Do you really improve social anxiety by repetition alone?

Yes, another title with a question!  I was thinking that since all social anxiety advice in books demands you simply approach complete strangers repeatedly and make small talk without any advice whatsoever on what to say, what subjects to speak about apart from the weather,how to appear natural, how to use social skills how to appear friendly without being creepy (if you are a man speaking to women!) then does just doing it over and over again really make you better and why? And remember this is the easy first thing you are supposed to do!

I got better at work from copying the world chattiest guy in our office and watching how he put people(especially girls) at ease with his witty banter. The thing is he didn’t blush, stammer, sweat or act awkward though so did not get rejected. he made jokes constantly, he was cheeky constantly and he was friendly and relaxed at all times and laughed. The opposite of me then.

Yet if I approached women at bus stops or anywhere in the city and came across as awkward and nervous and boring and depressing they would more likely see me as a nuisance treat me with contempt and this would ruin my confidence and make me more avoidant and depressed.  Thus making a mockery of rejection therapy which sounds insane to me. They might as well call it suicide therapy.

And since all small talk with strangers demands positivity and WITTY banter from the off how do I not be depressed when i regularly feel suicidal as I see no possible future? This is just as important at a structured event like a photography meet up. Why on earth do people who advice this for social anxiety think it will get better and make me better unless you just assume I am full of witty banter and that all shy people are completely normal underneath?  I am not. After all these years I have burning anger and rage, massive paranoia and a deep fear of sexual intimacy.  I hate lots of people including lots on anxiety forums.

Does this mean all advice is biased from only that persons point of view ? They assume all their problems were the same or worse and now as they recovered think they are the worlds greatest expert. Is it all delusional and assumes almost everyone with SA is under 25 and compassionate, lovely. Is there in reality basically no cure for many people but we cant handle the truth so have to create a delusional fantasy world just to make ourselves feel better.  If you just follow a set of rules you are bound to recover and if you dont its because you simply did not do the hard work required?

If you are a woman would you really like a shy awkward guy speaking to you at a bus stop or anywhere else about the weather or quantum physics for that matter? Do you assume he  wants to F**k you or is he genuinely trying to just be friendly.  If you are attractive do you really get guys coming on to you all the time so you have to learn how to deal with it.  Do they annoy you? Remember as a man I have never had any women or girl come on to me anywhere ever so really have no clue what its like. Do you think him potentially dangerous if he acts awkward or nervous? Does it matter of he’s over 40 as the advice in all SA books does not take age into account at all and yet I would feel like a dirty old perv speaking to younger women.

Why is the advice not different for women considering that most women never make first contact with a man in public and a lone man could be dangerous and many men who had a friendly woman speak to them probably would think she was coming on to them. Should women with social anxiety only speak to other women or old aged pensioners then?

Why do therapists and some people who have offered advice to me on here in the past think it will go almost certainly go well and increase my confidence and that a 40+ male virgin who speaks to no one for months and think of suicide daily will make witty banter on some unknown subject matter to a total stranger at random? When I tried things like this at work it often, no usually went badly and I become much more avoidant.

If I went out tomorrow, apart from the weather that would sound lame to say the least I have got absolutely no subjects to speak about apart from to moan and whine as I once did at my dentist who said how depressed I sounded.! Then I did not go back for 10 years!  Don’t be yourself then. More shit advice! I have not worked in 13 years and never had a relationship so have no family. Stop pretending its just a matter of forcing myself to approach strangers and opening my mouth to cure anxiety.  Once again I conclude that therapists are f**king morons.

If you are this mad it would need a complete over haul of your personality first which would take tears and requite optimism and hope. For many people this is completely impossible. There simply is no help.



Suicide Prevention

“Calm, the charity that works to prevent male suicide, has installed 84 sculptures of men with a hood pulled over their faces on top of the ITV Tower to raise awareness of the number of men who take their lives every week.”

