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lisa2712

The Dangers of Not Having Any Friends (Long-Term)

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I have my sisters, my parents, my husband and my children. I am comfortable with the staff where my husband works and his business partner and his wife. They are like family to me. I have a cousin who is older than my dad I am friends with, we just talk on the phone and don't see each other for years sometimes. I am content with this. My little sisters are better than any friend I could make. I am 42. The only people in my life have been through the rough times with me. They aren't too cruel or mean. They get me most of the time. The people that aren't in my life were not there when I could have needed them because they wanted to make sure they were never needed. They weren't needed. They aren't needed. Why talk about the weather with them? Why show up on holidays and pretend my aunts and uncles give a crap about me and mine? They don't don't and they are mean, rude, or just ignorant and usually its an unpleasant experience for me and mine. Why think I am going meet a stranger who will get me and who will bring me great joy each time we get together? My sisters get me like no one else ever will for better or worse. My time is filled quite nicely with the people I do like. I really don't need friends outside of family and the family I choose at my husband's workplace. Its okay to avoid relatives that are painful to deal with, but work things out with the best of the lot. I don't need a thing. I'm happy even.

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On 8/30/2016 at 6:33 PM, Melancholia_Personæ said:

I think that if I had friends then being exposed to other peoples thoughts, beliefs and ideas might make other people more tolerable. It might also remind me that people have flaws and that I should accept

The fact that you wrote this might indicate, on some level, you are already awake to the possibility that various attitudes might be tolerable. Anyway, it helped me be more aware, thanks.

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I can so relate...I don't have social phobias really, but I've painfully begun to realize it gets MUCH MUCH harder to make solid/quality friends esp as you get older. Especially if you move, live in a big city, finish college. All of my friends from around college/20's got married & had kids in their 30's and just disappeared. Too busy to reply to a short email, and so I figure WHY BOTHER???!! Some people I know can absorb themselves in TV or whatever (I hate TV), they have pets or spouse, family who takes up all of their time.

Sounds cheesy, but be your own best friend (I am still trying to learn this). Treat yourself special. talk to yourself or write yourself letters if need be!!! Take a walk in nature. I'm serious. Volunteering and going to Meetups is also crucial. Usually people that do these activities have time in their schedule and are interested in making new friends. It's tough to stick to it, initiate and keep going when you feel like you don't connect with anyone, but at least it increases your chances (unlike hiding in your apartment)

Appreciate, hold onto and cherish any old friends & family members who listen and are supportive of you. It is rare. It is unbearable at times when you are feeling bad/sick/depressed etc to have no one to talk to, no one who's around, no one who ever checks-in or even knows whether you come home at night. It's a lonely world! This is one reason I have come back again to these psych forums...There are so many people suffering and so many supportive/understanding souls here. And when you deal with mental illness - any kind of interaction can be a good thing (Even if it is only online/virtual!) A simple word of encouragement goes a long way.  All the best to you.

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On 7/12/2015 at 3:28 PM, carlossong said:

I talked to my tdoc about this. He said that we're social creatures and we need socialization. Too much socialization can be overwhelming.

Usually I like to go to a clubhouse to meet people a few times per month. I prefer to meet my close friends a few times per month. Once every 2 weeks is fine too.

For me, there is something as too much socialization.

I agree.  I don't like to go out and meet people at all, but if I happen to be in a conversation with a bunch of people unexpectedly, it can over-do my brain and I eventually start to stare, and just need to go home.

(I know you haven't posted this in over a year so FWIW ... )

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On 8/17/2015 at 2:10 AM, mcjimjam said:

I also have not had friends for years. I'm lonely but I find it stressful to deal with people and in the past none of my friendships have lasted. I just don't have the social skills to maintain friendships and keep them healthy. I don't know what I do wrong exactly so it is hard to change. I guess I'm not fun.

For me, being lonely is a lot better than being with people; less stress when alone.  None of my past friendships have lasted either.  I actually am not interested in seeing how they are today either.  (sorry for the really late response!)

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On 8/30/2016 at 7:33 PM, Melancholia_Personæ said:

I think that if I had friends then being exposed to other peoples thoughts, beliefs and ideas might make other people more tolerable

I understand your perspective.

