I have no peace, no quietness.
I have no rest, but only turmoil.
How easy is it to really change? People often tell you to sort yourself out as if its simply laziness. Ignoring mental health problems(doesn’t everyone?) just how easy is this at an older age? if you have been long term unemployed just how easy is it to get work. I have read that people with long term unemployment are classified in the same way by many employers as ex cons and their CV thrown in the bin on sight. With many people applying for each position you have got much less chance and yet all unemployed people are currently being treated as if they are just lazy work shy benefit scroungers. There appears to be little help to actually get you into work even if you are desperate.
Just how easy is it to get help from the doctor. My own family got virtually none except pills which my doctor said would probably do not good anyway and yet a young doctor on TV recently said that treatment for depression and anxiety was much better now. really? there are a host of nightmare stories on forums of people desperately seeking help sometimes after years of struggle and being treated with virtual contempt or as a nuisance by their doctor when they finally force themselves to go.
Meeting people and socialising. Just how easy is it to make new friends especially if you are older? Pretty hard if my own experiences are anything to go by. I did actually make one good friend online and even regularly meet them in real life. However the vast majority of people, even those who contacted me first never get back or give up with me pretty quick. What the f**k were they expecting? The world wittiest most charismatic man? Their saviour? I am on a social anxiety forum after all. Then there is a host of people who obsessively advise getting out in the real word and going to events and meets and yet none of these people show the slightest interest in even talking to me online so why would anyone else in real life? Do they all imagine a place where all the socially inept freaks go to meet? I won’t even go into relationships with my history.
Once you’ve dug yourself into a hole after years of failure it can be very hard to haul yourself back out. The hard truth which is often ignored is that this is as much to do with other people and society as your own character and will. Once classified as a loser and something wrong with you than not many people are willing to give you a chance. It feels like game over.
I love this time of year when the bluebells cover the woodland floor and all the birds are busy building nests and courting. Being in nature is a central part of my soul. I hate the idea of 300,000 new homes per year plus all the infrastructure being built on such a small island as Britain until one day we have no wild areas left at all. Its a hard thing to think about. Most liberal and decent people appear to favour all immigration and human growth as a human right and yet if you do we also have to accept our countryside and nature being wiped out until the only wildlife is what can live in our gardens and parks such as foxes which have moved back into the cities.
If you look at England alone we are more densely populated than India. if you only include counties with a population more than a million England is more densely populated than any country outside of Asia and in the worlds top 10. The planet Earth is in the sixth biggest extinction event of all time right now with more animal species becoming extinct than at any time since the dinosaurs were wiped out. This time its not a giant meteor but entirely due to mankind spreading and wiping out habitats and killing species for food. I once saw a documentary where some scientist type person said that if an alien species were in charge of managing the earth the first thing it would do would be to start a mass cull of human beings. We think this would be cruel and yet that is exactly what we do with all other animals species that become a pest or overpopulate.
I went out yesterday afternoon and as usual took my camera with me. I hated it. I hated every single second of it and came back really pissed off. Exposure to stimuli does not always make you feel better. I’ve been out on my own thousands of times over the last few years and I still hate it. I hate it because of other people. Even trying to take pictures there are people everywhere all the time, constantly getting in the way. Always in couples or groups, always looking and staring and judging.It agitates me when I try and take pictures and people so often seem to get in the way and then stay in the way. Its almost feels like a supernatural force is controlling things from above just to piss me off. I once again starting speaking to myself yesterday as I often do when feeling agitated and once again somebody was hiding behind a bush and heard every word I said making me feel more mental then ever so I went home. I get agitated and stressed every time I go out which is why I crave isolation so much. This is even excluding the times I have had people abuse me or on that one occasion punch me in the face. I get paranoid and think people are laughing at me all the time. Hardly surprising when I have had people laugh at me for walking funny. It doesn’t get better at all.
I went out walking every other day this week. It helps to lesson feelings of depression and anxiety. I can usually cope mentally until about 1PM but lonely boring afternoons depress the crap out of me. This goes all the way back to early childhood when I never had friends or anywhere to go at weekends or during school holidays and the atmosphere of home was often depressing and not good or happy. The downside is that I ache quite a bit the next day especially with my dodgy right hip problems. I went on an early outing last Saturday to the Peak District which is a national park. It was quite good although getting two trains and a bus there and back was a pain in the ass and being a weekend meant that it was crowded too so not much solitude. On Monday I went to the local wood and country park and nearly got chased by a stag. Wednesday the Botonic gardens and yesterday a walk up the canal. Another downside is that I often get paranoid when out alone and everyone else is in couples or groups which is why I crave isolation.
One of the problems of never learning to drive is that I am always dependent on public transport which is often expensive and unreliable. It also means that its pretty much impossible to get out of the midlands and back within a day so new places become much harder to visit and I have been to most nearby places of interest by now anyway. It also increases my anxiety as one of my biggest fears is being stuck in the back of beyond because the train has been cancelled.Of course I have never been abroad. Having socially anxious parents meant that they were as bad as me and we never went out much at all when I was young although we did have a weekly holiday near Skegness for a few years in my teens. If I ever need to use a passport or driving license for ID purposes to use the NHS as recently reported then I’m f**cked and it actually really annoys me that so many people just assume that EVERYONE has been abroad or drives or even has a mobile phone which I dont have either.
