Moderately screwed up. Hand me that ratchet, Nurse.
April 2, 2007 12:28 PM Subscribe
Therapy or bootstraps? I have no friends beyond immediate family and online acquaintances. I can't clean house or do my home-based job because I get distracted -- by surfing the Net, even though it gets boring and I get less and less pleasure from it, by eating, by walking around the house, or by doing anything but the productive work I know I need to do to be happy. I have a very difficult time even reading a complete book, and I have always been an avid reader. And I have almost completely starved the creative part of myself. I have almost nothing to show for my life over the past twenty years.
posted by rosemere to human relations (19 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I'm seeing my family doctor this week to get a referral, but I have tried psychotherapy once as a teen, once in university, and once in my thirties over many of the same issues, and found that typical talk therapist could either be out-smarted or else they were dispensing cookie cutter advice.
In my first year at a small alternative high school, I hid from fellow students. If I was walking down the hall and people were approaching, I would duck down a side hall so I wouldn't have to greet them. Somehow things turned around the next year and I developed a circle of friends, and I was reasonably sociable and happy. The same thing happened in during my undergraduate degree, where I had several new friends and was part of two overlapping social circles.
But I grew less and less adept at gaining friends as the years passed. In grad school, I saw two women who never met each other before form a fast and deep friendship. I was part of the larger social circle they were part of, but always felt I was on the periphery.
And after leaving university and getting away from the few comfortable social circles I had held onto for 10 years, I found myself around people I didn't feel comfortable with. I was too old, or too shy, or awkward, and I didn't try to make friends.
But now I'm in my 40s. For the past ten years, I haven't even tried to be sociable. My husband and I hardly go out. Our mutual circle of friends has almost completely melted away and his current friends are people from his job (yes, young and attractive and smart and intimidating, and I feel that I embarrass myself around them).
When people talk about the friends they have from childhood or college, I look back and see friends I used to have that I would be ashamed to meet now. I am even more embarrassed that I don't have friends now. I know this is stupid, but it's my gut reaction.
So -- yeah. Social isolation. Self-esteem issues. Some depression. Difficulty concentrating. Do I give therapy another go, or should I just sit down and try some basic, sensible things like volunteering, taking some classes, etc.? That could help with the social isolation, but I still have issues with concentration and focus that may or may not resolve on their own.
(One thing I very recently realized is that I may need to either "incubate" with a group for a year or more to find my place in it, or else I need to be thrown in the deep end by literally living with people, as I did in university co-op housing for a couple of years or in the 6 weeks of French immersion I took one summer before university. I probably won't move into communal living any time soon, but I may need to find a comfy niche for a year before the specific friends issue gets better.)