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  #1  
Old 23rd January 2020, 22:47
chris795 chris795 is offline
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Default My Story

Hi all

I'm going to ramble on for a while here so sorry in advance for this very long post. I'm just really struggling with life and the way I percieve myself and have done for a very long time. I have no idea what to do or where to go for help. I think - well know I should go to the GP first but I just struggle going there. So I am going to put my thoughts and feelings online which I hope you don't mind.

Ok, I'll start from the beginning to kind of let you know who I am and how I got to where I am now.

Ever since I was a small boy I have been incredibly shy and lacking in confidence. During my first year of school I was seeing a school theripist as they thought I may have had a speech problem as I genuinely never spoke to anyone, but they decided I never and they just stated that I was very shy and should come out my shell as I get older.. well this never happened.

My school years all the way up to 3rd year in High School was very painful. Every year of school I had 1 friend who I could actually talked to. If they where off sick then I'd be hanging about myself and not mingling with the other kids. They moved school just after primary school so I was alone for the rest of my school days. My work at school was ok and didn't suffer until maybe primary 5 - the work started to get slightly harder and having to do class presentations etc.. I used to tell my mum that I was sick and couldn't go that day. I remember a time when I was to do a class talk in Primary 7. I spent months creating this talk making sure it was 100% perfect so I didn't make a fool of myself, but I was really dreading that day.. and on the day - again I told my mum that I was sick but this time she didn't believe me and sent me to school. Well I panicked and after having a tantrum eventually went to school. I told the teacher that someone else had stole my talk paper so I wasn't able to do the talk! For some reason she believed me and I got out of the talk. This kind of thing is still with me and I look for any reason - anything at all to avoid talking to people.

But anyway - by high school there was more and more subjects that required talking and communicating my ideas and I started missing a lot of school due to this. By 3rd year I was sent to a child psychiatric day unit to get to the bottom of the problem. They never did - mainly due to the fact I never actually spoke too them! But I went there daily for around 1 year - nothing obviously changed and when I was 16 they said - you can either stay at school or leave. I picked leaving. So I left school with no qualifications what so ever and signed on at the job centre.

During this time I just stayed at home and never ventured out the house. I had cut myself off completely from life. In fact during these years I was suicidal and took a number of overdoses and I got put into a psychiatric unit - again as a day patient.

While in this unit - I did slightly open up and explained what I was feeling regarding my social problems, and they wanted me to attend a assertive course that they ran. I attended the first class - but there was going to be role playing involved - I couldn't face up to doing that so never attended that class again. Eventually I left this unit as i wasn't having suicidal thoughts anymore and signed on once again at the job centre.

When signing on for the first time I actually had to take my mum with me to start the process as I couldn't bring myself to actually talk to the worker there.

Stayed unemployed for a number of years until the job centre put me on a work placement in a office job. I was obviously very quiet and didn't speak to anyone during the 6 months placement that I was there unless absolutely required, but for reasons unknown to me - the manager apparently actually quite liked me as I was doing all my work without fuss, so kept me on full time. I was there for around 10 years. Still as painfully quiet but at least I had a job.

Now during this time - I met a girl who is now my wife. It was her that made the first move, in fact it was her that made all the moves and it is still her that makes any moves within the relationship. During this time while working and being married my life was Ok-ish. Still shy, and avoiding anything that had any human interaction but I was reasonably happy with things and coping. My marriage now adays is falling to bits mind you as she is now getting really angry that it is her that needs to make the effort in the relationship. I would love to do more and I have tried but I always feel awkward and self concious that I always back off from trying anything. I keep promising myself that tomorrow that I will change and do more but I never do and keep beating myself up for not even trying.

Now fast foward to now. I am now again unemployeed and trying to get back into work. I was brave enough to actually attend 3 interviews in the last 6 months. Worst thing I ever done. The 1st and 2nd interview - I froze and started physically shaking, rambled on constantly stumbling my words, and couldn't even look at him in the eyes. The 3rd interview - I spent weeks practising answering questions hopefully not to freeze again. But I did and I just walked out the room before it was over. I have been beating my self up ever since.

And this is me really up until now. Now it was these 3 interviews that have really started making me think about my life in general and the my day to day things that I do that is making me realise I have a real problem here.

A few kind of things I do and have done for as long as I remember.

Going to the shops or even the local town - I don't have a real problem with doing this as long as I avoid all human contact and dont speak to the anyone. I can pay for stuff at the tills but go into panic mode if the cashier trys to make small talk with me.

If I see someone that I know in the street - I will literaly avoid them at all cost. Maybe dive into a shop before they see me or turn the other way. If they see me before this then I will pretend not to notice them and only say hello if they say hello first. And I struggle to actually look at them. People do think I am really ignorant in this respect which is something I really hate about myself as I don't mean to be or want to be ignorant

Using phones - well I cant do this at all. If someone phones me I tend to let it go to voicemail and will only get back to them if they leave a message and even then i will only text them back. If I'm asked to order a take away in - I will look for any excuse not to phone them. Hopefully I can order it online. If I can't then I will pretend to have phoned them and say either "Oh they must be shut" or "Delivery is going to take 2 hrs do you still want this?" And if I do make a phone call then I have spent about 3hrs conteplating the call before doing it - and have said what I had to say and got off the phone as fast as possible.

