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 one 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 you had in your head of what you wanted your life to become that 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 base don 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 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 impossible when feeling depressed. 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. Maybe I cant 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.

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 but abusive or a bully.

How to lose friends and alienate people.

Almost all advice I read suggests starting off by making small talk to strangers to get over social anxiety. If you are a hermit just go out and talk to people on the street, in shops, in elevators (we don’t have many elevators in this city) at bus stops, just anywhere.  You will get better and better at it and before long it will become second nature .It makes no allowance for depression and being  suicidal, for being older and whether  it’s normal to speak to people of different ages or sexes, for being paranoid and for being socially inept including physical manifestations like blushing, stammering, mind freezing and acting awkward. It makes no allowance for things going badly and keep going badly or for other people being aggressive or nasty back to you. Why on earth do they assume it will just keep getting better? Success breeds confidence, not repeated failure.

You see I thought therapy tried to cure you of all this crap first so that you could go into social situations more confidently when it appears to want you to force yourself into social situations over and over again straight away and work it all out yourself as you go along.

I dont see it possible for me to do therapy as I can’t find any starting ground to begin with. if even the supposedly simple things cause overwhelming anxiety then what the F**k do you do? Drink heavily? If I tried to go round my city tomorrow making small talk to strangers I would be shit. I am miserable, have poor body language, a shit voice and  massive paranoia and apart from the weather which I find a pathetic subject  and exceptionally corny I have no small talk subjects I feel comfortable with whatsoever. As I am well over 40 I would feel uncomfortable speaking to younger women in case I appear creepy and women in general in case they thought I was coming on to them.  I can almost guarantee being ignored or looks of total disdain. If somebody says yes it is crap weather then that is the end of the conversation and awkwardness ensures. I don’t have 50 follow up lines at the ready.  This massively increases feelings of being disliked and a freak and then makes me more avoidant.

What f**king planet do therapists come from when they assume socially inept hermits go round making witty banter to strangers and do great and that failure does not affect them. Absolutely none of the books explain the basics of small talk in detail, they basically just say do it and assume you know it all. Going to a party or meet, you act weird(shy then), you have shit small talk, people avoid you. Staying in a stressful situation for 90 minutes until the anxiety subsides is not really possible without looking a twat and does not actually help you talk to people or make conversation. Do you hang a sign around your neck? Nervous anxious person. Do not disturb for 90 minutes!”

Even more importantly most strangers don’t talk to each other at bus stops or say hello to other strangers on the street anyway. When I was younger and at my worst even when occasionally somebody spoke to me first I could barely think of an intelligent response so no witty banter or conversation happened. I often felt awkward which just made others awkward and then they never spoke to me again. I even get paranoid thinking that if I did it regularly as advised then the same people would see me again and think , “Christ its that weird nutter who speaks total shit about the weather ! Look the other way!” because people hate awkward strange loners and that’s why you stay an awkward strange loner as you are always on the outside looking in.

A whole load of social skills need to be learnt before you even start to make regular small talk with strangers and even then you still need to be motivated and enthusiastic to force yourself to go into situations repeatedly. Its pretty hard to fake confidence though and that is vital to start with. And of course if you have no family, no job and never leave the house your range of subjects and interest to other people is going to be limited anyway.

Want to Travel Abroad? Not if you’re shy.

That was just a dream, just a dream, just a dream

I have never been abroad which is highly unusual for someone in the UK. My parents were obviously crackers and never took us many places when I was young although we did go on holiday on the East coast when I was in my teens for several years. But Skegness is hardly the same as the Caribbean. In fact I seldom left my own county apart from the yearly school day trips. I also never learnt to drive due to anxiety and so only really started travelling in the UK more when I got made redundant.  I quite enjoyed it although anyone travelling on UK trains and buses can understand the expense and the often crappy service. Even so I could rarely travel further than the Midlands due to the time constrictions and arranging to get back in the same day. I remember going to Wales via 3 trains once just so I could say I had left England once in my life.  I went once again on a coach trip with a family member but am unlikely now to ever get to anywhere more exciting.

I would have loved to have visited iconic places like Rome, Paris and America at least once in my lifetime if only for the photography opportunities. There are some locations that have always seemed magical since seeing them on TV as a child. Yosemite and Yellowstone in the US are two such places and also have amazing wildlife. Even though unlikely it would still have been an ultimate dream of mine to travel one day. Something to dream of and motivate me if ever I managed to make a recovery and attain anything like a normal life.

