Down

 

I just watched a video by someone with SA who goes around asking strangers questions, not just normal directions or what time is it but things like can you tell me the way to the moon? Have you seen my cat and then he takes out a silly drawing. It sounds weird but I suppose its a stage beyond normal talk and may be of help in breaking down barriers, making people laugh and putting yourself in awkward situations in order to get used to them. I think its very brave actually especially as his accent is eastern European and not as easily understood. You would have to be careful what type of people you choose to talk to though as some may be violent.

The problem is I am not even at any stage near that which is why I think depression is overriding all other emotions. I think after 10 years of near isolation and very little talk with strangers even the simple things are difficult and becoming worse. I have difficulty even speaking to supermarket staff and am sure I come across as a miserable bastard. I know I find it hard to impossible to smile, make eye contact, keep a normal looking face. I still have trouble actually speaking in that my voice becomes weak and I physically find it hard to get words out sometimes even when I force myself.

But above all I feel so incredibly unhappy, irritable and hopeless that I dont have the slightest motivation to try new things and cant stop thinking its too late now. Every single thing I read on self help sites looks absolutely useless to me. They all assume so much which is not possible. I have very little fight left and am more tired and bored each day. The pull of eternity seems more and more appealing as time passes. I did think once there may be a way but all possible solutions turn out to be dead ends or lies.

Alone

Of all the regrets I have because of social anxiety the biggest is that of being alone. Finding someone is the reason for life. I know sex can be wonderful if people are in the right relationship and all some people want but I yearn most for companionship. Someone to walk up with, to be beside at night. To share all of life with and to know completely. A love to grow old together with shared memories, good ones and also some bad. To have total loyalty to them and know you will get it back unconditionally. To cuddle, to hold, to cry with someone and grow old with them. To laugh and joke and just be silly with. That so many people have had at least some degree of this if not always the love of their lives and I have always had nothing entirely due to chance and a freak upbringing and the resulting anxiety is an ache to me that is so great it’s impossible to put into words. It brings such fury I could kill and yet also such sadness I have often wanted to end everything.

 

I saw a young couple when I was out last night doing my usual lone photography thing as an excuse to leave the house. There was nothing special about them, they made small talk and seemed to be on a date. All I could think of was how did this happen to me. How on earth could I have been so freakish that it never even happened once, not one date, barely a conversation with an attractive female and certainly no flirting or kissing or anything else? Years go by so quick. Pretty soon its too late. They often say it never is, they lie. With age the chances of success in almost anything diminish massively.Yet almost everyone just sort of does it instinctively and yes I know it’s so easy to imagine everyone finds it effortless when they don’t but they still all do it, go out every weekend, dating, being normal, and having relationships. No matter what they look like or how they behave it seems. Look at how many young men are complete idiots and not really nice and yet it doesn’t seem to matter. How? I might as well of been brought up in a small village where I never came across strangers at all. Yet I worked at a large company in a large city for 20 years and yet barely had a pleasant conversation with any female ever. I know there may be other things at play like human behaviour such as men being expected to initiate talk with females most of the time and women barely ever speak first to a man so shy men are much more likely to stay alone and also the thing of quiet men being seen as weird and creepy then avoided but it’s still hard to believe or accept when so many arseholes I worked with are now on Facebook with families.

Toxic Shame

People shame others for being a virgin past a certain age as if its akin to some crime, they shame you if you are single for too long,if you are unemployed for too long or even if you are in a crappy job for too long.  The way you look and dress obviously and also the things you say. Yet many of these and other things are often due to mental or physical problems. So in effect its often ridiculing people for some kind of disability. Yet while many prejudices are now frowned upon you still get hosts of TV shows openly making jokes about the above and getting laughter from the audience. One I have seen a few times is if a male(always a male)has some kind of particular or weird hobby and interest he is asked sneeringly “Do you have a girlfriend? ” the insinuation being that he is too strange to get a mate and is thus open to ridicule.

I think this and many other types of ridiculing still take place quite openly in society without any thought. So if you have things wrong with you then you often dont go to events and meet people due to this fear of ridicule. Of course you are avoidant as you fear yet more ridicule and more shame. I have spoken before that I had a very low sex drive and did not even ejaculate until I was 27 so of course I was confused and not chasing women or going out with people my own age. That’s even without the crippling shyness. Even now when I think about a walking or photography meet up(I have given up on anxiety meets ups as the people on the forums have put me off!)I am fearful of having to explain my long term unemployment as I know a good proportion of people think its just laziness(yes, laziness, I used to walk over 40 miles per week!) or making excuses and my paranoia goes into overdrive. Explaining being single and always being single is hard. Some people may be understanding but in a group situation many aren’t and the occasional comment would make it unbearable.

