This is going to be one big post about a bunch of different things – mostly worries and recent achievements – related to social anxiety. I’ll try to get the more negative things out of the way first.
As always, I still feel down a lot of the time, and lonely almost constantly. Though I don’t know if I’ve ever known my mood to change so much within the course of a day or a few days as it has over the last few months. I can be happy one day – or even one hour – and then miserable and feeling like crying the next. I could’ve been out cycling for hours and feeling great, thanks to the endorphins, but then feeling awful and completely hopeless about the future a few hours later. Or I could be having an awful day, but then I’ll make a small step with my SA and feel a lot better afterwards. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s incredible how quickly my mood can change. In the past few days, I’ve gone from feeling like there is no point in sticking around because my future will be very bleak, to – for the first time – actually having a small amount of hope that I can one day overcome SA to the point where I can lead some semblance of a normal life, to feeling hopeless again, to feeling alright again. My self-esteem has been all over the place as well. I’ve had times in the past few days when I’ve felt more confident in myself than I have in a long time, and other times when the critical, blaming voice in my head just went into overdrive. It’s like being on a rollercoaster. I’ve made a real effort to exercise or do something that I’d usually enjoy whenever my mood starts to spiral downwards. Both exercise and just getting out of the house almost always help. I’ve been trying to get into a proper exercise routine but the downside of that is that I tend to mentally beat myself up if I’m too tired/ busy to exercise on a particular occasion.
Although I’ve made quite a few steps forward with my SA lately, I’m still feeling very, very hopeless about my chances of ever having friends or a relationship. I don’t know if the real issue with these things is even SA itself. It’s more to do with my apparent inability to let anyone close to me, for fear of being hurt. I’ve known that this is a big problem for me for a while now, but I only recently spoke to my counsellor about it. I don’t know why, but I’d never really mentioned it to a professional before then. He said that my fear of people hurting me and my inability to trust people is most likely a result of bullying and of the way old friends treated me. I agree with this but I also get the sense that I’ve always been like this to an extent – maybe I was born with an avoidant personality, who knows? I’m not going to say any more about my avoidance/ trust issues here but I’ll write about them in more detail in a later post.
The unlikelihood of ever having friends or a relationship is probably what brings my mood down the most. I could be doing great with fighting my SA in ‘impersonal’ ways – as (I suppose) I was last week – but when I realise that I’m still in the same situation with regards to friends and my inability to build meaningful relationships with other people, I just feel…what’s the point in it all, really? I tell myself that even if it does all go wrong – if I never manage to make any friends and never manage a relationship – I could get a couple of dogs for company, I could do all the things on my ‘bucket list’, I could travel and take up new hobbies and learn about loads of different subjects. But who I am kidding? A life without any real connection to other people isn’t really a life. I’ve been the outsider my entire life. I don’t want to be this way forever. A lot of the time, I find myself just wanting to hold someone but I fear that I’ll never get the chance. I don’t want to live the rest of my life feeling as lonely and miserable as I have for a number of years now. It’s hard to believe that anyone could ever love me, or even like me enough to want to be my friend. I don’t even feel worthy of love or a relationship, or friendship. This is still the one area of my life that I feel most hopeless about.
Remember the guy who organised the last SA meet – the one who didn’t even have SA and who I thought was a bit strange? He asked anyone who was going to the meet to text him – which I did (which in hindsight was a bit stupid) – so he got my number. He texted me after the meet saying: “I just feel sad for no reason , I don’t know what it’s like to have anxiety. You’re really attractive so I think you’ll be alright soon:)”. What the hell? I honestly thought he was taking the piss when he sent me that (a large part of me still does). I doubt that anyone has ever found me attractive – I’d probably be considered below average-looking at my very, very best. So I’m guessing that he’s just really, really desperate and would say that to anyone. It also strikes me as somewhat ignorant for him – as somehow who supposedly suffers severe depression – to think that appearance makes any difference when it comes to mental health problems. While I can see how being good-looking might help someone feel more confident, anyone can suffer from a mental health problem. They don’t discriminate. He also – before he knew that I have severe depression as well – said that he’d rather have SA because it doesn’t seem that bad. He really has no idea…
In one of the texts that he sent me the next day, he said “Oh dear, it must be really hard for you. I think I really like you and if I knew you better I could love you and I’d feel really sad if you were to hurt yourself”. This just freaked me out even more and I was going to just ignore him after that but then he kept messaging for a few days – usually at night, when he felt suicidal. It’s perhaps really stupid of me in this case, but if someone says that they’re really suicidal, I feel obliged to try and help them or at least message them back, telling them to phone a helpline or tell a friend/ family member. Speaking of suicide, he also had the nerve to say: “Come on, the people who try to convince you to live don’t know what it’s like. They could be wrong”. Oh, so I suppose I’ll just give up and kill myself then? The most helpful people who have convinced me to live know exactly what it’s like because they have been through the same/ similar things themselves. If anything, he’s the one who doesn’t know what it’s like – he doesn’t understand SA at all. I suppose it was rather naive of me to keep messaging him, but I had no one else to talk to at the time and was feeling extremely lonely. Speaking of which, he said that he’d also texted the other woman who went along to the SA meet. I imagine he’s said similar things to her. This leads me to seriously question his motives for organising the meet in the first place. Did he just want to find someone extremely lonely and unassertive to go out with? Did he just want to take advantage of that loneliness? I will be doing my best to ignore him from now on.
Edit: I was going to write about everything in one big post but I’ll finish off here for tonight and get onto the positives (there are actually quite a lot) tomorrow.