Seriously!?!

I apologise for the big rant that follows. And I apologise for being so angry/ bitter throughout much of this post. 

Following on from the awful week I just had, one of the night managers at work upset me yesterday. He was annoyed because my department had removed all of a particular kind of soft drink from the shelf. I took the last one. He angrily told me that we should have taken it from the front of the shop, where it was being promoted. Because the people in my department have no way of knowing if a specific item is in the promotion aisle/ on a promotion end on a particular day without night shift telling us, and looking around the entire shop every time we can’t find a particular item would greatly slow us down and get us into trouble with our own manager, I asked him why the scanners didn’t show that the soft drink was in the promotion aisle. He irritably answered “Because the items in that aisle change so often” (which was exactly my point – are we just supposed to telepathically know what’s there?), then said, in a passive-aggressive way “But hey, what do I know? I’m just young and stupid”. As he said it sarcastically and he isn’t particularly young, I’m sure that it was a dig at me. And if so, why? I’m sure he made another sarcastic comment about my (supposed lack of) intelligence before, and he also previously made a comment suggesting that I go out drinking too much to want to do night shifts (hahaha). I don’t know if this is maybe just his style of humour/ banter, or if he is actually being nasty towards me. My paranoia/ misinterpreting things with a negative bias makes it difficult to tell. But even if he is just joking/ teasing me, why would he say something like that? He spoke to me as if I was some stupid, disobedient, 13-year old child. His comment left me feeling upset for the rest of the shift, and my negative thoughts spiralled out of control.

The guy who went to the same secondary school/ university classes as me, who I mentioned in my previous post, is now not even looking at me when we pass each other. As soon as he sees me, he looks the other way. As a result, I’ve decided to stop saying “good morning” to him, and to avoid interacting with him where possible. I don’t know what I did to deserve this treatment. Perhaps he thinks I’m rude because I barely said a word when we were in high school, and have had no close friends (except online friends) this whole time. Or maybe he treats me like this because, given the way things were in high school, he thinks he can get away with it.

Another colleague, who I also bravely said “good morning” to each morning at first, also completely blanked me every time I said this. If I’m in her way and I don’t notice, she rams my trolley out of the way instead of saying “excuse me”, and although I apologise to her each time that this happens, she still says nothing and just frowns at me. Given these negative experiences, I’m starting to think that people in general are just complete assholes, except perhaps for a very small minority. I just don’t understand it. All I ever do is try to be nice/ polite towards other people (though my anxiety probably does frequently make me appear rude to other people), yet I get a lot of people treating me badly, probably because I’m so timid/ passive. Maybe some people just never mature beyond high school. I’m starting to think that if people are being an asshole to me, I should just be an asshole back. Other people just seem to love the people who have treated me badly throughout my life. They have friends. They have the opportunity to date/ be in a relationship. They are able to build up relationships with their colleagues and are liked by their colleagues. And yet I try to be as nice and polite to others as my anxiety will allow, yet other people seem to dislike me. It just makes me feel even more awful about myself/ the world. I can’t shake the belief that I somehow deserve the bullying/ ostracism/ negative comments by other people that I have received throughout my life. That I somehow deserve to be treated like a literal piece of shit. But I have never understood how other people can be so cruel/ compassion-less. For the last few shifts, my negative thoughts have been spiralling completely out of control, to the point where I can’t focus on anything else. It’s like being depressed again. In fact, I feel that I probably will become depressed again if I continue to have experiences like the ones I described above, and don’t counteract these thoughts with CBT. I’m still very determined to do SA-specific CBT, though my recent experiences have left me wondering: Why exactly do I want to interact with other people again?

As my SA often prevents me from being assertive, I was also talked into doing overtime tomorrow, which I really don’t want to do, as I am very sleep deprived and really, really need a day off to just be away from other people, do some CBT, and recharge. So now I’m going to have worked 9 days in a row before I get a single day off. I know that this maybe doesn’t seem like much to most people, but as someone with severe social anxiety, I probably NEED days off far more than non-anxious people do. I am utterly exhausted and worn out from the anxiety. I’m so exhausted and in need of a break that I felt tearful after reluctantly (and stupidly) agreeing to go in tomorrow. Being annoyed with myself for not being assertive only contributed to the negative thought cycle. A colleague actually noticed that I was upset and asked if I was okay this morning. I’m very good at hiding my emotions, so when someone actually notices that I’m upset, I know that things are bad.

