I always knew I wasn't the most stable person. That's just been part of me for years. I can be over-the-top screaming and happy one minute, and depressed/over-dramatic the next. It's just how I've always been. But everyone's like that in some way, so I guess me saying that isn't remotely groundbreaking or indicative of anything.
Anyway, growing up it would pose problems here and there, I guess. I just remember always being THE most stank person who would go on tirades and crusades over the smallest of things. I'd randomly hate people for the stupidest reasons... like venomous and completely one-sided hatred. Like some guy was always "too arrogant while answering the teacher's questions" in my math class in high-school, for example, and I'd spend so much time bothering my friends outlining all the 6548 reasons he was supposedly "The Worst Person Alive." Meanwhile I doubt he even knew what my name was, and we never even talked to each other.
And that kind of drama spread online too. Look at my post history here, for instance... I dunno, it's less extreme, but I seemed to be constantly picking fights with people over "TYPISM AGAINST S-TYPES!!!" and I wouldn't let up. I've been active online for about 10 years now. For the longest time, probably 80% of those years... I constantly fought with people online over the pettiest things. And I'd get incredibly worked up and emotional over it, thinking, "All of you on this site are idiots and out to get me!!!" or "your post is laced with hidden insults so that you can attack me without getting banned!!!" (that was my most common go-to) and just all-around drama, playing the victim, stirring up trouble for no reason, etc. Again, on this site there's evidence of me doing this just 2 years ago even, where I was already in my 20s. I've kind of mellowed out with the fighting online now, but now I just find it more embarrassing than anything why it took me so long to stop and take a step back.
I'm a long-time reality TV fan too. And I just get so invested into the shows (Survivor, Big Brother, etc.) -- to the point where if I have favorites, I have to look up spoilers. If I don't, I'm going to be a complete wreck, and a screaming rage-filled mess both online and in real life if anything goes wrong. E.g. "WHAT A PIECE OF TRASH!!! I HATE HIM SO MUCH, I HOPE HE DIES WHILE THEY'RE FILMING THE SHOW! IT NEEDS TO BE CANCELLED!!!" and this rage will ruin the rest of my evening. I've legitimately said all of that before... like I'll get blood-boiling rage over the results of these reality TV shows, and I've never understood why. It's the same way with video games. I've never reacted to those appropriately, and I'd be the poster child for "gamer rage"... sometimes at cringe levels.
That's kind of a pre-face. I've always been very emotionally sensitive, volatile, etc., but until recently it's never given me that many issues aside from looking like an idiot online. Or gotten me into trouble at school when I was younger for fighting, arguing with teachers, etc. I like to think I got it from my parents, and my older sibling... all of whom have proven capable of throwing screaming meltdowns at the drop of a hat. They still do, actually.
That being said, my childhood... yeah. That can be its own 800 page post. I know it wasn't nearly as bad as "bad" households can be, and I was fortunate in many ways. Again, though, if I were to delve into some of the issues I had growing up, this post would be enormous.
Let's just say I have next to 0 self-esteem some days, and I look through some pictures of when I was a teenager and I was so self-conscious and insecure I was hunched over in all of them. Now however many years later? Some days I'm more confident, others I feel like I'm the most insecure and self-conscious person who has ever lived.
Anyway, I've always known I've struggled with depression/anxiety. I've never been formally diagnosed with either of them, but I can't remember not struggling. I don't feel I even need a diagnosis to say it, because it's just always been there. Though it's been manageable... it didn't start to get worse until my late teens/early 20s.
I keep saying it's always something I've struggled with, and that's true. But the depression/anxiety was never something that, I felt, started impacting my life until a few years ago. I was always able to just push through, and it wouldn't be too severe or last too long. But in my later years of college I remember spending so many nights lying on my bed with my lights on not wanting to go to sleep... and then unable to sleep because I just felt so terrible and my mind wouldn't stop racing.
All that garbage earlier was to just set the stage, I dunno. To just kind of give a brief overview of what my mental state has been like, before getting into the rest. Because I did title this post "no friends," so I should probably expand on it.
I scrolled through my phone the other day, and I hadn't texted anyone who wasn't a family member or work colleague in like 8 moths.
