Author Topic: Reaching out  (Read 1717 times)

dr_christian_troy

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Reaching out
« on: October 06, 2021, 05:19:08 AM »
Has anyone else found that it is more difficult to reach out to friends post-lockdown?

I’ve been struggling with loneliness a lot recently. I’ve been coming to terms with the relationship with my father breaking down entirely, who (long story short) in an apparent state of non-compos-mentis and under the influence of his wife has actively ostracised me while being emotionally (and financially) supportive of my sister and two step-sisters. I should have seen this coming when he has re-stated many times over the years “I’m your father, not your friend” when I suggested we have a trip together like we used to when I was younger. He doesn’t seem to grasp how hurtful or affecting any of this is.

While leaving my job in April has lifted a weight of stress off my back, from which I’ve since found consistent work relating to quiz-hosting and pursuing monetising podcasts, having committed to my own routine and schedule, I’ve found that I’ve reached out to people to catch up - whether it’s on the phone or safely in a one-to-one situation etc - this is the first time in a long time where I seem to have an abundance of messages sent to people where you can see they have read it and have then not even responded. In some cases sure, people are busy, but when it is so many people and you’re feeling lonely it starts to become difficult not to take it personally.

I gave up smoking when I left my job which after a month became easier, but have since replaced the need to smoke and have accepted that I’ve been drinking a lot more - it’s a problem I need to address now - but ultimately the reasoning behind it at the time at least was the drinking was to temporarily numb anxiety, which of course is not a great logic and instead there I am, sitting at home drinking alone trying to distract myself from my inability to cope with relationships that have dissolved with family and now seemingly, friends.

To reiterate, I’m very self-aware and in these circumstances I haven’t provoked the absence of people in my life in any capacity. In most cases I’ve touched base with people who I thought were friends and they have simply ignored me. One example however was when I had a small birthday gathering, there was one distinct absence and I later found out from someone else that this “friend” told someone pre-gathering they were not going to attend because they simply “didn’t like” me. This has since led to me being very paranoid about what everyone else thinks of me. With Facebook being down recently it was a breath of fresh air to not have to to worry about the friends list going down by one person and then worrying about it. I’ve now deactivated my account temporarily and kept Messenger on in the hope I can see people individually as and when.

I know I haven’t posted here for a while but seeing as reaching out to folks individually with very little response has been distressing, I just needed to reach out here because for a long time being on this forum has often given me joy and has made me feel safe and assured. I’m desperately trying to fend off intrusive thoughts - I was diagnosed with BPD a few years ago but have been struggling with my mind since I was about 12. It’s taking all of my strength to keep above the surface at the moment.

TL; DR - I feel incredibly lonely and I’m not doing very well.

« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 07:07:20 AM by dr_christian_troy »

Cerys

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2021, 07:29:26 AM »
I'm not properly awake yet, but have a huge Welsh hug.

SpiderChrist

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2021, 07:36:46 AM »
Sending vibes. Not doing so great myself, so the vibes I’m sending include empathy and solidarity.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2021, 07:48:04 AM »
That's rough pal, you are definitely appreciated round here as many will attest to.



thenoise

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2021, 07:55:06 AM »
I had a long phone conversation with a friend at the weekend, which made me feel a bit more human, but before that I basically hadn't talked to anyone but my immediate family since the initial wave of lockdown (where I had several keen zoom chats with people I haven't spoken to since).

The trouble is that I always reach out to meet up, or catch up, and I haven't been able to meet and I haven't got any news. So what's the point?

So sorry about your Dad. My wife and I both have difficult relationships with our parents, for different reasons. My Dad basically hasn't spoken to me for years, and when I go visit my mum he walks off elsewhere in the house to noisily do housework or something (just in case I hadn't taken the hint). I thought for a long time that if I reached out to him in the right way, or had a job he approved of or liked certain things, then he would get over himself, but finally realised that he isn't interested no matter what. Since becoming a father myself it seems even worse to me, I won't go off my son when he stops being cute and am happy with whatever adult he wants to become.

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2021, 08:10:23 AM »
Yes. Finding it hard to reach out to people, also been struggling to respond to people’s reaching out to me also, spent the last year ruminating, and it’s taken it’s toll on my ability to socialise, and has shown me that I am not a hermit, or that if I am, I would need to take the idea more seriously than just being lazy

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2021, 08:33:18 AM »
Despite of my Leisure centre stuff in the other thread.

I now have to see a CPN and a Social worker as I have noticed a decline of mental health.

I just a told a friend about these problems due to dealing with severe Scrupulosity . She thinks a lot of life stresses has resulted in decline of the mental health as I noticed more OCD (Not obsessive cleaning types) symptoms and illness this year as well as relapsing on smoking where I shouldn't be smoking at all.