In other news, my plans to travel around Scotland this summer have effectively been ruined by my family. My mum has been talking about booking a family holiday in Scotland (not travelling, just in one place), and told my sisters to get their holidays sorted out with their workplaces weeks ago. My youngest sister still hasn’t done this, and as I don’t know when/ if we will be away, I haven’t been able to book anything for myself yet. She’s going off on holiday to Tenerife with a group of her friends later this summer anyway, so I don’t think she’s all that bothered about a family holiday. In addition to this, I spoke about my plans to travel around Scotland on my own with my mum, and she said that she doesn’t think I should do it/ that it’s a bad idea. It seems that she’s like this every time I try to be independent. It just makes me doubt myself even more and have even less belief in my ability to do anything. What am I, a 21-year-old toddler? As she allowed my middle sister to go on holiday to Ibiza with her friends after she finished high school, and is now allowing my youngest, 18-year-old sister to go on holiday to Tenerife with her friends, it annoys me all the more. And as for my 16-year-old brother…she allows him to go out to parties with his friends and come back drunk on his own in the small hours of the morning. She’d never “allow” (it seems rather ridiculous to use that word at my age) me to walk around sober on my own in the middle of the night/ early morning, unless I was walking to work. It greatly irks me that my younger siblings enjoy greater freedom than me. Yes, I realise that it’s because my siblings have friends. And yes I realise that in my brother’s case, it’s due to gender. But are you honestly telling me that if I’m travelling around my own country, planning to drink zero alcohol, am being careful/ responsible, will likely take my staffie-cross (staffies are very loyal towards/ protective of their owners) with me, and can drive, I will be more vulnerable than a 17-year-old girl who is in a foreign country, is drunk, has had her drink spiked, and has been separated from her friends? (This actually happened to a friend of my youngest cousin when she was on a group holiday in Magaluf recently. Hearing about some of the things that happened on that holiday was just plain frightening. My cousin came home a week early because of it).

When my mum was seemingly trying to talk me out of my travel plans, I got angry and asked: “So am I just supposed to never have a holiday again and never travel anywhere for the rest of my life?” She replied that I should travel with a friend (Yes, because they just grow on trees when you have SA!) She mentioned the two non-close friends that I do have and said that I could travel with one of them, but I only see them once every few months, and we aren’t close enough for me to feel comfortable travelling/ staying with them. Even if we saw each other more often and were closer, they’re both too busy (one with travelling around Africa with her friend, and the other with her studies). I’m sorry if I sound like a stroppy teenager but the whole situation of my mum still dictating so much of my life is quite ridiculous, in my opinion. I just might go anyway, though I’m likely to struggle to find somewhere at this point, as the two weeks that I’ve managed to get off work are in less than a month. And if I did end up going somewhere, it would probably just be one place, so my plans to travel around the country and well and truly ruined anyway. Oh well. Perhaps I can do it next year. Though I worry that travelling alone wouldn’t be much fun anyway. This just saddens me all the more, as I may never have another person to go travelling with. Mum suggested that we could walk the West Highland Way together, which would be nice, but I don’t think she grasps the fact that one of the main reasons that I wanted to travel was in order to become more independent. At this point, I don’t even particularly want to go on a family holiday.

Life is very dull and monotonous at the moment. All I do is work, walk the dog, and do CBT. Work is exhausting. CBT is exhausting, frustrating and dull. Other people my age can at least go out and enjoy themselves with friends at the weekend/ on their days off, but I can’t. It’s been weeks since I even watched a film or played a computer/ video game (as sad as it may be, this is often the highlight of my day). It’s all work and no play. And I’m immensely regretting all the years that I have lost to this condition. It’s a depressing thought to think of how many more I may lose to it. I feel that I’m just throwing my life away with each passing day. And every day, I get further and further behind others my age in terms of life experience and social skills. At this point, it feels like it’s do or die with regards to doing CBT and overcoming my social anxiety. Given how exhausted I am due to work, it may be difficult to find the time/ energy to do at least 30-40 minutes of CBT each day, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more willing or ready to focus all my efforts on recovery.

