The next two questions I got asked in the anxiety research-
- What do you think caused or causes your SA?
Almost certainly it was my upbringing. My mother suffered anxiety fro my earliest memories and could be aggressive, abusive and not particularly nice almost until her death. My father although a detective in the police which you would think would require confidence had no friends and never really went anywhere ever apart from work. He was pretty much devoid of emotion and certainly never showed me any affection whatsoever. Anxiety runs right across my mother’s family including her mother, sisters and brothers and even my cousins. I remember being humiliated even as a child by saying probably quite normal things and getting ridiculed which I think stifled any confidence. I was barely if ever praised or made to feel comfortable. I also think being the youngest by 5 years my brother copied much of this parent behaviour and then obsessively bullied me and put me down at every opportunity. We hardly ever went out as a family, never had celebrations such as parties or went out for meals and hardly ever had strangers come to the house.
- How do you see yourself?
This is much harder to answer. I can imagine how others see me but myself I find almost impossible to answer in such a general sense. Deeply unhappy, unfulfilled and racked with self doubt, guilt, shame, fear and the resignation of a very bleak future.
I replied to a survey on social anxiety in a moment of late night drunken madness last week. The first question is below with my answer although I may change much of it before it’s eventually returned.
- What is it like having SA? In what ways does it affect your life?
It’s a bit hard to answer simply and I could write several pages on this alone but basically it has felt like having some kind of mental disability since the age of 5(when starting school) and yet I feel it is mostly unrecognised by the majority of people who at least have some idea what depression is. I suppose I have never felt quite normal, like one of the other kids at school or people at work. Always an outsider.For a start I am not only still a virgin but have never had any romantic connection with another person in any way shape or form. Not only have I never come even close to going on a date but in 20 years at work I barely had a conversation with a female co-worker for longer than a few sentences. To be honest I felt hated and disliked by many people because of my shyness so become even more avoidant.
I dropped out of college after only 2 days after major anxiety attack as I could not bear being the loner in the classroom again and so I got a menial low paid job instead. I stayed in that job for nearly twenty years until I was made redundant and never progressed much. I haven’t worked since and my pessimism and paranoia have increased greatly. The shame of being long term unemployed means that I am too ashamed and embarrassed to apply for most jobs or think that I could not possibly do them so I remain unemployed even though I know the end result can only be homelessness or death. I only have one friend who I met from an online anxiety forum and see several times a year as they live in another city. This is the only female friend I have ever had. We get on so well that I almost feel normal when with her and far more confident when going out somewhere with her. I often go weeks without speaking to anyone in between though and my mood nose dives.
I still dont dont whether to return this answer as it’s so depressing and pessimistic to read.Mind you it is the truth. I wont mention my intimacy and asexual issues yet though. How does it effect me from day to day? I hide like a hermit.
Loneliness is twice as bad as obesity for killing us early: Being isolated suppresses your immune system and knocks years off your life
Around one million Britons are chronically lonely and do not see people
I pretty much knew this already but it’s still stark reading. Of course what they dont say is that if you have mental health problems especially social anxiety you find it much harder to connect with anyone and when you do try nobody wants to be your friend anyway. Then depression kicks in and you are too miserable to be liked. It’s now 11 days since I spoke to anyone for more than a sentence.
I am interested in the concept of appearing too desperate. We as shy, socially anxious loners are repeatedly told to do something, ANYTHING! Make the first move, keep pushing yourself etc. Yet if we appear too desperate then people will reject us. Again the only reason I can attain from this is that desperate people are faulty, have something wrong with them and that in evolutionary terms are losers and to be avoided at all costs. As mentioned previously in regards something I can’t remember at the moment this does not apply to people we already know or our families but is almost always in relation to potential partners or friends.
So how then to appear not desperate and yet constantly push yourself because in reality you are desperate. How to act cool when you are not cool but an awkward weirdo and a loner. I heard on the radio this afternoon that in business that contacts and networking are highly important if not essential to success so social skills are just as important as intelligence or technical knowledge of a subject. If that’s the case perhaps they should teach social skills at school instead of Geography, History or French. None of which have been any use whatsoever to me in real life.
If you think about friends and friendship you soon start to see that even the most vile obnoxious people have friends, they just choose like minded people like nazis having nazi friends,chavs having chavvy friends, racists having racist friends and left wing extremists having left wing extremist friends. All that it takes is not being shy. Its pretty much the same for relationships. Ugly, stupid, ignorant? They all get someone.
The point is that you might have a great personality and morals but your shyness stops you getting friends or a partner so you then think everyone hates you for being a bad person. BOLLOCKS! The biggest c**ts in the world have c**ty friends as they are just not shy. The only thing stopping you getting like minded friends is therefore your shyness and your personality may still be wonderful.(or not). This is why extreme shyness is not a minor problem. Its stops the best of people from succeeding or even living normal lives while the people you know are no better than you or even total scum are on facebook with their oh so happy normal lives.
It’s impossible not to think about the terrible events in Paris as I watched the minute silence on TV this morning in the aftermath of the death and carnage. Mankind has always used religion to his advantage and his changed it at his whim. Look at the crusades.Seems all religion is based in peace and goodwill but the brain of mankind is based in fighting and war. Diversity is not always a reason to celebrate. In fact its the very differences of the terrorists beliefs and ideology that makes them want to fight and kill anyone that does not agree with them. The vast majority of British muslims are peaceful and moderate and yet 27% of them actually had sympathy for the terrorists in the Charlie Hebdo attacks last January and 1 in 10 thought the attacks were fully justified. As the UK muslim population is 2.71 million that’s approximately 270,000 people who supported terrorism. In 2006 a survey revealed 40 %of British muslims wanted sharia law in the uk and that’s probably increased or changed little since. People being afraid to talk or question such things for fear of offending people is precisely why the problem has increased.Tolerance goes both ways. Religious brainwashing is just as dangerous as political brainwashing. In fact seeing some of a documentary on the KKK the other week reminded me of political rallies in the middle east. This may go on for many years if indeed it ever stops.
The French national anthem is truly magnificent even if I dont understand the words.
Viva France, Vive la liberté!
It’s been another fairly dull uneventful week at home but I strangely feel better today. I wish I had more control over my brain. There must be some way to make it work better.Alcohol doesn’t work unfortunately. It’s also hard not to feel sad and depressed about the events in Paris or believe that this is not the future for Britain and western countries for many years to come.There was still very little sun again this week so I only went on a local walk. This is Abbey Park in Leicester where the remains of Cardinal Wolsey are buried who was close advisor to Henry VIII. Not a good move.