Big Night Out

 

So I went out to an event on Saturday evening. No, don’t get excited, it was nothing social. It was one of those drumming and pyrotechnic displays which look very good in the dark and have become quite popular in city festivals in recent years. It was staged on a city centre park so was not far away and thankfully meant no public transport. I don’t think I would have gone if it was not for the photography aspect and love of trying to capture pictures. I quite enjoyed it and doing such things does lift or at least change the mood somewhat although being totally alone among crowds of people almost all with friends and family can still unsettle me. It always does. The paranoid weird loner syndrome. I have never gotten used to it after going to such things for over 10 years. When I have been to similar events with a friend I have felt much more relaxed and at ease even though to most strangers they would never know the difference.

 

Coming home is of equal interest to me, especially after 10PM on a Saturday night which would probably be quite early for many. You see large groups of youngish and even middle aged people hanging around pubs and bars and dressed up especially for the occasion. Young women all going out in their finest clothes in groups for support. Lots of young men, many already drunk and making idiots of themselves. Their Saturday night out. They have most probably been doing this since leaving school and it’s perfectly normal. They think everyone does it. Yet to me its as alien as going to live in Mongolia in a yurt while farming yaks. I’ve never been out on a Saturday night, tried to chat girls up, been dancing or been to such places. It has never appealed to me but I never really made friend to go out to such places with anyway and only sad losers turn up alone. It really is as unknown to me as it would be to an Amazonian warrior coming to live here. Part of me is jealous as to the things I missed out on due to this such as a wife/ partner and family but I think I would have rather gotten them another way rather than the typical drunken Saturday night way. I imagine if I had not quit college and been somewhat normal I would have made friends at university and gone to places and shared my time with them. Perhaps if I had then I would have enjoyed Saturday nights out and seen then as normal myself. It doesn’t matter in the end though. I can think of “What if? “moments for years to no avail. Anxiety crushed every aspect of normal life and left me with just hopes and dreams which gradually become more unrealistic with age.

Anxiety V Depression

Do depression and anxiety fight each other making the combination uniquely placed to make recovery nigh impossible? If you are depressed they often advice meeting people like friends or talk to others yet I have no friends nearby and the anxiety makes any group speak in front of total strangers almost impossible. Like speaking in front of the class at school. God I still cringe thinking about Drama and English classes.

For social anxiety they also advise meeting people and yet you are then expected to smile and be positive and think of interesting things to say in order to bond and to make friends and yet the depression makes you as miserable as death, highly irritable and not interested in anything they say or do. Anxiety makes meeting strangers painful. Depression makes meeting strangers painful. Together they combine to make the perfect storm. The mental illness paradox. Got to be positive and happy to make friends, but I’m depressed! Got to be social to meet people but I am cripplingly shy! I can only imagine the awkward silences on some social anxiety meets! In all scenarios your personality makes normal people dislike you and never want to see you again making you stay alone, give up and get worse.  However normal people mistake depression for nastiness and shyness for being rude or not interested. How wrong they were. Especially some of the girls at work who I still remember and even now look up on Facebook. Now happily married with children of course. Oh the pain and the regrets and the feelings of it could have been me. And yet if I went back in time tomorrow I would almost certainly still be no better.

 

 

Exposure

Exposure,

Space is what I need it’s what I feed on.

Peter Gabriel

I have to say that having looked at more videos on CBT I feel far worse and quite hopeless again. All that CBT appears to be is saying is go do stuff you hate and which makes your anxiety much worse and hope you get used to it which was pretty much the advice for shyness since I was a kid by anyone with no medical knowledge at all. Do they then guilt trip you for not doing it properly or enough because yes I could do with yet even more guilt. That wont make me suicidal and push me over the edge at all. Of course any failure to comply is seen as you not being prepared to put in the hard work or make enough of an effort so once again death becomes the only sensible way out. As I kept thinking all along , there really is no or little help. CBT doesn’t work for 1 out of 4 people with SA so you do all that and then are still shy, probably abandoned and more anxious to go back begging from your GP again.This is of course assuming that your GP will even refer you for therapy. From what I have read over the years on anxiety forums many dont, even get angry or abusive if you ask for it and it sometimes takes much effort to get anything done at all.

 

They also all say you have to be committed to the idea and motivated when I have absolutely no f**king motivation at all.  I feel like crying or punching myself in the head most days and some therapists will insist I go and speak to strangers and also say I have to be friendly and then insist I do more and more each week.Then you are supposed to challenge negative thinking when all the things mentioned happened to me and I did not always overreact or imagine things. Its like going to a party or event. if you act shy no one wants to see you again so you dont learn or get used to it as CBT dictates. You become an outcast and branded weird. In 20 years at my last job I never even got invited to a party once. That’s because I was so shy I did not even get to the stage of being friends with most people or accepted so no one wanted me to go their party as they disliked me. Who wants the work weirdo to go to their party?  No wonder George Best drank himself to death.

Self help? (Yes again!)

I was looking at self help and online support for depression so I visited the NHS website which came up on google first. I just came up with a score of 24/27 on how depressed are you but still doubt I would be taken seriously as I have made no suicide attempts yet.They have a list of helpful sites and organisations for depression so I went through them. Quite surprisingly the depression alliance doesn’t have a group in my city at all(one of the biggest in England) but the nearest is 22 miles away and I dont drive. Mind you with my SA there is no way I could speak in front of other people in a group anyway.