What do you think? Am I overreacting to the way my colleagues are treating me, or to my mum’s attitude towards my travel plans? Does SA prevent you from being assertive or cause other people to treat you badly?

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15 Responses to Seriously!?!

  1. John says:

    Have you done any kind of thought records in CBT before? That was one of the first things I was taught i.e. to look at things objectively. It might give you some more of an understanding of the situation so you’re not blaming yourself for what happened.
    It does seem to be a general rule of thumb that 90% of people hate their job and therefore can be horrible to other people when working. Are you aware of your boss/colleagues treating other people badly too?
    Getting treated like a child by parents (my mum does it too) does seem to be common among those with SA. I guess it is some kind of motherly/parenting instinct where they think they should still be looking after us. I guess the only way to stop it is to do the things they think you cannot.
    Don’t want to take up too much space in your comments but there’s a definite correlation between assertiveness and treatment, not just for acquaintances either. I used to get it from a couple of my old “friends” too. Once someone realises that you don’t like conflict they know they can push and push and you’ll never do anything.
    I hope things start improving for you 🙂

    • Gemma says:

      Yes, I have. I really need to start doing those again. I’ve been doing CBT every day but I’ve been working on working things like hierarchies rather than thought records. I’ll hopefully get back to doing those when I eventually get a day off.

      I’m not aware of those people treating anyone else badly, no. But then again, I don’t see much of them, especially now that I’m trying to avoid interacting with them.

      I’m not sure if it’s our SA that causes them to act so overprotective, or them being overprotective that contributes to our SA. In my case, I’d say it’s probably the latter. I think I probably will try and book something, even if it’s only two or three days away.

      I’m sorry to hear how your friends treated you. One of my old friends was the same.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

      • John says:

        I guess you may be right. I saw a new therapist yesterday and she says new studies are showing that problems with anxiety are caused far more by our environment than our genes.

  2. liberty says:

    I can 100% relate to your post, i am so sorry you are feeling this way, I think when you have SA you do end up overthinking what people say and are paranoid that everyone is against you, but the fact that your colleges completely blank you i think is just rude, its unfortunate but there are so many rude nasty people in this world, but their not worth wasting your time on, just be yourself, you sound like a nice person, just be friendly and polite as you are, but don’t let people walk all over its hard when your a good person, people often use and take you for granted, so make sure to stand up for yourself when you need to i know its hard, but it stops you getting hurt.
    It takes time but you will eventually find some nice people to make friends with, you sound like a good person, i would love to be your friend 🙂 i hope that doesn’t sound creepy lol
    And as far as the traveling goes, your an adult, you can do what you want, I’d say go for it! you seem smart and responsible so i think you’d be fine, your mum is probably just worried as you’ll be alone, but so many people travel alone and are perfectly fine, so long as you stay safe.
    I think you need to show your mum that you can be independent.
    I really hope you feel better soon, if you ever want talk i am here. xx
    libertylifeandselfhelp@gmail.com

    • Gemma says:

      Thank you for the kind words. 🙂 I hope you are right. No, it doesn’t sound creepy. I probably will go somewhere on my own, even if it’s only for a couple of days. Thank you. And likewise, feel free to email me if you ever want to talk.

  3. I completely agree that people in general are cruel. They have little regard for how their words impact others.

    I’ve got mean comments at work about my intelligence and even though I try to ignore the comments, they still upset me and make me feel like I’m not good enough for my job.

    I don’t really understand why people can’t be nicer. The only explanation I can see is in a song by The Smiths. The song goes “It’s so easy to laugh. It’s so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.” I suppose a lot of people lack the strength and guts to be nice.

    • Gemma says:

      Yes, unfortunately this is something that I have also found to be true. I’m sorry to hear that people at your work are nasty as well. I think that unfortunately, a lot of (very ignorant) people see us as stupid because we say so little, and often when we do speak, our anxiety means that we sometimes don’t express ourselves very well. It probably also sometimes makes our behaviour appear quite odd to people who don’t understand anxiety/ know we have it. I’m sure you are good enough for your job. Your colleagues sound like idiots.

      Indeed. I’ve always wondered if it’s a kind of “pack mentality” to reject people who are different/ who they think they can take advantage of. Like I said, some people don’t seem to mature past high school.

