Who am I and what am I doing here?

I’m a creep,
I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here

Cue one big, jumbled rant…

I don’t feel like a person – I feel like the empty shell where perhaps once, a long, long time ago, there was once a person with hopes and dreams for the future. I have no dreams, no ambitions. I have no plans for the future except perhaps to graduate uni and to get through  each uneventful day. I don’t believe that I will ever do anything meaningful or worthwhile with my life. It’s hard to say if I ever had any real aspirations… When I first started feeling suicidal at 14 years old, I gave up completely on any hope or plans for the future because I didn’t see there being a future for me. I was amazed that I made it to university because I honestly thought I’d have taken my own life before the end of high school. I don’t even have the faintest idea as to what I’d like to do career-wise and I’m now studying a degree that I fear will have been a waste of time. I’ve hated uni as much as I hated high school at times and I’m still in the exact same situation now with regards to anxiety and avoidance that I was in at the start of high school. I feel like my entire life has been and will continue to be a complete waste of time. I feel I’ve accomplished nothing in almost 19 years of being on this earth. I feel like a waste of life; A waste of flesh and blood. I wish I could give my life to someone who could make better use of it or appreciate it more. In many ways, I feel dead already. I’m never really living – just surviving. As I look to the future, I can only see more pain and failure ahead of me. Death seems much preferable to another 6 or 7 decades of misery and this chronic loneliness that I believe few people actually experience. What is there to look forward to?

I feel that my mental health problems have completely deprived me of any sense of self or personality. Throughout my whole life, people would just describe me as ‘shy’ or ‘quiet’. That was all there was to me. That’s all I was. It feels as if my SA has ruined any positive aspects of my personality that might have otherwise existed. I don’t know if I could really use any positive adjectives to describe myself…I don’t know who I am. Perhaps a large part of most people’s sense of self is inventing yourself socially or finding oneself through interaction with other people. I am literally a toddler with regards to social experience. I’ve been so socially isolated for the vast majority of my life that I don’t even know  the most basic of conversational skills. I don’t have a clue how to make friends irl. My family members always say that it’s just as simple as talking to them and finding points of common interest/ asking them about and being genuinely interested in their lives…I just can’t translate that to an actual, real-time conversation. I don’t know the intricate social dance that everyone else seems to just get. On the few occasions when someone at uni has tried to start a conversation with me, it’s never lasted longer than 30 seconds (with the exception of JW). I just never know what to say and I’m too afraid of really getting to know anyone anyway, for fear of rejection. My body language and lack of eye contact must put people off straight away anyway. I don’t know why anyone would want to talk to me anyway – I feel that they cannot possibly want to be friends with me. I don’t understand people’s motives. If anyone is ever nice to me in the slightest, I’m convinced that they must want something from me or that there are malicious undertones to this.

I feel there is nothing to my life. All I do is study (when at university), play computer/ video games, read, go cycling, walk the dog, do housework, and waste time on the internet. That’s it. Very dull compared to most people my age, I imagine. My siblings are constantly out with friends…my closest sister (age-wise) is out at parties almost every weekend, at her boyfriend’s house every Monday, and usually goes into town with a friend at least once a week. The drunken pictures of various parties are posted all over facebook (don’t get me started on facebook – that’s another rant) as her trophies for having western society’s epitome of ‘a life’. My reward for being society’s epitome of a loser is the incessant loneliness and misery which I’ve already described. Speaking of which, I am becoming more and more disillusioned with society the older I get. I have no desire to become the superficial, mindless drone that I am expected to be. I no longer wish to be part of a society in which your worth as a human being is denoted by how popular you are, whether or not you’re in a relationship, whether or not you’re a virgin beyond a certain age, whether or not you’re attractive, how confident you are, whether or not you have the latest gadget, what you wear, whether or not you drink, how much money you make, etc. Why should I care about any of those things? If you don’t fit the mould that others have been preconditioned to accept as ‘normality’, you must have a serious problem. You must drastically change or be excluded from everything. I have no wish to be part of a society that will forever look down on me simply for being different. I don’t feel I will ever fit in anywhere. I’m a complete freak and outcast wherever I go. Sometimes I wish I could just live as a hermit somewhere and never have to deal with people again, as much as I yearn for close relationships. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with the judgement and derision of others, or the pain of rejection. Actually, I’m almost a hermit already. When not at uni, the only time I ever leave the house is to go cycling or take the dog out, usually where there are few people around. I live with my family right now, but in a few years’ time, who knows how long I’ll go at a time without interacting with anyone. Despite the overwhelming loneliness I experience most of the time, I am so very afraid of rejection or mockery that I can do nothing about it.

