Ten reasons why social anxiety often leads to depression
- Wanting to find a significant other, and never finding him/her.Anxiety undermines our human relationships, and prevents them from being as successful as they could be.
- Avoiding situations even when we want to hang out and be friendly”.I can’t go because I’ll be too uncomfortable and I’ll feel inhibited and self-conscious. It’s easier for me to just stay at home.”
- Not feeling like we are part of a group or family.We all want to feel like we belong, especially with other people who share the same interests in life, but anxious feelings block this from happening.
- Lack of meaningful friendships.People with social anxiety want to have many friends and acquaintances they can spend time with and relax around, but the anxiety prevents this from happening.
- Not being able to pursue our desired career“I’d like to take that promotion, but then I’d have to manage people and tell them what to do. I can’t do that!”
- Inability to participate in professional or informal activities. Those of us with social anxiety feel a great deal of fear when we must attend informal or professional events with other people. We feel as if we will do something wrong and make a fool of ourselves.
- Not seeing light at the end of the tunnel“I’ll never get any better – I’ll be stuck with anxiety forever.”
- Beating ourselves up We get down on ourselves and focus on our perceived shortcomings. We often feel as if we’re not as good or capable as other people. “Everyone else is enjoying life and having a good time. Why can’t I?”
- Comparing ourselves to others We feel other people are farther along in life than we are. “Everyone has fun and interesting friends they can hang out with – except me.”
- Feeling like we can’t do things.The anxiety we feel makes us feel restricted from participating in everyday activities. “I can’t go to the party because I’ll feel too out of place and uncomfortable.”
Yes I have certainly gone through all the items on this list 43 million times each(at least!). One aspect that’s never mentioned ever though is that when you force yourself to go to social events and still act shy, nervous and anxious then people think you are strange or sometimes if they are female and you a man then a creepy weirdo and dont want to see you again. If all the things mentioned above make you depressed then you may also be a miserable bastard wallowing in self pity and a hideous carbuncle of self hate and paranoia and then of course people dont want to hang out with you as you make them feel even worse. If you are a very anxious and a depressed person then you may as well get a dog/cat/hamster as nobody will want to be with you ever and you may as well at least have something soft and warm to cuddle on the cold winter nights. Most of the symptoms of chronic anxiety really need to be cured before relationships/friendships can be made IN THE FIRST PLACE for REALLY shy people like I was and yet much of the advice advocates going to social events with no other prior help whatsoever as if this will cure you when they often have had the opposite effect for me and made me far more anxious. This is just like being dropped into the ocean and assuming you will learn to swim with no prior swimming lessons and you have never even had a bath before.Why do people assume meeting complete strangers in social events will cure you or chronic anxiety when in reality they, as in all people(YES, ALL of THEM!) are so judgmental they will probably laugh at you for being so mental and weird? Why God(or Jesus, I’am not picky!) WHY?
I particularly like Autumn. There is something comforting about the cold winter nights returning and the feelings of future Christmas even if my own Christmas times have been lonely for many years now. I like the colour and freshness of the air and thoughts of things closing down to hibernate. Yes,I know, if only I could do the same!
“SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run.”
I like leaves changing colour and fungi and the deer rut and of course taking pictures of them if the sun ever comes out.
Knowing that nobody wants to be with you and that they never have means you almost certainly have no confidence. It happened at school; it happened at work, it still happens online. I don’t know why people with advice just don’t get this and still offer the useless help of “Just be Yourself!”. What and keep getting disliked and ignored? Many people with anxiety and other mental problems may be nice, kind, intelligent and funny but their past experience of normal people is that if you act weird then they dislike you and don’t want to see you again. Its not rocket science and yet advice after advice pretends its just paranoia , it’s all in our heads, we are just cowards for being avoidant and even if things go very wrong its our duty to keep doing it again and again until we get it right. The idea is that you learn what you are doing wrong and change this behaviour to get better. In the case of social anxiety we are acting very nervous. Depression is a little harder as I don’t know how to be jovial or come up with witty banter with strangers when I have felt like killing myself regularly for years and often sit alone weeping.
So they say I have to keep going out to social occasions and acting very nervous in the belief, maybe hope that I stop acting nervous and start to enjoy social interaction simply because I get used to it. And yet all experience of being alive tells me that when I try to interact I act nervous, awkward, maybe even weird and creepy to some women and that this makes people dislike me which means I act even more nervous and get even more paranoid and then even more avoidant. Then people avoid me like the plague which makes my confidence and avoidance even worse. If you just keep doing things that make you worse then it’s not helping. Yet almost all advice just tells you to keep doing things like its going to help. I don’t understand. Are they all mad, delusional or something else?
Its so easy to sink into the abyss of depression and want to give up. The light gets forever smaller at the end of the tunnel. Over the last few weeks and months my mood has nose dived so far its hard to imagine feeling normal or happy ever again. Sometimes I hardly sleep at all and then other days I sleep until midday. Motivation collapses and the point for continued existence is harder to find. I have tried to do normal things like keeping busy and going for walks but they are not the same anymore and do not stop the anxiety. Nothing works and to be honest it never has for very long. Like brief glimpses of sunlight in the darkness.Occasionally I have the odd good day but i know now it’s only a momentary escape in an ocean of hopelessness and despair.
