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Old 08-16-2020, 05:38 PM   #1
Joyce23
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Unhappy Getting a few things off my chest

I want to use this space to get a few things off my chest, to reflect. All in all, they fall under low self-esteem, how I feel about myself as a person, how I value myself as a human being.

I don't love anyone. I don't know what love is. I've never felt it. I don't know what it is to love another person. The most that I've ever felt for a member of the opposite sex is lust, or obsession. (Though I'll always remember the quote from James Bond in the novels: "Some love is fire, some love is rust, but the finest, cleanest love is lust.")

There was one woman I knew. She was 9 years older than me, approaching her 40s. She was the first and only woman I've ever asked out. It took me a while before I realised she was Mildred Rogers from W. Somerset Maugham's novel Of Human Bondage, and that I was playing the role of Philip Carey. I kept my distance from her after that. My obsession with her cost me a lot of time.

The problem was I hadn't experienced a typical adolescence. What I was (am still) going through in my twenties I should have gone through years before. I was a geek, who spent all his time in the library, with no friends. While I knew some people at school, I never made friends with any of them. They had their own circles already, and I was never going to be a part of that. When I started at university, I preferred my own company. I found like-minded people to talk to online, but I became addicted to the website. I experienced derealisation, which lasted for almost 4 years, the length that I was at university for my first degree. I was lost in a sensory fog, a virtual bubble. I lost all consciousness of the real world. I wasn't even aware of the real world on the periphery of my consciousness. I wasn't just lost in the Matrix; I was hooked, addicted, without knowing it. I had been living on autopilot for a long time. I wasn't a thinking, feeling, remembering, human being; I was just an automaton, going through the same motions and habits that had begun in my childhood. My mind was a blank. I was a mess, a state; and no one pulled me out, no one saw what was happening to me, no one cared, no one tried to save me. I didn't register anything that they said to me.

I don't remember much from that time; I really have no memories from that time. All the days blurred into one foggy, hazy recollection. I was alone. Talking to people online made me realise, slowly, how much lonelier I was becoming. I wasn't talking to anyone; I was just interacting with a machine. Eventually, I "woke up"; the bubble popped. I became aware of the real world for the first time. But, by that point, it was far too late; I had missed out on the "formative" years during university when people make friends. As someone who's never had a friend in his life - not a best or close friend, or anything like that - it was just too late to start. I didn't know to start in the first place. And whenever I've interacted with others in the years since, it's always been apparent to me that I have nothing in common with them: not terms of life experience or maturity, or interests.

Everyone else has someone, it seems. And I don't. Someone to love, to travel with, to hang out with, to dedicate yourself to, etc. - I wouldn't know the first thing about that. I wouldn't know what it means to love someone, to be in love with someone, or to have a friend: someone you can trust absolutely, someone you can rely on, who's always there for you, to inspire you, or to give you the reminder you need (to kick you up the arse), to help lift your spirits, to help you stay motivated and focused and busy; someone to collaborate on something with. I wouldn't know that. But I don't know people. I don't know what it is or means to be a human being, other than what I've read or listened to/watched online. And I understand that a relationship is supposed to be reciprocal, and I probably sound incredibly needy (and very boring), but if I what I write sounds one-sided, well, it's because I've only ever known my own side of things when it comes to life, when it comes to being human.

I have Asperger's Syndrome. I lack any social or interpersonal skills whatsoever, or any knowledge of social etiquette beyond the very basics required for public interaction. I lack any theory of mind. I've tried to work on making small talk with others, but I'm not very good at it. I never know what to say, and I hate social situations. I hate conferences. I hate public gatherings. I hate loud noises in such places (and I also hate quiet noises, like whispering). I always feel out-of-place, like I don't belong there, feeling like a clueless, useless idiot child, who would be better off in his own corner, where I can be happy with my own company, at least, for a little while.

When I have tried to leave my corner, when I have talked with others, I have never talked with them - I've always talked at them. I give a lecture or a monologue (I go off on a "mindrot meditation", to borrow a phrase from Mike McCormack's novel Notes from a Coda) - a long-winded, rambling, monotonous, stream-of-consciousness monologue (that usually just trails off) about one of my favourite topics or interests, completely oblivious as to whether the other person is even remotely interested in what I have to say, being unable to read their body language and facial expressions. Sometimes I become so lost in what I'm saying that I don't realise how loud I can be (especially in a public place), and I lose all awareness of time and the real world. It's an episode of derealisation. All I'm aware of is what I'm saying, off the top of my head, and nothing else. It's not as though I enjoy the sound of my own voice; I just don't know what else to say or do. I can listen well enough, and say, "Yes" and "Hmm" and "Ah" and nod or shake my head appropriately enough when someone else is talking to me; but when I don't know what to say to them. Again, it's always been apparent to me that I have nothing in common with others.