  4. You’re not overreacting. Your mother is actively undermining your efforts. Go someone by yourself on your two weeks off, even if it’s not the grand tour your had planned. The point is to follow your instincts to be more independent and push yourself beyond previous limits. I would also encourage you to try to do less comparing yourself to others and regretting lost time. You’re where you are right now and you’re still fighting. That’s all that matters.

    • Gemma says:

      Sorry for the late reply. I’m hopefully going to book something over the next couple of days. I’ll be going away for 6 days with my family (though may still try to do my own thing), and then I can hopefully go somewhere on my own for a week.

      Thank you. Over the last 2 days, I have started noting down all the positive things that I have achieved, in terms of overcoming my anxiety.

  5. mysadbattle says:

    Gosh, that guy from university and that woman colleague seem so rude. It’s not your fault and you are right–they are complete assholes. If they ignore you, you just do the same. I know SA makes you paranoid and whenever someone acts negatively towards you, you think it must be because of something you did but when you know you have done nothing wrong but be nice all the time, you should know they are the problem, not you.

    And yes, i think SA prevents us from being assertive. There were a lot of times i said yes when I wanted to say no and said no when i wanted to say yes (and i mentally wince).

    About that trip, you should take it, Good to know you have been planning it. It takes courage to travel alone to new places and you have it. You will become more confident as you realize you can be independent and slowly, without knowing it, your SA will decrease. Good luck!

    • Gemma says:

      Thank you. I’ll continue to avoid them when possible. Same here. SA is horrible. I’m definitely going to go somewhere on my own, even if I only end up going to one or two places. Thanks. I hope you are right.

  6. me. says:

    It’s just so ironic that people with anxiety, who supposed to be rude and negative try their best to be nice with others! I’m really lucky, as I’m that wierd type of anxious with extraverted, kind personality. In the outside I’m really nice, loving to be around, funny ect, but in the inside it slowly kills me how cruel others may be with me/other people.. Usually around “friends” i just wish to be alone. I only realised i have social phobia like 6 months ago, although i always knew something was very wrong.. It’s like a kick in the stomach, realising you have never had close friends.. I am so sorry, this has almost nothing with what you wrote, i just wanted to say i feel you, and it feels kinda good that i’m not alone with this. Even though this means, others suffer too.. Also excuse me my horrible english, not my native language.. I hope you and everyone else with this the very bests!!

  7. Vanessa092 says:

    Hi. this is the first time a read your blog and a really, really can understand how you feel at work. I was diagnosed recently with this disease and if i had the guts to look for help long time ago, maybe i would have been a better version of me, the real vanessa. but well, this is the luck we had and the struggle we had to fight. i just wanted to say that all your thoughts about someone else’s vehavior are the same i had when i was working; unfortunately, the thing about them is we might be over-reading or misreading people’s gestures and we have to think is something that we can’t control and just have to say “hi” “good morning” or “how you doing” for our own sake, (it’s a mindset change recommended by my therapist). i also tried to ve polite or friendly and people kept saying that i was an unreachable person to everybody (which was really discouraging) but now i think i just had to keep trying and think “yes, maybe others see thinks that i don’t but i really want to be your friend or meet you better, so i’ll be kind and try to open up first to you instead of waiting for a response from you”… it’s so hard… i mean, start to think about thinking the most positive way is really difficult (at least, for me it was) but i keep pushing on it and trying and seems that i can break that vicious cycle about “being alone and no one talks to me so i feel like shit and then can talk with someone cause i AM shit so i end up all alone”. i hope you feel related with what i said (i am not very good expresing myself) and just KEEP PUSHING!! people can be awful but we are not doing it for them, we are doing it for us, because we deserve to be happy and have friends and laugh and feel, good with ourselves, etc, etc 🙂

    Please keep writing about your life and if you ever want to talk to me, my email is (vanessavbravo092@gmail.com) hope you want to!!!

    • Gemma says:

      It is very true that we often misinterpret the words or behaviours of other people, and I think this happens a lot when I’m at work. I’m sorry that people were saying you were unreachable despite your best efforts. I also get discouraged that people are still constantly commenting about how quiet I am, despite the fact that I’m able to talk a lot more around other people than I used to. Yes, I can relate very well to what you said.

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