I went out for a walk yesterday and the day before. I hated both walks and felt worse. I feel waves of depression which is almost like a physical pain for hours at a time.Today is sunny  and the choice between yet another boring walk to the same places as before or doing housework is so depressing it makes me wish I was not here again. Yes, i think about suicide almost every day. Worse is when i wake up in the middle of the night after yet another stress related dream
On ITV this morning they has three daughters who lost a father to suicide. They were devastated. Yet of course I have no family to leave behind so no motivation. I do have one good friend who I would not like to upset but as I have said before I will inevitably become homeless anyway so will still leave her at some point. And being homeless means suicide immediately becomes a quite logical idea. And yet some people will demand there is loads of help for the homeless just as they lie about ………I mean claim that there is loads of help for mental health In truth the homeless in the UK is going up every year and there are more people lying on the pavement every time I go into town. Some help is not loads of help or anywhere near adequate. There are no depression or anxiety groups in my entire county on meetup.
Men should talk more. Yes, it may helps some but not everyone as some have no one and there depression is due to valid reasons rather than a chemical imbalance. I should see my GP and yet many people claim to have been treated like shit or a nuisance when they did eventually go. Will speaking to the Samaritans get me a job after all these years of unemployment? Of course not. Are my problems temporary? No, I’ve  had anxiety since I was a child and had a family who have never been close or helped whatsoever. Yet despite social anxiety which has been so bad I am a virgin at over 45 and depression that makes me punch the walls till my hand bleeds people still advise going to meet ups like I am bound to make the best of friends. Then they will probably get angry that I act anxious or depressed and not friendly enough!  Have you seen how angry ad irritable I get over even little things? Its hypocrisy and lies all the way when taking about mental health help.
I watched a documentary last night about Hannibal(the man with the elephants) where when the Romans destroyed his home city of Carthage and were closing in on him he committed suicide to prevent any further shame and pain. To me its much the same reasons. Of course I dont want to die but the reality of getting a suitable job with my health problems and a life with any meaning is so far away its totally impossible. People who say its never too late are simply liars.When people claim there is a way out they still demand you are full of optimism and positivity and get angry when you are not like its a choice. I dont really want to go on like this much longer. Every day is starting to become too painful. I have hung around feeling much the same for over 10 years since I was made redundant although getting steadily worse and hoping for a miracle and all I see is that I was right from the beginning and there really is no way out.

It is Finished!

On Friday I went to Lincoln cathedral as I did last year. It was really to pray and try to get some peace and think for a while. The Christmas market was over the previous weekend so it was quite peaceful once you climb the hill and  get out of the main shopping area.

I was still very agitated and anxious when I got there. This is because I had been this way for the last few weeks as my anxiety had been getting steadily worse. When I got in and it was almost empty apart from some staff looking at me I became so anxious I almost left. I did not speak very well to the cashier(yes its £8 to get in!). This again proves that when you are  depressed and anxious then doing stuff like meeting people doesn’t cure you like the long list of things they advise for depression. My f**ked up depressed mind made me act anxious, feel terrible and I did not enjoy much at all. To top it all there was a 2 hour journey there and back on a crowded train and there were also some art students drawing all over the place so it was not as peaceful as I hoped and I once again become paranoid and thought some laughed at me.

In a private chapel I stood before the sculpture(above) that represented the face of Christ and as I touched it all I could think of was “IT IS FINISHED! which are supposedly the last words he said on the cross before he died and went to heaven. I then prayed to him to take me soon and let me die quickly. Last year I prayed for help or death. he gave me neither. Perhaps he never existed or is a bit deaf. This was the only time I felt spiritual all day. This life is a complete waste of time and is finished. Nothing has worked, nothing I think and do has ever helped for long. I am now far too old for any miracles and almost every single day I feel deep misery and exhaustion but also burning ANGER and RAGE. There is virtually no help available and those that claim there is demand you just change your mind and go around talking and being happy to strangers which shows once again that they have never truly felt intense misery and have not the the slightest clue what years of this can do to you. I have no intention of getting to the stage of begging on the street as a homeless man.

On Saturday morning while making breakfast I had a sudden pain going across my left side and especially my heart. I become dizzy and had to sit down. It ached for several hours and again when I became anxious later on. I thought he had heard me and it was about to be over but not yet, there are still some things to do but hopefully soon he will take me. There is nothing left.