If I had to list a few interests, it would be Doctor Who, comic books, anime, classical literature and philosophy, animation, classical music, and retrowave music. If anyone on this website wanted to talk about those things, I would be willing to give it a try.

What I feel for my family, and I've always had a closer relationship with my mother than my father, is neutral. A vague feeling of indifference: I don't feel warmth for them. I don't want to sound ungrateful. I owe them my life ("and you got that for free," to quote from the video game Earthbound), a place to live, food and clothing. But I can only tolerate them so much. If they support me in terms of bare necessities, they don't support me where it matters most to me: spiritually, morally. They're not interested in my soul (and I'm not religious, but I find it's the only metaphor that works). They think that I'm a joke, a failure, and they keep putting me down. I can't talk to them about my problems, and I've never been able to because they would never take them seriously.

When my mother has tried to offer support, it doesn't help. My mood always goes down, and I'm expected to lift myself up, to take responsibility, to "be a man", to act my age (and sometimes I don't know how to do that). We argue, we fight; and she's supposed to have the last word. There's a lot of things we don't see eye-to-eye on. And I have nothing in common with my father; we never bonded over anything, not even when I was young. We're strangers to each other.

I accept that part of the problem lies with me. There's more than I could be doing, more that I could've done, but I struggle to do it because my mood is often very low (I feel useless, dejected); or I've been trying to focus on other things, but failing to get anywhere because I get distracted or I procrastinate, or because there's other things I would rather be doing, and I end up wasting time regardless what I do.

It seems to me each day is a new start, but I feel like a bit like Guy Pierce in Memento, waking up in an eternal present. I forget anything that's happened to me, I forget the promises that I've made to myself; "I remember only ideas and sensations", to quote Buck Mulligan from James Joyce's Ulysses.

I never know what anyone else is going to be like, how they're going to act, behave, what they'll say or do. I can't predict their actions. It's like everyone has two or more sides to them, and I can't trust them. I don't know whom I'm going to be dealing with or which side of them I'm going to be facing; I'm just hopeless with people, really.

And it seems to be the same cycle, all the time. I've felt trapped in the same cycle for a long time; and no matter what I try to do to break it, no matter what steps or actions I've taken in the past, I end up back in the cycle again, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. He was trapped in the same cycle for 34 years before he finally broke free. I'm in my late twenties, and I'm still nowhere near.

It's not that I don't want to change. Everyone wants to change. "Everything and everyone is changing all the time. There's sticking to your guns but if you stay as you are, and you don't grow or take risks... you still change. But it means you seize up, end up just repeating yourself. Become your own museum or descend into self-parody. What's happened has happened. It can't be undone. [...] All you can do now is go forwards." (Quoting Fitz Kreiner from the Doctor Who novel The Gallifrey Chronicles, one of my all-time favourite books, by the way.)

Nobody wants to be blue shirt Picard, or Arnold Rimmer. You want to be Captain Picard; you want to be Ace Rimmer, the greatest hero in the galaxy ("What a guy!"). And maybe I'm just too lazy or selfish to be that sort of person. Maybe I'm just sick and tired of being alone, of having to do it alone. When I fall, I have to rely on myself to boost my morale, to lift my spirits, to try and stay focused and motivated on the task at hand; but I always end up leaving things too late, rushing at the last minute. When it's beyond all hope and I'm going to fail, when it could've been avoided - when it feels like my life is at an end, that I've just wasted years of my life because I was so bloody stupid - I don't know what to do anymore. I keep repeating the same mistakes, as though I'm powerless to repeat them. No matter what measures and actions I've taken in the past to try and change - trying to cut the distractions out, cut down on the compulsive behaviour; following the best advice in the world from people I actually do respect, who have inspired me, with their teachings and philosophy - depression, procrastination, low self-esteem, and obsession always get in the way. I always get in my own way.

I think Patrick Carnes has summed up how I feel, and how I've always felt about myself - an unshakeable, unchangeable state of mind, despite everything (or the lack of anything that's happened in my life). I have a faulty belief system, and a rigid, persistent one. As an addict (to the Internet), I'm not someone who sees himself as a worthy (or worthwhile) person - worthy of success or love or friendship. I never have, so I've just sabotaged myself at every point, at every opportunity, sinking deeper and deeper down into failure and despair and dejection; to the point now where I've probably failed for life, where I can't see any possible point of recovery, because I've kept getting in my own way, and nothing has changed. Not in me, or the people around me, wherever I've gone. "Nor [does the addict] believe that other people would care from them or meet their needs if everything was known about them, including the addiction. [...] If you do not trust people, one thing that is true about sex - and alcohol, food, gambling, and risk - is that it always does what it promises - for the moment." (Quoting Carnes from Out of the Shadows.)