I find all other people to hard to deal with. Most people dont care about strangers and why should they? People only care about their own clan and if you have no one to be with then you stay alone. If there is something wrong with you it’s much harder to connect, not only because of anxiety and social ineptitude but because people dont want to know you as we evolved to dislike faults and stay away from mad or mental people. We mock them for acting strange or not being like one of us.This only makes isolation and mental health problems worse. You can only connect with strangers in real life or online by trying to be like one of them in order to make them like us, pretending to be happy, to like what they like, to be normal. But you’re not and never have been.
I imagine a happy family sitting in their front room around their Christmas Dinner this year. They laugh and smile and enjoy the experience of sharing , of being one and together and happy. Memories that last a lifetime.I then imagine myself looking through their window like a future ghost from a Christmas Carol and seeing myself as I could have been but unlike scrooge I have no means of changing my future. The pain of knowing what cannot now be is almost as bad as losing what you have when you are happy. I dont know what to do any more. No advice works as it assumes the impossible. Pushing myself often did not work as so much advice ignores the fact that when you act chronically shy people think you’re a freak and never want to see you again. As a result I got worse and not better.I just wish it would all end.
More advice from the wonderful world of the internet somebody posted the other day.
The other piece of advice is, of course, to practice speaking up. And practice always means allowing yourself do something badly until you can do it not so badly.
But of course doing it badly creates ridicule and contempt and means people avoid you in future. if they dont perhaps you are simply lucky or you just have minor shyness rather than chronic SA with the blushing and stammering etc. This of course makes you even more avoidant. If you could talk badly and not care what people thought you would not have anxiety in the first place so it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. It also assumes you get better at it when many people with severe SA get worse, blush even more, stutter even more feel sick even more and get ridiculed and avoided even more.
Whenever you give in to a fear, it grows. Whenever you act in spite of it, it shrinks.
Again not actually true. Most advice assumes all fear relating to anxiety is irrational. As if you are treating social occasions like sitting in a cage with a lion which could kill you at any moment. They assume that if you keep doing something that doesn’t cause physical pain then you get used to it and get better. Yet many people have been traumatised by words and ridicule without any physical pain or harm. So if you keep doing things that create humiliation then you dont get better and you might even get worse. If doing something over and over again helped then surely using an internet social anxiety forum for over 10 years would have helped me and instead I feel like an outsider and disliked and it often makes me feel worse as I never feel accepted and so I never get better or learn. This is the very reason people become avoidant in so many life situations.The counterclaim to this was to act far more proactive which really meant not acting shy at all and being normal so they expect you to act completely normal in the first place in order to succeed. So you dont learn at all by mistakes and this of course is exactly the same in real life. Act nervous and awkward just once and you are ostracised for life.
People going to a meet or even on a date expect someone funny or interesting and with a good personality the very first time they meet you and if you are not up to it they will never want to meet you again so not only do you not learn from mistakes and get better you became even more paranoid and anxious and avoidant.Nearly all advice also ignores physical manifestations of chronic shyness like blushing and stammering and sweating or a weak voice which makes other people incredibly awkward and avoid you in future. People with chronic S.A. are hard work, they are not great company.
I even completed a shyness test on the Shyness clinic website the other night just to see what their free, introductory evaluation. would actually consist of. Despite a section for completing which country you come from and even which county in the UK the reply said you have to go in person to London every week and if you can’t then just piss off. Some detailed evaluation, some help!
Feeling much worse again. Every time I read advice on SA it seems so utterly far removed from the real world as to be a delusional fantasy. It’s hard not to be angry at most SA advice and yet it almost always comes with a tidal wave of positive comments like “Great post!” which makes it look like you are just being a miserable negative bastard and thus deserving of unhappiness and loneliness.
Again it says keep practising conversation no matter how bad and uncomfortable it gets and how socially inept you are. Again it totally ignores the fact that utter failure increases anxiety and depression and makes you even worse, not better at future conversation. It’s a bit like a cricketer going out to bat and being bowled first ball for 0 for 500 successive innings and then being told if he keeps doing it he will eventually get good enough to play for England when he is really on the verge of a mental breakdown. It also ignores that social ineptitude repels normal people so every time you want to practice you would have to find a new person or group to talk to which is pretty hard if you work with the same group of people or never come across anybody new.
It again fails to address chronic blushing, stammering and mind blank which make even replying one word answers hard enough. It ignores poor body language such as my inability to smile or uncontrollable lower jaw which develops a life of its own mid sentence or my exceptionally weak voice. You are supposed to go out and make a fool of yourself and don’t forget that people will almost certainly ridicule you and then keep doing it in case you might get better one day. This feel the fear philosophy also fails to address how incredibly judgmental most other quite normal people are and how they will ignore you and want nothing to do with you once they realise that you are strange/weird/shy/boring/unemployed/inexperienced etc.
It also ignores that much conversation comes from real life events and if you have no family or friends and have spent every night of the year watching TV since you left school then you have little to talk about. When people ask what you did at the weekend and after saying not much for months in a row they will learn to not ask anymore and ignore you because you are boring. Most conversation also requires jokes and witticisms and if you are depressed and nervous as hell and regularly think about suicide then you are not going to engage people with positively and entertain them.
Sorry but there’s far more to success than just getting out more.