PAINFULLY shy!

So here is a video from the private therapy clinic in London on social anxiety I saw on YouTube. I know its on about avoidance strategies but I think its interesting that at one point she brings in another person and says “Talk for 2 minutes!”  Of course she does fine and that’s the point but it also begs the question that do some therapists and so called experts have any understanding of crippling social anxiety at all?

I say this because I have seen videos on group therapy and they just expect people to speak on random subject for so long or for homework approach strangers and make random conversation as supposedly easy tasks. As said previously perhaps only motivated people who have recovered to a certain point are even able to go to therapy and in which case why would I go to the doctor for help if the therapy demands a certain level of recovery before you are even able to try doing it.

You see, just bringing in a stranger and demanding conversion on a random subject may even now have me completely struck dumb and my brain freeze up entirely. This often then creates the classic nightmare of blushing and sweating and a full on anxiety attack.  The thing is I am better now than I used to be. When I was in my twenties I blushed, stammered and had anxiety attacks almost uncontrollably and especially around attractive girls so even the most basics of simple conversation were excruciatingly awkward and any coherent sentences close to impossible due to the physical manifestations of shyness. Speaking to a girl I liked and assuming I would really be OK or that no one would notice(IF ONLY THAT WERE TRUE!)was not even close to my reality.

Of course I was F**king avoidant! The humiliation was so intense I was contemplating suicide and punching myself in the head while sitting in the toilets! Can you imagine the embarrassment of acting like that in front of girls and other people ridiculing me which as I was in a crap manual job full of blokey ignorant young men was a common event for anyone even slightly different. What the flying F**K is is about intense humiliation that therapist dont get? Is it just because they have never experienced it themselves? You would do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING to avoid it.  So the idea you go to a therapist and deliberately make a list of your most anxiety inducing situations and then agree to go and do them is not even a remote possibility for many people.

And then if you do go and force yourself to speak to people they assume things are usually much better than you imagine is yet more absolute lies.  Avoidance may not be the answer but neither is extreme humiliation which traumatises you for years. When I watch all these experts and read the self help books they never seem to even consider that anxiety can be this bad and that exposure therapy is a straightforward task to recover from if you just practice hard enough. I wonder if they have ever even treated somebody who is really cripplingly shy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Cure for Social Anxiety?

I have downloaded absolutely loads of stuff on shyness and social anxiety the last month and some of it consisted of entire manuals of 700+ pages.  The thing is and its quite hard for me to say so but, but THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CURE WHATSOEVER!

All of the manuals and self help sites say only one thing. Go out and do stuff and hope you get better and then do more stuff until cured. Strange really as rather than scientific knowledge this is basically what i was told to cure shyness when i was a small child. Oh they may have breathing and relaxation techniques and also make you challenge your over the top irrational “Woe is me! Everybody hates me!” type of thinking but there is absolutely nothing else whatsoever on any website I have ever come across that helps in the slightest.

The problem is that depression fucks all that up.  No motivation whatsoever, already suicidal thinking so being told to go and smile at strangers on the street and make banter with shop assistants about the weather or Donald Trumps snazzy hair are about as useful as being told to Just do it! or my favourite as a youth “Just Go Talk to her!”

In reality acting nervous got ridicule or contempt which increased my anxiety which increased avoidance. If in doubt I go straight onto YouTube where hot girls say how much they hate shy men as they act creepy and make them feel awkward. Women love confidence , its officially one of the biggest turns ons. The advice also ignores your age. Contrary to belief not everyone with social anxiety is 23. A man my age smiling at women considerably younger than me on the street will be thought of as a creepy weirdo after sex so why not say that when advising smiling at 6 strangers per day as exposure therapy as if its normal. Virtually no strangers smile at people on the street unless well they do fancy each other.

Social etiquette still matters or do you assume that very shy people will understand who to and who not to smile at? Just like advising you to ask attractive females out as what have you got to lose?  Well there are lots of attractive twenty and thirty something years olds but as someone in my forties(Shock! Horror!)I would have about as much chance as bagging one as I would attracting Cameron Diaz(although at 44 she’s way closer to my age range!) Oh you mean only ask people your own age but once again just assumes you know that.(even though at my age everyone is much uglier including me!) Do I tell them how long I have been unemployed as well, that will impress them. Fact, long term unemployed men are avoided as much as ex cons so something else to destroy confidence.

