I just wish I could go through two good days in a row at the moment! Last night I felt much better and had a good sleep. However this morning I was woken up to the noise of the neighbours banging around their house like demented baboons for the third morning running. This puts me in a bad mood for the day as I have noise intolerance after years of insomnia issues related to noise.Once activated it puts me into a state of high anxiety for the rest of the day. I was also expecting my sister as she visits about once a month but she never turned up and never lets me know either. Its as if she thinks it’s an honour for her to come like being visited by the Queen! She is the only person I speak to for weeks on end but I bet that thought has never entered her head or she cares. Mental people, mental families! I once again forced myself to go out to one of the last days of our yearly festival. At one point I had a slight anxiety attack and had to go off for a walk along the canal but later returned to take some pictures. It was not particularly exciting but i think our council have run out of money after all they spent on the reinterment of Richard III last March. Oh dear, a bank holiday Monday is also coming up, That always depresses me.
I very bad day yesterday as I drank way too much and deleted lots of posts off of my anxiety forum as I was paranoid that they all hated me for ignoring me again and yet replying to other people. Mind you they often do do that! I find my paranoia is rife when my anxiety is at its worst. I also had real problems sleeping and ended up taking one of the drowsiness inducing hayfever tablets which often knock me out. It made me feel quite lethargic this morning and I had to force myself to go out this afternoon on a walk to the botanic gardens and take some pictures. However I am glad I did as I felt so much better. Exercise does work and clear the head but it’s hard to do every day.
I saw the BBC documentary on OCD last night. At the beginning they showed that many people on the street think they have OCD just because they like to keep their house neat and tidy or arrange things a certain way. In reality people with chronic OCD are far worse and have their lives completely ruined. Some are even are on the verge of suicide. I could not help compare this with shyness and social anxiety. Everyone is shy at times and most people hate public speaking. Yet social anxiety can be so extreme it can lead to total isolation and just as much misery as chronic OCD. I maybe should change the name of this blog to Death by Social Anxiety but it doesn’t have the same ring and most people will not understand what that is.
Despite social anxiety supposedly being one of the most common mental health issues I can never remember seeing a documentary or TV program on it ever. Perhaps everyone is too shy(sorry, too anxious!) to volunteer to appear on TV. I have seen several on depression now and other issues and yet social anxiety is probably unknown to the general public and according to many people on anxiety forums even their doctors think they are just shy and will grow out of it. This makes us seem like we are still in the stone age when it comes to mental health treatment!
Because most people dont know any difference between being shy and socially anxious much of the online advice seems to be just for people with minor to moderate shyness and also assumes it’s only teenagers or young people that have it usually when they go dating and get nervous rather than a lifelong debilitating condition. Its also completely ignores secondary conditions that years of isolation and loneliness create such as depression, insomnia and the intense paranoia which makes much of the self help advice utterly useless. For instance they advised me to go out and meet strangers to cure my SA when I have often been so unhappy and utterly miserable I feel like laying on the floor crying most days. How the hell do I make pleasant conversation let alone go on a date? I am in far more need of a psychiatrist.
You get warned about being too negative as if this is the reason you fail and people avoid you. For christ’s sake of course I’m negative, i’ve never even been on a date,had a relationship let alone sex, it didn’t get better, nothing magical happened. I am not 23 either, I am well over 40! I have one friend but only see her about 4 times a year and never speak to anyone for weeks.The lame idea that all I had to do was go places and try talking more and it would have all been fine is bullshit. Someone even suggested going out every day walking your dog would make you friends or even get you a date! I walked my dogs for about 16 years and can count on one hand the number of people I spoke to. I barely ever remember seeing an attractive female with a dog yet alone having the confidence to approach her and burst into general jokes and befriend her to ask her out! Don’t people who offer such advice ever get it? Very shy people dont behave like a normal person. You blush, stutter and make an idiot of yourself so you have no confidence whatsoever as people laugh at you. When I saw a pretty girl I did not think, “What A great opportunity for witty banter and a date! “I thought “Better avoid her in case you act like a freak and she thinks you are a creepy weirdo!”
My job was with a boring low paid menial shithole company which again never really changed. They did try to give me a team leader position but even that made me feel sick with anxiety.It was pretty much like doing some kind of punishment work like they used to give to prisoners except I went home at the end of the day. Oh and most of my family had anxiety and mental problems and I was never happy there either. If you have known a life of failure and unhappiness then of course you are going to be negative. Much of life is. You get old and shit your pants like my elderly mother the day before she died. Yet some strangers on various self help websites tell you to smile, be more positive, be nice to people and think you can change your mindset and then life( I was going to say in an instant) but oh no they love telling you with hard work as if you are just being lazy if you dont. I can’t even smile properly FFS due to my weird hair lip. I look more like a braying horse! When things dont get better they then start to blame you as if you chose this, enjoy self pity, are too lazy to change and ignore the fact that going from total failure to success means doing things that actually work and give you confidence, not things constantly going wrong which makes you more avoidant. Yes, its been a bad day again.
Sometimes I actually leave the house instead of just wallowing in self pity all day! (yes I know it makes a change!)There was some kind of festival in the city on Saturday so I went as I take pictures of everything,just in case. This is a mounted knight on a horse. He did not fight but just walked up and down and some lesser knight went after him with a giant poop scoop and bucket! (sounds like a job for me!)
There was also a woman doing sand sculptures based on King Richard III.
