You are not prey

If you are frightened, be silent, Whining is for prey. It attracts predators. And you are not prey.

I like this quote and think its relevant to humans. I saw it today in the book I’m currently reading.You see the time I got attacked and punched in the face by local yobs was when I was in a highly emotional state near the time of the death of my mother and considering suicide. I only went for a walk along the canal to clear my head. I must have looked funny or walked funny which made me a target. Not only did this happen but several other incidents of being shouted abuse at or near confrontations all around this time or when I was feeling bad. It makes me believe that humans have the urge to pick on the weak as do some animals. The certain type of stupid ignorant uneducated human male being far closer to our primate ancestor in instinct and without any cognitive ability to reason sometimes see any other human male who looks different or weak and they have an overwhelming urge to attack them or ridicule them. Usually this is only done when in a group to show authority and power to the other members of the group by the alpha male and to ensure victory as they outnumber them. It happens at school all the time with the weak being bullied and of course children are running much more on instinct without the knowledge to know any better yet.Stupid ignorant people never know any better and often act in this way all their lives.

Not Guilty!

You often get posts on anxiety forums attacking people for being cowards. The idea being that you are simply not doing enough to cure your SA. “What have you done?” they ask as if you must have a list of tasks to complete as if you are unemployed and being questioned by the job centre to justify your benefit payment. Feel your fears and do it anyway etc. of course guilt has been used as a motivational tool and to encourage people for as long as humans have existed. However I think there may be more going on here. Many people try things and think they are going through hell to get over their anxiety. They then see others apparently doing absolutely nothing and still whining about how bad their life is and it gets them furious. Its similar to people in a really shit job that they hate and then slagging work-shy benefit scroungers. “I did all this to get better, why aren’t you?”

This guilt tripping may well have a positive effect for many people, encouraging them to try something they were to afraid of, succeed and get better. However for many people with long term SA it just adds more logs on the fire of despair. Often such people have had many years of feeling guilty and ashamed anyway, whether its because of long term unemployment or never having a relationship. In fact this is the reason why so many people become avoidant so they don’t have to explain themselves. In these circumstances heaping yet more guilt upon the desperate may be so traumatic that it could actually tip them over the edge and make them self harm, or worse.  I distinctively remember harming myself after reading such a post on the anxiety forum many years ago after a particularly difficult period at work and although it was not serious it quite easy could have been. I had another incident a couple of years ago after reading a post on the forum but that was also related to the death of my elderly mother although the forum definitely made me feel far worse due to quite ignorant replies.

You see guilt tripping only works for moderate behaviour problems and if you make someone who is desperate feel much worse due to imagining that everyone is in exactly the same position as you and they just need a good kick up the backside then you can do much more harm than good.  Again this is another reason that when you are feeling particularly bad it is not always a good idea to use internet forums where the people offering advice are not trained about mental illness and not always nice people anyway. It also shows how so many people think that problems due to SA are nothing more than lazy people using shyness as an excuse for not trying hard enough and they need some tough love. It’s probably because it’s the way they have been treated but shows that ignorance is everywhere.

Signs of Depression

Differences between male and female depression
Women tend to: Men tend to:
Blame themselves Blame others
Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated
Feel anxious and scared Feel suspicious and guarded
Avoid conflicts at all costs Create conflicts
Feel slowed down and nervous Feel restless and agitated
Have trouble setting boundaries Need to feel in control at all costs
Find it easy to talk about self-doubt and despair Find it “weak” to admit self-doubt or despair
Use food, friends, and “love” to self-medicate Use alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate

With our obsession with equality its interesting that science often portrays differences in behaviour between the sexes. I think this is particularly relevant to social anxiety as well as depression because I dont think its anywhere near as acceptable for a man to be shy in our western culture as a woman. A man is after all supposed to be the one to go and chat girls up and impress them with confidence, be the main provider with a good job and look after his family. if I man does not drive he may as well have no penis and for a male to admit being a virgin past a certain age it is seen as the ultimate humiliation. There’s probably tons of other stuff if it was ever studied properly.

That said I do just as many things on the women’s side of the table as on the men’s for depression. Does that mean I am more in touch with my feminine side or just more insane? Certainly after my many years of social anxiety and resulting isolation, virginity and long term unemployment it has resulted in at times intense depression. Oh and I never learned to drive so I may as well hand my penis back!( but not until I’ve seen that video on youtube!)

