After the CBT therapist who assessed me yesterday suggested the Gillian Butler book: Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness to me as well as pretty much everyone else in the know about SA has, I thought I’d give it another read through. Now, one of the key things in there is about how you develop distorted beliefs about yourself and working out how to look at things in a different way. This is where it breaks down for me though, I appreciate the author is good at explaining what happens to socially anxious people in certain situations and identifies a lot of the thought processes that lead to these reactions but her methods of dealing with them aren’t really that great in my opinion. They might be ok if you only have a mild case of SA, or if you really aren’t ugly/clumsy/boring or whatever you think about yourself. They say you should look up what evidence there is to support your beliefs, in the hope that you won’t find any and that will allow you to challenge them. Well I decided to do a little exercise from the book and see what evidence there is for my negative beliefs about myself.
I would just post a picture but I don’t want the whole world knowing exactly who I am. I have been told so by many, many people. Probably in the region of 30-40. I’ve been called every name under the sun, laughed at directly to my face, pointed at and laughed at, people look at me and whisper to others and snigger, I can see mirrors. 24 years old and no-one has ever found me attractive, never been in a relationship. Optician told me I have a fat face, I’m overweight, pale, freckled, my eyes look half closed and it causes me vision problems.
I have no hobbies or interests. I’ve had no friends since 1996, never go out anywhere or do anything. I don’t drink or like clubs or loud places. I don’t play any sports. There’s nothing interesting about me whatsoever, besides as a possible scientific study in isolation. I hardly leave my room. I’m so scared of people I sometimes don’t eat because I’d have to interact with them. I can’t start or maintain conversations. I don’t have strong feelings about music, tv programs or whatever else is popularly done. I don’t know anything about books, films, music, any topic of conversation you could possibly think about. I spend probably 50% of my free time in bed, alone. I don’t care about mundane details of people’s lives like who is going out with who.It’s obvious from the fact that I have no friends and that nobody would want to spend time with me. At best, I am ignored and invisible to everyone.
I’m socially inept
This can be interpreted from the previous two really. I don’t know how to talk to people and haven’t had any friends in upwards of a decade. Never had a girlfriend ever. I go days without speaking a single word to anyone. Every time I’ve tried to speak to someone they get away as soon as they can and never show any interest in talking to me again. People avoid me if they know who I am and how utterly boring and inept I am.
That’s all I can be bothered to write out for now, I might do the rest in a later post. As you can see though, there is no lack of evidence for my beliefs and there is no evidence to suggested they are distorted in a major way. I don’t know how they are going to argue against this and convince me to change my mind. If they can come up with something that makes logical sense then I’m open to it, but I don’t think there is such an argument to be made.
Unfortunately I feel like CBT or any other self-help approach is based on the false assumption that “everyone is ok” and no-one is fundamentally unacceptable within a society. Whatever approach they take with me, they’re going to face an uphill battle because I am objectively defective and weird.
I recently found out what apartment I’ll be staying in at university and through facebook, one of the people I’ll be sharing a kitchen with. Already I have started feeling hugely inferior and worthless. Just a quick glance at her page, full of pictures of her with friends on nights out, was enough to start me off feeling worthless. I can’t help but think what a huge let down it must be to discover that I am your new room mate. Even on my profile page I sound tremendously boring, I only have one photo of myself with another person. My interests are dull, I only have pity friends. It’s strange, the thing that makes me feel worst of all is how disappointing I will be to the other people I live with. I feel sorry for them for getting stuck with the freakish looking loner.
It’s only 2 weeks now until I move in there, I don’t know if I can do it. I tried to make myself forget about the bad things, but I just can’t put out of my mind how much of a huge step this is going to be. I haven’t even put much thought into how hard the work itself is going to be. I’ll have some time in the house on my own over the next couple of weeks since my mum will be back at work; I don’t know whether there will be anything to stop me this time if I decide to take the other way out.
The old adage “sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you”, simply is not true, according to researchers.
Psychologists found memories of painful emotional experiences linger far longer than those involving physical pain.
Well that doesn’t really surprise me. I haven’t had many painful injuries myself, but the mental damage that happened to me over the past 10 years has had an extremely profound effect on me, so much that I’m now accused of being delusional about my negative qualities. I just can’t believe anything positive about myself, I see hidden motives and lies behind any compliments I receive. A lot of my SA stems from a horrible image I have of myself due to the psychological bullying at school and sixth form. I just can’t let go of it, no matter how many people tell me that I have changed or that what those bullies said wasn’t true. I think psychological bullying can be just as devastating as physical bullying.
As the title says (I genuinely hate myself), I honestly don’t like myself at all. I don’t feel like I deserve help and when my therapist suggests trying to fight back against my “internal critic” and simply cannot do that, because I don’t believe any other way of thinking is correct. Telling myself that I’m “OK” or that I am not weird would be like trying to tell myself that I am not a man, or that I don’t speak English.
I don’t want to help myself, I feel as though I deserve to be depressed because I am such a loser and so pathetic. Whenever people try to say positive things to me, my first reaction is hostility and then disagreement, as if they were complimenting my worst enemy.
I’m not sure exactly what is wrong with me now, morbid thoughts are almost constantly on my mind and I don’t even try to stop them, in a strange indescribable way, I am glad that they are there.
If a person hated someone so much and thought they were a waste of resources and a drain on society, if they thought that the person was so pathetic and such a loser that the world would be much better without them that they wished they were dead. Would you think that the person is bad? Evil?
Slightly modified version of a post I made on a forum today
I thought I’d been making some progress over the last few months. I’ve got close to my long term goal of going back to university after I dropped out a few years ago, I’ve been accepted and now I’ve just got to wait until the time comes and hope that I’m still feeling like I can manage it.
Despite this, over the last week I’ve been feeling awful and thinking a lot about suicide again 😦 I really don’t feel like I am going to be able to cope with the harsh realities of life. I have trouble even interacting with the understanding and kind social anxiety sufferers that I’ve met, there’s no hope for me dealing with the majority of people who are obnoxious and rude. I’m sick of feeling that no-one will ever like me (I have no real life friends) because of how utterly boring and uninteresting I am to 99.99999% of people. I know a lot of people with SA feel the same way, but I honestly think it is true in my case because I don’t enjoy things that most people consider fun and I can’t relate to the vast majority of people either.
On top of this, and what I fear causes me to be most undesirable, even more than my horrendous social inadequacies, is the fact that my physical appearance is so disgusting to people. If I have to look in the mirror, I just see a monster, I don’t even look like a real person. To others, I appear like I have some kind of mental disability (I can’t think of an inoffensive way to describe what I mean) and people generally assume that I’m “retarded”.
I’ve spoken to my therapist recently about my issues with my appearance, but I don’t think she understands the trouble that it causes me. I don’t appreciate being patronised by her pretending not to know what is plainly obviously wrong with the way I look 😦 There’s no way I can change it without extensive surgery but even that can’t change some of the horrible things about me. I’d also need some kind of acting lessons so I can behave in a way that doesn’t make people assume I’m functionally retarded.
I really don’t know how to get out of this massive depressive state I’m in at the moment 😦 I’ve not slept until 4:00 and 5:00 in the morning the past few days because I can’t stop thinking about how pathetic my life is and how much I wish I could just disappear without a trace. The only thing stopping me is the fact that I don’t want to hurt the few people who like me (i.e. my family who don’t have a choice).