Washing of the Water

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep
In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

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I have realised that the only way I am coping is by avoidance. I had kept busy for the last two weeks and had a set routine. After a bad Thursday I had another long walk yesterday and felt much better in the evening but today I am feeling quite stressed and anxious again. The problem is every time I look online at help and  therapy for social anxiety I dont just get depressed but totally stressed out and hopeless. I could not sleep for hours again and felt shit the next day  The CBT exposure therapy which is so popular for SA looks like a pile of shit to me. By that I mean I am simply not doing what they tell you to do so there is absolutely no point going. One guy on youtube was told to do three separate things a day for a week. These include asking strangers the time, going to bars and cafes alone and even knocking cutlery in the floor on purpose to be the centre of attention. These sound like the very first things in an ever increasing scale. I am not even interested. Many other situations include smiling, being polite, being friendly and even optimistic when I am very depressed and have no motivation whatsoever. I have just been into town and even that has made me feel highly agitated.

So the next step is to look for help with depression. However I think much of this involves making out you are massively overreacting and as I have said countless times already I am going to become homeless if I dont get a job so its not overreacting at all. I am not entitled to any benefits as I have not paid NI contributions for many years so have no help in that regards so it really is as bad as it looks and of course I cant do physical work as my legs ache too much and I might need a hip operation. I am going to try and take it steady until Christmas but in the new year I have to start putting some plans together, not to recover and live but to die.

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7 thoughts on “Washing of the Water

  1. Don’t give up! Social Anxiety and depression are overlapping and linked. Avoidance is a coping strategy, just not a great one in the long term but very useful at times. I think the exposure therapy is great in theory but useless in practise as everyone is at different stages of being able to challenge themselves and with different things. Knocking cutlery on the floor would cause me incredible anxiety and yet not worry someone else. The problem with these programs and I have tried many of them with myself and my son, is that they are run by people who had no idea of the terror social anxiety can provoke, yet they try to give advice to deal with it…. You have to work out a plan of challenges for yourself, that you can cope with, baby steps that put you a little out of your comfort zone but not so much as to freak you completely out. Only you can decide this for yourself as you know yourself best. Make use of any supportive family or friends you have at times when your emotions and energy bottom out. Don’t give up. My son was at the extreme end of social anxiety but has managed to claw his way back and has a life and a degree of contentment he never thought possible 7 years ago. Hang in there, and do spoil yourself a little.

    • Thanks for your reply but even if I were to see a therapist I think it would need to be Super-therapist possibly with a brain transplant to be able to help me now.

      • In my experience, doctors/ therapists don’t have the answers. They just fill in the time, either with medication or techniques that might ameliorate the symptoms until you reach a place in your head that you are able to process and deal with whatever is bothering you. Don’t give up.

  2. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re still struggling. I found much the same when I first started exposure therapy for SA – the psychologists I saw had absolutely no grasp of how bad my anxiety was and expected me to do things that I would’ve found utterly impossible at the time (and even now), such as joining a drama or singing group. You will know far better than any mental health professional what situations you are ready for and which situations are currently out of the question for you. Everyone has a different starting point in their battle against anxiety. Choose something relatively easy and not completely out of your comfort zone for your first few exposures (I’m not you so I’m afraid I can’t provide any examples as to what this might be).

    You have a lot on your plate, and no one is minimising how tough your situation is, but I still think that getting treatment for your depression is really important. Cognitive distortions will undoubtedly be part of your depression and anxiety.

    As for the possibility of becoming homeless, is there any chance that you would be able to cope with seasonal work? For example, I worked as a Christmas casual at the Royal Mail twice before, and they will accept pretty much anyone. The interview is really informal (you’re not even asked any questions except to confirm your personal information and whether or not you have a criminal record), and I doubt that your long-term unemployment would be an issue. I’m not going to lie, it probably would still be very anxiety-provoking for you at first, but you could try to ask at the interview to be put on letter-sorting (in which case you’re left to your own devices and don’t have to interact with others unless you want to), which also means that you could sit down and not make your legs/ hip any worse. I don’t know…perhaps it wasn’t my place to say, but I just want to try and help if I can. Obviously, if this is too much, that’s completely understandable.

    I’m really sorry that you’re still feeling suicidal. I really wish there was something I could do. I just wanted to say that I’m sure your blog has made many people in similar situations feel less alone, and it has also provided much needed awareness into how debilitating and how serious life-long social anxiety can be.

    • Thanks for your reply Gemma, I don’t really know now, I often feel so confused and almost too far gone to escape. I could probably go into some places and do OK once I got used to it as I worked in an office for the last 6 years of my job but the interview and shame associated with long term unemployment makes me freeze up. I would like to go to my GP at least once to see if they do indeed offer any help at all or just fob me off and talk about exercise etc. As for exposure therapy I don’t have any idea of even basic stuff I could do as I don’t usually go out much any more. Even making small talk with cashiers which I have seen as an example simply doesn’t work if feeling depressed.

      • Yes, I can only imagine how tough that must be. I really hope you are able to speak to an understanding GP. If possible, try to be as honest with them as you can about how much your anxiety and depression affect the quality of your life. Is medication something you would consider?

      • Yes, probably. I think hearing so many negative experiences from people on the anxiety forum has made me feel less optimistic but as someone else said what have I got to lose. I was hoping to meet my new GP after not going for 18 years but on three occasions I have been this year I have seen the nurse and two other doctors so still have no idea what kind of person he is.

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