Self-loathing session

Nobody likes you

Everyone left you

They’re all out without you,

Having fun

– ‘Letterbomb’ by Green Day

I had another awful day at work today (I’m not exactly having the best week), and did something really embarrassing/ mortifying, which has me even more convinced that all of my colleagues/ other people in general must hate me, and that I’m the most awful, horrible human being ever. Everyone does something embarrassing from time to time, but for me, this was truly mortifying. The amount of distress I feel when I do something that embarrassing is immense. I tried talking to both my mum and dad about it but they just made me feel even worse about it, asking why I hadn’t done this and why I hadn’t done that. I suppose I can’t really expect them to understand a condition that they’ve never experienced. I won’t bother saying anything next time. It’s pathetic but I went to my room to cry after talking to them, and even had self-injury urges for the first time in ages (I didn’t do it though), perhaps because I wrote about it the other day, I don’t know. Of course, it’s not just what happened in itself, it’s the memories of ALL the embarrassing things that I’ve ever done/ that have ever happened to me, and the beliefs (i.e that I’m a freak that everyone hates) that go with that. The distress is so great that I wish I could develop a kind of amnesia for those events. And once I do an embarrassing thing, it is forever stored in my memory bank, ready to be relived at any moment. I can’t be the only person with SA who experiences this, can I? At times like this, my negative thoughts are going at full speed, and I cannot get my mind to shut up. I feel like crawling into a hole to die. I try to distract myself from the thoughts that tell me I’m a despicable human being/ that everyone has always hated me, but even distraction sometimes doesn’t help. I came across this post yesterday, and it sums up my experiences all too well.

As well as what happened today, I’ve also been beating myself up for about a million other things: for being awkward/ weird, for being so ugly, for having gained some weight/ eating too much, for every little social mistake that I make, for every little mistake that I make at work, for being useless/ incompetent, for being so inexperienced in life compared to others my age, and so on. I can’t seem to stop doing it. In addition to this, I was greatly upset a couple of weeks ago, and also last week, by a great number of bad memories of things that have taken place throughout my life. I will have times like that every now and again (though usually during the summer) when it’s like I’m reliving all of the memories. All the bullying, all the verbal abuse/ criticism by my dad, the way that random, nasty people have treated me throughout my life. Again, this is all highly distressing to me. It causes me so much pain, sadness, anger, and distrust. Lately, it has been mostly anger. Anger at the bullies for causing me so much pain and effectively ruining my life (or at least contributing significantly to my SA and distrust of other people, particularly men), at my dad for the impact he had on my self-esteem (and never once apologising to me for any of the things he did/ said, while I always had to apologise to him for angering him), anger at my mum for being so overprotective of me when I was younger (and even now), thus enabling my anxiety and leaving me stunted and feeling incompetent and incapable of doing things. Anger at the psychiatrist who told me (when talking about the girls from my high school who messaged me and invited me to a party during our final year) “Maybe they just don’t like you”. As I was depressed at the time, I simply answered, in a deadpan manner, “I know”. But to say something like that to a 17 year old who suffers from both social anxiety disorder and depression, when you’re supposed to be helping them, and to also not pay the slightest bit of attention to what they have to say/ their informed opinion on something, is unforgivable in my eyes. And there’s also anger at random nasty people, such as one of the driving instructors I tried, and a woman who berated me for not smiling (due to my SA), and was just generally very rude to me, back when I volunteered in a charity shop.

As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of people that I went to high school with work in the same supermarket that I do. One of them was also in the same classes as me at university, until I went part-time. Being brave, I said good morning to him on a few occasions, but each time, he completely blanked me. And then last week, a colleague asked him if I was in his way (I was so busy with what I was doing that I hadn’t realised he was there), and he nodded and rolled his eyes, looking really pissed off. Maybe I’m just overreacting, but I felt as if my very existence was annoying him (I felt the same way with a number of people from high school), and that because I was always the freak who everyone treated like shit back when we were in high school, he feels he can do the same now. I felt the rage (from his reactions/ lack of reactions, combined with anger from a lifetime of bad memories) build up inside of me all of a sudden, and I was actually shaking with anger. I felt like punching a wall or breaking something, but I of course controlled myself, withdrew from other people even more than usual, and eventually calmed myself down. The rage kind of freaked me out a bit, and only served to increase my belief that I’m an awful person. The fact that I also have to constantly lie to my colleagues about what I did at the weekend/ my days off also strengthens this belief.