I have 2 email friends who I mentioned this type of stuff to.

As for parents I had to disown them as result of the illness that I had this year. These parents know nothing about the mental health issues.

bgmnts

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2021, 08:35:56 AM »
Nah nothing has changed for me.

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2021, 09:38:51 AM »
I'm socially stunted due to [teenage bullshit nobody here cares about] and never reached out over lockdown unless it was to comment on a Facebook status. But the few times someone messaged me I did reply. Then again it was only a few times that someone messaged just to say "oh hey how are things".

I think this last year and a half has been very weird and scary with people not being allowed out/allowed to go anywhere, loved ones/themselves falling ill, getting fed up with the whole thing even if you aren't an anti-vaxxer/covid denialist, wondering if it's really over given the multiple lockdowns etc. Don't take it personally, is what I'm saying.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2021, 09:50:02 AM »
Me and my friends were never texting each-other, whatsapping, making phone calls, so we didn't start doing it over lockdown really. I at least felt like I had some close friends and then some acquaintances, but now I feel like reaching out to the acquaintances would be pointless.

So I had three close friends and one of them fucked off to Newcastle, leaving his family behind, no messages to anyone, so now I've got two. I was really paranoid and depressed recently because I'd not seen them for a while, and I was expecting they would have a new social circle that I wasn't a part of, so I was relieved to hang out with them recently and for it to just be them two. They're isolated too, it's fine. Socialising hasn't gone on without you.

One of 'em said that he was dreaming of moving to New Zealand and I told him he's not allowed to because that would mean I had 50% fewer friends. I probably need to join a club or something.

dr beat

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2021, 10:01:50 AM »
Hi DCT, really sorry to hear about things, but just wanted to say many thanks for the podcasts, which I've got great pleasure and education from and continue to do so.  Really appreciate your work.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2021, 10:20:11 AM »
I’m sure a lot of people here can empathise with your feelings.  I had a similar thing recently where a contacted 3 of my oldest friends thinking they’d jump at the chance of meeting up, but they where all busy with there own lives.  Kind of selfish of me to assume they would come and visit at my beck and call,  as we’re all older now. 

Add kids and stuff into the mix and I think some people are just generally busy with their lives, I wouldn’t take it personally.

 As for the person that said they don’t like you, try not to dwell on it,  they may of just been joking or it was an off the cuff comment that had been take. Out of context and lost in Translation, for all you know they may be mortified if they knew you had heard that. 

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2021, 10:42:29 AM »
Sounds like the friend who said they didn't like you is just an asshole. But there's a lot of friction with people coming out of lockdown at different rates. I know a slightly surly guy who was recently very rude about not wanting to attend any social events at this point in time, leaving us all feeling like plague rats or characters from the Masque of the Red Death. On the other hand, there are people who've spent the entire last 18 months having secret parties and want nothing to do with anyone else who wasn't in their cool rebellious club. I guess any period of separation leads to some friendships falling apart and some strengthening. Hope things turn out ok. It's the new normal !:/

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2021, 10:44:54 AM »
Was saying to my partner that it feels a bit like we're seen as second tier by some of our oldest friends. I don't know if it's just that people have got used to not seeing us...and like it.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2021, 11:00:07 AM »
I'm kinda having to assume this is a general thing at the moment. It seems like everyone's doing shit at the moment and I've had so many plans fall through I've stopped trying to make any, but maybe everyone is just endlessly cancelling the shit they're doing or trudging through plans they set up back in the summer.
In the past at this point I'd be pretty aggressively finding ways to meet new people but that doesn't really feel like an option so much anymore outside of dating and I'm not very into the idea of doing that either. Legit contemplating changing jobs purely for the chance to meet new people...

Meanwhile at the same time I've not been great at keeping up contact with the people who absolutely do want to keep in touch (e.g. didn't call my mam for a fortnight there, which basically never happens but I was too absorbed in my own bullshit to remember to).

pancreas

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2021, 11:38:31 AM »
On what people are thinking about you, this is the best advice, which seems either attributed to David Foster Wallace or Eleanor Roosevelt (?):

    You'll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.

In terms of friends, I can empathise. I would ideally have 100 friends inviting me to so much stuff I have to turn down every other invitation, but most people would be happy with a handful of good ones. I have had to accept that people do grow apart for various no-blame reasons. Some people have it in their minds that a 30 minute journey on public transport is reason enough to sever ties for life. Or they fuse gametes with another wastrel and give up on everything else. Nothing you can do about that.

Put yourself to work making some new friends, while you wait for your old ones. Most people are worthless pieces of shit, so it'll need a lot of patience. Come to a CaB meet—e.g. London on Saturday, assuming Chollis doesn't get to divert a nuclear missile into Hackney Wick. Or join a choir or a sports club or something.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2021, 11:46:18 AM »
If anything, the past year or so has made me realise how one-sided most of my friendships were. If I didn't contact them, I might as well not exist because they sure as fuck aren't making any effort to contact me.

