“There is something about Social Anxiety that is just a bit self-important, obscenely self-centered and not the least bit self-aware.”
I inherited a crippling fear of people from my mother (my grandmother had it too). It causes me (or permits me) to have an underlying distrust of EVERYONE. Though it does not always manifest itself as a fear of other people’s motives; that everyone-is-out-to-get-you feeling that can accompany a state of panic. Nope. Sometimes my lack of trust comes from a weariness that people will have the best of intentions but still hurt me in ways they had never considered; The best of intentions with the worst of outcomes.
Subsequently, I treat people like shit. I am constantly testing my friends’ loyalty, undermining my bosses’ authority, showing absolutely no confidence in my employees’ abilities and questioning my lovers’ fidelity.
Consequently, I have no friends. I have no job. And I haven’t had sex in well over a decade.
But instead of banging my head against the wall of constant social and economic failure, I chose to live my life in the tradition of the Buddhist Monk (or the half-assed, half-hearted 21st century equivalent).
I begged for food where it was allowed. Eating in soup kitchens and churches, pantries and shelters. I volunteered to help other homeless where I could. I’ve lived in the shelter system on and off for most of my life. Deciding at times, that I’m just fine. Getting a job and home and trying to live a normal life only for it all to crash down around me and for me to once again end up in a hospital or a jail cell. I’m not lazy. I’ve always worked. When I lived on the sidewalks downtown, I would help the building superintendents, off the books, by putting out garbage or cleaning and painting abandoned apartments. I tried to go back to school once, but that ended in misery and debt. I kept getting kicked out of apartments by roommates who were frightened of me or landlords who were done with me.
Back on the street or on the subways with the violence and the drugs can actually feel comfortable. It’s not a weird thing to feel paranoid and anxious in situations where the fear is real and justified. It feels better than having those same feelings when you’re safe and alone in your own home. I compare it to my fear of public speaking; I don’t have any. In crowds I can suffer from panic attacks; a feeling like everyone is looking at me and judging me, when no one is. But all it takes is for every person in that room to turn and look at me for the panic to subside. Because when the way I feel all the time becomes the reality then all is right with the world.
Kind of like thinking everyone hates you and then making everyone hate you. I’ve done that as well.
Basically, my life goal is this; If I am never arrested or thrown into a mental hospital again, for the rest of my life, I will consider that to be a great life success.
I enjoy observing the world and the people around me, while doing my best not to become mixed up in it. I’m no good for it. I’m a destructive force. If I pushed you away it was for your sake as well as mine. Don’t take it personal. I try to help people when I can, when I have all the facts and the ability to help, while not being motivated by ego or harmful emotions. Knowing myself as I do, sometimes the best way I can help is to stay the fuck away from people.
I try to meditate regularly and stay mindful of my misconceptions and aware of reality and my delusions. It isn’t easy. I read books written by Tibetan masters and teachers along with novels written by other observers of the human condition. And also try to eat right with fresh fruits and vegetables and stay active. Exercising everyday.
I regret not being able to join a Buddhist community. My social fears making me believe there is a good chance that it would be a mistake. It’s irrational. If it were rational it wouldn’t be a problem. I have been known to leave a trail of destruction in my wake both literally and metaphorically… and literally. But I’m satisfied with my solo practice and there are many many resources online.
There is also a nice woman that stops by my place every month to check up on me and make sure I’m not going off the deep end. I do my best not to upset her too much… With varying degrees of success.
Lastly, thanks to an undocumented and health averse side effect from an anti-psychotic, forced on me during my last hospital stay (no more pharmaceuticals for me. I nearly died… in a hospital. I went in physically healthy but mentally screwed. I left there physically screwed and mentally brain dead. k thanks bye) I’m not allowed to talk about it because then I’d get sued by the mighty Pharmaceutical Company who paid me off with less money than they pay one of their lawyers for 15 minutes of work.
So I bought a computer and some other stuff to keep me feeling healthy both mentally and physically. And now I can get online and bother you nice people. Thanks for having me.
I watch movies. I play video games. I write stories. I wait for improvements in anti-psychotics and anti-depressants. I stay out of trouble. You can add to my successes that I have not been arrested or hospitalized in years and I’m pretty happy with my self-assigned sequestration.
Sometimes I feel like a hermit on the side of a hill. Too bad about the sex thing, though. Only a crazy person would have me anyway and I need to take a break from the crazy for a while.