Personally speaking, I've tried and failed at improving myself. Whilst I accept most of my early twenties were written off due to depression, I've put myself very much out there in my later twenties. A self-enforced 'exposure' therapy as such. Obviously regular people can push themselves much harder, but I've pushed myself to the point of almost making myself ill on several occasions. I've been out more often than I was in my teens, visited more places and even changed jobs to work in an office full of ladies. I've changed most of my wardrobe and in recent times even changed my hairstyle. I've also attempted to grow stubble – which is a current trend for men. I've been back in touch with an old friend of mine who had an argument with me ten years ago and I've even taken part in social activities such as Bowling, when I really didn't want to. I have put in a lot of legwork over the last five years or so.
The general public's response to all of this? "You need to make more effort
" and "It's all your fault
". Thanks. Thanks a lot.
What a huge confidence and self-esteem booster that is. My efforts aren't even acknowledged. Not a single one of them. Rubbish like this is one of the main reasons why I have SA – people's completely dismissive and ignorant nature towards me. Whatever I do, it hasn't worked. It's resulted in further snubbing or insults. This is all I've ever known and is the reason why I folded in on myself and went into depression in the first place. I've basically gone around in a full circle over the last ten years and I've had no rewards for my efforts.
I honestly don't know what else I can do, barring walking into every pub and club across the land and start dancing on top of all the tabletops, clapping my hands. No one else I know (away from this forum) has to endure this relentless, dismissive nature towards a person and yet, no one can see how they're affecting me. I'm certainly not doing this all to myself. I'm jumping through the hoops people are putting in front of me and whilst I struggle to do them, there's nothing there at the end of it all to encourage me to continue. There's no motive to be motivated. Other people get compliments, rewards and acknowledgements. I don't… This is why I'm sick of making effort as I'm literally the only person who doesn't get any 'Brownie Points' for it. Again, another reason why I have SA.
I believe social anxiety can be improved (not cured). However, I genuinely believe it's something that we can't 'get over' alone. However, we never get that help as it's basically non-existent due to the complete misunderstanding of what the condition is. It's not something you can take pills for and expect it to go away like a small virus. It's not something we can just click our fingers and change our entire mindset to, on someone's say-so. It'll take external help and external forces to show us that we are welcomed in society. That we can be spoken to as equal human beings and not snubbed or insulted. They need to show that they can be friends to us…
Without genuine external help to give us that push forwards, I don't think that there is a solution for us. I've seen more than enough to accept that this really isn't a battle we can face alone. We're just swimming against the tide, otherwise.
It never fails to amuse me at how obtuse some medical professionals and the general public can be to our plight. These are people who aren't in our position and they can get help (whenever they need it) from all their friends. They aren't expected to do anything alone. However, they happily tell us that we can't seek help from others and we are alone in trying to help ourselves. Rather ironic given we've gone to them for the very reason we can't do this alone… This in itself only heightens our SA as it reinforces our thoughts and feelings that we really are alone with this problem and that no one understands. Yet, they simply refuse to see it this way and immediately accuse us of being dismissive when they're not looking at their own comments and actions towards us.