However even if I wanted to apply for a passport now in the UK its basically illegal for me to attain one as very shy  or socially anxious people are not allowed out the country. Yes, its almost impossible for someone with extreme social anxiety to get a passport even if they wanted to one day travel aboard and chase their dreams. Thats because you must have someone countersign your application.  These people must have known you for two or more years and they must also have a professional occupation. Oh they even said it cant be your own doctor any more although I think they used to allow this.

As I speak to no one for months and have virtually no other human contact its completely impossible. I have never even known people with professional level jobs in my life.  Therefore the only way I could legally travel abroad is to find and deliberately befriend someone in a professional level job and then keep in contact with them for over two years before I could even apply, that’s if even if they agree to sign it. How the F**K does everyone else find it so easy to get a passport? Surely there must be some kind of scam going on. I am not sure if its just as hard to get a driving license as well but looking on their website it says you need a passport as proof or you then also need a signatory who knows you well so it would also be impossible for me to learn to drive even if I wanted to. Its strange how even the most simple and basis things  are made impossible by anxiety yet are completely dismissed as excuses or irrelevant. As said before once on the bottom rung of life society keeps you there and does not allow you to recover. After all we dont want mental people going abroad or learning to drive! We already have enough of them in the house of commons!

Hard to Believe in Anything at All

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Getting hard to breathe, It’s getting so hard to believe
To believe in anything at all, but FEAR

Peter Gabriel , Mother of Violence.

 

I had wanted to phone the doctor today and make an appointment about my madness. But of course I didn’t.  Even that requires motivation, optimism, the belief that there is possibly a way out of this pain, some kind of escape. I think its after yesterday reading through some online books on social anxiety again and thinking all the advice to be totally  preposterous and in no way any help to me at all. Social anxiety websites and books all convince me that there is absolutely no help or way out whatsoever and that death is a certainty. I then think about all this mixed up shit until the early hours, have difficulty sleeping and have stressful dreams. And this is before I even do therapy. F**k relaxation exercises and mindfulness.  You may as well tell someone who is going to be burned alive at the stake tomorrow to try and relax.

As a result I felt jumpy and irritable well into the afternoon. I went to the supermarket later on and although the tills were empty I deliberately went to the self service just so I would not have to talk to a stranger or have any interaction at all. The idea of exposure therapy and that i should force myself to approach cashiers or shop staff ,smile and make pleasant conversation about the weather is so absurd it has started to make me think therapist are actually insane themselves. An awkward man just irritates people so they show you contempt or irritation and that makes you feel worse. God knows why they think that things always go better than you imagine.Every failure makes me want to self harm or die. I have absolutely no conviction anyway as all this shit is forced and completely insincere with no belief.

As a result I am actually starting to drink even more and punch myself in the head again, because I looked for help. I am also getting pains in the chest and shortness of breathe which I have never had before. I dont believe that social anxiety is highly treatable at all with CBT as it requires blind obedience. It also only seems to work on  people who are already highly motivated and not depressed and tries to shame or guilt trip you into action thus making self harm more likely for those that cant do it. Even this may not last in the long term according to research.

 

Video on Living With Social Anxiety

This is very good and a highly accurate depiction of social anxiety. In fact its just about the best video I have seen on the subject. Its from Kat Napiorkowska I have not come across her before so dont know if she is the one suffering from SA or just playing the part as the video is so professionally made rather than the usual thing shot in somebody’s bedroom. She has several other vids up about mental health and seems to be real.

“Social anxiety doesn’t just ruin your life. It stops you from living it at all.”

How very true.

Its even sadder when you are older and your chances may have probably slipped away for ever.

Old Fart!

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Never too late for multimillionaires!

When you are mad people often tell you its never too late to do certain things for instance like have a relationship. They assume certain things too. I did when I was younger. You see an elderly couple on one of those dating shows and assume they still both fancy each other because like attracts like. It may seem callous cruel or ignorant or it could be just all men and how we evolved but when I got older, into my forties, I did not suddenly start getting exceptionally aroused by women my own age and then thinking younger women were ugly.  Everyone gets uglier with age.  Most people reach a peak in our twenties and early thirties and gradually diminish over time just like sportsmen/women. Of course there are still some attractive people in their forties and even fifties but not as many.