And finally a circus, tumbler acrobats display thing. I like this photo as its the first time an attractive woman has smiled in my direction since 1972. Of course she was smiling at my camera and did not see the strange freak holding it. What, too negative?
A had a very bizarre and emotional dream last night. I was with an australian girl who is an actress in real life. Yet we were both young and in our twenties.We were also in love and going to be together for the rest of our lives and have a future. She was the one.We were even planning to go to australia to visit her parents. I remember just holding her close and not wanting to let go and then I woke up with tears still in my eyes because even in my dreams I was starting to realise that this was just a fantasy. The desperate lonely mind creates its own reality.
I really feel quite terrible again. Some days are OK but the hopelessness remains eternal. Almost all advice and help online is absolutely useless and has no relevance to my life whatsoever. The biggest truth though is that humans as a species are all cruel, selfish and judgmental at times to lesser or greater degrees. The reason I feel this bad is because I am too different to fit in. In order to be happy I have to change myself to be like everyone else to be one of the crowd, one of them, like everyone else with a normal job and normal family and normal social life.
Yet because I am so different nobody wants me in the first place. This is the great paradox with social anxiety advice. They constantly tell you to get out there as if it will cure you and yet getting out there just reaffirms that everyone else doesn’t like you or want anything to do with you. Some even ridicule you FFS! You feel like the sad desperate loser going around saying “please be my friend!” Using online forums has proven worthless and almost always makes me feel worse just like trying to mix with real people. The same members who claim they are so friendly and non judgmental almost always ignore any post I ever make on any subject. They, like everyone else are judging me and as soon as they see my username ignore me. If they want to hate me for the most minor of past arguments than that makes me hate them back so my anger and frustration actually increases. Yet at the same time you have got all these self help types going around telling you to love yourself! What the fuck does this even mean. And if you do, does that mean you think you are perfect and so don’t change your behavior which is the reason for your problems in the first place?
In the later years of my job I was considerably better mental health and anxiety wise as I worked in an office with people I got on with. I remember once being asked to go to a summer barbeque by someone I knew quite well and of course declined. There is very little doubt that most of the advice on anxiety forums and indeed online would have criticised me for avoidant behaviour and taking the easy way out. However as the majority of people would have been strangers this would have been a nightmare to me which is hard to explain in words. Imagine standing around looking awkward and not knowing what to say or how to make conversation and desperate to run. if this doesn’t bother you it’s probably no more important to you than going shopping. However for me the humiliation is similar to being on stage and everyone laughing at you like a bad nightmare.God forbid someone trying to set me up with a single woman as people often do when they know you are alone and think they are helping and then her just standing there wondering why I was so strange and trying to escape. What i noticed in these situations is that the people I knew actually got angry with me for not chatting the girl up properly or saying the right things like it was my fault for having an anxiety attack as if I chose to blush and stammer. This of course made me much more avoidant! It still makes me think that almost all advice for social anxiety is the same for people that are just a bit shy and with no other physical reactions and they have no idea of the difference.
An actual anxiety attack would leave me crimson red, sweating like a pig and stammering to get even words out. I could never think of anything to say that sounded normal and my voice became almost inaudible. I was always terrified of this coming back at any moment which is why I stayed so avoidant for so long. I didn’t joke or make funny comments under pressure, get on with people or make friends if I pushed myself. Things usually got worse.My brain ceased up. Just speaking was incredibly hard so all small talk was virtually impossible. Even now I still can get very awkward just talking to shop staff at the supermarket on bad days although my isolation has probably made me get worse in recent years. This awkward behaviour of course makes other people dislike and avoid you as you become hard work or annoying to them and for some women even the classic weird and creepy guy to be avoided at all costs. This is not just paranoid or negative thinking; it happened many times at work. There is so much that has to be conquered before normal conversation is even possible with this severe kind of anxiety with very little help or useful advice online. This is why most exposure therapy didn’t work ever for me as it always resulted in yet more chronic failure, humiliation and embarrassment and so I lost even more confidence. It also made me think that the vast majority of people are incredibly judgmental and this is normal human behaviour.
Its quite sad reading men’s tales of still being a virgin at 30+ on the social anxiety forums.Its not just the loneliness and sexual frustration, its the fear of ridicule from others. How dare other people ask why you have still not got a girlfriend by a certain age! Its not like a job, you dont have to have one as if you have to explain yourself! There’s already 7 billion people on the planet. Its not your job to procreate and spread your genes any more! Of course I dont even answer them as I am over 40 and never so much as touched a girl/woman/female/human being. I did not even know what a woman’s private parts looked like until I saw it on the internet not that long ago.I didn’t feel aroused at all as I have a fear of sexial intimacy and the thought of having sex actually makes me feel sick, yes sick! I’m that weird. Yes, i know I need a psychiatrist!
Even better and now it gets even weirder I was pretty much asexual until I was 27 when I first managed to ejaculate(on my own obviously!)and as soon as I did I started to get far more aroused.It was like going through puberty at 27! Before that I had very little interest in females and an extremely low sex drive. I could appreciate attractive women, even become slightly aroused but i was so used to getting no reaction from below that I simply assumed I had faulty testicles, not enough testosterone and some weird chemical imbalance. I often forget all this when talking about being a shy young man. Even without my social anxiety I still would not have been able to have sex so what was the point of getting into a relationship anyway? I even thought then that perhaps just laying with a woman would activate my penis as if pressing a button. I had no idea! Its strange to think now at the age of 40+ I have 10 times more sex drive than I did as a teenager! Its easy to see why I am such a mentally insane loner now isn’t it?