Wednesday, 13 July 2011

gosh I am sometimes rather stupid.

***Disclaimer. This may very much sound like a woe is me post. It is not, I promise. But a simple declaration of facts and probably some factoids (my brain is very good at twisting the truth for me).*** 

Yes, very stupid. Twitter has become my replacement friend.

I think I have only just realised that twitter and the like are a very poor substitute for actual human contact. Yeah talk about dumb. I'm actually rather annoyed at myself for allowing my slow departure back into a cocoon with no contact with the outside world. The introvert within me adores the shadowy figure which I can cut (or not as the case may be) alone in darkness where no-one notices if you are there and cares even less. It is very easy to feign interest in 140 characters? Or am I being to harsh?

I have had some very good friends in the past. However, once bitten, twice shy? I won't dwell on the details but I had some very very close friends at university. I would have done anything for them and at the time I'm sure they would have done the same. Two in particular, I loved with all my heart. Then I told them about my depression and I have not heard from them since. That bite was hard. Very hard. Indeed to the extent of being defriended on facebook. So very hard.

My closest friends now are probably my oldest friends. Yet they are all extroverts with many many other friends upon who to call. To arrange to see them takes almost military planning. I jest, but with their high flying jobs and extracurricular activities spending quality time is difficult. Indeed what I call* friendship is being part of someone's life. I want to share in the highs and lows. I want to been seen as loyal. 

So right now I find myself almost friendless. As I have said before, I am best with people I see all the time. The barriers to me talking and thinking freely fall down and I can just be myself. In most situations I find myself asking, "Is that okay?" or "Do you mind if we try this?" For the most part I feel like the subservient sheep because I don't feel important enough to have an opinion.

I imagine if you meet me for the first time you would not think any of these things. I think I can be funny and relatively charming - mainly because I am trying very hard not to be very me. If I were very me and then rejected, that would be so much worse. The only exception is if you have met me whilst tipsy/drunk. I am very much more myself then and I very much apologise! The last two times I fear I may have been tipsy as anna and the ring were the the rock and roll bride parties! I'm sensing a pattern.

I have stumbled blindly into new friendships (I think) but making friends is hard. In these fledgling relationships I fear I can be a bit too anna. I think I try and be too nice and helpful. The thing is when I find someone I think I gel with, I want to tell them. I don't want to lose them. Yes I am interminably uncool. I can't help it. It's finding someone you want to hang around with is just such a wonderful feeling yet I blunder in and well for want of a better word, anna them. 

Then I realise that I have been too forward and back off in the hope they will want to spend time with me. Gosh, what a passive aggressive move. However as is the case with most people I adore** they are talented and far too busy. Especially the friendships I have tried to forge with people in the wedding industry. Unsurprisingly they are busy at the weekends. I'm led to believe that this is when social interactions usually occur!

Although I have to admit I have not been a great person to be around of late. I have moments where I am feeling all bubbly and happy and agree to do a million and one things and then the darkness returns and I quietly excuse myself. I then hate myself for being quite so useless and return to my cocoon of safety but solitude. And then occasionally have a cry about how lonely and unloved*** I am. (Although I am all cried out right now, that's what talking to a psychiatrist does to me!) Here comes the woe is me. 

The thing is no matter how low I am feeling I enjoy being there for people. It makes me feel good. So not altruistic at all! I enjoy being a caring listening ear and whilst I am not the best at resolving nightmare issues I will want to try and do something.  I think I can be a good person. I can make people laugh and enjoy a good heated debate (well except with Bean as he feels he is always right and cannot be reasoned with. Gah!****) Okay, now this feels like I am pimping myself out. The My Married Friendless Friend website anyone?

Look fun!
Yes another terrible wedding photo. Thank you bridesmaid.

I am not sure what people think of me but I know that if I am told something in confidence I would not tell another soul.  Indeed I have no idea what people think of me. In some ways I fear people shouting right now that they don't think anything of me. I am that insignificant in their busy wonderful lives. In fact I am almost entirely sure that this is not being read by the people I wish I could be around more. So in many ways I am the master of my own rejection. Rather talented at catastrophising and compounding my own feelings of solitude.