I say this as I saw a you tube video from a popular youngish female blogger who seemed astounded that men over 50 were watching her channel. She was actually talking about anxiety on one video which is how I came across her.(who isn’t these days?) She even made some kind of comment as if they were, well perverts at that age. But actually if you think they were only watching to get aroused then younger men are far more likely to be turned on or attracted to you and tossing off as they are far more randy but what? That doesn’t bother you?  You assume males are only watching you for sexual pleasure? What about older women or lesbians?

I think she said she was 26, hardly a child. In fact about 100 years ago she would probably have been married 10 years  and have 3 kids by then. Yes, you are probably attractive to many straight men. men in their forties and fifties still get attracted by younger women as younger women are usually sexier.  Its not perverted, its perfectly natural. Why do you think almost all female news and weather presenters are picked to be as attractive as possible? It gets more views. The most popular female vloggers just happen to be attractive most of the time. Lots of older men still like younger women, they just know they can’t get one.(unless they’re rich!)

Age is also relevant to social anxiety too. For instance the moronic advice of just approach and then make conversation with all women you find attractive that I read online is a bit stupid if you are in your forties as many younger women will understandably think you an old pervert and tell you to F**k off. Yet younger women are usually the most attractive of course and men evolved to go for looks far more than women. Yes its evolution again. What? They just assume you know to only speak to women the same age even if you are socially inept? I read that most people form relationships with others within 5 years of themselves, over 10 years is unusual. I am a lot uglier now than I was in my youth just as women my age probably are too. Its not cruel, that’s life. Therefore the chances of me even finding a female who is available and I find attractive around my age is much less even ignoring my own massive amounts of faults that would be a huge turn off to the vast majority of all normal women. So it probably is too late. you lying bas***d!!!!!!

 

Awareness

 

“There’s no time to lose”, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain’t life unkind?

 

I don’t think I was even aware of the term social anxiety until I was in my thirties and came across it online when looking up shyness. Before that I had only heard the term shy and it was far too humiliating to even speak about let alone see a doctor.  I was so bad I could not even go to night clubs or any event where I was expected to speak to strangers and quickly found out that most attractive girls never spoke first or approached men, they don’t have to I suppose. I did have the odd friend at work (all male)but they never stayed friends for long and we did not go out socialising like young people are supposed to do.

You see when it’s so bad you are sweating and incapable of coherent speech, you don’t keep doing it again. Nobody wants to see you again anyway or asks you out again. You become a pariah, a weirdo, a freak. So the accusation of cowardice because you simply did not force yourself to keep going out to social occasions to confront your shyness is once again complete bollocks,probably from somebody who thinks that everyone is the same as them or has never had crippling social anxiety. Even the difference in behaviour between males and female is highly significant especially when it comes to dating and is yet almost completely ignored which just shows how delusional people are.

I tried lots of things with the occasional friends from work but nothing worked for long. People get bored of you if you are mental and no fun to be with so they leave and your confidence collapses further. You get worse, not better. I tried going to the gym for a while, playing squash and tennis, snooker and pool, odd days out like going on a paintball day from work, Blackpool with a friend, day trip to London, and Alton towers with 3 friends from work. They all left and I was always on my own again. People even think you make friends walking the dog! I walked several family dogs for over 10 years and barely had a conversation!

Relationships were always a non starter. I never saw any girl’s apart from at work and they never spoke to me first, well none that I liked or found attractive and I could never do witty banter without blushing and feeling like a freak. Other men often took the piss out of me, they ridiculed me as working class ignorant men do(when they are not talking about football). I also noticed females seemed to dislike me for being shy way more than males. Perhaps it’s because they assume all males should talk to them first and the only reason not to is rudeness or being a bad person. That didn’t give me greater confidence.

I never even considered there was much help. In fact I only started looking last year seriously at help for social anxiety in the UK. First it’s hard to get, second there is often up to a 12 month waiting list for therapy and third they expect you to be positive and enthusiastic when my motivation has collapsed to such an extent that I have started to plan for the end. Even worse is that the main thing CBT does is expect you to make a list of all your worst case social situations and then confront them.  I have been avoidant for over 40 years so expecting me to obey a therapist is unlikely.  It is also far less likely to work for people who also have depression.  So I was right, there is virtually no help if you get to this stage especially at an older age, past 40.