On the plus side, I have gotten a little bit better at starting conversations with my colleagues, though it is still very difficult. Today, I even managed to start a conversation with the guy who pointed out how quiet I am (and who I feel extremely awkward/ anxious around), even if it was purely about work. And he seemed to react positively. My confidence is still continuing to very slowly increase when it comes to talking to/ helping customers, even if I do still let out an internal horror scream whenever one approaches me.

The racing thoughts about earlier today have calmed down a bit now, though I still can’t convince myself that I’m anything other than all of the negative things that I mentioned earlier in the post. I really need to start doing ‘thought records’ and belief worksheets again. Just feeling a bit crap at the moment. Sorry for such a negative/ self-loathing post.

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4 Responses to Self-loathing session

  1. Yes. I know all about this. The ruminating and reliving every bad moment and bad memory. Then that expands and becomes the defining aspect of not only one interaction, but an entire relationship and a referendum on your entire history and value as a person. SA is a bastard, isn’t it? The worst part is that you then torture yourself for torturing yourself.

    I’m glad you kept yourself from spiraling into self harm. You have had a bad week. I believe I. The cumulative power of bad experiences like this.

    I will say this: your schoolmate is treating you poorly and it is because that’s his historical experience with you. But that’s him. The way he treats you is not indicative of how everyone else sees you.

    A stranger got angry with me last week for making an honest mistake. She saw motivations that weren’t there and she berated me. My mind keeps returning to it, with humiliation of being talked at harshly. And with anger that she thought I was trying to do something bad when I wasn’t. It’s like being seven years old again and berated by a parent who has all the power.

    I leaned in therapy that when you have an emotional reaction that’s wildly out of proportion then it’s a trigger for something from the past. Meaning it’s not about that person today or you today.

    I don’t know if this helps at all. You are a good person and you have the misfortune of having an affliction that affects every social interaction and by its very nature is self-perpetuating. SA is horrible, but it can be managed. I hope you can look beyond your experiences this week and remember all your progress.

    • Gemma says:

      Thank you. My bad week unfortunately continued today. One of the night managers got annoyed with me because of something that my entire department did, and when I asked him a question, he responded, in (what I’m sure was) a passive-aggressive way, sarcastically saying “But hey, what do I know? I’m just young and stupid”. His comment upset me for the rest of the shift, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the reasons as to why he may have said it. Maybe it’s just his style of banter/ humour, but I’m starting to think that people are just complete arseholes.

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience with the stranger last week. I don’t know why people think they can treat us like that. Indeed. The manager spoke to me as if I was some stupid, disobedient child. I suppose that’s the thanks I get for going in an hour early to help him out…

      That makes a lot of sense. It feels as if everything that happened in the past is always right there, ready to prove how worthless or unlikeable I am (and how horrible some/ most people are) at any moment. Thank you. I’m sorry for my mini rant there.

      • I don’t think it’s a rant, nor should you apologize. It’s your blog and your experiences to write about. I so envy people who don’t have such porous boundaries, who aren’t so easily hurt by sharp words or angry looks or false accusations. I need to catch up on your next post, but I just wanted to say that your sensitivity is a gift, even when it feels like a curse. People are jerks, and sometimes that is a mark of immaturity. I can also be an indicator of an entire workplace culture. There are good places to work in the world, where sarcasm, passive-aggressiveness and bullying are not tolerated. Try moving around in your work if you can. We live in a world where people are no longer penalized for switching workplaces and jobs frequently. There are tremendous opportunities to find good work situations, and it’s all good practice, if painful at times.

      • Gemma says:

        I may have to move to a different department when I start uni again anyway. The thing is that I do actually like my current job. It’s just a shame that a small minority of my colleagues made work so awful for me last week. I will see how it goes over the coming weeks.

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