For me though, (and this is most likely because of the SZA diagnosis) being exposed to other people's thoughts, beliefs, and ideas isn't the best thing for me (even good thoughts) because if I ever become delusional again, those people and their thoughts/beliefs/ideas would most likely become a part of the delusions in a negative way.  Maybe positive, but more likely to be negative.  and then I believe the negative thoughts, and eventually lose the friends because I would be listening to the voices. (Let this never happen again for me in my life).

Also, sometimes I don't want to even meet people and hear their voice because eventually their voice (whether I know them or not) will be a voice that I hear.

But I do understand what you are saying.

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1 hour ago, cloudmonger said:

I can so relate...I don't have social phobias really, but I've painfully begun to realize it gets MUCH MUCH harder to make solid/quality friends esp as you get older. Especially if you move, live in a big city, finish college. All of my friends from around college/20's got married & had kids in their 30's and just disappeared. Too busy to reply to a short email, and so I figure WHY BOTHER???!! Some people I know can absorb themselves in TV or whatever (I hate TV), they have pets or spouse, family who takes up all of their time.

Sounds cheesy, but be your own best friend (I am still trying to learn this). Treat yourself special. talk to yourself or write yourself letters if need be!!! Take a walk in nature. I'm serious. Volunteering and going to Meetups is also crucial. Usually people that do these activities have time in their schedule and are interested in making new friends. It's tough to stick to it, initiate and keep going when you feel like you don't connect with anyone, but at least it increases your chances (unlike hiding in your apartment)

Appreciate, hold onto and cherish any old friends & family members who listen and are supportive of you. It is rare. It is unbearable at times when you are feeling bad/sick/depressed etc to have no one to talk to, no one who's around, no one who ever checks-in or even knows whether you come home at night. It's a lonely world! This is one reason I have come back again to these psych forums...There are so many people suffering and so many supportive/understanding souls here. And when you deal with mental illness - any kind of interaction can be a good thing (Even if it is only online/virtual!) A simple word of encouragement goes a long way.  All the best to you.

First para in bold ... so very true.  When I was out of college and the MI stuff started, then I started to do better, even then all the friends from college had family and work and etc take up all of their time.  And yes, didn't have time to email back a short email.

Second para bold ... I don't think it is cheesy at all ... I agree with you ... everyone drifts off, doing their own thing.  And because I can't relate to them anymore, there they go.

Third para bold ... I completely agree with you.

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It is scary really....apart from my parents I have NO ONE who is there for me. I fear for the day that they are gone, I don't know how I will go on with no emotional support and dwindling finances. I can't afford $200 weekly Therapy appointments for the rest of my life. I struggle with keeping employment for any kind of long period. I have no savings or retirement money. Medications have not "cured" me by a longshot. Yes I've had friends that come & go (superficial friends who will join you for a drink or an event a few times per year, if it's convenient for them) but no one who has the capacity to listen, really "be there" if times get tough, or empathize with what we go through just to get through the day.

I've revealed to friends in a vague/light way that I've struggled with depression been on meds, testing the waters...but those "friends" always disappear. I've succumbed to not revealing the extent of my issues to anyone. You learn how to live a dual-life. This illness has become such a huge part of my identity...it's messy, ugly and devastating. how can I continue to push it down under the rug, act like everything is fine....smile, smile numbingly, and talk about the weather!?!!

There is still so much stigma about mental illness (despite the celebrities who have "come out" ) It's something that no one openly talks about. You are not protected in the workplace if you have mental issues, then you are declined by health insurance if you have seen therapists or been on meds. Discrimination at it's finest. People have their own "problems" and don't want to be exposed to more. It feels like a death sentence or solitary confinement at times.

Today there is not the awareness or support that other physical illnesses (such as Cancer) have. Many cancers are highly treatable (unlike mental illnesses which can constantly return tenfold). It really gets under my skin...Those who overcome cancer get LOADS of outpouring of support, sympathy, understanding, squads of cheerleaders rooting for them. They are given accolades for their mental strength & perseverance while those with mental illness suffer silently alone/isolated in a sort of eternal punishment for being a "lesser weak-willed person". The truth is mental illness takes the lives of many more people than physical diseases - it's about time they are seen as equal!

