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Advice to your younger self

Posted 20th October 2017 at 23:04 by indigo777

This question often comes up quite regularly on anxiety forums "What advice would you give your younger self?" Its a hard one. I try not to go for the more pessimistic one of killing myself to stop future pain. Of course this is still dependant of what happens but at the moment to say my future looks bleak is a huge understatement and the last 30 years have been pretty shit as well. This is not depression talking whatever people may say. Lots of life is shit and does get worse. There is no magic cure. The NHS gets more pathetic by the day and no current medical thinking has shown me any hope of salvation. Do stuff, hope it gets better, keep doing it!. Lots of people dont. Thats CBT!

I certainly would not have given myself the advice to stay in college. (I quit after only two days!) Any type of presentations would have been a nightmare as I was cripplingly shy rather that just a bit shy and didn't do great when pushed even though so many self help sites and books seem to think all people with social anxiety do much better than they think and nobody notices your stammering, blushing and sweating! They did! Then after college there would be 3 or more years of Uni! Its a nice idea that I would have adapted and got better but all evidence points to me becoming socially isolated and struggling enormously then getting a job as a toilet cleaner anyway.(if I was lucky)

I think the only possible advice would have been try and do something I enjoyed rather than just follow what other people were doing. Therefore something in ecology or wildlife conversation would have been far more logical that computer studies and having to do Maths pure and applied. I never did actually find out what pure and applied meant. I did it simply because my best friend did, just like going to college in the first place. They gave me algebra on my second day and I quit!

I certainly wish I had not been friends with certain people at work. I was lonely and desperate so latched on to anyone who would talk with me but it is still embarrassing to think of the people I did befriend and it left me with no dignity. especially going to the gym with a younger guy who treated me like shit. As for girlfriends forget it. In 20 years at the same company I only had a handful of vaguely pleasant conversations with females and certainly made no friends whatsoever let alone anything more. Yes my fault for being so shy and not approaching them in the canteen and forcing myself to do the witty banter. However the idea that I should have just forced myself to approach girls and make witty small talk whist being cripplingly shy(blushing, sweating, stammering)is by people who have never been cripplingly shy and have no concept of the way very shy men are ridiculed and disliked(Creepy weirdo alert!) and the intense humiliation it creates to which you would do anything to avoid. Probably why so much of the advice is completely shit. Just get out there! Do anything! etc!

I cant really think of any advice I could have given myself as I know going back in time even now would probably produce similar results. The only thing I can come up with is learning to not care what other people think of me as most of them were not worth caring about(including my family)although that's easier said than done and there always seems an air of selfishness about it. Which is probably why so many of the worlds most successful people seem to be so selfish.
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