A day in the sun

I had been feeling terrible for days now as my previous posts no doubt stated in depressing detail I think it’s important however to realise that it’s only circumstance that makes me feel that way and it is avoidable/changeable. I went out on Saturday to a local festival with music and various comedy street performers and acts. I was on my own of course and had to go by train as it was in another city. I really enjoyed it and my mood lifted so much it felt like being a different person entirely. I even enjoyed the train journey.Thats how I know my depression is not as bad as other people’s as it’s not in my brain but my brain only reacting to my situation. I have even slept well for the last two days and have felt far less anxious and more relaxed. Ironically the only time I have felt worse again over the weekend has been when I have logged on to the UK social anxiety forum for the same old rows, arguments and feelings of being ignored. I dont feel a bad person at all so if an online support forum can make me feel this bad then surely it’s the fault of the forum. Lesson learnt. if only I wasn’t so goddamn lonely then I would never use on online support forum again. If only…..

Some pictures from the day.

Just Think Happy Thoughts(or not)

I particularly agree with this as so much advice for depression assumes you are having nothing more than a bad day and can cure it with a nice walk or watching a favourite Tv programme and similarly so much advice for chronic social anxiety assumes you can cure it by going out  for a coffee with total strangers who may have chronic anxiety themselves and make you feel even worse. Then when things dont work they blame you for not trying hard enough thus heaping even more guilt upon you and making you even more anxious!

I remember this happening at work where people would badger you to go out to events and then when you acted anxious they would get angry with you for not talking to girls, not making jokes, not talking enough, being nervous so you would actually stop going and become even more avoidant. This is the reality of being social anxiously for so many people and why just doing stuff does not always cure you.

Backwards and Downwards!

I think I woke up about 7 times last night often after disturbing dreams. I wake or more likely lay awake for hours before I get up most mornings feeling like hell and totally exhausted. Nothing seems to work, no alcohol, more alcohol, different food and diet and exercise or none at all. Perhaps I am just mental and my brain is beginning to accept that normality is now close to impossible.Once again I heard on TV that exercise is great for depression but does that include walking in a city where there are crowds of people and potential scumbags everywhere. If I walk further afield I have to get a bus as I (SHOCK HORROR!) am a fully grown man that doesn’t drive! When I feel shit then walking feels shit and I want to sit down in a corner somewhere and sleep. I also can’t stand people near me and there is nowhere and I mean nowhere nearby that offers isolation and peace. Well perhaps locking myself in the toilets all day might be a choice. Motivation? Its about as low as its ever been in my life right now. How do you sell yourself for a job interview if you think you are useless, mentally insane yourself? Of course whats often forgotten is that you also have to sell yourself to other people to even make basic friends so if you haven’t got any in this frame of mind then your negativity will drive people away and dont even think of using a self help forum where the people are so judgmental and cliquey. I think most of them are actually looking for somebody wonderful to save them, their ideal fantasy person,not another lunatic and are not very good at being friends to other people despite pretending they offer support. There is less backstabbing and cliquey-ness in the Big Brother House! Bitter,twisted? You bet I am!

Support forums

I am beginning to think that self help forums are some of the most dangerous place to be online for people with social anxiety. I don’t think myself a bad person at all compared to many I have met and yet feel like some kind of evil wrongdoer and outcast on the UK social anxiety forum. I have had the odd argument, well I have been using this forum for over 10 years but apart from that nothing strange or particularly bad has ever happened. Yet using such a forum supposedly for people with social anxiety has made me feel more anxious and even more isolated almost every week. There is so much wrong with online forums such as this that’s its hard to know where to start. First there is a tremendous clique where some regulars never reply to certain members and talk over them like they don’t exist Just great for people who are already paranoid!.