I prepare myself on a daily basis for the inevitable end now. I almost long for it after all these years of pain and loneliness. Today was absolutely awful and I struggled not to self harm. The reason I feel worse is because I looked for help and found there wasn’t any.  People just like to pretend there is to make themselves feel better. They like to pretend that the majority of them are nice and kind too.

Depression Traps, Truth and Reality

Trap #1: Social Withdrawal,Social withdrawal is the most common telltale sign of depression.

The Fix: Gradually counteract social withdrawal by reaching out to your friends and family. Make a list of the people in your life you want to reconnect with and start by scheduling an activity.

Reality: Oopps. I have Social anxiety. This means I only have one online friend who I only see about 4 times a year. Trying to interact online with other people results in total disaster through self help forums and even the comments I have encountered here which only reaffirms that people dislike me and they make me feel even guilty and ashamed for posting how I really feel. Conclusion. People demand you interact but they also demand you say the right words in the right sentences about the right subjects and of course that you are positive even though I talk about suicide and depression. They also want you to agree with them.

 

Trap #2: Rumination A major component of depression is rumination, which involves dwelling and brooding about themes like loss and failure that cause you to feel worse about yourself.

The Fix: Redirect your attention to a more absorbing activity, like a social engagement or reading a book.

Reality: True I do this all the time and end up feeling suicidal. Cant do any social activity. Reading a book is only a moderate help and only sometimes.

 

 

Trap #3: Self-Medicating With Alcohol Turning to alcohol or drugs to escape your woes is a pattern that can accompany depression, and it usually causes your depression to get worse.

The Fix: Talk to your doctor or therapist if you notice that your drinking habits are making you feel worse. Alcohol can interfere with antidepressants and anxiety medications.

Reality: Yes, very true. I drink almost every day. Feel far more anxious if I don’t. I don’t feel any better in the morning with less as my insomnia can be quite bad without it.

 

 

Trap #4: Skipping Exercise  If you’re the type of person who likes to go the gym regularly, dropping a series of workouts could signal that something’s amiss in your life. The same goes for passing on activities — such as swimming, yoga, or ballroom dancing — that you once enjoyed.

The Fix: Ilardi recommends finding someone you can trust to help you initiate exercise — a personal trainer, coach, or even a loved one.

Reality: I do some walking. No way I would feel comfortable in a gym alone couldn’t afford it and don’t know other people to do anything with. Walking sometimes helps but I live in a shit city with shit walks. Result, walking depresses me even more and have to avoid being mugged, attacked by local lowlife.

 

 

Trap #5: Seeking Sugar Highs  When you’re feeling down, you may find yourself craving sweets or junk food high in carbs and sugar.

The Fix: Avoid sugar highs and the inevitable post-sugar crash. It’s always wise to eat healthfully, but now more than ever, your mood can’t afford to take the hit.

Reality: I do this as well but when eating healthier have noticed no difference in my moods as my depression is not chemical but due to circumstances of long term unemployment and chronic anxiety.

 

 

Trap #6: Negative Thinking  When you’re depressed, you’re prone to negative thinking and talking yourself out of trying new things.

The Fix: Don’t get too attached to grim expectations. “You have more control over doing and not doing, than you have over what the result of actions will be,” Goulston says. “But there is a much greater chance that if you do, then those results will be positive.”

Reality: Oh dear. He’s obviously not taking age and other factors into account. I am already in my late 40’s and everything is an unmitigated disaster. Live alone, never dated, long term unemployed. No real life friends, chronic leg pain which all doctors dismissed as lies, don’t speak to people for weeks, ineligible for any benefits when money runs out. I think the person who said its never too late was a lying bastard.

 

Final Conclusion: Am I doing this wrong or is this just depressive and negative thinking. I get the feeling that some people offer advice and are amazed that i dont think it wonderful and openly embrace it or that I am so negative despite being a late forty something year old long term unemployed virgin with no friends and chronic leg pain. This is the genuine truth how I see it when I look at my problems and other peoples solutions as they are never relevant to me and totally ignore what total judgemental and cruel attitudes the majority of people in the real world have. if you think this is an overreaction then how many employers would hire me at my age after many years of unemployment and with mental health problems even if I could get through the interview?

