Still Guilty

One of the biggest problems I still have with social anxiety is the guilt associated with it. As its supposedly all in the mind then its often seen as simply all your fault for not doing enough to recover. Now of course if you dont have any help then you are the only one that can possibly change your situation. However is it really all your fault? You have anxiety almost entirely due to upbringing and circumstances so did not choose it.  Most people although they feel nervous when in social situations it does not affect their social life or career prospects so everybody does not feel the same level of nerves at all.

If you do eventually get CBT then exposure therapy feels more like a punishment to me. They say you do only what you are comfortable with and then do more in a graded exposure and yet when I see people on YouTube videos they look terrified. Highly effective? it only helps 3 out of 4 people. No pain no gain? Yet most normal people who succeed and have fairly normal lives dont have to go through this level of pain at all to live normal lives. If the guilt which implies its all my fault is supposed to give me the motivation to face my fears and make me feel ashamed for not trying then all it does is make me want to commit suicide. Hardly surprising when guilt and shame are some of the key ingredients of suicide.

The wrong kind of mad

Its been quite a bad few weeks. My anxiety and more importantly depression has increased to the point where I am contemplating death almost daily as I see no other way out.  Nothing works and my head feels like its in a vice much of the day. I have stopped going out and become even more avoidant.Its not social anxiety as I dont speak to anyone for weeks anyway. These are other mental problems which have gathered pace. I can only point their increase to one thing. Looking online for help. The thing I keep seeing ad infinitum for anxiety is CBT. This usually means doing stuff that makes you anxious in the hope you get used to it and then doing even more stuff that makes you even more anxious until you dont care any more

I dont know where to start really. Online help experts imply that I am mental so am not thinking clearly so should believe the therapist and that CBT works. Thats ignoring that I could even get CBT and that many NHS therapists appear to be borderline insane themselves. Group therapy which is often more easily available appears be even worse as you are expected to talk in front of people so I would not open up. I mean how to explain that my penis only started working at age 27 so dating was a no go anyway and that I feel so angry most day I want to attack people.

You are expected to make a hierarchy list of anxiety fears and then go through them. Although you are supposed to only do the easier ones first and get used to it before moving on the very thought that I would be expected to do the harder ones would overwhelm me and almost certainly ensure I did not go back. As said before even making small talk with tesco staff is a non starter and ignores the obvious fact that you are supposed to smile, engage, speak with optimism, not go blank if they answer back and think of other sentences after your first one even assuming you get a positive response and they dont think I am creepy weirdo.

Speaking of creepy weirdo then there is my age. Older men who are shy are always considered creepy as we are all ageist.As I am over 45 the humiliation is that much greater especially if it was in a group and full of younger people and with optimism and partners. I have no motivation as my depression has been getting much worse and despite the fact that depression often accompanies long term social anxiety the self help sites all say that that CBT works best for people that are highly motivated. Just like online I would probably annoy them with my negativity and daring to answer back. There is simply no way I am going to ask strangers on the street for directions for 1 hour. You have to do things this long so you get used t them apparently.The more I have looked for help the more I see there isn’t any. people like to pretend there is as it makes them feel better about humanity but in many ways we are back in the dark ages. In fact I have read that if you are too depressed or ill they wont even see you. You have to be the right kind of mad, not too mad, not too well but somewhere in the middle.

Look Away

You followed me
When I said no
You lay with me when there was nowhere safe to go.
We made some friends
but now it’s done
I always knew that we would never find the sun.

Its strange it has taken so long but after all this time, maybe as its now too late and I know its never going to happen but I feel jealous of fathers and would like to have had children and a family. But I have said before shyness out-trumps almost all other mental conditions when it comes to relationships and having children. The good, the bad and the ugly all have children it seems but not the chronically shy. And then they(the self help gurus and forums) blame you for not dong enough as if this is all self inflicted and just because you are a coward for not trying hard enough. Bollocks.

There are so many bad fathers, they dont have bravery,they are just not shy or have mental problems, they easily impress and chat young women up, easily have sex and before they know it a baby is born, often unwanted. Some people I knew from work and were total idiots are on Facebook with pictures of their happy kids. I wonder what their kids would think when they are older if they knew their dad had porn all over their work computer.Its all a random series of events, happiness, misery, being alive and having kids.  People think its because they did hard work to achieve it which is really like people thinking how much work they did to get to be prime minister and ignoring that 19 of them went to Eton and 8 to  Harrow.Hard work and coincidence,maybe good luck.

Then of course there are so many wonderful and loved parents that die too young and leave their children to grow up without them. I had a TV show on my Sky box for months and then when I finally watched it as it was for Stand up to cancer night and after it they showed a family whose mother died slowly to leave the father and two children alone. However that was not the end. The next year the youngest son also developed cancer and died. It made me weep.