Next Sane, they have an online forum which may be worth looking at. However I have a bad history of online self forums and then people blaming me for not doing enough or acting in the right way. Its like the advice for getting on with people better on a shyness forum was to stop acting so shy. I wonder if they say stop acting so miserable on a depression forum!

Big White Wall. Looks quite good with loads of information. Then you type in your area and are told not available. Strange. I wonder what areas it is available .It doesn’t say.if its the NHS website they should really try and have organisations that are nationwide rather than just in a few cities.

Depression UK. Not really a lot going on but they do have a Facebook page.

 

Thoughts on Therapy

Although a wide range of people respond well to cognitive behavioural therapy, experts point out that the type of person likely to get the most benefit is someone who:

  • Is motivated
  • Sees him or herself as able to control the events that happen around them
  • Has the capacity for introspection

 

Well I certainly dont qualify for the first two.There seems to be only two things a doctor can do for anxiety apart from ignore you. First is give you pills to calm you down if you are hysterical. Second is some kind of therapy. The most popular is CBT these days so I wanted to look up the sort of thing it entails and what they want you to do. The first problem is depression though. Although chronic social anxiety often results in depression due to a complete breakdown in a normal life regarding job, relationships and friends some CBT for anxiety seems to demand an enthusiasm and motivation to overcome your problems and as stated before I have absolutely none. I read that CBT for depression is completely different than that for anxiety so would I have to be completely cured of depression and negativity first(brainwashed?) before even looking at CBT for anxiety?

Next I read that CBT only works for about half people for depression and three quarters for anxiety which doesn’t sound too promising especially as I am in that cynical,negative mindset rather than the “Carpe diem” category. Its probably worse at my age and for those who are not optimistic. Is that my normal negative thinking or simply the truth? You see getting a job after many years of long term unemployment at my age is much harder for even a normal person so good reason to be depressed then. I also have a problem doing any physical work as I have joint problems which meant I was once taking 20 painkillers a day and after seeing  the doctor several times he refused to treat me any further, seemed to think I was making the whole thing up and I had to change jobs at the time in the company I worked for.  A relationship is just as bad as I have chronic intimacy issues, didn’t manage to ejaculate until I was 27 and my brain still thinks its about 27 anyway and only fancies females roughly the same age and I find almost all people my own age very ugly.  So the best I could hope for is some kind of job I could manage in to stop myself becoming homeless and maybe the odd friend to do stuff with if I am lucky. Living life to the full my arse! Hanging on by a thread more like.

The problem with CBT for depression on the NHS is that it might be  group therapy to save money like it was with my friend who was put in a group of people who had many different anxiety problems and having SA as well I will clam up and not speak in front of any group of strangers or talk about personal problems making such treatment absolutely useless. Also I have heard in any group CBT you get the peer pressure effect where people who think they are doing loads actually get angry at those who they dont think are doing enough as if they then have no right to get better so I would probably attack them. I mean literally. I cant stand those sort of people.

It may be depression but every time I read about CBT treatment it seems so absolutely useless and hopeless to me that I want to kill myself again. Its like they really have no idea and try any old crap and then blame you for not trying hard enough. I dont like the idea of being told to do homework and tasks each week and having to discuss them especially if in a group. Go and ask strangers in the street for directions! Go and sit in a cafe alone and enjoy it! Bollocks.I still think that many so called irrational thoughts are actually quite true and most normal people are incredibly judgemental. Nevertheless I will try and find more information online on what it actually entails and what people who did it really thought. Not just the positive ones though, they just annoy me.

 

 

Diary of the insane

It is a sunny Friday afternoon. It must be nice to sit in the garden and do nothing, maybe read like lots of people do and not worry. I can’t. My anxiety is so strong at the moment I am trying to stop the urge to drink at lunchtime or punch myself in he head again, a common throwback to my teenage years in moments of stress. Self harm in a way but without the messiness of blood like cutting. It feels like a build up of pressure in my brain mixed with some kind of pain but I don’t know how to describe it. I almost want to cut it out with a knife and burn it.

I woke early and did not sleep well last night after drinking too much, the most in weeks. That’s what my anxiety craves, a moment of relief to drench the flames of despair but alcohol always comes back to gain its revenge the next day .I went for a walk instead. As I have said before I don’t know why they advice walking for depression as if they assume we all live in the Lake District and skip amongst the flowers and butterflies in some kind of heavenly nirvana. In reality I live in the city, the same one all my life and almost all walks are boring and don’t make me feel much better especially in the heat of summer and with lots of people about. Pollution and traffic on crowded hot roads and the parks full of families and sunbathers. Not good for my mood. It stopped me drinking but has not made me any happier.Much of life just about filling in the bad depressing parts of the day until evening again when I will no doubt drink some more.

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