Gosh, I can go one about myself a lot. My apologies. I wanted to get it off my chest and out of my head. Do I feel better? Yes, maybe I do. Maybe I just need to learn to relax a little more? I would then usually say, "Would you like to be my friend?" and insecure anna would laugh it off as a joke. However, maybe I should be seeking deeper friendships with people I can see on a regular basis? I don't know? I am all confused.

Help!


*Anyone get the reference? I have to say I do rather enjoy Miranda Hart! And yes, I probably do watch too much tv.
**Yes a very strong word but at least I'm honest.
***Which is very hard for Bean. I don't want him to feel he is not enough.
****Also Bean is very much my bestest friend but I need girls too. I would like to talk about pink and shoes and well, stuff.

23 comments:

  1. Oh, Anna. That really sucks about your friends acting like that when they found out about your depression. And makes me very cross.
    I think making friends as a grown-up can be quite a scary thing - especially as by now a lot of people have different groups of friends - uni friends, school friends, work friends.... so it can sometimes be hard to know where you fit in. Or to feel like you have a definite space in their lives.
    I'm not sure there's anything wrong with telling people that you like them or want to be friends with them! So often it feels like you just have to presume that the other person feels the same way, that we can easily interpret things the wrong way as soon as they do the slightest thing different. Last weekend, we went to stay with some great friends of ours, who told us that we were among their most favourite people in the world. That felt pretty special, and amazing - not least because we feel the same about them, but would never have said it out loud for fear of looking silly. So, it is nice to hear, and anyone worthy of your friendship wouldn't mind, at all.
    I don't really have any answers, except that we should meet up soon for a drink/coffee/food/whatever, and you can be whichever version of yourself you'd feel happiest being. :)

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  2. i feel your pain Anna, Making friends when your young seems so easy, now after moving a thousand times i can count my firm girl friends on one hand...but i kinda think that is all i need. sometimes i also had no one, but the right people always come along when you need them.

    If your friends left after you told them about your depression, they were not good friends, and your probably better of without them darling!

    I think you sound perfectly fabulous x

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  3. I have depression as well although my tablets help alot. My two bestfriends and bridesmaids have hardly spoken to me, I've had the odd text in the last couple of months and I've seen one of them for 5 mins (was nosing at our new house) but that is it. It can be very lonely but just hold on in there. :)

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  4. Oh, Anna. I admire you so much for your honesty in these last few posts. I don't have any answers - I too am rather introverted in real life and find true, lifelong, always-there-for-you friends hard to come by. It's converting an acquaintance (real or virtual) into an actual, real-life, call-them-up-and-go-for-a-drink-type friend that I find the very hardest. But I think (hope) with time and a bit of effort and a lot of just being yourself, it will happen eventually. You can never be "too anna" - you ARE anna, and that's what makes you special, not something to hide. As I get older I am coming to believe that, in friendships as in many things in life, quality is infinitely better than quantity.

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  5. First of all I just wanted to say that you write beautifully. This is so well expressed and your insight makes me envious - you know yourself so well. As an oldie I also wanted to say that I have always believed that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Sometimes the changes in our lives separate us from the very people that we thought would always be there. Hard. cold. fact. And not very helpful when you are depressed.
    I also know that inhabiting an online world isn't healthy. Be brave. Reach out to the people you don't feel that you are reaching online. And trust that you are all the wonderful things that you recognise yourself to be. Grab the opportunities that are coming your way to have fun offline.
    I have read your blog today several times, and it has very genuinely touched me.

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  6. I totally understand this as, working alone in a dark poky office all day I treat the lovely people of twitter as my worlmates, but stick me in a room with these people and I'll get scared and hide by the cupcakes all night (like I did at the rock n roll bride party)!

    I'm so sorry about those uni 'friends' though. I think anyone whp dprdnt see that depression is as much an illness as diabetes or cancer, theyre the ones with the problem!