Looking at myself in mirror - I am so ashamed of myself that I can't do this at all. When shaving in the morning I don't use a mirror at all. When walking by a shop window where you can see your reflection I need to turn away in disgust.

Going to the doctor - I just rush my words and stumble my words and feel really self concious so tend not to go unless I'm really really not well. So I haven't been for about 5 maybe 6 years.

Imaginary conversions. Now I don't mean having conversations with people that don't exist or even mean I hear talking in my head. What I mean is I kind of practise conversations sometimes out loud that I may have with someone that is real - over and over and over again. Just repeating the same lines just incase I have this kind of conversation with that person. It doesn't actually help me mind you as if the situtaion and conversation topic does come up - I don't say anything anyway so there is no point. This is one thing I really don't like as my head is constantly 24 hrs a day running through these kind of fake internal conversations and it just never stops.

Always tired 24/7. Can fall asleep during the day multiple times. But at night - I really struggle to get to sleep at all - especially in a dark room. I need to keep the TV on to try and get my mind off things and away from this internal chatter I keep having with myself. If I do get to sleep then in the morning I will struggle to get up.

Unable to concentrate on things as my brain always seems kind of foggy.

I'm kind of soo detached from life as well that I feel as if I'm kind of living in a dream world and I'm just on the outside watching other people and wishing that I was part of that world.

The only person in the world that I can actually talk to "normally" is my wife. I can't even talk to my sisters without stressing out about it. Even then - all this stuff that I've said here, I can't talk to my wife about as I am so ashamed of it. She just classes me as shy and doesn't really know how I'm feeling. Only time I can talk to other people normally is when under the infulence of alcohol. I did have a slight problem with alcohol for a month or so due to this but quickly realised that this wasn't helping and causing problems elsewhere.

I could go on with more examples but I will leave it there.

Does anyone else have these kind of problems or can people relate to what I've said. Is this what social anxiety is or is this more a mix of things? I know I should go to the doctor but I am really struggling to do this as I can't even pick up the phone to make the appointment and on the day I'd be a nervous wreck in the waiting room and probably wouldn't get my feelings and thought process across.

I'm sorry for rambling on like this but I'm needing to get my thoughts and feelings out there somewhere so maybe I can put things into perspective and finally take the first step in actually doing something good for myself for a change.
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  #2  
Old 24th January 2020, 13:39
jigglypuff jigglypuff is offline
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Default Re: My Story

hi chris, welcome

i'm sure people on the forum can relate and identify with the experiences you've shared there. i get afraid i'll freeze or walk out during high pressure situations like interviews etc.

you sound really internally trapped which must be hard.
practising hypothetical conversations is just another version of the extensive preparations you seem to be defaulting to/going through.

i have a few suggestions, i'm sorry if any aren't relevant or what you've already tried.
-

mutism is difficult. trying to get whats across whats happening is important.

maybe writing down and bullet pointing the top 5 or 10 things that you struggle with and taking it with you to the gp or emailing it to them so they can read it and give advice. medication isnt for everyone and neither is counselling/therapy but you could see whats available and there might be something temporary that will assist you into decreasing your anxiety enough to participate in a course that in turn might lead into something else...

there are a few mental health groups that provide online chat facilities or with you mentioning phone trouble there is a text relay service.

There are peer groups for anxiety and depression. You dont have to speak but it might be helpful being in a supportive environment where they wouldnt judge etc.

i do baby steps exposure literally only doing what you feel comfortable with or nudging yourself a little more each time and not doing too much at once. i'm sure you know about it and have your own personal goals. using the cashier for example just saying hi, then the next time bye aswell. if a stranger surprises me with smalltalk or makes a comment im not sure on how to answer i normally just smile and nod my head in acknowledgement or agreement then leave if i dont feel like talking.

you did really well to have a position for 10 years going through what you have. are you a bit of a night owl? have you considered night work/unsociable hours where there'll be less people etc for a future vocation.

there are local mental health organisations that can provide tailored support/a support plan for employment so it goes at your pace.

claim for esa maybe..
if you're on jsa email your job coach and tell them as much as you feel comfortable.

i'm sorry things arent great with your wife. personally i would write her a letter being as open and honest as you can, tell her how much she means to you and whats going on. we always try and protect the ones we love and not burden them but when you think about it if you were in their shoes you would want the person you love not to struggle in silence and to trust you enough to let them in and let them help you. even if helping is by sitting and holding your hand or listening when/if you feel comfortable talking.
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  #3  
Old 24th January 2020, 18:01
Aelwyn Aelwyn is offline
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Default Re: My Story

Hello Chris, and welcome.

I can relate to a lot of what you describe, including the mutism which I too had as a very young child. It does sound as if you have social anxiety, and that you need to talk to your GP. I will pm you about what has helped me.
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