It still hurts to be out sometimes. You see people, couples young and old. The young are in love and happy and the older ones typically have children with them and look like the perfect family. It hurts you are not one of them and never have been. The first kiss, the first date, starting a family and a new home. It never happened. You hear time and time again that you are young and these things will just happen one day. Well they didn’t and I pretty much knew they wouldn’t even when I was still at school. It appears that almost everyone has relationships no matter how ugly, stupid or even if they are outright nasty so little wonder then that people simply can’t believe that you are still single past 40. No wonder they think such people are freaks! Contrary to belief it’s remarkably easy to stay single. Even working in a large company with many women I did not get females trying to chat me up( Do any men?) and as I was so shy I never managed it myself. Its not just shyness, I never even felt worthy but that’s for another post.
Of course having no friends I never went out to pubs or night clubs either and the old crap about meeting someone at the gym, walking the dog or in some normal everyday activity was useless as my nerves were still too extreme to approach women and make the first move as men are supposed to do. Again it was not just shyness, I was clueless. They may as well of told me to explain nuclear fusion. Some people seem to think that any male with a penis automatically chases females automatically and it’s comparatively easy with that old advice of “Just go talk to her!” Like its nothing more complicated that watching a wildlife documentary where every male animal wants sex all the time and knows exactly what to do and how to get it though instincts. However, even in the wild only the strongest survive and many weak animals never even get the chance to reproduce. The female animal often picks the strongest male, the best father for her offspring. Now that sounds more familiar with the human world. In human terms extreme shyness is the same as a serious weakness along with other severe mental and physical conditions and must be avoided.
At this age I often feel like mourning for the things I never had and yet the world we live in and society just ridicules and blames you as if you failed simply for not trying hard enough and you deserve what you get. So you stay silent and hidden. I have an ever present sadness that never goes away and overwhelms me. it must be kept in the background at all times or my real desperation and panic emerges and then death is that much closer. All this failure due to being too shy. I wonder if my teachers at school would have realised how serious my shyness would become and how it would dominate my whole life. They probably thought I would grow out of it too. There is a memorial to my former maths teacher in the local park. I had her for all 5 years of secondary school and she was also my form teacher for 2 years. She only died 4 years ago, just 2 months after her own elderly mother. I sometimes stand and talk to her and tell her how I really felt in her lessons and how I wish I could have spoken to her. Its too late now of course as is everything. Little wonder so many people in this situation decide to end it all. Society makes you feel like a freak all the time if you dont do the right thing.
I sat on a wall waiting. “The king is coming!” somebody said. It doesn’t matter that he died 530 years ago and the coffin just contains some very old bones. Being part of a major event is quite exciting if you don’t do much. I don’t mind being part of a huge crowd if I am not noticeable and can blend in. The camera is as usual used as a device to hide behind, a raison d’être in much the same way as someone using their mobile phone when in a café. It was a strange week starting with a parade on Sunday, the reinterment of the body on Thursday and then fireworks on the Friday evening. Normally the travel would put me off going to such things but only being a 10 minute walk meant that it was easy for once. The atmosphere was good at all times even in the afternoon. People from all over the world including many Americans were just milling around looking happy. This in my own city and in a place I was well used to. In fact as my elderly mother passed ever closer to eternity I had often took solace in the cathedral, unnoticed and unknown, often the only person in there in the days before it would be the final resting place to a long lost king.
I wanted to queue to see the coffin, well I have nothing better to do and it’s not much different form walking down the canal for 4 hours yet again to pass time. The reason I did not was my SA and being alone. Standing in a long queue for 2-4 hours next to the same people would be too awkward. They might try witty banter with me and I would feel exposed as a weird loner with no social skills and no life with nothing interesting to talk about. Most of them for instance were in groups with friends and family. I heard on the local radio how so many strangers had made new friends and chatted away together like best mates as they waited. Of course being eternally awkward I would not do this. A nice volunteer lady was chatting to people on the day of the re interment and asked me about my camera. I tried to answer her but that oh so familiar awkwardness awakened and I almost sighed and walked off. It’s the reaction on others faces that hurts so much when they realise that you are not quite normal but they still try and be polite although at the same time try to move away. Having no control of my voice, facial expressions and body language is so frustrating. Once my anxiety comes alive it’s unstoppable and the paranoia starts to eat away at my confidence in a relentless attack of self doubt. It might as well be one of those dreams where you imagine everyone pointing and laughing at you and you just want to run away. I could have for instance easily have talked to the women who led the search for the king as she was just talking to the crowd in front of me after a TV interview but after that event the day before my awkwardness was still on high alert so despite a deep love of history and actually wanting to say something to her, I left.
Friday night was different as there were fireworks and 8000 fire bowls decorating the city centre. I had relaxed in a what the hell type of way by this time so had little anxiety but being all alone when most people are in groups is still somewhat off-putting and I wished I had my one true friend with me. I look a lot at meetup UK now but always put myself off with memories of so many things that can and did go wrong in the past. The SA paradox resurfaces again. You are supposed to get better by meeting new people but meeting people makes you more SA and often makes you feel disliked so you never recover in the first place. It also totally ignores the effects of depression which makes any social activity much harder. I thought I saw a girl I used to know from work, bizarrely the one that once called me a zombie and hard work to talk to. She was in group of people and I later found her on a local meet up group that attended the event. She was right of course, mentally ill people often come across as zombies and hard work, now with added depression it’s the main reason I don’t go to any meet up groups. Despite chronic loneliness, in reality people demand cheerfulness from strangers at such meets when I have none left.