I can be severely insecure, but I'm not shy. I make a great first impression when meeting new friends (depending on the circumstances), and when starting a new job and stuff I'm always excited to jump in and join group activities.
I'm a complete chatterbox in this stage, over-the-top, exhibitionistic, and everything else on that level. Depending on how much I like the person, I'll divulge my entire life's story and just over-share so much. Everything is going great, and things seem on track for some successful relationships.
And then? I don't even know. Just read up a few paragraphs. All my friendships start out great, and yet...? I can't seem to maintain them. There are only 4 people I still keep in touch with from my entire high-school and college career. And like I said, even with them, for all 4 of them it's been 8-10 months since we last texted. In a new environment I'll have good friends and we'll do a ton of stuff together, but then as time goes on, I find myself alone more and more. I know kind of what it is, but at the same time, I don't know how to stop.
RANDOMLY HATING FRIENDS
All it takes is one comment, one facial expression, anything, and then the seed is set. I've done it so often in the past, that I can recognize it now, but I still can't stop myself from doing it. Once I first think, "oh, it was annoying when he/she did that," I know it's just going to be an insidious thought.
Let's call one friend "Alice." First we were having a meal with a group of friends, and she made an innocent comment about what I was eating. It made me angry and self-conscious, and uncomfortable. There was a tinge of resentment after the comment, but I brushed it aside.
As time went on, though? As I said, it was an insidious thought. From that point forward, anything Alice did, my brain would find a way to twist it and criticize it. I remember for weeks having an internal struggle in my head thinking, "no, this is your friend, stop," but I was unable... and now? She's someone I strongly dislike. It's not fair at all, and I tried to stop myself along the way, but I don't think I'll ever be friends with her again... both because I don't want to be, and because I doubt she'd want to be friends with me either, because I was rude/cold to her several times for no reason.
This example is from a singular instance, but it happens all the time. A friend will do something that vaguely puts me off, and it's innocuous at the time... but then as time goes on, any tiny thing they do I'll criticize.
One super close friendship got strained in college. We still talk, but not nearly as much. We were lab partners, and were nearing best friend territory... which is something I'd NEVER had. But then? I don't even know... I just went completely psychotic for no reason. And not just once, but consistently for MONTHS. Every tiny thing he did, I would criticize, or take offense at. And I was always starting pointless arguments for no reason... then during the labs I would have emotional breakdowns and we'd argue more, because I was an idiot making a scene... and I'd even get insecure and I'd always accuse him of: "YOU THINK I'M AN IDIOT!!!!" Once he was working on our project during a spot of free time... and I snuck up behind him, took pictures of his computer, and then confronted him about it yelling, "HOW DARE YOU WORK ON THIS WITHOUT ME!?? YOU THINK I'M AN IDIOT?" ...even though I was lazy at the time and, if asked, probably would have wanted him to do most of the work anyway.
That whole timeframe... it's ridiculous, and I don't understand why I was acting that way. Like constantly yelling at him, accusing him of "disrespecting me," etc. And then him and our third friend started to become closer friends, and I feel like I must have gotten jealous... I'd always make jabs if the two of them were together. And then the following term he switched lab partners to a 4th friend instead of me, and that had me a little crazy as well. I iced him out for months and acted like a complete jerk. I'm amazed he still returns my texts now... though things did mellow out in the end before we graduated and went our separate ways.
AVOIDING/LEAVING FRIENDS TO MAKE THEM "JEALOUS" OR FEEL BAD
I did this in high-school, and still do it now. In high-school I'd ditch my current friend group if they hurt my feelings over something, or if they annoyed me by doing something. Then I'd go join up with a new friends group... and I'd take great pride in spending time with that new group. And I'd make a point to walk past my old friends, with my new friends, thinking in my head "don't make eye-contact, but look super confident!" Like I'd randomly think my friends hate me, based on innocuous comments or facial expressions I read too much into, and I'd ditch them to "show them up for it."
And I would do that, and then I'd stop being mad, and I'd go back to my original group... and I'd just kind of swap around in that way. As if ditching my friend group gave me a "power/adrenaline rush" over them. Kind of a "look how happy I am without you," type of thing... even though, really, the friends I was mad at never did anything in the first place. I was just irrationally mad at them over something stupid.