But then I wonder how much of this is to do with social media. I've completely sworn off of social media in the past couple of years and it means that I've effectively fallen off of people's radars as the algorithm doesn't want to remind people I exist as I'm not worth anything to their bottom line. I've also noticed that I'm getting bombarded with Facebook friend suggestions for beautiful women, all five degrees removed from people I actually know. It's never men, it's never women who are clearly in happy settled relationships. It feels like a honeytrap, not from the women themselves (these are suggestions, not requests), but from a tech company fishing for engagement, using innocent people as collateral.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2021, 12:19:13 PM »
I had a small birthday gathering

I think you're more popular on CaB and in real life than you might think. I'd struggle to get any gathering together for my birthday and I shudder to think what people think of me on here, oof. But yeah you're definitely well liked on here for what that's worth.

Well done on binning Facebook, the toxicity of that is actually extremely topical at the moment and if you have real friends, Cab friends and whoever you interact with on your podcast etc then I imagine that Facebook stuff should be in the far distance because it's just a pile of old arse.

I'd offer you a hug if I wasn't emotionally crippled but I am so I won't. Take care.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2021, 12:29:46 PM »
My Dad basically hasn't spoken to me for years, and when I go visit my mum he walks off elsewhere in the house to noisily do housework or something

That's terrible. It never ceases to amaze me how flawed and weird some parents can be. As kids we tend to idealise our parents and it's very strange to slowly realise that half of them are idiots who act like kids themselves, sometimes well into old age. It seems so counter intuitive to turn you back on your child. Even Jeffrey Dahmer's parents visited him in prison.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2021, 12:43:57 PM »
That's terrible. It never ceases to amaze me how flawed and weird some parents can be. As kids we tend to idealise our parents and it's very strange to slowly realise that half of them are idiots who act like kids themselves, sometimes well into old age. It seems so counter intuitive to turn you back on your child. Even Jeffrey Dahmer's parents visited him in prison.

I have not seen my biological parents since 1993. That is why I regard them as selfish now.

Foster parents who recently I disowned this year were no better once you move out. The foster parents were more interested with money from social care more than anything. Although the foster dad died in June last year.

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2021, 01:42:02 PM »
I've started feeling lonely for the first time in my life these last few months. I've never felt it before, I adore solitude, so don't really know what to do with it. But I've been living alone for 3 years, working from home for most of those. I have one close friend I see for a drink every few weeks and that's about it, the rest of my family lives 3000 miles away. I have my son every other week, but that's different from adult company.

It's nice to see you post again, dr_christian_troy, I really hope things improve. Getting off social media is a good start, and that you are now making money at what you want to be doing is a pretty huge deal, most people don't manage to accomplish that.

Not to be glib about it (I know, this sounds like recommending exercise to a depressed person), but there is a freedom in loneliness too. Maybe take advantage of it, make it work for you. Set better habits without distraction, spend your time as you wish. There are days I'll turn off my computer at 5, take a cup of tea straight to bed, write for a few hours, then read until I fall asleep. Or maybe this enforced solitude is an opportunity to focus on building your career for a while.

Even the I Ching says (often) that "it is beneficial to have no goal to move to". Sometimes you just need to ride it out and not push, not chastise yourself for not being able to overcome something that just has to pass in its own time.



« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 01:55:22 PM by QDRPHNC »

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2021, 01:54:14 PM »
Hi DRT, sorry you're feeling this way, another fan here.

Can I ask what an acceptable, tolerable non-lonely life looks for you? What is it that would fill the gap and make you feel contented?

I noticed on fb you occasionally post brief messages along similar lines to the opening post, though you appear, at least on the surface to be following your interests, meeting people you admire, having company... some of the time.

What point are you hoping to reach and what's holding you back?

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2021, 02:31:13 PM »
If anything, the past year or so has made me realise how one-sided most of my friendships were. If I didn't contact them, I might as well not exist because they sure as fuck aren't making any effort to contact me.

This, with the noticeable example of two (phone call every 6 months or so), I discovered even pre-lockdown. Then I started looking back and realized that I had put a lot of time and effort into making friendships work to ever diminishing returns. Luckily i get on with people at my work and can have a chat with them online and we go out every couple of months which sates my desire to be social.

bakabaka

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2021, 06:59:09 AM »
Sorry I never got back to you DCT. Coping with the depression and stress (still moving house, three years on) while being carer to 2 others on the spectrum has led me to isolation because it's easier than trying to maintain that happy front. Then discovering here that I had lost the ability to communicate what I mean and only antagonise people, it feels a lot safer not to talk to anyone vulnerable for fear of causing more damage. So take reassurance from the messages here and try to fill your time building the podcast stuff and focusing on a better future. And read Madhair's comic,; it's the only reason I'm here.
And it's kind of a relief to find out that social isolation isn't at all uncommon at the moment, so hopefully you can take some comfort from that.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2021, 07:12:34 AM »
As kids we tend to idealise our parents and it's very strange to slowly realise that half of them are idiots who act like kids themselves, sometimes well into old age.

