And you may say to yourself yourself
My God!…What have I done?!
Oh dear, I may have agreed to do something stupid. My one and only friend had asked me to go on holiday with her and her family members for a week to a holiday cottage. Its only in the UK but a few hours drive away and somewhere I would like to go. Now almost all social anxiety advice will advocate go, go go! what have you got to lose? well my life maybe as if it goes badly then I will come home and feel suicidal again , the depression will get worse, I will drink heavily and punch myself in the head,etc,etc.
You see being forced to socialise and mix with 4 strangers when my irritation, depression and moods have been so low for so long is an enormous gamble. I have already looked for an escape route via a train but as its in the UK and our trains are extortionate its £156 one way back. I leave tomorrow to see her and leave for the place on Saturday and feel quite sick. In fact I pretty much feel like the picture of beaker above at the moment,dont panic! If this goes badly it may be the last thing like this I ever do. I have already imagined every scenario and see problems the whole time that most socially anxious people would. What to speak about when I do mostly nothing, how to speak, how to not appear as miserable as f**k , how to do normal things without appearing rude or strange, will I block the toilet or fart like a donkey. Will I sleep at all. To normal people all these fears are fantasy and thinking the worst. To me they have all come true many times over the years and stopped me believing in recovery.
I went out for a long walk yesterday. I sat down on a bench near the end of the day in the country park as I waited for the bus. I see some people look at me and immediately become self conscious. Not once but two or three times in 5 minutes.In the morning when I was taking pictures of an old tree I saw a young couple laughing as they went by. He said something and she looked back at me smiling as if he had just called me a c**t. Is that paranoid behaviour? To imagine people are laughing at me, mocking ? Its happened a million times before though. I have been out on walks now for over 10 years. Have I gotten used to them? No. Have they made me feel better and more confident? No. I still feel a lone man walking and taking pictures is a target for abuse. I think even lots of normal people love taking the piss out of others if they act in any way different. I bet 90% of these people think they are tolerant and accepting of all other people too. Everyone lies.Its human nature.
I keep reading CBT that starts with telling people to go to a coffee shop every week on their own. They assume that not getting attacked will prove its all delusional thinking and that we will then get better. Its never happened to me. Because I would be awkward, nervous and strange people would look at me. This would make me more nervous and act even weirder. I imagine the staff laughing at me as I go in each week and calling other staff so they could also come and laugh at me. That’s because its often chronic anxiety, not minor shyness.I have even got laughed at by strangers and on one memorable occasion punched in the face for walking in a strange manner so its obviously not all in my head. Now I imagine myself walking like John Cleese or a sasquatch so I am more avoidant so obviously exposure therapy only works if you are normal and dont have any major problems to begin with.Thats why they say do it on small steps but to me going to a coffee shop alone is like being dropped in the Atlantic ocean and told sink or swim. I’m depressed, anxious and alone. There is no way out I can see short of divine intervention. People tell you to sort your life out. I wish I knew how.
I’ve just read yet another self help site for social anxiety saying to keep negative people out of your life and to be more positive. The quote:”Be strong, be focused and be confident!!!!! And start each day with with positive, strong thoughts. Then that positivity will become your reality!”
Sounds great! How the flying F**k do I do that then? In a separate post he then goes on to talk about depression and how badly it effects you. Of course being depressed is negative so presumably everyone else has kept them out of their life because they are too negative thus actually increasing their anxiety and depression and negativity. Round and around we go.
Being optimistic and positive is a great asset to have especially if you have known little success or normality in your past life. Of course past success and especially your upbringing determine how much positivity you have and are unfortunately often out of your control like mentally insane parents. A negative mindset and chronic shyness has resulted in failure and misery which only keeps your mindset negative as nothing good ever happens..Just switching it on like a tap is much harder and why so many anxious people drink instead.
Society expects us to be positive, social and humorous especially if we are meeting friends or new people so as a negative shy person we instinctively avoid such situations as we fear rejection. AND YET they tell us to stop avoiding social interaction and situations to cure us. They insist we go out to meet new people, then they insist we act positive and friendly the first time we meet these new people. Once again my brain does not work that way.
Here is something quite positive and also beautiful in its own way. Its a chimpanzee playing a piano.I found it on a Peter Gabriel YouTube video. I worship him as a god. is that being positive or just delusional?
I mentioned before I joined elefriends a while ago. Its a site for people with mental health problems designed a bit like Facebook I suppose where people can leave messages and others reply to them. However like most sites I just read all these people speaking to each other and feel like I am on a different planet. It doesn’t get better or easier, it never does. I try to make some replies and comments to others but they are ignored. When I have made some myself they did get likes and the odd comment but as the site is quite popular any post is off page one in about 30 minutes and vanishes for all eternity. So dont make any posts late at night.I also dont know if the popular people just keep sending each other private messages or post every 30 minutes so they dont vanish. Otherwise how one earth do they make friends? I am however fascinated by watching other peoples behaviour. The new people come up and often have a photo of themselves.
I am interested if the better looking ones especially women get much more attention than others. probably, that seems common on all sites. Of course me being a paranoid nutcase I am far more reluctant to reply to attractive females in case they think I am just a perv so ignore them even more. That’s how madness works. Its doesn’t really matter though. As mentioned at least 183 times before the popular people know what to say, how to reply, emphasise and sympathise in all the right places and do witty banter in abundance. Myself in contrast feel like I have turned up at a funeral and started farting and making silly noises and other people just look at me in annoyance like a small child. I dont think I have aspergers or other mental health problems and yet I never learn or get better and am still socially inept. I fail, feel terrible and this increases my paranoia, anxiety and avoidance. Again why do they think that exposure therapy results in success when exposure to failure makes me worse. Just because I dont get physically injured during exposure does not in any way make me feel better and boost my confidence. Fight or flights in not just a response to a physical threat. Fear of humiliation and ridicule are just as important as a motivating factor. Mad people are lonely too.
I think almost everyone has certain days and times of day that make them feel bored, stressed and unhappy. Its could be driving in traffic jams, dealing with family members or annoying jobs at work. Anything really. I had them from when I was a kid. Sunday evenings before going back to school, a bullying older brother and bank holiday Mondays. Even though I pretty much hated school as I was very fat and very shy from the age of 5 onwards I also found little respite at home. As well as my brother I also had a mother who as part of her anxiety would rant and rage over anything and a father was was emotional retarded. They took me nowhere and made no effort at all to entertain me or play with me. So I started playing alone and being alone. What’s changed?
The bank holiday Monday was the worst day of all. We seldom went anywhere but if we did it was crowded and my dad being one of the worlds most anxiety ridden car drivers would complain and moan the whole time so it was often a relief to get home. Most often we would do nothing so watching very boring old films was the only thing to do. Even then as my dad was a chain smoker who barely got out his chair and just read books all afternoon it was not a particularly good place to be so I would go off and read alone. I just remember being bored witless and having that horrible feeling of frustration and not knowing what to do. Just a bad atmosphere. Those feelings never left. Although my parents are now long gone. I still get feelings of dread, being bored, restlessness. I could do anything in theory but as an anxiety ridden emotional wreck I still have no option but to watch boring bank holiday TV or walk alone in the rain. Nothing has changed really from the lonely little boy sitting in the back yard and having no idea what to do.