I dunno, I feel like that's kind of my "signature" thing to do. Just one day, randomly start ignoring my friends, and then come back weeks/months later as if nothing happened.
I'm doing it now, even... I've been legitimately sneaking out of the office at lunch for my last 2 months at work specifically to avoid my work friends. I'll admit there's manipulation to it, that I can't deny. I've had a terrible few months, and a huge reason is most definitely, "my friends will worry about me if I'm not around! I hope they'll think of me when I just don't show up." I know doing that is gross and manipulative... but even though I know I'm doing it, I can't really just stop doing it, and I'll probably sneak out of the office to eat alone tomorrow too. And then in a couple weeks, I'll go back and start eating with them again as if nothing happened. It's what I always do.
I can be pretty good with social interactions... and as I said before, I'm often bubbly, chatty, and exhibitionistic. Some days I'll be cracking jokes, telling my life's story, etc... the complete and unchallenged center of attention. Or I'll just be a positive contributor to the conversation. But other days, I just literally sit there and say nothing. I sit there, bored out of my mind, and couldn't care less about what anyone is saying. And my mind fills with negative thoughts, like, "who do these people think they are, talking about such boring and pretentious stuff," Which I know is a gross thing to think about friends... but that's what goes through my mind, and I'm hoping for you guys to maybe know what's wrong with me if I divulge as much as I can in this giant post.
Additionally, if there's a group lunch or something, and my "close friends" are there in addition to "less close friends" or acquaintances... I'll get incredible anxiety if I'm not sitting next to my "close friends." Not because I'm uncomfortable around the other people, but because I feel "left out"... like... my head I'll be thinking, "I have an hour to talk to my closest friends and get to know each other more. But they're sitting at the opposite side of the table talking to other people, who aren't me." And I'll actually get angry/anxious/etc... like heart-beating fast, sweating, etc. Especially if they're talking to someone I don't like. Remember Alice from before? Many times my "best work friends" were sitting at the opposite side of the lunch table with Alice, me on the other end outside of the conversation... and any time that happened, I'd go back to my cubicle and cry. Not even exaggerating, I'd legitimately cry when that happened.
And really, I get so stressed out sometimes when it comes to friendships. Many times I'll get scared of the prospect of how much work it would take to maintain the friendship, or how the two of us may not be compatible as friends... and I'll just keep them at an arm's length. So it's as though I'm searching for "close friend" candidates, and screen many people out right away. And if there are no "valid candidates" then I often find myself getting depressed.
Well, as I've already mentioned a few times... I'm not able to maintain friendships very well at all. Obviously I'm self-aware to some of the aspects, but I just get over-run with emotion and neuroticism that I wind up destroying or hurting the friendship in some way. And it all just goes back to what I said near the beginning: I really only have like 4 friends from high-school/college I still keep in touch with. Yet we haven't texted in months, and I don't think I've met any of them face-to-face in about a year.
It's incredibly lonely, and depressing. And I've longed for a "best friend" my entire life, and have never had one aside from a few weeks when I was 5 years old. Or... it's always one-sided. I view someone as "my best friend," but in their eyes, I know I'm always #3, #4, or even lower for them. And yeah... I still have acquaintances who like and comment on my social media posts and stuff (which I also like to dramatically disappear from), but I don't have any close friends at the moment. And I always struggled with having any at all.
Oh jeeze... This is why I'm making the thread in the first place. The friend thing? That's always happened. The depression/anxiety has been with me forever. But when it comes to relationships? Ugh... "love"/infatuation/etc. has left me completely incapacitated in all aspects of life. And not just a little bit, but for MONTHS. Like completely unable to function in daily life levels...
Well first off, to clarify a bit, I've never actually been in a relationship... even though I'm in my mid 20s. But that's a story for another time, and I'm not going to get into it here. This actually scares me a bit. Because if I'm this crazy at the prospect of a relationship, then I have no idea what to expect with the real thing.
Anyway, this was an entire saga that took over my entire life at the end of 2016. A friend started to feel like more than a friend. We "clicked" really well, did everything together, and I was getting 'signals' that they liked me back... prolonged eye-contact, touching, etc.
