Despite what some Americans think most of England only gets proper snow about once a winter and sometimes none for years so most English people get very excited and then start to panic as trains and buses are cancelled and roads become blocked! Panicking over the weather is one of our favourite hobbies going back many generations.I saw no snow at all for most of my childhood but thankfully global warming is making it colder here. This is the view out of my bedroom window today. There are lots of bushes. I would say its a wildlife haven but its really because I like to block out all the neighbours due to social anxiety and hide in corners mumbling to myself.
Its traditional for people especially students to build jaunty snowmen and then make them look silly by putting things on their head.
Sometimes they are more inventive and even have a spare carrot they can use as a nose, sometimes other ruder things if the snowman gets lucky.
This is a statue of Richard III who was buried under a car park for over 500 years. He looks very cold but he’s from up north so probably doesn’t mind.
The one in the foreground looks slightly phallic. Students like to be rude as they are young and outrageous. Older people would rather make a snow cake with a nice cup of tea.The university is nearby.
Snow! The first snow of winter. Not much but it cheered me up briefly(for 10 seconds anyway!) and there is more due on Sunday. We dont often get snow before Christmas in this part of England as its quite low and flat. A 3 1/2 hour walk today. I didn’t speak to anyone as I was still stressed after yesterday and in a bad hyper mood and mentalists cant be choosers can we?
I saw this quote earlier today and realised I have been thinking pretty much the same for quite some time now. Years in fact, especially when my elderly mother was dying slowly. Its not always going back to bed I crave as I wake early almost every day and can’t sleep again but I often wait all day for night to come when I can drink as I have been drinking almost every evening for some time now. I often wake up in the night after more bad dreams and wish I would die. And no I dont want to come back again to confront my problems like some hideous nightmare as some people believe. This is how depression makes you feel and yet the self help sites are full of absolutely unbelievably shit motivational tips and quotes. Get up early and do stuff! Yes more housework is going to make a lot of difference! See your friends! See my other 500 posts on social anxiety an lack of any friends. My depression is not caused by chemical imbalance so cant be cured by pills. There never was a normal life to go back to.
I again look at the only meetup group in my city which I could attend which is for photography and imagine how to make small talk,having to explain being unemployed for YEARS and YEARS, not being in a relationship and never having had one even though I am over 40, having absolutely no family or friends and apart from photography having nothing to speak about at all. This is even without my awkwardness, social anxiety and depression for them to deal with so the idea of just meeting a bunch of strangers to make you feel better is complete bollocks and shows how bad the advice is. If the advice is to avoid negative people then they would avoid me so what do you do if you are the negative one? Drink? Such meets demand enthusiasm, friendliness and social skills to even start with and I have none. Why is there never any advice whatsoever to even get to the level of meeting people? Is it because there is none? When you are so far down mentally and physically and have no support then death is the only result, the inevitable conclusion? I have certainly seen no help for my problems by looking at CBT and therapy. Some even think exercise cures you of depression!
I think Christmas is making things worse again. Today has been awful with wave after wave of depression and misery and feelings of wanting to die. Taking a shower, going for a walk and dong some gardening or housework(the usual shit advice for depression) are about as effective as putting a small bandage on an freshly amputated leg. Little helps if you are this lonely, depressed and your life is a complete mess and has been for decades. Your personality has changed beyond recognition and as nobody wants you then you stay alone and never get better. I did not have a wife, partner, kids or family to begin with so can’t get help from them.I see the end of another year when nothing has changed in the slightest and I still see absolutely no way out or escape whatsoever other than death. The prospect of applying for a job I could get, do and which I would not hate is as achievable as being told to chat up and marry a supermodel after being a lifelong dateless virgin. I came close to self harming again earlier but must get past Christmas first. All this negative shit and I have not even drunk anything yet. Better start now.
I was looking at an old post the other day as it came up on on my stats page which means someone else has looked at it. It was in relevance to the re-internment of King Richard III’s bones which were discovered under a car park in my city two years ago. I wrote this;
“A nice volunteer lady was chatting to people on the day of the re interment and asked me about my camera. I tried to answer her but that oh so familiar awkwardness awakened and I almost sighed and walked off. It’s the reaction on others faces that hurts so much when they realise that you are not quite normal but they still try and be polite although at the same time try to move away. Having no control of my voice, facial expressions and body language is so frustrating. Once my anxiety comes alive it’s unstoppable and the paranoia starts to eat away at my confidence in a relentless attack of self doubt. It might as well be one of those dreams where you imagine everyone pointing and laughing at you and you just want to run away.”
This is what no self help book seems to have any comprehension of. They assume under all conditions that if you have social anxiety all you do it keep finding people to talk to and you get better. Its once again convinced me that almost all therapists and doctors have no comprehension how to cure more severe social anxiety at all, just modest shyness which they assume vanishes as soon as you do anything and that all strangers are lovely. I also remember when the Queen came to visit and some woman actually spoke to me first and her reaction to what I said was as if I had offended her, just by acting shy or nervous. This is the reaction anxiety creates in normal people. It confuses and repels them and of course makes us more paranoid and avoidant. So just doing anything does not help.
On the rare occasions I tried to speak to someone I actually liked or wanted to get to know when at work I also got this reaction, like I was not good enough or that I was strange and they then avoided me. I only got better when I moved to an office job by working with friendlier chatty people and copying them and by of course changing my attitude to try to not care about what others think of me so much. Mind you I still wanted to kill some of them, I still do now. I find it hard to forget and impossible to forgive. Then of course I lost my job. Now I am alone all day ad every day after my redundancy and everything has gotten much worse again but then most people’s confidence would dip after years of near total isolation and having never had a relationship. Then they(self help sites. books, people on forums) wonder why they cant bully optimism into you and say its all your own fault.
