I apologise for the following depressive rant but I really just need somewhere to vent. I really don’t want to make anyone else feel worse through reading this post. Read it with caution, or don’t read it at all, if you have social anxiety disorder.
I started feeling awful last night. I’ve no idea why – I enjoyed volunteering yesterday but suddenly felt miserable by the evening, and it’s carried on to today. I still felt very tired when I woke up this morning, and lacked the motivation to get out of bed. It doesn’t help that my body’s reaction to getting up before 7am (which I’ve done the past three mornings) is generally this:
I eventually did manage to drag myself out of bed and go to this week’s employability session but I’m now wishing I hadn’t. We went over interview questions today and they handed us a sheet showing what employers say are the most common mistakes made at an interview. This included:
- Failure to make eye contact
- Lack of smile
- Bad posture (I always sit slightly hunched over when I’m anxious)
- Handshake that is too weak
- Fidgeting too much
- Playing with hair or touching face
- Lack of confidence
All of those things are symptoms of my social anxiety. So should I then just assume that no one wants to employ a person with social anxiety disorder, and give up? It would be difficult enough trying to focus on doing one of those things, never mind remembering and trying to do them all, while feeling like I’m about to have a panic attack, frantically trying to think of how to answer a question and string my words together, and trying to actually take in what the interviewer has asked me (my anxiety also affects my ability to concentrate on other things). When we went over the interview questions, I was rubbish at them. I completely lack confidence in myself and my abilities and this would probably come across straight away to any interviewer. I just want to give up. This might sound ridiculous but going through the employability session today made me feel suicidal. I just don’t see how I’m ever going to get a job after university. And if I do get a job, I don’t see how I’m going to get a job that won’t make me have a breakdown because of the constant anxiety. The future just seems so incredibly bleak and I can’t picture a future where I won’t eventually take my own life or feel miserable and suicidal all the time. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing after my degree. I don’t even know why I’m doing this degree. Looking at the positive side of things, at least I am actually enjoying my degree subject and find it interesting – I know there are many people who end up studying something that they hate or that bores them to tears. But being interested in something isn’t going to pay the bills. I’m most likely going to end up either working in a job I hate, being poor, or being unable to work at all because of my anxiety.
I’m sick of applying for jobs only to be rejected for every single one. I’m sick of going through all the hassle of applying for jobs that I would likely hate with every fibre of my being because of the strain they will put on my SA. I hate how fake interviews really are. It’s always going to be the people who are most confident and are the best at BSing their way through interviews that are probably most likely to get the job, rather than the people who are hard-working and have the relevant skills but lack the confidence to come across really well in an interview. It’s all so superficial and so much of it is just lies. It’s bullshit. I often feel the same way about dating.
I feel like I can’t even do anything because of my mental health issues. I can’t become a vet due to the massive impact all the stress would have on my mental health, because of my self-inflicted scars, and because I have social anxiety. I can’t become a vet nurse because of my scars and social anxiety. I can’t become a clinical psychologist because (other than the fact that I don’t have a degree in psychology, of course) of my social anxiety. I can’t become an ecologist because of my social anxiety. Unless there’s a job that involves hiding under a rock, I feel that I can’t do it because of my social anxiety.
It’s extremely difficult for anyone (SA or no SA) to get a job at the moment, but it still seems that most people on my course at uni have part-time jobs. And I’m constantly seeing their photos from their travels abroad, getting their diving qualifications and swimming with sharks in Thailand, or working at zoos, or wildlife reserves in South Africa. I can’t do that stuff (i.e. travelling alone) because of my anxiety either. I really want to take a trip around Scotland next summer because there are so many places up north that I’ve never visited, and I really want to visit the Hebrides. It would also hopefully help build my confidence and independence, and ease my anxieties about travelling alone. But of course, I’d need a job to fund this and to fund driving lessons so that I can pass my test and gain more driving experience before then. But I can’t get a job because of my social anxiety, and I’m finding learning to drive tough because of my anxiety. I may never be able to pass my driving test because of my anxiety. And it’s because of my anxiety that I have no friends to travel with. Do you see how this all gets so frustrating? Wouldn’t it be great if, y’know, my anxiety DIDN’T affect my entire life?
Sorry again for this very depressing post. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow or in a few days’ time. I’ve learned to deal with the times when I feel like this by taking things easy and making sure that I’m getting enough sleep (I haven’t been lately). I also still make an effort to exercise (which helps with my mood), though less intensely than I usually would, because I lack motivation. I just don’t see how the problem of employment or any of the other long-term problems caused by my SA are ever going to go away.