Do shy people make normal people feel uncomfortable?
“I’m not sure shy people realise sometimes how inadvertently uncomfortable they can make non-shy people,”
This is an interesting quote from the social anxiety forum especially as I was VERY aware of how uncomfortable I made others feel especially females which is why I never ever tried to chat one up!  Its true though! In fact its f**king obvious! Very shy people make normals very uncomfortable so they dislike and avoid us making it much harder to fit in and ever be accepted into society. They guilt trip us for not doing enough and then ignore that people hate us for acting shy when we do try!
My reply was;
 Really, I thought this was the problem with shy people as we are too worried what others think of us all the time and how we make others feel. I felt very disliked at work for being shy and making other people uncomfortable which is why I could never even try and chat a girl up and partly why I have not been to any meets especially anxiety meets plus I am now a similar age to you and so too old. There was a new SA meetup group in my city a few weeks ago but despite 50 members it closed down already due to lack of interest!

By contrast all the self help books and sites I have looked at in the last year seem to imply that this is maladaptive thinking, most people dont even notice our behaviour and its not really important and that we should just keep trying. This is obviously lies as people are very judgmental in my experience did notice everything especially as when I was in my twenties I used to blush and stammer and sweat uncontrollably which made people very uncomfortable and so has taken away all confidence in CBT or that therapists have any idea what they are talking about.

I am not expecting a sensible reply or debate though. All my past experience of SAUK tells me that people love to argue, call you names, belittle you and generally think they are superior. Good God that’s the reason why so many people are shy in the first place as they had parents and other people treat them this way in their upbringing.  Then they just copy the behaviour and treat others this way!


There aint no easy way out

In the dark of the sun
Will you save me a place
Give me hope, Give me comfort
Get me to a better place

In The Dark Of The Sun, Tom Petty


From: About Social Anxiety

“Does it ever strike you as odd that social anxiety disorder (or SAD, as I will refer to it sometimes on this blog) is among the top three most common mental health conditions (yes, up there with depression and alcoholism), there are science-backed treatments for it that we know work, and yet around a third of people with social anxiety experience symptoms for 10 years or more before seeking help. 10 years? Surely you can do better than that.” 

Arlin Cuncic- Author of the self-help books Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder and 7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety


First things first Arlin, 10 YEARS! If only!  I have had anxiety for over 30 years now without ever seeing a GP.  My mum did though and the help was poor, my sister did and the help was poor and my best friend did and the help was poor, often awful. British NHS, I know.Its failing to pieces. If only we could all afford to go private. Perhaps therapists should not charge £40-120 an hour then when normal working class people here are on less than £10 an hour.  Although I  actually read somewhere else that 9 out of 10 people never seek help for social anxiety and most that do only go because of their depression getting worse. In fact that’s the reason I was thinking of going BUT…..

……………….. whenever I actually look at help for Social anxiety  online all therapy basically says is do lots of social exposure stuff on your own and demands you just keep doing it until you get better. Humiliating stuff, embarrassing stuff. Stuff you have avoided your whole life and now you have added depression, paranoia and probably other issues like anger too.  Its hardly surprising life long avoidants are not lining up to be non avoidant and face all their worst fears just because a therapist tells them to.  Doing lots of humiliating stuff on my own isn’t exactly my idea of help. if just me doing everything on my own as I always have and that never before worked did it? Even the so called easiest tasks like smiling at strangers on the street or making small talk with cashiers makes me cringe with the near certainty of being humiliated yet again.

Being told that doing this is the only way to get better and that you are basically a coward for not trying only makes me think actually there is no real help at all.  Therefore its not effective therapy is you cant even convince someone to try it without having to guilt trip or shame them. It looks like it only works for people who are already highly motivated enough to start with  and willing to do anything.  I mean who the F**k would would walk backwards slowly or lay down on the street unless they were brain washed, mentally insane or hypnotised?

How Will You Go?

Escape is on your mind again
Escape to a far away land
At times it seems there is no end
To long hard nights of drinking

How Will You Go? Crowded House

I think the overwhelming sadness is one of the harder things to cope with. Its always been there since I was a little boy. The not fitting in or feeling normal, the family always being a bit strange and the underlying tension, the complete lack of security as if always standing on a cliff edge and feeling like at any time I would be pushed over. This started at school which I absolutely hated and never really stopped.

Then people say its your fault for not trying hard enough, heaping yet more guilt on a mind racked with self doubt for decades when of course most people dont even have to try that hard because these things are supposed to be normal and available to everyone. You didn’t ask to be this way but if you dont do everything they say to be normal its still all your own fault.