Times like these……..

I do like the countryside. I used to love walking and they do say its good for depression and mental health if only temporarily in my case.This was taken on a walk back in 2010. In those days I went somewhere like this at least once a month. Now I have trouble leaving the house to go shopping. You do things like this to help you through the bad times. The fear is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel and things wont get better.

Lonely? Desperate? Get Lost!

I hear the advice often of making sure you don’t come across as too desperate, too eager to other people. Yet of course in the wonderful world of internet advice hypocrisy you also get the advice almost ad infinitum of feel the fear and do it anyway, force yourself to go out to everything, keep trying to talk to people at every chance.(so you appear desperate to people!) It’s hardly surprising it gets confusing then. Of course being too desperate shows that there is something wrong with you and as previously stated by me many times before humans are nothing more than an animal and evolution moulded us to avoid faulty people. Don’t appear desperate is usually in relation to dating but also applies to friendships as all the cool kids hang out together at school and the freaks and weirdos are excluded or if they are lucky form a loony alliance of nerds and geeks just like in the sitcom, the Big Bang theory. Of course in the real world they don’t have a hot female neighbour next door who befriends them.

One aspect of appearing too desperate is losing your dignity. I am quite honestly still embarrassed at some of the friends I had at school and especially at work. It’s like I mixed with anyone who would talk to me as that was better than being alone.  I think a lot of shy girls do this with relationships and they go out with any man who chats them up so the are not alone and so end up with assholes. When I look back they all befriended me first as they were the talkative types. For instance two quiet people never talk to each other so never make friends even if compatible which is why its so hard to make friends on an anxiety forum. When on occasion I tried to be friendly with someone I actually liked they shunned me so my confidence nose-dived. I still wonder did they think me a freak and not worthy of their attention or did I come across poorly with my abysmal social skills. Either way failure destroyed my confidence and created even greater avoidance.

Rejection

And yes rejection does start this young! I distinctly remember having no one to play with in infants and junior school at break and that girl Mary who later only played with me if I had any sweets and then left me when they were gone!

Two of the biggest problems in a socially phobic person’s life are finding a relationship and a job. The first not being essential does not always happen and I assume many such people end up totally alone for their whole life. Forget the 40 year old virgin, there must be 80 90 and 100+ years old virgins as you get uglier every year past 35ish and more set in your ways. Others have a fear of intimacy and sex even though they still crave friendships.

Getting a job is equally as hard and you may well end up in a low paying dead end job like I did for 20 years, if you manage to get anything at all. I was too SA to form any network within the company and get promoted and then convinced myself that I was disliked so much that there was no point applying for a position within a different department. This again is not all paranoia as lots of normals dislike people with SA, you’re weird, you’re no fun and you’re hard work as someone so eloquently put it. I remember the shock on my supervisors face when he suggested I try to get a place in the darkroom( I worked for a large photography firm in Leicester) and I said I would but I knew several of the girls in there hated me. Well, they did, one of them had previously called me a zombie! Getting a job could be seen as more important than a relationship of course as nobody can survive without money and the way the Conservative government is going on at the moment they intend to treat all people on benefits like they are lazy scum.

Of course the reason these two things are so hard is that they are in many ways similar. In both its very important to sell yourself and be confident and in both the people choosing have a choice and are often very picky. To get a girl I would have to find where they are, approach one without seeming creepy or weird, impress her with my banter, chat, talk etc. (Some Hope!) ask her out and then decide where to go probably with lots of humour when in reality I would have been so nervous I would have been on the verge of passing out and probably mumbling incoherently. She if normal would have to like me and not think I was mentally insane and agree to go out with me. For most people this is normal and yet for someone who has mental problems even the most basic conversation is strained and awkward.

The job situation is similar in that if you have long term unemployment or mental health problems the vast majority of firms will throw your CV straight in the bin or put you at the bottom of their list. Just like pretty girls (normal ones, not ones with mental health problems) they have so many people to choose from that any defects are not worth the effort and they reject you. This is even before you get to the dreaded interview stage where again if you come across as too nervous you are seen as weird and rejected.

