Random Ramblings of a Madman, part 568.

I went out for my usual walk yesterday afternoon. Sunny days are rare in the UK at this time of year and anything to get away from the neighbours from hell. Unfortunately I forgot it was the school holidays so lots and lots of people were out and about on the park and its the only place in my entire county worth visiting. I was already in a state of irritability as my insomnia is still a major problem. I tried taking Valerian tablets but knew they would not work as most herbal remedies are in truth complete crap and have no effect whatsoever. Its like trying to stop a raging bear by setting a Jack Russell dog on it although I think the dog would at least have some effect if only to trip the bear up.

As I sat on top of a small hill I saw this lone female walker standing around  nearby which is quite unusual as I barely ever see lone females out walking.  She went off one way and I went in another direction and yet later she was just coming round the side of a wall as I came around the other side.  I went ahead but could hear her behind me so went off to look for deer over another wall. She then went to the exact spot I was going to take pictures from on the hillside. So instead of waiting or hanging around looking awkward(forget talking) I went down a long path I didn’t really want to go down at all which meant I then had to double back around in a completely opposite direction again which took another 30 minutes. There! Thats social anxiety! Thats the sort of thing us mad people do to avoid others! Its like at work always taking the stairs so I would not be stuck in the lift with people, especially girls and have an anxiety attack.

If the law of attraction is real I sometimes wonder if it deliberately takes the piss out of us. Does it just do things to annoy us and see how we react? He’s shit at talking to strangers and especially women. I’ll just keep making them appear from nowhere and hang around to see how awkward he gets!  Then as I went home on a bus the same 3 people were waiting at the bus stop on the way back as got off on the way there, one lone female(another one!) and two young French people probably students. The CBT books demand this is the perfect opportunity for witty banter. Bollocks. I had not the slightest interest. I could not care less.  I just wanted peace and quiet and to get home.

You see all CBT demands continuous exposure to fears and then assumes you will get better. In reality I have only done well when my mind is already calm and positive and relaxed  and then I feel more like talking to strangers. I feel happy and calm. Yesterday I felt like the raging bear or maybe bull as I am a Taurus. Looking at self help sites and books has just activated all my hidden and old fears and made me feel like I was 17 again blushing and stammering at work when in reality I had gotten much better in the later years in my job and spoke to numerous people every day.

I feel like exposure therapy alone is like running that race with a broken leg and not waiting for the leg to heal first so you never get anywhere. Reading the Power of Now again and also remembering some aspects of spirituality and mindfulness its apparent to me that this is far more helpful to me as it changes my thinking and mindset first which then makes other things possible. It creates peace and feeling of acceptance of all things whereas just going out when highly agitated and sometimes desperate and forcing yourself into social situations just ends up with continuous misery. My biggest problem to finding this peace is depression and the constant state of agitation  and resulting insomnia due to loud noises. For instance mediation is a complete impossibility. Even now as I type I have headphones on playing music on max volume to block out other noise.

 

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Like shy guys but hate very shy guys?

Of course many women say they like shy guys/men. I made a post on it once before.I was thinking about this again the other day and then someone also made a comment about it. In fact my own mother said she liked my dad because he was quiet and more reserved. Not a show off or big mouth. Like I said in reply to the comment though, he was also a detective sergeant in the police force and quite intimidating so I am not sure if he was actually that shy.  Quiet and a bit of a loner maybe. After all he had no friends outside of work and barely went anywhere. Certainly he would not show emotion or any kind or affection which gave me problems in later life.

Thats why shyness is not the same as severe shyness or serious social anxiety. I went through stages where my shyness at work was so bad I was cripplingly shy especially around attractive girls, blushing, stammering, full on anxiety attacks so people who think the cure for this kind of shyness is to just approach girls repeatedly and you easily make witty banter and get over it has not really got any idea of how bad it can be and the humiliation which brought me close to attempting suicide. Only two females seemed to realise I had a mental problem during 20 years at work and actually pity me (also embarrassing!)but many were openly hostile and disliked me. After all a very shy man does not chat them up, make witty banter, entertain them and most importantly of all he makes a women feel uncomfortable.  Yes, I realised that which is why I become so avoidant as being awkward repulsed many girls which is why i was so much shyer with them and especially as the vast majority never ever tried to talk first.