Yet the internet is full of people pretending there is great help and that social anxiety is highly treatable. Yes under certain circumstances I am sure it is but 9/10 people never even seek help as the stigma or shame is too great. Perhaps they just learn to cope and get by. 1 in 4 pull out of CBT as it’s far too humiliating, I would not say hard work as some do. Fighting social anxiety is not the same as hard work. I could do hard physical work easily as I did for 20 years in my job until my joints got worse and I had to take an office job. Exposure therapy is by contrast to hard work,humiliating, embarrassing shameful and if done wrong can make you far worse. That’s a huge difference. And since people with chronic social anxiety will do anything to avoid more embarrassment it doesn’t work unless done slowly and graded which the NHS is shit at as there is no money left and they push you too fast.  And finally when they checked two years later with people who had undertaken CBT they found that the majority had regressed to the same level as prior to therapy.

Perhaps the people it works best on have to be under a certain age, have no depression or other mental problems and are highly motivated, have a good support network like friends or family and maybe perhaps it even works best on females as there is a greater stigma attached to shy men like being weak and women usually don’t have to chat men up. I suspect there are way more male virgins/loners than female in society simply as the man has to approach and chat up women. Long term unemployed men and single men are much more likely to suffer depression and commit suicide for instance. There are some things that are worse for men without being sexist.

I hope you had the time of your life

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Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life

 

I dont usually quote other blogs but I found this particularly relevant and also quite moving by shamelessly kait

First of all, depression is not a black and white thing. It’s extremely complicated and can appear in so many forms and disguises. And often times, it doesn’t appear as a direct result of any one event. People don’t become depressed from being in debt. It can certainly contribute, but it’s usually a combination of many factors, ranging from a traumatic incident to genetics and chemical imbalances.

So true. Imagine for instance being almost asexual until the age of 27. Never even had a reaction in the penis area or any ejaculation. Sort of puts you off running after girls trying to get a relationship even without the social ineptitude. Sort of embarrassing to talk about too. Too much information as somebody once put it when I tried to explain it on an anxiety forum! Yet they still want to know why you have not got a girlfriend. Well I think not having a working penis was quite relevant!

Second, a positive attitude cannot save us. Acknowledging that the future might get better does nothing to change the fact that the here and now is absolute shit. In fact, trying to maintain that positive attitude when you’re feeling hopeless can often worsen it, because you’re using up the rest of what little effort you have fighting a lost cause.

Again so true. Its also been shit for over 30 years so it didn’t get better, it actually got even worse! But of course so many people who conquered their anxiety have a positive mindset and think its simply excuses if you haven’t.  They assume its a choice. They like to guilt trip you and make you feel to blame like its all your own fault for simply not doing the hard work.  Perhaps everyone who has ever recovered from social anxiety has never had depression or other complications and are just being as judgemental as normal humans so often are.

Think of a time where you were irrationally irritated with everyone. Now think of a time when you were really hungover. Okay, now think back to a time when you were really distraught about something, whether you were sad or just extremely emotional (or even emotionless because you just didn’t know how to feel). Lastly, think of a time that you were so tired that you couldn’t keep your eyes open, but something was keeping you awake, whether it was school or a job. Now tie those all together with a bow.

Spot on. Almost everything every day gets me into a temper,mostly with myself but its always there. My paranoia is in overdrive. Once again I almost wanted to attack someone I thought was laughing at me today. Now add anxiety and think about trying to speak to people and being afraid of coming across as Mr Bean, blushing, stammering, mind freezing, saying inappropriate things from the age of about 13 and probably younger.  Now imagine  whatever you did not helping, most other people often ridiculing you, looking irritated or annoyed with you and treating you with contempt so you get even even worse and become avoidant.  Now imagine them saying its all your own fault for not getting out there and forcing yourself to talk to strangers even more and telling you that its all in your head and that this is the only way to get better. Welcome to the wonderful world of social anxiety support!  A world where there are no other problems and where contradictions and hypocrisy are the norm and its always your fault for just being a coward. Then they wonder why you feel so guilty and ashamed and think about suicide.

 

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