More social anxiety

Really must post. I’ve been depressed, so things have been allowed to slide a bit, including my blog.

Thanks to all who commented on my post about the awful work lunch I had two weeks ago. Everyone has good insights, all from different perspectives, and I find that very interesting.

I have upped my efforts in the socializing department with only very limited success. Hence the depression. While I understand that other people aren’t the cause of my troubles, rather, it’s my own actions that are the cause, it is sometimes very difficult to really really believe this.

I’ve been hired into a situation where a project has not been planned very well, so just as I was hired, the work for my type of job dried up. It is rumoured that work will re-appear, but that hasn’t happened yet, and it’s been weeks. So I have nothing to actually focus on while at work, except little tiny make-work projects. I tend to be work-focused – I want to have a reason for being at work beyond socializing.

Second problem – the kind of work they have my job type doing is kind of stupid. I’m simply to format the BAs and SMEs work, and do very light copy editing. There are a few more complications, but basically, that’s it. Which is not what I wish to be doing.

Third problem – There is a team of three ‘writers’, and one of these is a psychopath. IMO. OK, maybe not clinically, as I’m not qualified to judge, but she is a first class manipulator who has taken a strong dislike to me. The other writer is extremely socially handicapped, and has bonded strongly with this one woman. So neither of them will talk to me of their own accord in most cases.

The psychopath woman (let’s call her P) has made herself the social center of this project team. She launches herself at everyone, in order of importance of course, and tells them long stories about her life and her opinions. Which seems to make people feel comfortable with her, so they like her. So when she doesn’t talk to me, it matters to how others see me.

If I was socially adept, this wouldn’t matter. I could talk in the social groups, chat with others, and glide a long. But as it is, I make these efforts, like saying hello to new people, asking people about their weekends, and to me this is difficult and I’m trying quite hard. People start to feel they’re a lot better than me, and don’t bother chatting back.

Two of the people there actually exchanged smirks when I went to say hello to this woman I had lunch with, and they were standing chatting nearby. I was probably kind of tentative with my ‘hello, how are you doing?’ and they found that provided them with mirth.

The same two kind of imitated the way I walked. Well, maybe not. I was walking back to my desk with tea, and the kind of weaved back and forth and laughed, looking at me. 

P has repeated things I’ve said in a really strange voice.

And P starts talking to me after 4, when most have left. I naturally talk back, but really, it’s just strange as she won’t talk to me during the day. Just that she loves to talk, so when no one else is available, I’ll do. And this Friday afternoon, she acted super friendly when saying goodbye, as if we were great friends, just because the boss, who kind of knows P is treating me badly, was nearby. Everything she does is kind of for show, to demonstrate what a lovely person she is. I get very confused by all this.

This is just like a teenager in highschool, no? The same – she did this, and I did that, and OMG…

It’s actually difficult to explain properly. But I’m feeling almost ostracized, and that just feels very bad.

That workplace is extremely social, with people spending hours in various conversations. I’ll never wish to do this myself. I want to talk to people I like, whom I have something in common with. Others, sure, I’ll chat for maybe five minutes, but after that, I have no real interest.

There should be room for people like me.

I did have lunch a couple of times with a new contractor who works on testing. That’s positive I suppose. But she is aware that I’m really low status with the group, and doesn’t want to be branded an outsider, which I perfectly understand. So I don’t cling to her.

I kind of think any efforts I make with P and the other writer are doomed, because there is such a strange dynamic among us. So even though it would make sense to socialize with them, I have to spend any social energy on other people there. It’s hard, because we don’t have any work in common to get to know each other with. But two of the women have been saying hello to me and chatting a tiny bit. So why not try to get to know them?

It’s hard, because I am getting very depressed at work, so trying to make friends is difficult.

As you can see, my social anxiety symptoms are on full blast. I’m getting paranoid and super sensitive to everything. This is all not good at all. 

Well, I’ve set up my weekend so I’ll be taking walks with two friends, and I’ll go to one meetup brunch on Sunday. So I will at least not feel so alone and just ‘weird’ on the weekend. Just to remind myself that yes, I can interact with people, I can be with people just like a regular person.

I’ll also post my resume and look for something else. I’ve concluded that this problem with the other writers is not amenable to change from any efforts I can make, and my life at this workplace will continue to be pretty bad, even if I get some others to accept me. It will just be too much of a handicap.  Though in a way I’d like to stay and master this, I feel like the game is stacked against me there.

  1. gniz said:

    Woah, sounds really tough and painful. I sympathize very much.The only other angle I can take on this rough patch you're going through is to relate it to something else I've been through recently.I have been trying to get published for awhile, got an agent, I've been working hard and recently sent out a book to editors through my agent.Due to a lot of personal history and baggage, I am very fearful of rejection of my creative work. And yet, that is exactly what happened. I got a huge around of rejection and something I worked hard on died a slow painful death.But when my very worst fears were realized–and I kept working, I realized that I'd essentially faced the worst. There was nothing left to fear. I am no longer afraid of working hard and having my work rejected. I just work harder and push forward and try to get better.What's the worst that can happen? More rejection? So what. I've been through that all ready. Let's keep going then.I'm not sure it all applies to what you're going through, but at some point you will realize that nobody truly has that kind of power to make you feel worthless except yourself. And you know that you're not worthless, so people can do and say what they want.There are many weird eccentric people out there who have plenty of friends because they are simply themselves. yes, people laugh at eccentrics. It's not always a horrible thing to be laughed at. Be strong enough to take yourself seriously and know that you have value because you simply do. Every person has innate value and you are no different.You dont ever have to be a good conversationalist and if you lose this job you'll find another. Consider yourself fired already and go in there each day with a who gives a fuck attitude. Really do this and you will learn a lot about people and yourself and of luck!!Gniz/Aaron

  2. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,Posting your resume is I think a wise move. It sounds very much like people in the workplace are set in their ways and not open to change. Personally I don't think there is anything to be gained by trying to master it as these people don't sound like the kind of people you would want to be friends with anyway. Its just a shame you have to stay there while it gets you down so I do hope you can find work elsewhere. It doesn't guarantee a better environment but at least a chance of one.All the bestNechtan

  3. Ellen said:

    @gniz / Aaron – Thank you gniz! Your comments really are right on and cheer me up. Plus you actually believe me when I write these things, which to me means a lot.It is said that being a writer is one lesson after another on tolerating rejection. I'm so pleased you are keeping going despite the struggle. A lot of well known and accomplished writers did not get their first or even second works published either, as I'm sure you know. I think this does apply to my situation. You're right, they can't do much else to me. FU – is going to be my mental attitude to any further grief that comes my way from these people. You'd think we were in high school, honestly. And I am actually a good listener, which some people do appreciate. So what if I'm not a stand up comic? :-)I will look forward to reading your book once it is published.@ Nechtan – Thanks Nechtan. It could be that that is my best course of action. Take care

  4. gniz said:

    Thanks Ellen, glad to know it helped even a little. I know and relate to the emotions you experience at that job, I've been through similar.And even though I am not as destroyed by the writing rejection, I still am challenged at times to find the correct motivation and do the hard work.There are always challenges, even when we have conquered one fear, something else arises. What gives us confidence is that we know how to overcome these hurdles.Patience, persistence, and always cut yourself a break instead of beating up on yourself. Work hard but don't expect perfection.You will do this! I know it.Gniz

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