Taken from my blog (this that distorts me has saved me)
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
It frustrates me immensely how incapable I am at picking up the phone and dialing friends and strangers; to randomly text or email a friend to say hi, to post a comment on a blog – I'll spend hours re-writing and re-thinking it; and even to do something as simple as dropping on Entrecard, and requesting to advertise – well I've not got there yet!
I feel humiliated when having to explain to people exactly why I can't phone them, text, or email them like a normal person. "Yeah erm, I couldn't call you because, well erm, I just can't press the green button…" The times when I do have the guts to explain my anxiety I pray they be sympathetic and don't think me as some kind of weirdo using it as an excuse for being a crap friend. More often than not I hear the worst possible reply I could, "Ah I think the depression, PTSD and anxiety stuff is a load of bullshit. You'll be fine, just get over it." This kind of response crushes me, no matter how long or how well I've known them I feel like cutting all contact to find someone who does understand me; someone who doesn't make me feel like I'm stupid, inadequate and weird. My family, (the "manipulative, controlling, two faced, self-centered, deluded, elitist, hypocritical, close-minded" Father's side – thanks to Shiv for help with the descriptions) they have a terrible understanding, I'm constantly expected to perform tasks I struggle with, my family somehow forget that I've rarely ever been able make phone calls, speak to people, etc,. Each time I speak to them, something comes up like, "Why can't you just go up to them and ask them? Why don't you go to college and do a full time course? Would you call them, I'm sure they'd be able to help you, do it for me, please?" and every time I'm asked something like this, I have to explain AGAIN why I can't do it, with every explanation, I shrink a little more inside.
When it comes to phoning someone or messaging them (text, email, comment, IM) my anxiety rises so high that I give up with the idea and think of some other excuse not to, often this makes the situation and underlying anxiety worse, so I end up tying myself into a self-loathing cycle where I cut myself off from everybody and everything for a couple of days, abusing myself physically and mentally.
As I've said before, my social anxiety is becoming increasingly better. I can now pick up the phone when it rings, I can speak to people confidently and enthusiastically, keeping conversation flowing (most of the time, but not always with ease), I can go out alone confidently, and in most cases I can text, email, and IM – but only when I have reason to (other than saying hello) and I can call people when I have been asked/expected to, yet I''d always prefer to see them in person, it's so much easier. No matter how many times I've stood up to face my fears, I still find facing and thinking about them as hard as it's ever been.
The big question is why am I anxious, what is the worst that can happen? Everybody else manages fine, why not me? I look at a common situation I find myself in, such as ringing a friend to see how she's doing; here are my common anxieties: 1# What if this is the wrong time to call her? 2# What if I stumble over my words? 3# What if she doesn't want to speak to me, what if she doesn't like me? 4# What if we go quiet on the phone? Here are my counter-acting, resolution thoughts: 1# She would tell me and ring me at a more convenient time. 2# So what, everybody does, make a joke of it. 3# Why? How long have you know her? 4# Say it's been nice talking, we should catch up another time…The list goes on. Sometimes I just go for it, I push myself to dial, text, comment, IM, etc, and then it's all over with, but the times when I don't, I just can't do it, I have a “mental block” – like a wall between me and the communication device or person. When anxious and worked up about communicating, I feel embarrassed and moronic, why should I inflict my worthless, helpless self on anyone? But I don't know why I feel like this when I know the truth, I become utterly incapable. So I'm sorry friends, as you rarely hear from me, I am always here and I do honestly care about you. Maybe one day I really will get over it…
I found this poem yesterday that I had written a few years ago, admittedly it's not a very good one. I had written it about my only school friend. She, as was I going through some rough times, I was doing everything I could to cheer her up and help, yet I couldn't be at school as much as I should have for her. After being there as much as I could out of school, something made her turn against me, spreading rumors and lying endlessly. This destroyed me, being selectively mute she was all I really had (not that I knew anything about selective mutism or social anxiety at the time). I felt like a complete loner again – being totally incapable to make new friends and keep the ones I had. Looking back now reminds me just how much I've changed and how awful it felt to be in the grips of selective mutism.
Even harder if you don’t feel loved.
Especially by those you’ve given so much of it too.
To give but to not receive,
Is the most painful thing indeed.
You lose your purpose,
In a corner I sit and stare,
But really I'm wishing someone would talk to me.
I’m scared of being alone,
Without a friend by my side,
Someone to take my hand through,
I know I’m a terrible friend,
It’s a place I lack experience.
Always afraid to speak unless spoken to,
Wanting to run and hide.
Friends come along, get bored and move on.
For I’ve been hurt so many times,
Again I’m used.
Again I’m empty
Again I’m alone
I’m sorry I couldn’t always be there,
For many reasons you know,
But the thought never crossed your mind,
To be a friend and comfort me at that time.
Our conversations are always short now,
I may as well be invisible,