I already feel that I’ve wasted so much of my life. Most people’s teenage years consist of having fun and going to places/ parties with friends. They develop their social skills. They perhaps get jobs. They have their first kisses and first sexual experiences. They have a fun drunken time with others at university/ college. They start to live their own independent lives. I’ve done none of that. I haven’t had any friends irl in years, and even when I did, most of them just mocked me/ weren’t ‘real’ friends anyway. I’m always worried that the fact I don’t have any friends (except online) will somehow get out to people at uni or to my cousins or other non-immediate relatives and they’ll think I’m even more of a creep. I’m getting to the age now where a number of people sort of assume that I must have had a boyfriend by now. I hate the way that some people act like being in a relationship is the most important thing in the world/ the key to being happy. I don’t believe either of those things but being alone forever is a rather depressing thought nonetheless. My sister is always going on about how I “should really get a boyfriend”…Yeah, why don’t I just pick one from the massive queue of guys waiting outside our house in the hopes of dating me? Even in the case of people without SA and depression/ who don’t feel that they’re extremely unattractive, I don’t see how she can say that. It’s not like a boyfriend is something you get just for the sake of having one.  Still, I always feel humiliated/ ashamed of myself when I have to admit that I’ve never been in a relationship, even if it’s a psychologist asking. It shouldn’t really bother me because I don’t believe that it’s something to be ashamed of (at least not for other people) and I’ve never met anyone I  got to know enough that wanted to be in a relationship with them anyway. My SA of course means I’m never able to get to know people. I can’t even make eye contact with a member of the opposite sex, never mind ask a guy out/ to be in a relationship with me (something I imagine would be met by a look of complete disgust and derisive laughing from whoever I asked). The thing that gets me down is that I feel I will never be capable of having a close relationship with anyone (either romantic or friendship), and I’m going to be stuck alone and miserable forever.

I feel so immature in that I’ve never really had any independence. Financially, I’m still completely dependent on my parents for everything. I’ve never had a job due to my SA, but I will need to get one this summer. Even the thought of job interviews and having to talk to colleagues/ customers makes me feel physically sick. I feel that I’ll never be able to drive because it fills me with so much anxiety. I have yet to sit either of my driving exams. In the teenage years, people start to spend much more time around their friends and less time around their family, perhaps going on their first holiday abroad without parents. I’ve never done anything like this because of my lack of friends. My sister is already planning her first non-family holiday to Ibiza with a dozen friends this summer. She’s planning on going to university in Glasgow or Aberdeen and staying in student accommodation for her first year then flat sharing thereafter. I deliberately chose a uni somewhat close to home because I don’t think I could ever handle staying in student halls. I’m immensely grateful that my grandparents let me stay at their house, though I feel guilty about it in a lot of ways.

It bothers me to no end that in just over a year, I will no longer be a teenager. I thought I’d have achieved so much more by now. I feel so incredibly immature and inexperienced compared to others my age. I feel so much further behind than I should be at this point in my life. When I look back, all I can see is the things that SA prevented me from doing. When I look at the present, all I can see is what it’s preventing me from doing now. And as I look to the future, all I can see is all the things that it will prevent me from doing. I don’t know how to get better. I don’t know if it is even possible for someone like me to ever recover and have any semblance of an enjoyable life. I find no meaning in existence. There is nothing that I find makes existence feel meaningful.  I have done nothing meaningful with my life so far. As I said before, I don’t have a clue what I want from life. To make a positive difference in the world, I suppose, but I have no idea how.

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10 Responses to Who am I and what am I doing here?

  1. I wouldn’t worry about things like not having a relationship yet or having trouble with social awkwardness. I am the same age and have issues with it, as well as never having been in a relationship (and I have friends the same age that never have either). Though some of the things you say suggest you should see a counselor to help. And try housing on your campus. Even as a socially awkward person, I found it very nice. You’re sort of forced to adapt and then you have loads of people around to socialize with.

    • Gemma says:

      I try not to worry about never having been in a relationship, though it does still get me down quite a lot at times. It’s not so much not being in a relationship NOW (I need to sort myself out first anyway), but the prospect of never having that chance. It’s impossible not to worry about being socially awkward when you have social anxiety disorder. I’ve already seen many mental health professionals over the years and currently see both a psychiatrist, and a psychologist for CBT. I still don’t feel I could ever live in student accommodation. Being at home is the only time I feel calm and I’ve completely struggled with uni so far due to my mental health anyway. It might help in some ways, but I think it would ultimately just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Being CONSTANTLY anxious (which I would be if I stayed in student halls) does not go well with getting assignments done or getting adequate sleep. And ultimately, I’d probably just end up in the exact same situation, never leaving my room and avoiding social contact.

      • Blue says:

        I agree — housing on campus would not be a good option for you right now. I know we need exposure to uncomfortable situations to get better, but ~gradually~, when we’re ready. Otherwise, it can be detrimental and set recovery back.

        Anyway, I wanted to comment because I really identified with this post. I’ve been sneaking around your blog (and old blog) a couple of times before, trying to get up the courage to leave a comment, because I identify with you in a lot of ways.