Random Cheeses of the Midlands

Why on earth would you go to therapy and willingly make a hierarchy list of things you fear when you know the therapist is going to ask you to go through them one by one as part of exposure therapy? Its like admitting you fear being buried alive and then knowing someone is then going to do it to you in the vain hope you get used to it.But of course being buried alive is not a condition of a normal life whereas speaking to other humans is. Every time I look at CBT exposure therapy online and my God there is tons of stuff to download it takes away any last glimmer of hope and makes the claim that there is a cure for chronic shyness a complete lie.

Then there are just so many examples of therapy where they assume you must have a friend or friends to do stuff with or that you are just overreacting when all evidence points to the contrary. A ludicrous example of this is writing down each day things you are proud of or things you have done or achieved to motivate you. I would be lucky thinking of three things per year, no, make that decade. Brainwashing techniques by secret government organisations would probably be more useful.

In other news I got my first irritating reply from someone making a sarcastic comment to one of my posts so I marked it as spam. F**k him. this is no recovery or self help blog as I frequently mention. Its the reality of being a real life 40+ virgin and long term unemployed loner in  a world that treats you with contempt and as a loser. Actually considering how much bullshit I have posted here its quite astounding I have not gotten any more offensive replies.Being mentally insane is now my excuse for everything. Just be yourself even if its a C**T!

Enemy at the Gates

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I forced myself to go out on Wednesday afternoon as I was getting very anxious but it was sunny and the warmest day of the year so far. I hated it and didn’t enjoy it at all. I have made hundreds of walks over the last 12 years and have hated quite a lot of them. Exercise doesn’t always help anxiety.In fact once I even threw my camera in a ditch as I got so  irritated.Walks often dont work in the slightest to help my mental health and I hate them as much as shopping at the local supermarket. Its because everywhere I go there are people.

I think the main reason for this is that I have come to see all people as the potential enemy and everywhere I go is crowded  so I still feel anxious. Thats because I speak to virtually no one for weeks any-more. Its like I read about someone who was physically disabled and living in medieval England. As they were so ridiculed and abused for their disability they came to see all strangers as the potential enemy and as a result they were hostile to almost everyone unless they knew them and began to trust them. I realised that was now me. That is how I have began to see the world and all strangers.  Even on the anxiety forum I use I have stopped posting regularly and now see almost all of them as the potential enemy.  I dont get support as I dont give any. Mind you the worse my anxiety has got the harder it is to empathise or see other people’s points of view. I think its like the mind shutting down to look after itself and as such becomes selfish and self obsessed. Its hard to get out of as I shut things out to save me from pain so stop caring.

I was looking at private therapists in my area today but wonder if there is any point any more as my negativity and lack of hope have escalated hugely.  Even with a different mindset looking for work after so many years of unemployment and with no good explanation for such an enormous gap in my work history would almost certainly result in rejection which would create depression and send me back into the abyss again. Thats is because even after years of mental illness making me see things unclearly and think the worst the undeniable fact is that much of modern life is still about survival of the fittest and if something is wrong with you then the vast majority of people judge you,condemn you and dont wont anything to do with you. All of this therapy and self help is about trying to change our behaviour to be like them in order to be accepted by them whether in work or in a relationship. Being mental is the same as being faulty and must be rejected.

Social Mishap Therapy? WTF?

 

Hofmann: The definition of a mental disorder is that it causes either significant distress, and/or significant interference in one’s life. So you might be able to perform normally during daily life, but you’re terribly distressed around these social situations, such as meeting people, giving speeches, or doing things in front of people. It causes you such a level of distress that causes you to want to get help.

Well at least I know I am mental then, over 45 and never had a relationship, a virgin, quit college after 2 days, worked in a menial job for 20 years and never progressed, after being made redundant have not worked again in many, many years, have no daily contact with any other humans and virtually never socialises, is suicidally depressed etc,

Hofmann: Initially, we use speaking in front of the rest of the group. In the seventh or eighth session, we go on to do more individualized exposure treatments, constructing something that we would call a “social mishap” exercise. We expose them to their worst-case scenario. For example, if someone is not engaging in any dating behaviours because they are concerned about being rejected, we would ask them to go to a restaurant and ask every woman at the table for her number. And obviously, he would get rejected a lot, and that’s the purpose of it.We script it very clearly. We say, you’re going to go in there now, and say the following: : “Hi, I like your face. Would you like to go out with me? Would you like to give me your number?” And she would obviously say, “No, go away, you freak,” or something, and that would be desirable. That would be perfect.