I think one of the biggest problems with looking for help for social anxiety is that the help is always from a particular biased perspective. It assumes you already have close friends to talk to and go out with,a family who you care about and offer support, work colleagues who are already friends and that people like you and the feelings of being hated are all in your head and are just paranoia when they are not. It assumes you get invited to parties all the time and its you turning them down. For someone with severe SA they never get invited to parties or anywhere else for that matter as that would mean you already have friends or support network.
They assume that you live in a great area so walks are peaceful and relaxing and that your neighbours, family are quiet and considerate so its easy to get great sleep as SLEEP is essential for a better mind they keep telling us. Relaxation techniques dont work when your living space is so noisy it sounds like the middle of a battle-zone.They also almost always assume that you are young and have the rest of your life left while also pretending that age doesn’t matter and its never too late.
I think being completely and totally isolated is much harder as you have to make the first move every time in every situation. For any connection at all you have to approach and engage in conversation, join clubs, seek help which is often useless or not there. This is also hard to do as the motivation, cheerfulness and enthusiasm are non existent. If the only way to make conversation and which is advised in almost all self help books and online is to approach strangers on the street and invent conversation on appropriate subjects then obviously this is often going to go badly. That’s because you would have to change your personality and behaviour FIRST in order to get people to like you when you do make the first move. The idea that you learn from constant practice is one of the biggest lies in therapy as in reality you keep failing as you are already socially inept so you get treated like shit, often become an object of ridicule at school or work and so get even worse, not better.
First I am as miserable as f**k and have no enthusiasm or friendly banter, regularly thinking of death. Second as a 40+ lone socially awkward man I am likely to repel people. if it was simply a matter of forcing myself to speak and witty banter came out it would be easy and shows how absolutely clueless many therapists truly are.With women its even worse as they are genetically programmed to avoid creepy weirdos in case they are dangerous and awkward men are creepy weirdos and of course most women never speak to lone males first for any reason. Thirdly lots of people in my city are aggressive and quite nasty so i would often get a bad response or ignored. This would obviously make me worse. Yet the advise is to keep deliberately getting rejected especially for men approaching women as if somehow this makes you immune to it.
It’s not really any better online either. In over 15 years of using the internet and help forums I have only made one regular contact so obviously I am not learning or gaining confidence or getting any better at all. Quite the contrary in fact. Using anxiety forums makes me feel more disliked than real life when I was working.People saying you need to say this and that and be a certain way and then get angry you dont understand fail to realise their advice simply doesn’t work.
I am going to go for a walk now as the weather forecast is wrong yet again and its actually sunny. I am not going to smile at and approach strangers on the street and make witty banter as I dont have any and feel a constant inner rage!
Last week I visited nearby Nottingham for their Christmas market as I am still trying to go out at least one day a week. In the afternoon I went to a local country deer park. I quite enjoyed it for a while but still felt some kids were mocking me at one point. Paranoia or madness, it never goes away. I also become quite agitated at the market as it was full and I hate taking pictures with lots of people around so left early.
“Kill that fear of emptiness, loneliness I hide.
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”
Peter Gabriel; The Washing of the Water.
The loneliness is one of the hardest things to cope with. Of course I have never even been in a relationship and some people may have expected me to get used to being a sad loner by now but I never have. Sadness becomes a way of life. It infests my very soul and turns people away even when you do occasionally try to connect. Sad people are losers and hard work. Other constant feelings are envy and bitterness even if you try to hide it and hope it will go away yet it always returns.
What did you do to deserve this? Nothing yet they blame you for not doing enough to put it right like its all your own fault. At least when I was working I had contact with people and was even beginning to almost feel normal(ish) towards the end but since my redundancy I have sunk into the abyss and see no way out. I never have, not even for a second. I realise that I was just kidding myself to imagine something would happen. It never did and never will. Things dont get better just because a self help site says they will. People will just suggest the usual things of going to meet ups but as a social inept and depressed loner OVER 40 its a particularly difficult thing to do. Christmas is an especially depressing time and I have even spent the last 4 years since my mothers death at the cemetery on Christmas day afternoon just to get out. No doubt in a RomCom this is a situation for two lonely sad people to meet and fall in love. In real life nothing ever happens.
There were three meetup groups in my area that looked slightly vaguely doable (on a good day)for a moment. The social anxiety one collapsed within weeks due to lack of interest(what a surprise!) and the walking one is often way out in the countryside at early times so you need a car. The photography one always go for some kind of meal afterwards which puts me off as I cant abide talking with a group of strangers looking at me. How do I explain my long term unemployment to them. Shame, guilt embarrassment all get worse not better when you feel like you have done something wrong and I dread the questions of “Hows the job hunting going?” or “Have you got a job yet?” every time I see them. Thats why I have not been back to the dentist. I feel like I need people with support and understanding but there is no depression or anxiety group in my city at all.
Of course to admit you are lonely is to admit you are weird or a loser and will get you ignored even more. Just like appearing too desperate. I would not even contemplate dating now at my age even if I had a job and ignoring my huge problems with sex. Young people just assume as you get older you start to fancy other old people like its normal and you see older pensioners on dating shows who still even appear to be sexually active. In reality the mind has barely changed since I was in my twenties. This means I still feel attracted to females in their twenties and thirties and sometimes forties but hardly any people my own age at all any more. This also means that the fantasy(a normal loving relationship) has already left the building. People who say its never too late are F**king liars.