The results of this constant rejection from other people and also possible employers is abject misery and depression and total humiliation making you feel even worse and less confident which of course is why so many people have probably given up on relationships. It can lead to a constant spiral downwards. Unfortunately this is not possible with jobs and the government is now quite literally hounding people to death with suicide rates going up as desperate mentally ill people decide that even non existence is better than such treatment.

The conclusion is that if you have serious health problems and severe social anxiety is indeed a major problem then everything including the most basic and important aspects of living becomes much more of a struggle.

Sadness

I wish i could just get rid of this overwhelming sadness I feel all the time.  I am reading a book which is one of series I have been reading for years and the wife of the main character just died and I find myself weeping. (Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb). I project so much sadness from other sources into my own life and it affects me as if I knew the people myself or they were real. For instance I saw the real peak practice on BBC1 last Thursdays and when the man who progressively lost all function from his body and eventually died and also you see the elderly couple edging towards death it really does make me feel desperately sad.

I vividly remember seeing a TV program many years ago when I was still at school where this old man wakes up next to his elderly wife and then realises she has died in her sleep and just shrieks “Oh No!” and starts crying as she has left him and he is now all alone. This desperate sadness has never left me.There is just so much sadness especially old people who get shoved into homes and no one visits them anymore which I saw daily when visiting my own dying mother a couple of years ago. We only cope by ignoring all this pain around us and pretending it’s never going to happen to us. Its too late to have children myself now so I will no doubt be alone when i am old if I ever get that far. Virtually all the advice for getting over Sa and depression is about staying positive yet I find it so difficult in the world were living in.  There are so many sad people even on the Uk anxiety forum. I feel their pain and yet can offer no help as I feel just as bad and fear the future so much myself.

Yes, I’m sorry its yet another miserable post!

I laugh in the face of depression! (well occasionally)

I have felt a bit loopy over the last couple of weeks and have sort of gotten the attitude of screw it! ( not a bad thing when the alternative is to be a miserable bastard!) Anyway I have used the social anxiety forum more often than normal but with some humour and surprisingly have gotten more responses than normal.Of course I have used another username as they all hate me when I use the main one but any response is better than the usual nothing.(Paranoid ? Me?) I knew it anyway but this of course shows the importance of humour in all relationships, online or real life. In fact a key component of flirting is joking and witty banter, teasing etc. People always say they love a GSOH.

But why? Why is humour so important in meeting new people and making friends? We obviously enjoy humour  hence comedy clubs and funny TV and it must release those good chemicals in the brain that make us happy but is there any kind of evolutionary answer? The only thing I have heard and this was years ago and pretty primitive but someone who is funny is happy and therefore has nothing wrong with them. On the other hand someone who is miserable has something wrong, problems, maybe mental illness so they are in effect faulty so we evolved to avoid them for our own good and so we dont pass on faulty genes. It may be a crap theory but this makes perfect sense even if it is someone cruel and survival of the fittest.

Of course the only problem is learning how to be funny and more humorous in the first place when you already have major anxiety and life problems. Ever decreasing circles and all that.

Reality Check

“Marry me and have my babies!”

The thing is you see a movie where this guy spoke to a girl at a train station because he liked her just because she looked pretty and they ended up getting married and having kids and they are now both in their eighties with grandchildren and a life full of wonderful memories and experiences. All this because he spoke to her at a train station many years ago!  And of course you know full well if you try it yourself that pretty girl will just think you are a creepy weirdo and tell you to F**k off!

To the older lone man with anxiety you are racked with such thoughts for the rest of your life. You keep imagining a younger self who did this stuff and it all ended like a Hollywood movie. The if only moments. I even had some girls at work like me but I was far too shy to be able to chat them up but I have imagined what i should have said many times since. I can even see some of these girls on facebook now  with their normal( non shy) husbands and children to make me feel worse. It could have been me. Almost all the advice you ever see is that you must just force yourself to go out and to chat girls up or you will die a sad lonely virgin. There is never any cure to SA except keep going out and doing stuff and hope you get better. You are told time and time again that you have plenty of time left and you are bound to find someone in the end.  The shame is so great that being a 40+ year old virgin has even been made into a comedy so everyone can mock you even more. There must be many older male virgins who never speak about such things due to guilt and embarrassment. I wonder how many commit suicide or die sad and alone and nobody ever finds out why. If they do its probably all their own fault for not forcing themselves to go out more!

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