And then for a few weeks/months, I was over the moon. I was the happiest I remember being in a while (or ever?), and floated through every day. I'd shake eating breakfast in the morning with excitement over what kind of interaction we'd have, etc.
I legitimately ignored everyone else if we were ever in a group setting, as rude as it was, I just couldn't help myself. And this went on for a month or two. I felt kind of like their "puppy dog" kind of following them around, hanging onto every word. And the more we talked, the happier I got.
Then things took a turn. I started getting extremely jealous if I ever saw them talking to anyone else, even though we were just friends. A simple conversation with someone else often had me sitting at my desk at work in tears an hour later, full of anxiety.
And one day I was having an emotional breakdown about something unrelated at work, and I ruined everything. I texted this person to comfort me about the thing that went wrong at work. I was blatantly trying to manipulate a conversation with me over text: "They'll HAVE to reply if I'm upset. And then after we talk over the crisis, we'll continue texting afterwards, and we'll get closer." Like the emotional turmoil from the day at work was real... but I was taking advantage of it to try to manipulate my friend into talking to me.
But it didn't go over well. They never replied, which prompted me to send longer and longer text paragraphs, as I was getting more and more upset about the fact that they weren't replying. And eventually I just ended up sounding very cringe, unstable, and just all-around needy/clingy.
We talked about it the next day, and the air was cleared... but in my head? No. I had myself convinced, "something's wrong, they hate me now." Cue several months of emotional torture. I don't know how many times I approached this friend in tears saying, "Why are you acting so cold with me today!?" and I was always reassured, "everything's fine, it's all in your head."
But no. I couldn't get over it, and I was incredibly paranoid, anxious, and extremely sad 24/7. I took the slightest facial expression as a punch to the gut, and I'd be in tears. Every single day. And the jealousy about friends talking to Alice I mentioned way before in this post? Multiply that feeling by 500.
It was such a roller-coaster, though. This friend would wave to me in the morning, and I'd be over the moon and in my head I'd be thinking "everything's fine, I'm so happy, this friendship will last." And then something else would happen shortly thereafter, and I'd be feeling the exact opposite and crying. And it was like that every day, and it was exhausting.
We've moved our separate ways since, but when that whole saga was on-going, I was completely unable to function. I couldn't get any work done at my job, because my emotions were in a constant state of going up/down... and I was obsessing over every tiny detail. And then in the months that followed? The friendship kind of ended... or at least for now... and I don't think I've ever been so incapacitated over something before. For a few months I'd cry every day, and I just couldn't function. It still affects me now, however long it's been, but a bit less. Though some days I'll still get random and intense paranoia that all my friends are talking behind my back... and that's an awful feeling and I'll cry, but at least it's much less frequent now. Even if I'm still very depressed lately.
Overall, I just feel so stuck in the rut of life with all of this that has gone on. I'm not happy with my job, my living situation, or anything of the sort... and I constantly have urges to quit my job, move across the country, and just "figure it out from there." Several times I was a hair away from doing that, but had a commitment and needed to stay.
It's just been a terrible several months... almost over a year now. And as I said, the depression/anxiety stuff was always there, and the friend stuff was too. But I also know it's always something I've needed to address, but have put off. Combine that with the "relationship" stuff, and how hard the last year has been... I dunno, I just need advice or help in some way.
There's a bit I left out, like minor self-harm stuff, but you kind of have the gist anyway.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?
Obviously self-diagnosis is bad, but I also feel like it would be beneficial if I had a bit of an idea. Because like I said, with my emotional/mental state... it's been a bit of a torturous few months, and I know I need to take steps in feeling better.
I can research until the cows come home, but as I said... I hate self-diagnosing. Even for something like personality types, I don't like doing it. But when it comes to mental health? Then doubly-so, obviously, I'd like some opinions here that are not my own.
I feel like I must have something wrong with me... or at least I hope so, as weird as that is to say. Like, yeah, it's dumb for me to want there to be something "wrong" with me, but at the same time... I'd feel better if I "had something" so that I'd at least know it's not just a case of me being hopelessly inept. You know what I mean?
So I know playing "armchair psychologist" can be damaging, yeah... but I'd also greatly appreciate it, lol. I know I'm going to need to get myself help for something, and I will. In the meantime, I'm just hoping for some advice/insight as to what I might be struggling with.