People who are lonely in real life are just as likely to be so online as social etiquette rules still apply so the popular or even better looking people (they often post their pictures ad infinitum despite being shy!) still do the best. It’s also made me question the very nature of human behaviour and the way people seem to be delusional and selfish to others in order to make themselves feel superior and better than you. Rather than having better insights to human behaviour and the condition of anxiety many posts simply try to make you feel guilty for not doing enough as if your anxiety is entirely of your own making when of course it’s almost entirely due to upbringing and circumstances. I have even self harmed after reading a post on a forum as people putting further blame on me for something that I have felt guilty about for years made me almost suicidal. It did not make me go out and DO STUFF and get better because they took the piss out of me. In fact people try to force you to go out and just assume being in the presence of other so called normal people will make you better when in reality it has often made my anxiety far worse and even more avoidant. The underlying fact which is obvious and often ignored is that other people are often very judgemental and very cruel to anyone who acts differently so when you force yourself to go out to events and then act shy, nervous, anxious they mock you and treat you like shit making you feel even worse. I made one very good friend from the forum but have mostly given up on it now as its hard work and there are so many aggressive and nasty people online.  Using the UK anxiety forum has mostly been about as supportive as a kick up the arse and I am sure I could have gotten better support from talking to random strangers on a park! I am also too old now as such forums are so youth orientated I am surprised they don’t ban anyone over the age of 35. I could go on for several more pages but I have been drinking again and you get the idea.

Bitter Sweet

I’m already beginning to get more stressed again day to day and missing being with my friend from last week.  My sleep is disrupted again and I often get up feeling like I have been hit around my head with a baseball bat. I had suspected it was something in my diet and had cut down on alcohol intake but still I wake early and find it impossible to get to sleep again.Then I come up with the idea that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame may be to blame. This is because I had started to drink lemonade(lots of lemonade!) in an effort to stop drinking alcohol and as I did not want to get fat I had chosen diet lemonade with sweeteners in it. It turns out there is a lot of online evidence that sweeteners with aspartame in them have numerous side effects including insomnia. It may be coincidence but I will leave it out and see if there is any change. It seems a little thing but sleep has an enormous effect upon my moods and mental health and changes in my diet may be beneficial. I wonder if anything may help with lethargy and depression.

A week off from being mental

So I just come back after staying with my friend for a week. I felt so much better and had no anxiety and felt happy and calm all week and as you know if you read some of my previous posts I was about as low as I could be before I went. Is that how you cure SA? Just find people to be with that you like and like you back? I say just but to anyone with chronic anxiety it’s about as hard as finding the holy grail. Of course you also have to find a job you are comfortable in as well and many other factors like your family life and where you live come into play.

I saw some of that TV show First Dates on Gogglebox last week. There was a very shy anxious guy trying to date a normal girl. What interested me were the reactions of the gogglebox viewers. They cringed in unison. Some felt sorry for him and some even mocked him but they all felt deeply uncomfortable watching him trying to talk to this girl while blushing and stammering over almost every sentence.  I can just imagine the reactions and comments of many ignorant people at home.The girl rejected him of course but what bravery the man had for doing this in the first place and on camera too. This is what chronic anxiety was like for me when trying to talk to attractive girls at work. In fact i would say i was worse than him as it least he had a go and still managed to find things to talk about whereas I would virtually freeze up entirely. it’s a good job he spoke as the girl appeared to stop talking to him altogether making the awkwardness even greater but perhaps by then she was desperate to get it over with or perhaps she was just one of those girls that expects the man to woo her and lead the conversation with witty banter. Either way she was disappointed.

Of course it once again just shows the ridiculous advice of just trying to guilt trip very shy people to get out there and try to do things more as if all their fears are just unfounded and silly. Doing something like this when I was his age would have probably traumatised me so much I may well have felt suicidal. I still cringe thinking back to my youth and the humiliation I endured as i forced myself to do stuff because it was supposed to help me.

Friday Afternoon Walk

I went for a walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. Its hard to do when you live in the city as you need to get a bus to get anywhere and of course I don’t drive.The craving for peace and to get away was intense and there were moments of isolation but the reality of my ever increasing anxiety resulted in me getting extremely agitated by other people several times and even quite upset. The truth is that when I am feeling very down doing things to cure by anxiety does little to help as my anxiety just ruins anything that I do and I still feel awful. Its just as if someone has flicked a switch on my brain to depression factor 10 and this feelings of hopelessness, paranoia and irritability just run through my veins regardless of what I do. I could easily see myself getting into a fight under such circumstances and I feel so irritable/enraged and occasionally come across ignorant yobbos or cyclists nearly running me down and shouting abuse at me and I want to kill them. Its now been 5 weeks to the day since I spoke more than a sentence to another person. Hopefully I will see my only friend tomorrow which may make me feel better for a short time.