This is, in the case of my parents, very true. My father is a horrible bully who built up the legend of his own greatness in our house. Through my teens it began to dawn on me that he was just a nasty selfish idiot. The more I grew up and less attention I paid to his posturing the worse it got until I had to break with him. We all did. Haven’t spoken to him since 1999, and my life is so much better without him in it. No I’m a father too and can’t ever imagine acting the way he did and does. 

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2021, 09:07:56 AM »
This is, in the case of my parents, very true. My father is a horrible bully who built up the legend of his own greatness in our house. Through my teens it began to dawn on me that he was just a nasty selfish idiot. The more I grew up and less attention I paid to his posturing the worse it got until I had to break with him. We all did. Haven’t spoken to him since 1999, and my life is so much better without him in it. No I’m a father too and can’t ever imagine acting the way he did and does.

I no longer have any more to do with my parents (Both), similar to you. The whole foster parent's biological family side has been disowned back in April this year. The biological parents I have not seen since the early 90s and yes they were both selfish.

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2021, 09:54:18 AM »
Reconnecting with friends post-Covid has felt ridiculously difficult. I want to see them, but somehow can't cross the line of actually organising it, or if I message someone to say "fancy meeting up" it just drifts, they might reply a couple of weeks later but nothing comes of it. I think a lot of people are in this situation, it feels very odd.

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2021, 11:49:26 AM »
If anything, the past year or so has made me realise how one-sided most of my friendships were. If I didn't contact them, I might as well not exist because they sure as fuck aren't making any effort to contact me.

Even before COVID I started to root out these friends and just cut them out and move on.

I had a friend like this who was always flakey. Growing up I wouldnt see him if I didnt contact him, we were really good friends, he probably would have been my best man if I didnt have a brother. But he never went out of his way ever to make plans.

Then life moved on, but we'd mutually arrange to meet up before Christmas, just a pint of 2 in the pub the week before Christmas. 2 years out of 3 he never showed up.
The times he didnt show up there was no reason/excuse, just didnt turn up. Im left sitting there like a plum after arranging a day off work, getting someone to look after my son for the day as wife at work, telling wife im meeting up with him, getting taxi to the pub etc etc.

I just laughed after that and thought 'what the f**k am i doing'.
This was a couple of years after he was a no-show at my wedding. He was living abroad at the time but had 6 months notice of it.
We both knew he wouldnt be coming as he'd never go out of his way ever.

He was a best man at someone elses wedding 2 years earlier and never stopped complaining to me about having to do it, about having to actually be there for someone else for once.

He gave 4 different reasons/excuses at different times for not wanting to come to mine. There was no acknowledgment of a stag do or response to my wedding invite. I should have binned him off then but it took 2 pub no-shows for me to wise up.

So i just blocked him on all channels and binned him off after the last Christmas no-show, about 8 years ago.
He acted like this when we were late teens, into our 20s but this isnt acceptable social behaviour when Im a grown adult and have to arrange plans around work, wives and babies.
He probably wonders what happened and why I disappeared as he's not acted any different as to when we were growing up or how he is with other people. But I had enough.

Funnily enough I met him by chance in the pub on Christmas Eve 4 years ago. I was having a Christmas Eve drink with another friend.
We got on well then had the obligatory 'its been too long, we have to meet up again and stay in touch'. Swapped numbers and said we'd keep in touch.

When leaving I sorta made a point of saying 'yeah give me a call whenever you want'. But he said a couple of times for me to call him so he would then phone from his mum's home phone as he cant phone out from his mobile, some shite like that. He's a bit of a man-child. Doesnt work so his mother sends him money when he's living abroad with his girlfriend who works and subsidises them both.

I just blocked his new number. Not getting roped into that shite again. Exhausting the lot of it.

Personally I think you can stay in contact with some people for too long.
These things need to be 2 way.

Anyway, that was a long post im away to lie down.

Re: Reaching out
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2021, 03:57:18 PM »
Yes, and many hugs. I know how it feels and it sucks. I'm just glad I have a very supportive family. I think leaving Facebook probably hasn't helped, but that site was not good for me.

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Re: Reaching out
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2021, 08:53:55 PM »
Hugs Dr. Chris, and everyone else feeling lonely... I've had little contact with friends for a long time with all this going on. I'm a bit of an introverted loner at the best of times (you'll be surprized to hear!).

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