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  7. I love reading your posts Anna, they are so open and honest and so wonderfully written!

    It's a shame that your friends have reacted in this way, but they way I see is if your friends cannot accept this then they dont deserve as friend as wonderful as you!

    It is so hard to make friends though. I was in a relationship from the ages of 14-21 and when i emerged at the end of it three years ago I found myself friendless and alone, as i'd missed out on the fun teenage years to become 'mother' to my then fiancee! Since then though I have found friends in the most unlikely places, the most noticeable, twitter! There is a lovely selection of people that I have met through twitter - some I have met in real life, some I haven't - who I regularly email and chat to who I now count on as really good friends!

    I only really have 1 best friend (two counting the bf) and a two other really good friends. I don't think many of us have more than a couple of really true friends though (who we can call at 3am and who will tell us when we look like cr*p!) but i'd rather have just a couple of really good friends than loads of not so good ones :)

    Looking forward to lots of fun on 3rd August!

    Your 'love my dress' roomie xx

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  8. Anna,

    I am a bit of a lurker on your blog (though as you know I follow you on Twitter too), but I felt compelled to reply to this.

    I have had (though not to the same extent)the quick moving away of people when you drop the D word. I think people don't understand really. And of course some just have no frickin integrity and loyalty at all.

    Also, the insecurity thing - right there with you - my friends would say I am loud and confident and bubbly, but my CLOSE friends would tell you that I am often the opposite. What I can tell you is this - you seem really sweet and kind, and at least through the twitter/blogosphere, you are thought highly of. That many people can't be wrong, and there is only an extent to which you can present something that may not be entirely you.

    Making friends as you get older is really difficult. I know it sounds so trite, but can you join a local club or something? Or make one with local bloggers? In my experience, a wee meet up every few months and a lot of twitter chat and emails can cement really valuable friendships. Starting friendships now might also be easier with regards the the depression, as it's something current, rather than something that changed a friendship?

    It is very hard to, but you should try to believe in yourself (oh god, I sound like a self help book). You come across as being ace, and I am going to continue to think you are. You should too.

    If you ever want an unbiased 'ear' feel free to email me. xxxx

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  9. ANNA I LIKE YOU AND I THINK WE GEL AND IF I DIDN'T LIVE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FRIGGIN COUNTRY I'D BE THERE RIGHT NOW FOR A SLICE OF CAKE.

    What? You didn't think you'd get a sensible answer from ME did you? ;-)

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  10. I like you.

    You uni "friends" were dicks. Seriously.

    I have a theory that blogs as social networking... it sort of happens because of either a niche interest and/or social isolation. I mean probably the biggest group of bloggers out there is "mummy bloggers" and you have to ask yourself why that is. I think the answer is that a lot of women find themselves in a situation where they're at home most of the time for the first time with their babies, uni friends live elsewhere, and there's a social vacum to fill.... What I'm saying is I reckon you're far from alone! Even if it feels that way sometimes.

    I think you already know you need to leave the house a wee bit more.... how about volunteering? Soup kitchens, or well, anything really. Imho, one needs evens the most apparently superficial everyday contact and feeling of RL community to feel OK. Probably evolutionary, we're social creatures even when we're introverts. Catch-22.

    Here, have some tea x

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  11. I totally and completely empathise... so much so that I'm stopping lurking to say so. It sounds a bit like you do what I sometimes do, which is work so hard to be bubbly and chatty and 'super duper fun!' that it seems to work for awhile, but hours/days later suddenly I feel all embarrassed and worried about having been too... much? too talkative? too dominating? and then it's hard to let people in to the really crap, dark moments too.

    I feel like i 'pick up' friends quickly, as a northern californian living in britain I can sort of get away with the 'let's talk about our feelings as soon as we've met each other' thing, but then I worry later that I've pushed too hard or somehow not read the signals right. I have veered towards depression in the past but this (sometimes low, sometimes high) level of social anxiety stays pretty constant.

    in any case, thinking of you.