Some Mental Health Statistics

Men who suffer from severe anxiety are twice as likely to die from cancer than men who do not, a study has found.

But women with the mental health condition were at no greater risk, researchers said.They suggest anxious men may be more likely to ‘self-medicate’ their anxiety by drinking and smoking more than women, both factors that increase the likelihood of getting cancer.

 

Lonely people are more likely to die early due to their immune system being weaker, a new study has found

Being isolated could suppress the immune system and shave years off your life. Latest studies show that loneliness can be twice as bad for the health as obesity.

 

Men in the UK aged 20 to 49 are now more likely to die from suicide than any other cause of death.

A cursory look at the statistics in Britain suggests it is dearly needed. Suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 and 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. It is also predominantly a male disorder. Of the 5,981 suicides in 2012, an astonishing 4,590 (76%) were men. And yet while Britain has high-profile campaigns on, say, testicular cancer or driving safely, the biggest killer of men under 50 is not getting the attention it deserves.

 

Meanwhile.

UK Government To Slash Mental Health Funding Again, Figures Show

Mental health funding will be cut in many areas of Britain in the next year, and the postcode lottery will worsen, new figures show.

At least 73 local areas will see their GP mental health budgets slashed in 2016/2017, according to government data obtained by Labour MP Luciana Berger.

 

F**k me. With all this evidence its quite amazing that I have got this far.Its enough to make you feel depressed isn’t it?

Beginning of the end?

As far as I can tell a lot of CBT therapy for depression is about assuming people are over-reacting, catastrophizing or being irrational. The problem is I am not. What’s the worst that can happen? I can and will end up homeless without a miracle so once again suicide looks like an extremely sensible option. As my anxiety was high and I felt ashamed when I was made redundant after 20 years in the same job I did not claim any benefit  so I have not paid national insurance in many years. This means that not only I am not entitled to any future benefit but also I will not even get the full state pension if I ever reach retirement age.

Looking for work. First I cannot do stand up manual work as I even had to change departments in my last job as my legs were aching too much so most menial jobs are a no go. Help? I went to the doctors many times and the only thing I got was a prescription for 500 paracetamol tablets. Next after so many years unemployed with no official reason the vast majority of employers would not even bother to interview me. I have no real skills and I am a nervous and depressed wreck. I have this idea that even if I could get help from a therapist and brainwashed to be more positive this would only mean I would have to apply for job after job and the obvious rejections and astonishment at my long term unemployment would only result in chronic shame and desperation again resulting in another breakdown.

And then we also have a right wing Tory government in power who have made it almost impossible to get any financial help without continuous assessments and anyone who can stand up for 5 seconds and answer their name being classified as fit for work. Their shaming tactics of cutting peoples benefit and making them beg at food banks is supposed to deter the lazy but of course also seriously harms people with mental health problems. When I started looking at all this last week and analysing it piece by piece as some CBT therapy recommended I became so down I started to punch myself in the head and drink heavily again. I think it would be just as credible to go and live in the wilderness and live off of road kill and berries.The future struggle to even  get enough money to stay alive looks so hopeless that I can see no possible escape route short of winning the national lottery or divine intervention from God. Perhaps I should visit the cathedral this afternoon. There is not much left.

The private life of a male zombie

walker

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I still find it strange to be so different to other people. I sometimes feels like an outsider watching through a window.For instance never having had a relationship at my age is so rare and despite the fact its me who’s suffered and also because of mental health problems too, I am still open to ridicule from society at whole as if I have actually done something wrong or should be ashamed. I suppose this idea goes back to primitive societies as we needed to have as many babies as possible so we did not die out hence all the ancient fertility rituals.Its not as if I have severe learning difficulties or some other life altering condition. Its simply an emotion which has gone out of control and changed the course of my entire life, the emotion being of course anxiety. I was in the top 10-20% of my school and like science, nature and am fascinated with evolution and cosmology and watch any documentary I see on such subjects.

