Helpful people make me anxious!

After having quite a bad start to the day – mostly in terms of various little things not going right, rather than my mood – all I really wanted to do was go for an afternoon cycle in the lovely weather. I managed to get to a steep hill about 2 miles from where I live, when I changed gears and the chain got badly jammed between the frame of the bike and the start of the pedals. I tried for about 10 minutes to unjam it, to no avail. I was so annoyed – at a combination of little things going wrong, bigger things in my life not going right, and simply by having the 3 hour bike ride that I’d planned, coming to an abrupt halt – by this point that I just wanted to kick the bike or a wall or something. But suddenly a guy who was walking past with his two greyhounds asked what was wrong with the bike and offered to help. I sort of just ended up holding the leads of the two greyhounds, feeling very nervous and wary, while he made small talk and tried for about 5 minutes to unjam the chain. It still wouldn’t budge so he asked one of his neighbours (he seemed to live in one of the cottages right beside where I had stopped) to bring out a hammer and chisel. After about another 10 very awkward minutes, the neighbour finally managed to get my chain unstuck, and was even nice enough to spray it with some oil (I hadn’t noticed before setting out, but it was a bit rusty).

I felt so awkward and nervous the whole time, not just because I’m very wary around (particularly male) strangers anyway, but because I felt so bad that I was inconveniencing people. It was a surprisingly nice thing for both of them to do – most people would’ve just walked by me. But in a lot of ways, I’d rather that the dog walker had just walked past me and left me to eventually wheel my bike back home. I just felt so guilty that I was taking up their time, and using up the neighbour’s oil. The dog walker actually said that he had to be in Gretna (which is right next to the Scotland-England border) that evening because one of his dogs was racing, so I felt so, so bad that I was holding him back. I did obviously sincerely thank both of them, but I worry that I wasn’t sincere enough – that I came across as quite rude and unappreciative. I worry that I angered both of them and I feel really bad about myself for that. I sort of managed the small talk, though it was awkward at bits. I always seem to feel anxious/ somewhat embarrassed when someone helps me in a situation like that – it makes me feel vulnerable/ weak for accepting their help. I’ve felt even more anxious around people than usual over the last 4 or 5 days. I really hope that I’m just going through a bad few days anxiety-wise, and that I’ve not taken a few steps backwards in terms of progress.

It’s nice to know that there are some genuinely nice, helpful people out there. I just wish that I wasn’t so anxious about them helping me and could better express my gratitude.

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2 Responses to Helpful people make me anxious!

  1. I’m glad you’re in a better place mentally these days.

    Just a couple of comments: first, a friend who mocks your ability to recover from SA (or mocks you in any way, actually) isn’t a good friend. Depression is a difficult disease because, as you know, it affects the sufferer’s personality. IOW, it’s hard to know when to blame bad behavior on the depression vs. the person it just acting like an asshole. Suicidal people are great at driving others away. That’s part of the tragedy — the impulse to alienate friends and family in an attempt perhaps to confirm one’s own ideas about how worthless and unloveable one is. I know that when I’m depressed I can lash out with sarcastic comments — but I apologize later and I’ve worked mightily to stop doing it, usually by just shutting up if I feel anxiety coming on. Ultimately, if your friend takes his own life it’s not your fault. It’s his choice as to how to deal with his situation. You can’t keep someone alive who doesn’t want to be.

    It also strikes me as bizarre — perhaps even abusive — that someone without SA would organize an SA meet-up. It’s incredibly insensitive and even cruel to gather people with SA in a place and then talk about how you can’t relate to their problem at all. Talking about his social plans and then asking you both about yours is beyond the pale.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years of working to overcome SA it’s that who you surround yourself with and give energy are very important. People who drag you down make the trip all the more arduous, and they can even set you way back if you’re not careful.

    • Gemma says:

      I don’t know…I’d say that T has been a very good friend to me other than when he made those comments a couple of weeks ago now. He seems to be doing better now and when I mentioned the progress I’ve made with my SA over the last week – I’ll mention this in my next post but it may take me a while to write it – his first response was: “Wow. Seriously? That’s awesome! Well done.” So he is being supportive/ encouraging again. Nonetheless, his previous comments did hurt a bit. I might mention it to him when we next speak, though I’m worried about us getting into a fight over it. I don’t know if I worry so much because of how he is, but because of how a previous online friend was whenever I tried to stand up for myself. Let’s call him L.

      L had some pretty bad anger issues, and would frequently try to manipulate me. When I was 16, we’d stay up quite late talking to each other on the computer. Sometimes it got to about 2 or 3 in the morning and I had to be up at 7 for school, but there were a couple of occasions when he threatened to kill himself if I logged off. He’d frequently call my mum a bitch, etc for wanting me to go to bed earlier (she’d have killed me if she’d known I stayed up that late on a school night). It was as if he was trying to turn me against her. He’d often be horrible to me and call me similar terms when he got angry for whatever reason, or if I tried to stand up for myself. Sometimes he’d apologise; sometimes he wouldn’t. He constantly minimised my problems , saying that they weren’t as bad as his and that I just wasn’t trying hard enough. I know it was stupid of me to remain friends with someone who treated me that way, but he was all I had at the time. Talking to him and his friend (who sometimes joined us and was considerably nicer) was the only thing I had to look forward to back then. The lack of sleep probably made my depression and school performance worse, and it made my relationship with my mum worse for a while, but I was so miserable and suicidal at the time that I honestly didn’t care, as terrible as that sounds. A couple of the friends I’ve had ‘in real life’ have been like this too. They’ve mocked me and tried to control me, and I was always too afraid to stand up for myself. Maybe I just bring that out in people…I don’t know. My passivity, loneliness, lack of self esteem, desire to help people, and the feeling that I deserve to be treated like that/ it is somehow my fault, is the perfect combination for a manipulative person to take advantage of me. My view of friendship is perhaps a bit distorted because of these past experiences.

      As for T, I know that I’ve hurt him in the past too. Not intentionally and not (at least not that I’m aware of) through anything I’ve said, but he said that he couldn’t stop crying and that he was worried sick that time that I walked to the bridge. It used to upset/ trigger him a lot when I self injured too. I feel terrible for that.

      I’d find it hard not to blame myself if T did kill himself. I’d constantly be asking myself: “If I had just done/said this…?”, “If I had done this differently…?”, “If I had tried harder…?” I realise that I’d have no chance of stopping him if it’s what he wanted to do but I really, really want things to get better for him.

      As for the person who organised the SA meet, I’m really questioning his motives for doing so, because of a couple of things he’s said (again, I’ll mention this in my next post).

      Yes, I very much agree with finding supportive and helpful people. Clearly, I tend to attract the opposite. I need to learn to help myself as much I try to help other people, I suppose. I need to become more assertive, though I’m not really sure how. Thanks again for your comment, J. Sorry for my long – and quite negative- reply.

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