I’ve rewritten this post several times because it’s a jumble. For now I’ve accepted the jumble. Originally I had titled it “‘You’ve Got to Have Friends’: the Importance of a Support System.” But it’s kind of evolved into how I interact with friends, so here we go.
Takeaway: Support systems are tremendously important.
There are a few people in this world to whom I can say anything. I value them tremendously. Exposing the vulnerability is absolutely worth the risk. Why that idea won’t sink in and apply to other aspects of life I could not tell you.
However, a big thing for me is that I don’t want to bother anyone when I’m spinning out because it feels like I’m a burden. I reject the support system.
I get wrapped up in thoughts like:
- Everyone is tired of your same old problems.
- You are a burden on everyone, so keep it to yourself.
- If you expose too much no one will want to be friends with you.
- Everyone else has stuff going on. You’re not important enough to trouble them with your mess.
Unfortunately, those are thoughts I believe 100%, reassurances otherwise won’t penetrate the armor. As a result, I isolate myself and as the anxiety and/or depression gets worse as does the isolation.
Then there are the everyday interactions. Here, I don’t feel competent, as if everyone else took some sort of class that I missed, so getting out of the apartment to be social is a huge effort in itself. When I am committed to going somewhere, then I am barraged with thoughts like:
- You’re not interesting. No one wants to spend time with you.
- You aren’t fun and will ruin everyone’s good time.
- You won’t be able to sustain a conversation.
- They would rather you weren’t around.
- They will see that you’re anxious and feel like they need to take care of you. That is unacceptable.
As with the other group of thoughts I believe these 100%. Given the opportunity, I’m going to spend time alone because the effort it takes to engage socially is rarely worth the effort I need to exert. In the cost/benefit analysis of my social anxiety the cost wins 90% of the time.
But at the same time I feel a combination of guilt, incompetence, and shame every time I decline an invitation or negate my own “hey buddy, you should invite so-and-so to the movies.” Sticky wicket.
To me this all sounds like whining. I’m not looking for reassurances. I just am acknowledging that there’s a disconnect somewhere in my mind that I can’t seem to wrap my head around.
Also, the song below is playing on my Spotify and it makes me feel feelings.