The shyness and social anxiety guys website is just about the only site which comes close to explaining it as he had severe social anxiety himself;

Occasionally I will run across a woman writer in a blog or forum who claims that “We love shy guys!”Usually she first imagines a guy who she is already very attracted to, almost intimidated of. Then she imagines this guy showing a more sensitive side which balances out his hotness or high social status.

She imagines a guy who is well-liked and cool, and maybe also a bit quirky or artistic. The guy who may talk a bit less than other people, but he’s self assured on the inside and isn’t afraid to speak up when he wants to.

I’m sure she isn’t fantasizing about the guy who creates awkward silences in conversations with her. I can guarantee you she isn’t imagining dating a guy who has trouble looking her in the eyes. Or the guy she had to keep asking to “talk louder” because she can’t hear him over the music. Or the guy who was invisible in class or worse, bullied/excluded by the other kids.

This is exactly how I was but with added blushing, stammering and constant mind freezing. Witty banter doe snot appear in your head when you are in panic mode so forcing yourself to chat up a girl makes you come across as MR BEAN NOT TOM CRUISE. Yet almost all advice for very shy men is to just get out there and speak to as many women and girls as you can like it will go great and you will get better! I could not have done this with a gun at my head. My shyness was so bad I would have chosen death and pulled the trigger myself. I have since started to realise that most therapists have no concept of severe social anxiety and their advice is complete shit.

If life was a race then comparing severe social anxiety to shyness is like comparing someone with a a sore toe to someone else with a broken leg and then expecting them both to compete in the same race.   One is much worse than the other. Acute shyness is also often misunderstood as rudeness or being aggressive or unfriendly. This is also highly important as men are almost always expected to approach women up and ask them out. A lot of people wont agree or like what he says here as shows gender differences but to me its almost undeniable.

A girl who is shy or quiet still has a good possibility that a guy will find her attractive, talk to her and ask her out on a date. Because the guy is taking the initiative, leading and risking rejection, not her.On the other hand, women will almost never do this. The female version of “initiative” is sending some subtle sign of interest that most guys miss anyway (like looking at the guy for 2 seconds and then expecting HIM to walk over and start a conversation).

 

 

 

To what extent can we choose to lessen our Social Anxiety?

This was a question on the UK social anxiety forum recently.  Such forums demand positive answers and ignore all facts to the contrary.  If I get a response at all on the worlds cliquiest forum to my post it will almost certainly be to attack me for being too negative.  Yes,even this is being negative but lets just see. Maladaptive thinking or the truth?

My reply;

“We can chose to try and yet many people on here have had terrible experiences with therapy. I have looked at a large variety of self help books on anxiety in the last year by so called experts and yet none of them seem to take depression into account at all despite it being common with anxiety. They also demand huge motivation and enthusiasm to do almost anything from the start then insinuate you are just a coward who deserves to suffer if you dont want to do lots of facing your fears.

I could go to any meetup event tomorrow but as I am a miserable loner and with virtually no life to speak of then its quite hard to make witty banter with strangers on normal and appropriate subjects. Its like you already have to be in the position of being prepared to do almost anything to even start therapy(just like those three people doing stand up comedy on the Rhod Gilbert show on shyness) and yet many people are far from this stage and there is nothing to help them.”

Avoidant Personality Disorder or Social Anxiety?

I have often come across avoidant personality(APD) before on my travels through the madness of the internet but not really taken much notice as I just thought it pretty much the same as social anxiety by just another name so is there really a difference?

People with APD have many of the same characteristics as those with social anxiety disorder (SAD); however, the severity of the symptoms is greater.

If you have been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder;

  1. You tend to have low self-esteem, strong feelings of inadequacy and a sensitivity to rejection.
  2. In new social settings, you will become extremely self-conscious, shy or inhibited and will be preoccupied with being criticized or rejected
  3. .You tend to view yourself as socially inept, personally unappealing or inferior to others.
  4. In interpersonal relationships, you will show restraint.
  5. You tend not to trust others and avoid relationships unless you are certain of being liked. Often, people with APD become socially isolated as a result of this avoidance.

In general, personality disorders are diagnosed when there is impairment in personality functioning (self and interpersonal), and the impairment is stable across time and situations.

