I spent today feeling a mixture of depression and anxiety about myself and the world.  Also a lot of loneliness.  I feel very lonely lately, despite living with my parents.  I feel like I’m going insane and I don’t know why.  I feel like I have done everything I “should” do to try to make friends, in person and online, and it never works.  We spoke about this a bit in therapy today, that it feels like I try to make friends and fail.  Then I get sucked into a downward spiral of self-recrimination, loneliness, social anxiety and depression, which makes it hard to even try to come out of the lonely-depressive spiral.

***

I thought about 1990s TV science fiction epic Babylon 5 and the questions posed by the series’ two ancient alien races: “Who are you?” (The Vorlon Question) and “What do you want?” (The Shadow Question).  I’m vague about who I am.  I just have vague impressions: curious, honest, non-judgmental.  As for what I want…  Money?  No.  Power?  No.  Status and fame?  No and no.  Sex?  Closer, but no.  Love?  Almost.  Acceptance?  I think that’s it.  I tell myself I want to be accepted by other people and beat myself up for not being accepted, when I really needed to accept myself.  The problem is that I don’t know how I learn to accept myself.   How does one suddenly do that?  CBT has not helped here.  I don’t feel that I’m a particularly good person.

***

I feel like I’m drowning in a world that is too complex for me to understand and live in.  I can’t bear the news, but I don’t know how I can change things or what to change.  People probably think I am part of one problem or another; goodness knows I’m not part of anyone’s solution, let alone having a solution of my own.

***
Sometimes I get in a situation where I’m counting down the hours from one therapy session to the next, because I want to go back and talk again.  In the hope I can find an answer.  But it’s time that brings the answers.  I’m just whirled around by the currents.

6 thoughts on “Not Waving, But Drowning

  1. Accepting yourself is key because you most certainly have many gifts and are very intelligent. It’s trite but true that we have to own ourselves, both the good traits and the not-so-great. I am caring and empathetic, and most people like me, yet I’m also critical and sometimes judgmental(especially lately) and I talk too much! But these characteristics are all me, and although I can work on the ones I don’t like, I am this person. I’m happy that you are continuing the therapy, and am hoping that you will have an ah ha moment along the way that will help.

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  2. Three comments: we were talking last night about how easy it is to look at our circumstances which may be difficult (e.g. social isolation, loneliness, lack of purpose) and fail to recognize that the resulting depression is still an illness on top of this. In other words, we blame our circumstances for the way we feel rather than recognize the illness which is also present. I was surprised many years ago, when my depression lifted to find that my difficult life circumstances had not changed – only I could accept them and deal with them without feeling depressed.

    Second point: you may be surprised that you are more accepted and appreciated than you think you are. I think you may make assumptions about other people judging you or avoiding you when you, being so anxious about rejection, withdraw to a safer place, seeing the world as hostile. It is sad how many friendships are lost over very simple misunderstandings that neither party is brave enough to voice.

    Third point: I think you are a deep thinker – and you probably find your thoughts do not accord with what is out there at the moment. I identify with this. I keep my political views hidden from all but one friend and a couple of my family. Why? Because if I was honest, I would lose many friends and all my colleagues. We are living in a very intolerant age where people are swept along on tides of strong emotion fuelled by a biased and heavily censored media, and of course social media. The whole thing is sickening and leaves one feeling alienated. All I will say is look hard enough and you will find like minded people out there., hiding away, also afraid to speak out. And even with friends and acquaintances who don’t agree with you, you can find common ground outside of politics. I embrace my faith all the more for it, remembering that this world is, literally, passing away – and that there is a higher and better reality to focus on.

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    1. Interesting point about the depression being an illness on top of everything else. It is easy to forget that (also: I’m sorry I haven’t been able to join you for any of the Zoom meetings lately, but I get too tired now I have Skype therapy on Mondays).

      I definitely do make assumptions about people judging or avoiding me, but I struggle to change that.

      Thanks for saying that I’m a deep thinker. I agree about this being an intolerant age. I don’t really talk about my politics to anyone, especially as my opinions are complex and don’t always fall along neat party lines. I keep wanting to write about it here, but then losing the courage to speak except in very general terms.

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  3. Maybe “intimacy” is another word for what you are seeking? The ability to be vulnerable and know that the other can be trusted with your deepest secrets.

    I think people like us are not “typical,” and I think that’s both good and bad. You likely wouldn’t want to be “average” and just like everyone else. Your intelligence, mental illness, autism, Jewishness, and other particulars make you uniquely you. I find you very interesting. I don’t like average people, not because they’re bad, but because they bore me. I appreciate people like you who are intelligent, care about character, and who keep trying despite their struggles. I appreciate hearing about your interesting life and your own unique struggles.

    When I read your “I’m not part of anyone’s solution,” I’m sorry, but you’re wrong because you’ve helped me with my own issues before. You’ve been part of my solution and taught me things I didn’t know about Judaism, including showing me that you can be born Jewish and still struggle with feeling at home. Please try to not be so hard on yourself. Many of the things your mind is telling you are lies. It knows the best lies that do the most damage. Call it out as the mental illness it is. These thoughts are not accurate!

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    1. Thank you for this kind comment.

      In terms of being part of anyone’s solution, I meant in political terms, when activists say, “If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” But I’m glad I’ve helped you on a personal level; sometimes I think that is all most of us can do.

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