Home > Social Anxiety > Sometimes, there’s hope

Sometimes, there’s hope

Most of the time, when it comes to me and social stuff, I feel completely hopeless. It’s hard to remember the last time I made a real, genuine face-to-face friend that I see outside of work. Even at work, I tend to be very isolated; I find it hard to make even the kinds of very loose friendships that you find among coworkers. So when someone makes a kind gesture, it means a lot to me. Small things can be really big things. Anyone out there reading this who doesn’t have this kind of social problem? Make a gesture like this!

One thing that I’ve always hated at work is lunch. I watch everyone else head off with friends, while I sit alone at my desk. And eventually, I run off and grab something and bring it back to my desk, and eat alone, sort of pretending like that’s what I really want to do. What else can I do? I can’t just invite myself to join people.

People in my group recently starting going to lunch as a group. And one guy just invited me to come. Once I said yes once, I’ve been invited every day. It’s a small thing, and it’s stupid that it means so much. But it does. It’s one tiny bit of inclusion, one little time when I’m not feeling so much like an outsider. And that’s an awfully nice thing.

Categories: Social Anxiety Tags: , ,
  1. AnxiousButConnecting
    August 15, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Hey Disconnected Geek,

    I followed a link to your blog and thought I would chime in. Just wanted to let you know that you really aren’t alone on this. I can see that you want to have a different life and that you are willing to be introspective on why your anxiety has developed to this degree.

    May I make a suggestion?

    Seriously, go get a therapist. A good one. Get one that feels right in your gut (and keep looking till you find someone who you feel safe with). I don’t know if medication is right for you (that’s between you and your doctor), but I have struggled with “stuck-in-my-room” “can’t-even-get-up-to-get-dressed” depression and anxiety and I am doing MUCH better. It has taken years of therapy, radical changes to my life to get rid of the things (and people) who were causing me trouble and an overall commitment to listening to my body and emotions. It has been a whole lot of work but my anxiety is basically in remission.

    That doesn’t mean that I don’t get anxious anymore, but I have more control over it and most of all, I notice when something is upsetting me long before I have to get to the point where I shut down to keep myself safe.

    It’s a long road, but if you are willing to think about this all so much and blog about it, then maybe you are ready to start getting help. Reach out. This is what therapists are for. There is no shame in asking for help. You are dealing with a chemical disability (emotions are chemical in nature, but you probably know that). Seeing a doctor for this is no more weak or shameful than seeing a doctor and taking medication for high blood pressure or psoriasis. Our bodies are complex machines and our psychology is just an aspect of our health that is a little more challenging to conceptualize as a manifest thing. But it is. Emotions are chemistry and we can get stuck in the physical patterns we create in our brains through our actions, reactions and choices. Therapists can help you change those patterns and find out why you put them there in the first place.

    So yeah. Go get help. Heal yourself. Become a happier person (and in turn, a better dad and friend). Trust me. If I can find my way out, so can you.

    • August 15, 2010 at 11:18 am

      I do have a very good therapist.

      I’m fortunate to have a really wonderful internist. She’s teaching faculty at a major medical center, and she is absolutely amazing at tracking down the best referrals for her patients. When I finally spoke to her about this (or, to be honest, wrote her an email, because there’s no way I could have actually talked to her about it), she spent almost two weeks talking to people to find someone that she thought would be a good match for me. And as usual, she was dead-on.

      In terms of medication – I’ve gone through my own bout with depression, and I’m already taking an antidepressant. I’ve learned to not buy in to the whole anti-psychiatric drugs stigma. I really wish that my problem were something simply chemical – that I could take a pill that would fix the chemistry, and then I’d be normal. But unfortunately, that’s just not the way things are. (This isn’t the first time that I’ve tried to get treatment; last time, it was with the psychiatrist that i saw for my depression, and he took the medication approach. That doesn’t help if, as in my case, the problem is in your thoughts, rather than in your chemistry.)

  2. August 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I thought that maybe a t-shirt saying I’m not an arrogant bitch, I just don’t know what to say to you would be a decent idea. A better thing happened to me. I knit, I knit a lot, I knit at the lectures and it’s up to the people to ask what I’m doing.

    • August 15, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Yeah, I’ve felt like that too. Unfortunately, when you’re afraid of social contact, and you avoid it, a lot of normal folks interpret it as you being snotty, like you’re too good for them. That’s what a lot of people have thought of me. The fear of contact is so hard for normal folks to understand – they just don’t even seem to imagine that that’s a possibility. Once you get past normal shyness, into the kind of world that I live in, your experiences seem to be almost unimaginable to people outside.

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