This is certainly accurate with me but is this really that different from more serious social anxiety? I am definitely awful at handling criticism. so are my family. I cant even post my pictures on some photo sites as I could not handle the negative opinions of others although there are always people trying to put you down or show off on all online forums.  I cant debate on any forums either as it feels like a personal attack to have another opinion even if mine are totally valid. But isn’t an over reaction to criticism common with most people with SA?  Again the advice in SA books and sites which is to make an unpopular opinion even if valid does not work at all as making comments on SAUK against the crowd or mainstream opinion gets me attacked, disliked and ignored which actually increases my paranoia, depression and avoidance. So yet more useless advice given by so called experts.

APD has more to do with a person’s personality and may appear more stable over time and from one situation to another, while SAD tends to separate itself from the personality, may come and go depending on the situation, and may be easier to change or treat.

I also read that APD people are more likely to have paranoia and anger issues, fear of intimacy  and of course depression but I thought this was simply due to age and being mental for so long. In fact I have only become seriously depressed, paranoid and more irritable in the last few years. I watched a woman with APD on youtube and it does seem much harder to treat than average SA as its so ingrained with no motivation or enthusiasm. For instance going out and doing exposures would certainly create some rejections and negative reactions but rather than move on I would get enraged and still be thinking about it at 4AM and then convince myself that this just confirms that people dislike me even when i do try to talk first.  I would almost certainly lose it in therapy unless I had a very sympathetic therapist and I could not trust myself in group therapy to be polite if people criticised me which is what some role plays advocate.

Its obvious to me now that most therapists dont get all this when giving advice and claiming that social anxiety is easily treatable. For instance as I would probably choose death over intense humiliation and would stay awake all night going over my mistakes and I already have severe guilt and shame then expecting me to put myself though more intense shaming events like exposures and pretending they are the hard work needed and that they will cure me is obviously not going to work. In many situations I would get more anxious and awkward making people feel very uncomfortable  and so confirming all negative beliefs when they react badly. This is even more so as I still believe that humans as a species evolved to be judgemental, most people do notice you if you act or look strange and often reject you for being different or faulty because there is vast quantities of proof through history to validate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Go your own way!

You can go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way

There is not much in modern life that creates as much humiliation and ridicule as being a virgin past a certain age is there? The older you get the bigger a loser you are in society and  people literally burst out laughing at real life 40 year old virgins on TV and online as if they have shit their pants in the middle of a supermarket and someone’s put it on you-tube. The weird thing is you are accused of almost committing a crime just if you have not f**ked someone. Young men are probably the worst at this and why its so hard to be friends with them if you are a shy virgin and have an IQ over 3. After quitting college I worked in a warehouse which was full of such boy-men and you can f**k exposure therapy such as smiling at everyone and making witty banter, I would not have wanted to make friends with people like this under any circumstances and certainly would not have wanted to go socialising with them.

From an evolutionary point of view you could say this peer pressure and humiliation encourages young men to chase women and make the first move to stop the human race dying out. Despite what some people say online males are almost always expected to approach and initiate conversation and ask a woman out. I wonder what happened then when we all lived in villages and smaller social groups. You would think they would have arranged marriages decided by the village elders as I dont think they had nightclubs 5000 years ago or tinder. Did shy people just get forced to marry anyone who was available? Lots of people if not the majority must have had terrible marriages forced on them and never known happiness. Which just shows how shit the idea of a soul mate and love at first sight is.

I can understand it being very irritating to be an attractive woman getting hit on all the time by guys but the truth is men are encouraged by society and our culture to do this all the time as if its normal. Even reading books on social anxiety they advise men to talk to strangers especially women if you are a shy male to cure them. At bus stops. in elevators, in supermarkets. of course most attractive women will then think the guy is hitting on them rather than trying to improve his social skills by exposure therapy!  Despite working in a large company I never got any female hit on me ever and yet got disliked by several females for being too quiet and even shown total contempt at times although as that one girl said. I was a virtual zombie just trying to get through each day.

Then you come to men who are too nervous to approach women being called cowards. Only on TV last week I man who was rejected by a girl was told he was a coward and she was just playing hard to get! What the F**k does this actually mean? Playing hard to get? Most decent guys would be afraid of harassing a girl especially these days and take a rejection as a NO! and yet then some are being told girls dont really man NO! and are just playing hard to get by other women!

