I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while now. I say drafts, that weird part of my brain I store shit ideas and hope I can do something with them at some point. The weird thing is, I wanted to write this post on depression and anxiety, but I’ve been too depressed and anxious to write it.
I’m not doing ok. I spend most of my time when I’m not TITS DEEP IN MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS saying to myself that I am ok. But for about a month now I just haven’t. I’m pretty sure my brain hates me. I spend my days arguing with it, battling with my own mind just so I can present myself as a normal functioning human member of society instead of this weird neurotic panicked mess I have been recently. You know how knackering this can be? I am tired ALL THE TIME because my brain is trying to destroy me.
Let’s start with a story. Settle down, get a coffee and listen to the crazy man. I was sat in a pub on Friday with my wife. We just fancied a couple of drinks so went to our local. I hadn’t been having a good day anyway, so thought getting out of the house would help. Whenever I feel like this I tell Lex that i’m having a ‘bad head day’, for which she understands entirely, makes me a coffee and leaves me to my own thing, which is exactly what I need. I got our drinks and we sat at our table, conversing in-between staring at our phones as modern human people do. At the other end of the bar was a large party of people. They loudly screamed how much fun they were having into the rest of the bar through a myriad of bizarre cackling laughter and spilt drinks. I started touching my fingers to my thumb counting between 1 and 5 slowly. Lex asked if I was ok, I nodded and we continued to look at our phones. I wasn’t ok, I was a couple of seconds away from having a full on panic attack. I kept touching my fingers to my thumb trying to get my breathing under control. The level of noise, the level of people in the bar, was just too much. I concentrated on my phone, I drummed my fingers, I got my breathing under control. I calmed down. My mind then turned to the fact that I am now an (almost) 30 year old man who can’t sit in a pub without almost having a breakdown. That’s not normal is it? Sometimes I wish i was just normal.
Over the last few months I have noticed my social anxiety dictating my life. I find it hard to talk to new people. I find it hard to talk to people I have known for 10 years. When I open my mouth I am so petrified that I am going to embarrass myself, or not be interesting, or not be funny that I would rather say nothing than say anything. Then someone will say “You Ok? You’re awfully quiet?” And instead of saying “YEAH I AM OK I AM JUST REALLY WORRIED THAT IF I SAY SOMETHING YOU’LL THINK I’M AN IDIOT OR A TWAT AND YOU SEEM REALLY COOL AND NICE SO I’D RATHER YOUR OPINION OF ME REMAINED NEUTRAL AND I DIDN’T FUCK IT ALL UP” I say “Yes sorry just listening” because you know, LYING IS COOL.
I’m not a particularly social person, I’m not the funny one, I’m not the life of the party, I’m the guy who makes sure that everyone has a drink in their hand and that everyone else is having a nice time because that means I don’t have to talk to anyone because THIS IS WHO I AM NOW APPARENTLY.
I hate making excuses for not being able to go out, so I am honest with people when I need to bail on an event. I just want to get to a stage where I can go out, with a drink in my hand, and maintain a human conversation without my brain screaming “OH THIS ISN’T GOING WELL, LOOK HOW BORED THEY ARE, GOD THEY PROBABLY HATE YOU SO MUCH”. It just seems easier to avoid interactions all together.
Just in case the almost crippling fear of talking to another human being wasn’t enough, my brain just doubles down and decides now would be a good time to have a depressive episode. So not only can I not speak to anyone, but on top of that I am too bloody miserable to have anything to say even if I did want to. So I have that going for me which is nice.
You’re probably thinking I JUST READ A MASSIVE RANT THIS GUY IS A DICK and, well, yes sorry about that, both parts are true. The resolution here, because everything needs a resolution otherwise you end up with the fast and furious films, ok bad analogy, the resolution here, is that I am admitting I need help. After bailing on CBT for a while, after several months knowing that my current dosage just isn’t cutting it, I am going to admit I need help. I miss being me. I miss being someone people want to hang out with. I miss doing things. I’ve written before that saying that you need help with MH issues is one of the big steps, and it’s taken me this long to take me own fucking advice.
I have friends who also have social anxiety, and I’ve never understood it. I’ve been that guy saying “Are you ok? You’re awfully quiet” and until now I haven’t realised how patronising or terrifying that can be to hear. It’s easy to forget that for people who suffer from depression of anxiety that going out of the house can be a massive ordeal, that speaking to another human being can be a gigantic undertaking. I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling like a complete outcast, a boring uninteresting idiot who’s about as much company as a carefully positioned mannequin.
For people that find it hard to go out, find it difficult to interact, I can’t offer any advice. It’s not that sort of blog sorry. I know what I am going to do though. I am going to take it one day at a time. I am going to try to have a conversation with my friends. I am going to try and go to a pub. I am going to try.
Anyway, if you need me, I’ll be the guy at the party drumming his fingers together and staring at his phone.