Whatever I was, whatever I wanted to be, I just screwed myself over. When I should've been motivated, I wasn't. When I should've met deadlines, I didn't. When I should've stopped indulging myself like a hedonist, I didn't. I procrastinated and procrastinated, and I allowed things to get so bad. Why did I do that? Why couldn't I trust anyone? When anyone ever had anything praiseworthy or positive to say about me, I never acted on what they had to say. I never believed them, I never trusted them; I never thought they were being serious or genuine, because how the hell was I supposed to know? Why would anyone have ever cared? It's like I just want to be a failure, so I could justify taking my own life, as though all I'm good for being is a statistic. And whatever promise or potential I ever showed - all I did was squander it, waste it and my time. I could've been brilliant; but I ended up a failure.

Whatever path I walked, I walked alone. I felt alone. My mother would say I was just self-pitying; that I should have grown up and got over this a long time ago. But depression, addiction - it's not something you get over easily, and it can take years, when you have to do it alone, because no one else sees it, or wants to help, or can only do what's within their limited means. You have to be responsible for your own life; no one else can do it for you. And I have tried to live by a code, a creed, of personal responsibility. I know that whatever happens to me, I can only blame myself. I accept that. But it would've been nice, just once, for even a second, if I felt like I could trust someone, if I had a friend, or a woman in my life; if I could really, really feel, that I wasn't alone, that I wasn't a failure, if I could destroy the faulty belief system. Any positive mood, any inspiration, any motivation - has never lasted.

If anyone actually read this, it's much appreciated. I wrote this for myself, but I wanted to share, since what do I have to lose?
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Old 08-17-2020, 12:54 AM   #2
Heavenly gent
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I've read your entire post, i feel for you sincerely. I know how you feel, i have felt like you quite often. Nobody made any sence to me and I was just much happier being by myself and living in my corner. Then things changed. I realized I was getting much older and was missing out on life. The first thing I had to do was to love myself unconditionally, with all my faults and negative thoughts of people that I really didn't want to associate with, however, with that being said and some pretty good medications I was finally able to open up. I read self help books, learned how to cope with the most obnoxious people, I thought, if I can learn to deal with people unlike me, I can easily move on to people with the same interests as I have. You must remember people are very easy to read, hell, most people wear their hearts on their sleeve. Once you learn to read people, use the internet, you know better than anybody the innermost is an amazing tool, search how to read people it works and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be the life of the party, it doesn't happen overnight. Love yourself and you'll be amazed at how much love is returned in folds. I guess what I'm trying to say short and concise, love yourself, learn to read people, don't be afraid of looking foolish, it happens to the best of us. Pull yourself up when you stumble and laught it off. Your worth having a loving relationship. I used to be exactly like you, now after learning what I did, I have no problem walking up to a complete stranger and telling them, hello, nice day isn't it, oh, by the way, my name is Wayne and I think you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen, to a woman of course lol and I can walk away with my shoulders held high because just a few years ago I would cross the street just to avoid anybody. Try it, I think you'll do awesome and will find happiness. GOOD LUCK Joyce, Wayne. PEACE

Last edited by CANDC; 08-18-2020 at 09:22 PM.. Reason: To get post within administrative guidelines
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Old 08-17-2020, 02:05 PM   #3
Skeezyks
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Smile Re: Getting a few things off my chest

Thanks for sharing your struggle. Reading your post brought back a memory from my late teenage years (many decades ago) I'll share with you.

I won't go into a lot of detail with regard to this. But, suffice it to say I was bullied both verbally as well as physically starting in junior high school & continuing throughout my four years of high school. Everyone knew what was going on (including my parents.) But nobody cared. When one of my bullies beat me up, breaking my nose, I got blamed for it. And by the time I was out of high school I was already deeply depressed except that, way back then, mental health issues (including depression) were neither recognized nor treated. So even I myself didn't really understand what had happened to me.

Around that time (while I was still living with my parents) I have this vague memory of my mother coming to my bedroom one evening & asking me what was wrong. Of course I had no real idea myself. And I think I spouted off some nonsense about the state of the world or some such thing. I have no memory, now, of what my mother may have said in reply. And it really doesn't matter. But the thing is, although I have to give her credit for even trying, the fact is the sudden spark of concern she showed me that evening was so too late as to be laughable if it had not been so sad... too little, too late as the saying goes.

Dr. Jonise Webb, who writes on the subject of Childhood Emotional Neglect, has a questionnaire in PC's archives that one can use to assess whether or not one may have experienced CEN growing up. As I recall, from reading through the questionnaire myself, there are 23 questions. I honestly felt I could answer yes to all 23. I recall having replied to another of your posts. And I don't know if I perhaps provided you with a link to that questionnaire. But just in case not, here it is should it be of interest:

The Emotional Neglect Questionnaire

Anyway that's the memory your post brought back. I hope that, in some way, you can still find a pathway forward toward a new more satisfying life; & that being here on PC can be of some comfort & support to you along the way. Best wishes...
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:48 PM   #4
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