Yet some girls at work treated me as if I was I dont know how to describe it, sub human. Some girls who were not even very attractive to me and certainly not intelligent.(remember I was working in a warehouse!) Its like the part of the brain responsible for attraction found my mental health condition to be so unappealing that they rejected me off hand. That one girl who graded every male in the department out of 10 but I was not even fit to be graded!  I now imagine myself like some sort of Quasimodo figure swinging from the warehouse shelving mumbling! And people wonder why those like me have such low self esteem and no confidence! I think this is a perfect example of evolution at work. Confidence in a male is also a big turn on for many women and of course the very shy man appears weak and almost pathetic.  When he does try he is often described as weird and creepy. Do people pretend that this doesn’t happen because they are delusional? The shame of trying to talk to girls and appearing this way was totally indescribable in its shame and embarrassment of course once again makes a mockery of the shit advice of feel the fear and do it anyway as you only get confident at it if you experience some success.This idea that its all in your head and people dont even notice your nerves is absolute f**king lying bollocks.

Many people would have sympathy for a badly physically disfigured person but would probably not want to date them if meeting for the first time. That’s life, it is cruel. Maybe they would when they got to know their personalty which means that they probably have a better chance of having a relationship than someone chronically shy.With severe social anxiety you are equally as unattractive once people become aware of your behaviour but receive no sympathy as people assume its your normal character and personality when its in reality the anxiety making you appear almost mute and miserable. As one girl put it like working with a zombie.

Work!

Although I have pretty much had social anxiety since I started school at the age of five and have many school reports which advised I should speak up more in class it was not until I left school when things started to go really bad. I went to college as I just copied my best friend and had no idea what else to do. My dad offered no advice whatsoever and I barely spoke to him. However in my first maths class I realised that nothing would be any better and began to feel desperate. I got in the class as quickly as I could and sat down so that I would not have any awkward moments having to sit next to strangers as all the desks were for two only and all 5 of the people I did now from my own school were in completely different classes. I remember every single seat filling up with of course me being left alone as usual as it had been for much of my school life. I left college after just two days and was unemployed for over a year before I got my first job. I always wondered if I had of sat next to one of my friends would that have given me the confidence to stay and then go to university afterwards or was I just delaying the inevitable?

 

I then got a job at a warehouse as my dad knew someone who worked there as they used to be in the police force together. Even so the bloke he knew said to me to not let him down after the interview and do a good job and it only really dawned on me later it was because I had been unemployed for over a year so I was being treated like I was a criminal.  This was even more ridiculous considering some of the people I did work with over the next twenty years in the place as many I would not trust to change a light bulb or think they had the intelligence! I’ll never forget the old women who ran the general office and did some of my paperwork asking me why I had been unemployed for so long as if I had committed some heinous crime. This of course adds to the shame of unemployed and is a reason why  many mentally ill people with long term unemployment commit suicide as its so hard to get work once out of the loop for while and so many employers have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for mental health issues. They dislike you for being unemployed too long and yet at the same time use that as an excuse to not hire you so you stay unemployed for even longer and then it just keeps getting worse! What a shock! In fact  I read quite recently that the long term unemployed  and criminals are the first to have their CV put in the waste basket and rejected or is that on dating sites? Probably both.

 

I did struggle in the job, not because it was hard of course as I was only picking and packing(photography equipment)but because of my anxiety. However I think working in a predominately male environment was preferable to mixed as my anxiety was unsurprisingly always worse with girls especially attractive girls and then I would act like a gibbering wreck (yes even more than normal). They made me a team leader quite quickly which meant I had some authority over a small group of people but after trying to cope with it for a few months I had to give up as not only was I not getting better but it was starting to make my anxiety even worse. In fact I was often more nervous that the new person I was supposed to be teaching what to do!  I think it showed me that just putting yourself in a stressful situation day after day for months did not always work or get you used to it like exposure therapy dictates. At one point not long afterwards I think I came pretty close to a mental breakdown and I remember blushing uncontrollably for days as if my brain was in total freefall. Then not long after this the insomnia started although I also started to have chronic leg pain about this time too and got very little help from the doctors. Looking back I was in desperate need of help for mental problems but as I was still able to work nothing happened and I plodded on until my leg pain become so bad I was forced to change which actually had some positive results.