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  12. I'd like to be friends with you please *waves hands in the air*

    Having met you at two bridal events after tweet-contact, I can honestly say that you came across as genuinely welcoming and charming and friendly and immediately put me (and my sister - she might be on for a comment later) at total ease by introducing me to everyone and making sure that I wasn't by myself or looking lost: essentially you *were* exactly how I *wish* I come across all the time.

    Making friends in London is really difficult, everyone is busy busy busy and I really think that you've been treated badly by the uni friends who were close to you, but I would hate for you to allow them to damage you and make you doubt yourself. When I walked into the second RnRBride party knowing no one, my heart sang when I saw you and I felt like I latched myself onto you...but you never made me feel in the way or that I was "crashing your party"...I guess what I'm trying to say is please please don't let your recent bad experiences of people colour your own opinions of youself: you rock. End of.

    I also still have that magnum of vodka that I won courtesy of your kind self and my sister, and we still haven't had our kitten catch-up session...so if you fancy a cocktail in London and don't mind some senseless (and fairly non-stop...) wedding chat, just give me a shout.

    Remember: YOU ROCK

    XX

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  13. I wish I didn't live across the ocean because I would love to be your friend who you call randomly to have drinks or just hang out. I completely understand your pain -- I'm super duper introverted too so it takes huge amounts of energy for me to interact with people so when I meet people who don't suck all my energy out of me, I try to hold onto them. Unfortunately I can't make them stay living in the same city as me and consequently I have a few friends scattered across the country who I love and reconnect with instantly as soon as I see them but I'm not really part of their lives. Not really. We email and talk on the phone sometimes but when I have a horrible day at work or want to celebrate something awesome, they're just not here. And I can't seem to make new friends. I don't know where people go to meet them. I've always though they needed online 'friendship' sites like dating sites (how I met my boyfriend who is even more introverted than me so, while I adore him, he often does not meet my need for social interaction) then you could try out potential friends in your city and eventually settle on the ones you really like and connect with.

    Instead I think when I meet someone new who I think I could be friends with (like a coworker) I think, like you said you do, that I try too hard. Like telling a boy you really really like him too early on in the relationship. And then sometimes you just don't end up really clicking with a person even though all signs say you should and then it's really awkward because you can't figure out how to get out of it and you end up having too many really uncomfortable lunches with someone you know just isn't going to be a forever friend and then you withdraw further into your shell, gun shy and afraid to exert that much energy again with a new person.

    And depression certainly complicates it. Because while a forever friend understands when you're really disconnected, a new friend thinks you're being rude. So then you have to explain your depression and then you've maybe shared too much.

    Anyway, all of this rambling is just to say that I completely empathize from way over here where we spell empathize with a z instead of an s. And I love your blog and am looking forward to more regular blogging from you.

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  14. If I didn't live juuuust about as far away as humanly possible from you, I'd be on your doorstep now!

    Making true friends is hard once you leave school. For everyone.

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  15. It's funny that you posted this because I've been having some really, really depressing friend drama lately and I've been wanting to post about it and how I feel like I have no friends right now. I know I do, but it's so hard. Everyone is so freaking BUSY. And like you said, it takes so much planning. I miss the days of living near people and swinging by their place. I also don't feel like I have a best friend right now, and I miss that connection. It is very, very depressing and so yeah, I get this post. I do think it has a lot to do with our age, and our newly married status. There's something about that shift in decades and life stages that causes disruption in the friend house. Maybe I will post about this after all. You've inspired me. : O )

    PS. Twitter friends count, too. They're just a different kind of friend. Quite honestly, it was more my blogger friends who helped me through this drama last week, not my real life ones.

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  16. Dear Anna,

    You pretty much just about summed up my experiences too, with a few details changed here and there it could have been my biography! I've experienced being cut off by someone who I thought would be a really close friend forever. I've moved around a lot and lost out on friends that way. I was in a relationship where, for 5 years I saw my close friends three or four times a year, which just isn't enough when there are shoes and pink to be talked about! And when that finished I moved to a city where I knew three people. Maybe I shot myself in the foot with that kind of life plan, but hindsight is a wonderful thing...

