 20 years in the same job. Even making simple replies on the internet on my flickr site became so hard that I stopped, shutting myself off and going into a vicious circle of becoming more and more isolated and with little contact. Social anxiety combined with depression and hopelessness offer total despair and a downward spiral into oblivion.
Yet of course the anxiety forums demand optimism,demand enthusiasm,demand action. They ridicule people as lazy or cowardly for not making an effort,for not trying hard enough. I think much of the so called advice on these forums is as little use as someone telling the chronically depressed to “Just cheer up!” In fact I think social anxiety forums heap intense guilt upon those already racked with guilt and may make such people self harm or even suicidal. Many on these forums try to bully people to be social almost like a sergeant major and pretend its a tough love approach and is for your own good.
Again this makes me believe that lots of people on social anxiety forums are shy and not socially phobic at all and dont have any idea what real debilitating anxiety is and its side effects. The effects on your self esteem, if male the humiliation to your manhood in a world where even today the male is expected to chat girls up as if to prove himself and intensely ridiculed if he is still a virgin past a certain age. If you do force yourself to socialise and fail they then blame you for not doing things right or being negative so they might as well blame you for acting shy.