In 20 years at work I only had three females show any interest in me and that was only after they knew I liked them first. None of them did anything because I as the male( well sort of !) was expected to approach and ask them out and as my shyness with attractive females was almost off the scale in making me a gibbering wreck, of course nothing happened. I often wish and wonder and even dream what could have been but then again I always forget the sexual problems I had which would have made a normal sexual relationship under the age of 27 almost impossible anyway.

Annual January Blues

There ain’t no more, you’ve taken everything
From my belief in Mother Earth
Can you ignore my faith in everything
Cause I know what faith is and what it’s worth

I have taken 3 sleeping tablets in 8 nights since I got back home. It just hits me some times when I wake up in the early hours and the slightest noises starts my anxiety attacks and heart thumping and I cant sleep at all. Noise anxiety must be quite common. My sister moved house due to noisy neighbours and I knew someone at work who was the chattiest person I have ever met but also moved home due to noisy neighbours.  My present neighbours could not make much more noise if they opened a drum testing factory and tortured pigs.  However the sleeping tablets(bought off the internet) even though they work make me feel like total shite the next day. They not only change my mood making me feel hopeless( yes, even more than normal!) but also affect my ability to do anything physical making walks and all activity almost painful to my head, like a bad hangover.

Even so going shopping has become harder and my anxiety and paranoia and also irritability has increased in all situations and even the thought of going on long walks or getting the train makes me feel sick. If only there was a cure! This time of year when its still cold and dark but Christmas has long gone is particularly hard and depressing in the run up to spring and brighter weather although I did see the snowdrops.I wish I could think of something to look forward to but I am only able to post this as I am drunk yet again.  The thought of posting earlier just left me cold and unable to think of anything to say, which is just like being shy in real life when sober. No wonder people drink before social situations.  I would probably have to drink before seeing a therapist or be completely mute. The thought of another year of this shit only makes me want to finish things soon.  When occasionally out of desperation I do look for help online it only makes things worse I see there is absolutely none. Survival of the fittest still exists for humans.

Rhod Gilbert: Stand up to Shyness

On Wednesday Rhod Gilbert, Welsh comic was on TV with a programme about shyness. I knew it was coming on as someone had mentioned it on the anxiety forum previously.  It   went out on BBC2 Wales although its repeated on BBC2 for the whole UK on Tuesday 30th January at 9PM and also on the BBC iplayer for a bit for people in the UK.

I had no idea he had suffered from severe shyness as he is now a stand up comic but have heard about actors who took on the role of various characters to mask their true self and were very shy in real life, Perhaps that is what some comics do, take on a role of their alter ego.

Its good to see social anxiety get some exposure on TV  although it was referred to as shyness throughout most of the documentary and did not really differentiate between the two. In fact it claimed 50% of the population had suffered from some form of shyness although severe shyness must be much more rare, especially those of us who have never even had a relationship due to shyness.

It did not show anything particularly new, only briefly looking at CBT and talking to a couple of experts as well as visiting a support group in London. However Rhod is extremely likeable and he obviously had great empathy due to having suffered himself. In fact he still finds in very hard to enter a cafe and drink alone, something they always advice as apparently very easy for social anxiety in the self help books or online. Something else I have never done or even want to.

Later on he got three very shy people to try stand up comedy in an exposure therapy kind of way, although understandably in front  a very friendly audience made up of friends and family. It would have been interesting if he had looked at people trying to get help through the NHS and especially those with more serious depression and the various struggles they have at a time the health system is under more pressure than ever but that would probably have taken up the whole show and been far too depressing. There are some nightmare stories online. There is not even a support group in my city even if I wanted to go to one.

The thing is when I see people at these support groups and know the kind of things they do like role plays and talking in front of a large group as well as weekly exposure tasks I would rather have a bullet in my head. Its not just my age either, I would have been the same when I was 20 although I was much worse then as I blushed, stammered and sweated uncontrollably. Maybe its depression but the motivation to put myself through repeated humiliations and tasks is simply not there. At all. I dont make witty banter with strangers if I force myself to talk about the weather at the bus stop. Its a catastrophe and I get even worse and give up. Thats why so much advice for social anxiety is shit and I see no help any-more as all the experts seem to expect you to be highly motivated , optimistic, friendly and talkative in the first place and willing to do almost anything(look up social mishap therapy!) and are then staggered that you prefer death to continuous humiliation with only the vague hope of recovery which just shows they dont really get it do they?