This is almost hilarious its so insane.Perfect? because the more humiliating it is the better? If you want humiliation then why not walk up and down the street all day in your underpants while making animal noises? Would that cure you of shyness or would they put you in an asylum? You see that’s why I dont go for help. I would need a gun put at my head to force me to go through that and would probably choose death instead. And you never get used to graded exposure therapy as they keep adding more and more. It also takes in no account for depression, paranoia and other mental behaviour.In fact from what I can tell after reading much online literature on CBT there are so many differing methods and variations the treatment appears to still be in its infancy and will no doubt one day be laughed at as primitive.

No normal man would go asking every woman in a restaurant to go out with them so asking the world shyest men(who probably stammer, blush and act awkward)is insane to me. Are shy people so scared of authority figures that if the therapist told then to cut their own testicles off with a rusty knife they would do it? I know its their 8th session but if it makes you feel that nervous that death is a viable alternative then the therapy does not work. Mind you I am much older than most people with SA and also more depressed and more pessimistic. Perhaps having a penis that didn’t work until I was 27 had something to do with it, I dont know any more. The point is looking for help online and finding out that all therapy for CBT is based on making a big twat of yourself again and again and again until you dont give a F**k any-more has put me off seeking therapy(even if I could get any on the NHS and after a 6 month wait if you are lucky) and that death is actually a much more sensible and logical solution. However any failure is seen as more avoidance and thus they are always validated.

Stuck in the middle

Slowly Build Confidence

Instead of throwing yourself into situations that cause you dread and fear, the idea behind exposures is to slowly build up your confidence and ability to cope by gradually facing more difficult situations.For example, you might start out making small talk with a cashier and work your way up to eventually hosting a party at your home.

Actually I think speaking to a cashier is just about as hard as anything I could think of doing right now. If its an attractive female I will fear making an idiot of myself as I have done so often in the past, if its a younger attractive female(remember I am over 40) I will feel like a dirty old man and still make an idiot of myself. I have no subject matter to talk about as I never go anywhere or do anything,the weather? again and again and again? Oh look its cloudy! Its still cloudy. its cloudy again tomorrow! Making small talk with a stranger anywhere about anything is one of the hardest things I  can think of doing. When it goes wrong as it often has I go over it in my head sometimes for years later and it makes me far more avoidant. I often stammer and my voice goes weak and I cant think of relevant answer or starting subjects.In the past I used to blush crimson red if an attractive girl even looked at me and I am afraid of this coming back as most of my past anxieties including chronic insomnia have in the last year. My jaw also stops stops working and I have difficulty even speaking coherently.. I only took something faulty back to Argos last week and I still felt awkward.

When I fail I feel an absolute fool and it makes me feel much worse and then I would have to avoid the same cashier and even supermarket again and the nearest big one is miles away.I have not even talked about my general anxiety getting progressively worse over the last 3 years which has made me feel much angrier and irritated and of course I am very miserable and feel I have no hope, no optimism and contemplate death. Even going to the shops and speaking to  no one makes me feel anxious. Reading all these so called self help sites they all seem to assume everyone is about 21-25 and have the rest of their lives left and must have some friends and family for support. Even the shyest people still have relationships and sex,well not me. Hosting a party at my own home? I might as well run to be Prime Minister.  I have not found any online advice yet which seems doable or even offers the slightest glimmer of hope.

Survival

Unfortunately, studies show that exposure alone fails to fully treat social phobia. Exposing oneself to a feared situation is bloody hard. Many patients either fail to engage with or drop out of exposure therapy. According to Veale (2003), only 50% of those completing the full course of exposure therapy will be successfully treated, with those suffering from depressed mood, avoidant personality type or an “intolerance of (strong) emotions” more likely to fail.

I found this on another site. I pretty much agree and think its obvious. One poster on the anxiety forum completed a course of CBT and went back to the doctor as they were still not much better and said he basically through the leaflet on CBT back at her and said there wasn’t anything else. Its strange why so many people seem to think doctors are so great and there is loads of help out there when evidence from so many people on social anxiety forums suggests that not only do many doctors still not take social anxiety seriously but treat patients with near contempt or annoyance if they go back for help.

Of course CBT for social anxiety is pointless if you are depressed as it demands enthusiasm and positivity. To even make small talk with a cashier requires smiling or a pleasant demeanour and when nervous or irritable this is simply not going to happen or gets a poor response which only increases negativity. The past two weeks have been hell again and my irritability has sky rocketed. Even forcing myself to go on walks or do other things did not improve my mood in the slightest and made the whole thing depressing. On the way home on Saturday afternoon from yet another boring walk I just sat at the bus stop and wanted to lie down and die. Life is just a series of random events and coincidences and has no point.

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