The 365 Day Challenge…a blogging endeavour I began when I restarted this blog a few months ago lasted all of thirty days before my depression cruelly yanked me from the keyboard and into the abyss of self-hate and worthlessness.
Given I was supposed to post each and every day for a year, it has obviously failed, but as this blog is about rediscovering who I once was I shall continue where I left off and hope no-one noticed :p
Today’s prompt is ‘a bit about your social life outside of your blog’.
I have no social life outside of my blog. I have no social life period. That much should be common knowledge for anyone who has had even a cursory glance around these pages. My tally of friends is zero. My family lives on the other side of the world. My budget is so tight I have no chance of going anywhere or doing anything to make new friends. In other words, I am a monumental joke, the very definition of a sad, pathetic, loser.
It wasn’t always like this.
When I was a child, growing up in the rather odd little town of Portlethen, I had several friends. We would go on cinema trips to Aberdeen; Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Who Framed Roger Rabbit being stand-outs. We would play on a giant pile of mud, pretending we were wolves and then getting epic bollockings when we got home caked in smelly dirt and grime. We would play Curbie (a random game where you throw a ball and try to hit the edge of the curb), football and British Bulldogs. I even had a crush on the local hottie and, slipping on the rose-tinted glasses, it may even have been reciprocated.
But then we moved.
And then my sister’s mental illness hit.
Swiftly followed by the initial collapse of my mind.
So whilst my school mates were gallivanting around drinking, having random sexual encounters and generally acting as if they were living in a 90s version of Skins – I was sitting in my room self-harming, writing random fictional stories and having odd conversations with a hallucinated faerie called Meadhbe. All of which reduce the chance of making friends and having a social life!
In the late 1990s I decided to spank my faerie into submission and tackle both my social anxiety and self-esteem issues. Throwing my life into backpack I headed off into the wilds of Scotland where I ended up in a backpacker hostel. I remained there for four months, cunningly pretending I was part of a social network where in reality I didn’t share a single iota of information about myself, caught in a cycle of fear that were any of them to know how pathetic I was, they’d never talk to me again. But, in spite of this, the weekly drinking marathons, late night conversations, cinema trips with people, excursions and random Highland based shenanigans were excellent fun.
And then came Canada.
And then came a relationship.
And then came a year of isolated hell whilst my girlfriend did whatever she fancied not caring a jot about how I felt.
And then came Australia.
And then, four years later, an actual social network with actual human beings whom I actually shared personal information with. Not everything, I was still adamant they would despise my existence were they to know the true extent of my madness. But there were trivia nights, binge drinking sessions, long conversations in pubs with fireplaces, cheap pizza, sharing of anecdotes, shopping trips, cinema visits and the whole gauntlet of wonderful fuzzy bunny feelings that being part of a social network brings.
And then came the abuse.
And then came the breakdown.
And then came the mania.
And then came the isolation.
From then, five years ago, nothing has really been the same. A couple of days with Sammi, a few months trying to reconnect with an old friend before I screwed up, a terrible decision to move to the desert, a relationship doomed to fail because of my own inadequacies.
And then nothing.
I cannot recall the last time I was touched.
I cannot recall the last time someone called just to talk to me instead of wanting me to help them.
I cannot recall the last time I spent time with anyone.
The circle of life has returned me to those long, painful teenage years of nothing and nobody but hallucinations and an anxiety so severe I cannot even comment on websites let alone maintain conversations with actual, living, human beings.
For a while I tried to use Twitter to re-engage with society, but that fell apart when the depression hit and I haven’t returned there for months. I was also a member of a social networking site (that shall remain nameless) where I attempted to connect with people of a shared interest, but once again, since the depression hit and my anxiety escalated to uncontrollable levels, I haven’t returned – despite enjoying my time there tremendously.
In both cases I am too afraid to go back. How do I explain my months of absence? How do I explain my complete lack of a life?
People say it is easier to find a job when you already have one. Ditto for housing. The same goes for friends. If you have friends you are more likely to find yourself invited to parties and social events where you are more likely to find yourself in a position to talk to new people. Plus, regular contact with others improves your ability to communicate (see my backpacking years, and the social network in Australia period) than if you were to be, say, living in a park for three years talking to hallucinated faeries and going completely insane.
My parents believe the isolation has caused more damage than the bipolar. Something I agree with. I like to think I’m not a bad person. I like to think I’m creative, passionate, interesting, caring and…and…even as I wrote those words my inner demons are instantly dismissing them as crap.
Like others I’ve tried to befriend over the years have said. What’s wrong with me? There has to be something pretty darned wrong with me to have no-one in my life who cares whether I live or die. And there lies the problem. The moment people discover I have no friends, their mind races around trying to figure out why I don’t – usually, as I do, settling on the he’s just an evil, worthless human being.
I would love to have a social life.
I would love to have friends.
I would love to reconnect with the world.
But with my anxiety off the charts, my mental health unsupported, my inability to trust anyone (including myself) since the abusive relationship and my determination to convince myself I’m the worst human being that has ever lived (again, a product of the abuse)…I have no idea what to do but remain alone.
Like my abuser said, my voice is so boring and monotonous it inflicts pain on everyone I talk to, thus, I should kill myself to end the agony I bring to everyone.
When you don’t love yourself, when you don’t believe in yourself, when you don’t trust yourself, how can you create a social life? How do I get past the anxiety and find a way to talk to people again? What can I do to beat down the walls I’ve created to protect myself?
I honestly have no idea – and until I can find one – I can’t see me having any social life other than the isolated one I’ve been living.
This post was written as a stream of consciousness between 9:59 and 10:22. Please excuse any spelling, grammatical and woe-is-me depressive whining. I know it’s my fault I don’t have any friends and I’m trying to correct it, I just don’t know how.
Some articles you may find interesting:
- My Life in Happy Memories (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Make Time for Friends – The Health Benefits of Connecting with Friends (massageenvy.com)
- Do You Have Social Anxiety Disorder? (everydayhealth.com)
- How Social Networks Can Make Us Healthier And Happier (bigthink.com)
- Social Anxiety Help: Suffering in Silence (maleexpress.org)