Sometimes I want to lie down and cry and yet no one else must know as they dont really understand and most dont care anyway.  Self pity is reviled from society especially from people who think its all your own fault as you did not work as hard as them. In fact people who have supposedly recovered are often the most critical of all as they were hard on themselves to succeed and so think that gives them the right to be just as hard on you too. It doesn’t, they’re simply selfish ass-holes.  All the hopes and dreams you had for yourself are pretty much gone forever now. You mourn for what you could/should of had, that love you always wanted, the family life and children that would have been yours but for a minor alteration in the wiring of your brain. All those fantasies and hopes you you waited your whole  life for did not happen, they stayed just fantasies.

I dont much care now if its all over. I keep finding myself saying  I want to go quite often as its all becoming tiresome and boring. I dont see much hope for the future and absolutely no self help site, book or person has shown me any whatsoever. In fact for many people optimism seems to be no more than a delusional fantasy based on making things up that they like the sound of. The more I look for hope the more depressed I become as quite simply if you’re mental,weird or different its hard to fit in to normal society as they dont want you. If there is some kind of afterlife or not who cares. Existence in misery is no kind of life at all. The hope of youth, that it would all change and come good one day like the end of a story has vanished long ago. The only thing I have learnt from life is the unfairness and random nature of it.  Some of the worst of mankind have everything while so many good people have nothing.

Social Anxiety AND Depression is MUCH WORSE!

I saw a sparrowhawk out of my bedroom window this morning. It made me feel better for a while. I will try and force myself out to some kind of festival in town later. To be honest being alone in the midst of many strangers often makes me feel worse but its better than staying at home.

I know I have spoken about this before but it still makes me FURIOUS! I still cant quite comprehend the advice and treatment plan which accompanies anxiety WITH depression despite them being so common together. This is quite often even from people who suffered from anxiety themselves. Despite some ignorance in the general population I think lots of people now can at least grasp some concept of depression and the hopelessness that entails, of becoming isolated and not wanting to get out of bed, of wanting it all to end in any way possible. People are encouraged to try to take exercise, do things they used to enjoy and try to integrate back into life again.

Yet when you accompany depression with social anxiety its a little different. As the anxiety is often the root cause of depression they think this has to be cured first.  SO they tell you to go out, to talk to strangers to socialise to improve your anxiety. “DO ANYTHING!” All CBT for social anxiety revolves around exposure which is to simply force yourself into a variety of ever more difficult social situations and to do this they demand you smile, make witty banter, approach and talk to everyone. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY  F**KING IMPOSSIBLE IF YOU HAVE DEPRESSION!  If you try you come across as a miserable bastard and fail which makes you feel even worse! My depression is also accompanied by intense irritability, rage and paranoia. When things go bad I become very upset and either want to get drunk and self harm or attack. So I can’t just learn by my mistakes and carry on regardless. A therapist just telling me to just think differently once a week after all these years will not work.

Because of the depression even leaving the house has become hard. As you may well already have a suicide plan in the back of your mind as you are already at the hopeless stage then there is absolutely no motivation.  There are other problems like trying to find work after long term unemployment when you know full well if you were 100% normal tomorrow it would still be an enormous struggle to get anyone to employ you after many years of doing nothing in a world that treats such people as simply lazy or wasters. I have no children or partner to motivate me to stay on and I am too old to have a family life now anyway so I have no rosy future but more like a desperate struggle for survival into old age.

To make things more complicated therapy for depression alone may not work as it cant re-engage me with a more productive life as I never went anywhere or did anything before I had depression due to my social anxiety.  I never had friends or family or socialised for years before depression hit. Many people cant grasp all these factors and then just get angry at you, say you are just making excuses and that some people just cant be helped. SO THEY GUILT TRIP YOU THINKING IT WILL MAKE YOU TAKE ACTION WHEN ALL IN FACT ITS DOING IS MAKING YOU MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT SUICIDE! Maybe I cant change now and there is no way out now so demanding that there is lots of help available and that your condition is highly treatable is a complete lie. Giving me false hope has angered me even more. Even simple exposure tasks are close to impossible as I cant think of appropriate words or sentences or smile or make jokes or ask questions or act like a normal human being. In fact I act awkward and so make other people feel awkward and want to leave. What a surprise! Then people dislike you and make you feel worse! Its never ending!

They also say you will think differently when you start therapy and yet the anxiety forums are full of people saying that CBT was absolutely useless and their therapist was not a nice or sympathetic person at all but abusive or a bully.