    Thank you for writing such an honest post - it makes me feel a little bit better that other people are in the same situation as me. I've been trying to make new friends too, and its hard, especially when everyone already has their little groups that you feel you can't break into.

    I also feel the same confusion about how to behave around new people, who might be friends. I'm afraid I come on too strong, or I say things which might be too much, or not what they'd want to hear. I find myself holding back for fear of embarrassing myself. But the best bits of me only show when I'm not holding back.

    I just want to say I totally understand how you feel, and I would love to be your friend (cuz I think you're amazeballs) and you are always welcome for tea and cake if you're in Scotland. And I will probably invite myself over for tea and cake if I'm in London any time soon!

    Big hugs and smooches xxx

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  17. To ride on the coat tails of all the other lovely people who have commented- any 'friend' who walks away from you because you confide in them about depression is AWFUL and you do not need those people in your life.

    You are such a wonderfully talented lady, your writing is so honest and beautifully phrased and I too completely get the insecure/try hard/worry have gone too far/back off to hide situation as I have been there so many times myself.

    It is also so hard to explain to your significant other that as much as you love them and they are enough, there will somtimes be a girl shaped itch that needs scratching, and only pink and shoes will do the job.

    You are, what I call, ace and I would love to be your friend.


    Also, for the record, you totally rock in that picture!

    xxx

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  18. I think that Bean knows that to be your happiest self you need female friendship.

    I also find it scary and confusing, so I don't have any advice, other than to say that in the past when I have been brave enough to start a silly girly conversation with someone I don't know very well, it has actually turned out to be not that scary.

    And I will always enjoy a shoe conversation!

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  19. I also suffer with depression (and stress and anxiety) and a lot of what you have said resonates with me.

    I don't think engaging with twitter and other social media is always a positive experience when you're unwell.

    Personally I find it exhausting and I can't ever quite ever shake the feeling that lots of people are doing better than me or are making more friends than me or are doing things that I'm not invited to/involved with. When you suffer with the low self esteem that invariably goes hand in hand with depression, that can be quite damaging.

    I think a lot of friendships forged online are lacking the depth of friendships where you see each other regularly. That’s not to say that’s true of all of them.

    I met two of my best friends on line and when I had my last depressive ‘break down’ they were there to support me but they live close by and I see them all of the time. I don’t know – this is just my opinion.

    Also, and I may be wrong about this, but I think when trying to make friends at ANY industry event of any description you run the risk of it being mistaken for networking…

    I’m not great at making new friends either. I think I come across as a bit loud, brash and arrogant when you first meet me. This is because I am also frightened of not being liked so I project this weird caricature of myself.

    Trying to be a photographer has been hard because I take any rejections completely personally.

    I don’t know, Anna, with depression and self esteem issues you get trapped inside these negative cycles. Maybe you should set yourself a small challenge to meet one new person (she says sounding like every terrible CBT book she ever read!).

    I’m based in London if you ever fancy a coffee or a glass of wine. I’ll be terrified of you, of course, because of my social anxiety but sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway (in the very cheesy words of Susan Jeffers!).

    I hope things get better for you. x

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  20. Just love dear and hope I can say more in an e-mail to you soon. But I will say that it's horrid that your friends weren't there for you. I'm just an e-mail away!

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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  21. call those oldest and dearest friends! I imagine everyone in your life loves to see you! maybe call some casual acquaintances too? they can be fun for just meeting for coffee! I know you will meet some awesome people :)

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  22. Bit late to the party on this one but I've been away (don't judge me!). Thanks for this post, I really sympathise with you on this one. I try hard to be a good friend and would love to be thought of as someone people could come to for a shoulder, a laugh or a girly chat about make up and pink! But I feel quite isolated at times and don't think I'm as important to everyone else as they are to me. I'm not introverted but also don't like to push the boundary of an aquaintance for fear of coming across as odd or pushy. I'm not good at being lonely and I don't want to be someone who just has their boyfriend. Maybe your new website should have regular meet ups! x

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So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.

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