Unsocial

Blastula_sI can’t get myself to do what I need to do. I want to be positive, I try, and then I crash by early afternoon.

Today was my first day back at work. As my boss is on vacation this week, I’ll work from home all week. This means I see and talk to no one. It’s just excruciating, and I’m sliding down further. The work is not terribly interesting, no one is concerned with what progress I make, it makes work for them because they have to review….I was able to do maybe an hour this morning, then I thought I would go for a walk / cafe break, as if I were at work, and after that I did no more work at all.

It’s too boring. I need some incentive to do it. Focusing on it depresses my mind further than it already is. I’m trying to balance getting some things done with plunging into a depression where I can’t function at all.

I do need the money. I live alone, who else will earn? If I didn’t feel guilty, it would be a great set-up, as if I didn’t sleep well, I can take naps, lots of time to  take care of other things. If I didn’t.

I’m pretty sure my relationship with Ron was providing a buffer to the depression I’m prone to. Now I feel that’s broken, so I’m unbuffered.

I need to go out to things, and I look up things on the internet – yoga classes, meditation groups. When it comes down to it, it seems like way too much trouble to go. I am hopeless. I am doomed to sit forever in my living room by myself.

I think if I could take away one problem that I have, it wouldn’t be depression, it would be social anxiety. Every interaction causes me anxiety in advance. I avoid and hold back automatically, sure that the next interaction will be painful.

Then the loneliness of this causes depression. I think if I didn’t have this, I could tackle other issues.

I am sorry I’m whining. I’m trying to do things that involve being around people that I find less scary, like going to the library, buying a tea and sitting down to have it.

Today I was at the local funky cafe. I go because I like the music they play, and the space is appealing, so much light, and lovely big chunks of wood for a sitting bar at both plate glass windows.

The customers are twenty and thirty something, they all seem very funky or somehow on trend, so I feel out of place there. Sitting near any of them makes me nervous. But I keep going back for the look of it all. Plus they have a really nice cappuccino, though I now can no longer drink coffee.

I read on someone’s blog, forget where, that when she was feeling isolated or new in a place, she made a point of chatting to people in cafes that she saw all the time. I’m assuming this means the servers behind the counter. I think I could do that. At least muster a ‘how are you’ instead of my usual glazed request for a tea. I would feel more connected if a few people would chat where I live.

I think I have a kind of frozen expression perhaps. No one ever seems to take the initiative to talk to me. But it doesn’t mean I can’t try.

I know talking a bit to people helps with the depression. For me it’s a kind of painful isolated feeling. At least, loneliness makes it worse.

I haven’t talked about social anxiety in therapy. I might try. Ron’s focus tends to be on ‘depth’, that is, what goes deeply wrong in my relationships, maybe manifesting in my relationship to him and to the group. But I think that will take forever. Right now it just makes me angry. I think there’s also a place for approaching things from the other end – interacting more with people around me maybe, or setting up my life so I do interact with people occasionally.  Lots of people who flounder in intimate relationships still have a social life.

I do expect pain when I interact. I don’t even think about it – I know it will be painful. The fact is, superficial interactions are almost never painful for me anymore. I need to let that knowledge just seep into me.

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12 comments
  1. kp said:

    Hi…I wish I could offer something that would help. It sounds like you are in a tough place right now but it sounds like the cafe is a good place for you to push yourself a little; in a way that allows you to feel less alone but in control of the level of interaction. Thinking about you….Kim

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, it could be a good practice. Thanks Kim

  2. weareonebyruth said:

    It also might be an interesting thing to ask at group. I am guessing that the ones that stay quiet also feel challenged with social anxiety. Maybe flip a coin to see if you want to talk with Ron in session or the other members of the group. I have to work at staying connected to people. It is easy to slip into isolation. I am also looking at taking a class. I am thinking I would like to learn how to cook better. I am sorry that your expectation is that encounters will be painful. I think that says a lot about your experience in your family. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      I talked a bit to Ron in session and he was not helpful, like I thought. He thinks being in the group is some kind of solution. Cooking class sounds like it could be fun. Hugs.

  3. Bourbon said:

    I agree with you. I think without social anxiety we could battle the other demons a lot easier because we are less restricted. Sending warm thoughts your way xx

  4. laura said:

    eye contact and a smile works like magic, and you don’t have to think of anything to say!

    • Ellen said:

      There’s a thought, thx.

  5. Mike Haitch said:

    Hi Ellen,

    when work has been quiet I make a point of trying to get to a nearby coffee shop – to be near people and to get a break from the house.

    All this stuff is entwined but I’ve found it very useful to practice going to coffee shops and making some small talk – starting with “Hi’ and seeing where it goes. On a weekend what I used to do was to go for a walk around town and schedule in several coffee stops. This would give me some exercise and several points to practice being sociable. If I wanted to do several coffee shops I’d switch to decaf and short drinks so I didn’t o/d on caffeine.

    It’s worth doing because it will have a knock-on impact in the other areas. The depression can be just the way of the body slowing down and the mind readjusting to changes so it’s nothing to fight.

    Today I’m too tired to go walking and have work to do so I’ve fitted in some short walking and two coffee shops and lunch just to practice this kind of stuff. (This is being written in a coffee shop).

    Being able to relax around strangers means I’m more generally relaxed and more able to do other things that are good for me – like go dancing…..

    M.

    • Ellen said:

      I really enjoyed your take on this Mike. I like your take on this problem and would like to try this also. Very tough for me, but if I could relax around other people in general, it would help a lot. Thanks for sharing this, it’s inspiring.

  6. I’m so sorry you’re having such a tough time…sending my warmest thoughts to you dear safe (((hugs))), if you’ll have them.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Chatte. Hugs to you.

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