        The last couple of weeks I’ve been really battling those feelings of “why should I change for society?” Sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself that I want to change, that I want to stop spending most of my time in my bedroom doing solitary things. Consumerism has been making me sick, even though half the time I’m like, “Maybe if I had nicer clothes or I dressed more like everyone else, people would talk to me.” I still feel like maybe I just want to live in a one-room shack in the middle of a forest, surrounded by animals instead of people.

        As for the boyfriend thing, a lot of non-socially-anxious people who are in college haven’t had relationships yet. I’d say about the half the people I’ve been acquainted with have yet to find someone, or are just beginning to date. I don’t know if that makes you feel any better, but I hope it at least makes you feel less abnormal.

      • Gemma says:

        Hi Blue. Thanks for your comment. I know how difficult it can be to leave a comment on someone else’s blog when you have SA.

        I can relate a lot to wanting to live away from everyone else and being surrounded by animals. Sometimes I think about just moving to a small house somewhere in the Outer Hebrides with a couple of dogs or something and living out the rest of my life miles away from anyone else. I too am stuck between wanting other people to like me and to belong somewhere, and the feeling that I am somehow better off on my own. As for what you said about not having a boyfriend, perhaps I’m in no position be down about something like that. There are many people on the social anxiety forums that I’ve been on who are in their forties or older who have never been in a relationship, so I suppose I have no right to rant about it. It’s really not even the lack of a relationship that gets me down anyway – it’s the loneliness and complete lack of social contact that does.

        Thanks for making me feel a little bit less abnormal. Sometimes I do feel like a bit of a loser for having ZERO romantic experience. The biggest thing for me though, is my lack of friends. Literally EVERYONE else at my uni seems to have at least a small group of friends…maybe it’s all just superficial, meaningless interaction but I can’t help but feel disheartened at being the only person there alone.

        I agree with gradual exposure as well. Right now, moving into student halls would just make me feel worse. There are other things I have to work on before I do something as big as that.

  2. “I too am stuck between wanting other people to like me and to belong somewhere, and the feeling that I am somehow better off on my own.”
    Sometimes I wonder if I just want people to like me so I feel better about myself, not because I particularly want to be around people. I can’t tell if I don’t like people, or if I don’t like the way I feel around people. It’s all very confusing.

    “As for what you said about not having a boyfriend, perhaps I’m in no position be down about something like that.”
    Oh, I don’t think I was entirely clear with what I said. I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t be upset about not having a boyfriend, if that’s the way you feel. I spent most of my life bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend, because I really wanted a “special someone” in my life. I definitely understand how frustrated you are that your SA is keeping you from dating. I was just hoping to make you feel a little less like an outcast. It sounded to me that you felt like not having a boyfriend was another thing setting you apart from all the people who don’t have social anxiety. But, as I said before, a lot of people our age who don’t have SA also don’t have significant others … so it’s not really something your sister should be making you feel ashamed about.

    I really wish I could help you out in the “making friends” department, but I’m pretty hopeless at it, as well. It really sucks that you’re suffering in this way, because you seem like such an intelligent and thoughtful person. If you could speak to people as eloquently as you write, you’d be unstoppable!

    • Gemma says:

      I think my biggest issue with being around other people is that I assume everyone is automatically going to treat me like people did when I was back in high school – something I might elaborate on in a later post.

      Thank you for your kind words, Blue. You’ve made my day. 🙂

      • Blue says:

        I just came to the very same conclusion myself this morning! I’m afraid that they’re going to betray me.

        If you don’t mind, I’d love to keep reading your blog … I find it very interesting, not only because it’s given me some perspective on some of my own issues.

        You’re welcome. 🙂

  3. solcolasoda says:

    Reblogged this on Solcolasoda.

  4. fellowsocphob says:

    There is so much I can relate to in your blog about relationships and society, yep I am one of those older people (30+) who have been in very few relationships. I hope this doesn’t sound patronising or anything but as I have gotten older it matters less about how much I go out to clubs or drink. I agree with 100uncomfortablesilence, you definitely seem like an intelligent, thoughtful person and you really do write so eloquently.
    You seem to know your own mind and do what you feel is right for you which is so admirable and shows your strength, I agree with Blue in taking small steps. You say you have not done as much as others, but the experiences you have had make you seem very mature and you have experienced more of real life than others your age may have.
    You articulate your feelings so well when you write, I think you are making a difference by expressing how a lot of us with these anxieties feel but can not express.

    • Gemma says:

      No, it doesn’t sound patronising at all. I still get upset about the fact that I don’t have friends or a boyfriend a lot but I am beginning to accept that not going out drinking and partying each weekend is not nearly as big of a deal as many of my peers would probably claim it is. I’m realising that it doesn’t make me loser despite what some people might say. I don’t think going out to clubs is something I could ever enjoy/ be interested in anyway. I’d much rather have a quiet night in/ small gathering with friends (if I did have a small group of friends to do things with).

      Thank you for your kind comments. I still feel that I’m socially immature and sheltered compared to most others my age, due to not having had to support myself or live on my own/ away from home yet, not having friends to go out and experience the world with, and being so inexperienced with relationships.

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