Things are not what they seem
I could write many pages on how my life was an endless existence of suffering in different ways and which seemed to have no possibility of ending.
I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and early onset Dysthymia. I also self-diagnosed Social Anxiety and I thought I might have AvPD too. I often worried, had anxiety, was restless, on edge, bouts of crying, despair, and I was super/insanely sensitive and self-conscious. This was my life for over 35 years, on a gradually worsening degree.
I spent a large part of my adult life alone and mostly, I lived in my head rather than experiencing life for real. I gradually isolated myself more and more and I always sought to hide from the world whenever possible.
At my worst, which was in the last few years, I didn't want to do a single thing. Everything was a chore. I really just wanted to die and be reborn into another life somewhere and start again. No amount of therapy, groups therapy, meds, activities, social exposure tactics and book reading made the slightest difference to me. I did consider suicide but reasoned out of it (my suffering would end but I would not be around to enjoy the new suffering-free me).
I was so fed up waiting for the mental health world to come up with a solution for me (and which it had failed repeatedly), so I looked for my own. And I found it.
I discovered that the cause of many so-called mental health illnesses and troubles is not what I was told it was. In fact, there is no such thing as mental illness, mental disorders, syndromes, etc., and also, I came to discover that psychiatry is not based on science.
Suffering for sure is real but there is no underlying biological cause for that suffering. Ergo, there is no mental illness nor is there such a thing as a "chemical imbalance" in the brain.
So why was I suffering? My thoughts. Yes, just thoughts. But thoughts can be made into incredibly powerful things when we believe them and in a nutshell, suffering is belief in thoughts which are not true. That is the cause of any human suffering......and nothing else.
I discovered many truths on my "journey of discovery", such as that much of the human world is defined and controlled by opinions and not facts, as I used to believe was. And furthermore, that opinions when reinforced by compliance is what can make an opinion seem like a fact and a real thing, when it can never be so of course.
I realized that I had given the power for me and my life into the say-so and opinions of other people, whether these were people I knew or the "wider society" and that my trying to "fit in" with what had been deemed to be "normal" and the judgement of others as to whether I was "OK" or not, was part of the cause of my suffering.
But no person's opinion is worth more or less than anyone elses and an opinion can never actually be right or wrong.
And all opinions, I came to realize, have no inherent value or power
Opinions only have power/validity when we give it to them. Otherwise, they are worthless and can evaporate instantly at any moment.
And there are so many things in the mental health world that are just opinions and nothing else, but they are passed off as facts and truths when they are, at best, guesses.
We are not dealing with facts here. Just opinions, ideas and beliefs about life and people. And for those who suffer with what is known as Social Anxiety its opinions by others about what is normal and what isn't and how we measure up to that idea that is big part of the problem. But even "normality" is just an invented idea of how every person should be, from a certain biased viewpoint, and its through this defective idea of normality that all humans are judged.
But humans have enormous variations for many aspects of their being, so why are we all judged on a narrow invented set of criteria and forced into a narrow way of behaving and living?
And why do we all accept these arbitrary opinions and definitions of ourselves from "unqualified men in white coats"?
When I realized all of this and much more, I concluded that;
I am not ill.
I was never ill.
There is nothing wrong with me.
I do not need to change anything.
Ditto for everyone else.
All the mental health world's names for how we suffer are just made up by people with biases and narrow ideas about how everyone should be and live. So people who are deemed outside this invention called normality are judged as "ill" and "defective" and need 'fixing". But none of us are actually broken so we don't need fixing. We are all just being in different ways, many many ways.
I think I know why we are forced into being all the same, because we live in a system that requires us to be alike, for the purposes of production and consumption - glorified cogs in the wheel. The system cannot tolerate differences/variances in people because those differences/variances interfere with the efficiency of the system and so if you can't fit into the system, its "your" problem as the system doesn't care about you, as many millions of cogs are being made each and every day.
So since the Summer of 2015, I have been free of all my suffering. Yes, its all gone and its gone all the time too. Once the suffering left, what remained was what we all seek - happiness, calmness, peace....all the time. Its quite unbelievable how I am now, I must tell you and I would not swap my state of mind today with anything, not even all the wealth in the world.
Something that many people don't know is that we all actually already have happiness, which we have from birth. So we can't "get" it or "find" it and it does not exist external to ourselves. Happiness is what is left once all the suffering is gone. That's it.
I found various resources that helped me reach this state of mind but I would especially like to mention, for those who still suffer, to look up Noah Elkrief on youtube. He has a video on what social anxiety is and how you can end your social anxiety. He has also made many videos on other issues and troubles that are commonly experienced. Noah has been pivotal to my transformation.
I can send anyone links to other articles and info I found helpful.
Other people who helped me by with the knowledge they have shared;
Leo of actualized.org