A Faint Heart

A Faint heart never won fair lady’  William Shakespeare.

It’s easy to get confused when you have mental health problems anyway but human behaviour is a minefield.  When this is applicable to someone with social anxiety and concerns dating or friendships then it becomes even more so. Once again a post on gender differences on the anxiety forum has been deleted as it upsets people but does that mean anything awkward should be hidden under the table and not spoken about. I understand that throughout human history men and women have been treated and expected to act quite differently and that often men dominated women and treated them badly. However to pretend that everything is equal now just because it should be is quite ludicrous. Lost of things are worse for women, some things are worse for men, especially shy men.

Maybe the internet has changed things in recent years but I seriously doubt it. I recently heard a comment on TV that annoyed me. It was something like” How can you even think of dating a girl if you have no car to pick her up in.” This implies there are certain gender roles that are so clearly defined as to be humiliating if not taken seriously like driving and owning a car being a male essential. When I was younger it was just taken for granted that men for instance should always make the first move, approach a female he’s interested in and ask her out and even decide where to go. Maybe even offer to pay on any date.  This seems to get many females on forums enraged as if its all old fashioned crap and doesn’t happen any more. It should be left in the past of course if you believe in total equality between the sexes. However I was slagged off at work for being too cowardly to approach girls because of my shyness.  I also heard some girls talking about me saying he won’t do anything meaning I would not chat their friend up so they should just ignore me as not a contender from then on. There are many more examples but you get the idea. I was expected to make the first move and I knew it simply for being male but as I was cripplingly shy could not and am still a virgin.

Now a lot of this could be explained as just being what happened 20 years ago but seriously how much has changed in recent years?  Do women approach men and regularly ask them out now at work and in bars and clubs; have things changed that much after thousands of years of male dominance?  The problem is I still see comments on TV and movies all the time where boys and men are told to just man up and get the girl, ridiculed relentlessly if they are still a virgin past a certain age, treated as cowards for not having the guts to chase women. If you start looking on TV you could come across numerous references in just one week. Chat up lines are taken in context entirely from the males point of view as if men need them to impress women but women let the man do all the work and just let him think of things to say.  Although I never had a female approach me in any positive way during 20 years at work it could be explained by my chronic anxiety and body language and lack of witty banter which put them off. However I have heard this from many men and lots openly say “it’s a man’s job to make the first move.” as if it’s the rules of being human and they mock anyone who can’t do this and forcing you to stay in isolation.

Obviously many women with anxiety are still alone and have just as shit lives as men but all I can do is talk of my experiences taken from entirely male and anxiety ridden life. I still think our cultural expectations between males and females is quite distinct and the majority of women(those without anxiety) still expect a man to approach them first and if he doesn’t then assumes he is either not interested or not good enough anyway and they would not even dream of making the first move. When you feel hated for many, many years though it’s quite easy to be paranoid and see things from a distorted and angry point of view. However science accepts clear gender differences in just about every species of animal so why do so many people pretend that humans are the exception to the rule? Perhaps the truth hurts.

Down and out?

I think my anxiety has been totally overpowered by depression at the moment. Despite an occasional good day or walk the next few are then awful again.My sleep has been terrible and I awake feeling tense and irrirtable all day and even going on walks has made me feel worse, not better.So much so that I got home yesterday afternoon and starting drinking at 3.30 in the afternoon. Walking is not always great if you live in the middle of a city and only have the same places to go every day especially when suffering paranoia about the way I walk.  When depressed and hopeless everything becomes much harder, even going to the shops, watching tv and listening to music is boring and does nothing to lift me. I feel aching and tired as soon as I get up.Any small annoying thing that happens makes me feel enraged and wanting to hit something. I have been drinking way too much again as anything is better than feeling tense but of course this only makes me feel worse later on. Meditation is impossible as I live in a very noisy area. In fact nearly all online advice without medication for depression is almost as useless as it is for social anxiety. I’ve begun to think of death every day again. Some advice assumes depression is only temporary and that good times will return but they dont take into account being a 40+ year old unemployed loner who never speaks to anyone for weeks on end and can see no relief, ever.

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