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2 hours ago, cloudmonger said:

I've revealed to friends in a vague/light way that I've struggled with depression been on meds, testing the waters...but those "friends" always disappear. I've succumbed to not revealing the extent of my issues to anyone. You learn how to live a dual-life. This illness has become such a huge part of my identity...it's messy, ugly and devastating. how can I continue to push it down under the rug, act like everything is fine....smile, smile numbingly, and talk about the weather!?!!

I've done the same, with the same outcome (they 'disappear').  You do learn to live a dual life, I agree with that.  I hate when someone who knows you have a MI sees you with your 'mask' on, and then they think you are doing better than you are.  That pisses me off too.  It is like a no-win situation.  No mask, people leave.  Mask, and the people who know you have a MI think you are doing better than you are (and then ... at least with me ... I have to tell that person why I had a 'mask' on, and that I am not doing as well as I seemed to be.  If that makes sense).

2 hours ago, cloudmonger said:

Today there is not the awareness or support that other physical illnesses (such as Cancer) have. Many cancers are highly treatable (unlike mental illnesses which can constantly return tenfold). It really gets under my skin...Those who overcome cancer get LOADS of outpouring of support, sympathy, understanding, squads of cheerleaders rooting for them. They are given accolades for their mental strength & perseverance while those with mental illness suffer silently alone/isolated in a sort of eternal punishment for being a "lesser weak-willed person". The truth is mental illness takes the lives of many more people than physical diseases - it's about time they are seen as equal!

Don't even get me started about cancer (specifically breast cancer) and the outpouring and support etc, and what they are given (see highlight in bold).  I think all cancer is equal, so I don't understand why people do all this stuff for pple with breast cancer, while other types of cancers get hardly any recognition (compared to the breast cancer) for.

I'm not going to say more about the cancer thing because it probably isn't appropriate for CB forums, but feel free to PM me to finish the conversation.  I have a good amount to say about it.

Anyway, sorry for the slight tangent.

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You make a really interesting point above that I have experienced all the time as well! It's very much a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation!

"I hate when someone who knows you have a MI sees you with your 'mask' on, and then they think you are doing better than you are.  That pisses me off too.  It is like a no-win situation.  No mask, people leave.  Mask, and the people who know you have a MI think you are doing better than you are (and then ... at least with me. I have to tell that person why I had a 'mask' on, and that I am not doing as well as I seemed to be.  If that makes sense). "

Totally makes sense. I have been experiencing this with significant others, my family etc. I put on the "Mask" because it makes me feel like I'm "trying harder" to be happy, relaxed, well adjusted, social or whatever but then it sort of backfires in that instance, because it's true - people think you are feeling so much better/you're more stable, when it's all just an act....

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On a related note, I think Facebook only encourages this social "Masking" on a massive level. No one ever posts anything real, about how they had a horrible day, a breakdown, challenges around life....Therapy...How they hate their job, need a friend to depend on, whatever. No one ever posts about feeling lonely...Family difficulties around the holidays. It's all a Happy/Manic sort of contest. It's easy to see why one begins to feel sub-human after reading all these happy exuberant posts...

I can't even look at Facebook anymore because of the constant "I'm so grateful for my perfect life" type posts, crafted Instagram shots where people look like models in exotic locations, never-ending saccharin life affirmations, Law of Attraction-type posts. "You always attract what you think about" (like a person's thoughts are the ONLY reason why tragedy or bad things happen to them, it's because they deserve it..) Total BS! I read something that really resonated with me the other day. The writer said " I didn't choose depression - depression chose me" People don't choose to be ill.

Edited by cloudmonger

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@cloudmonger  I am not on FB, and choose to not be on it, in part for reasons you mention. 

4 hours ago, cloudmonger said:

I read something that really resonated with me the other day. The writer said " I didn't choose depression - depression chose me" People don't choose to be ill.

I agree with this.

5 hours ago, cloudmonger said:

I have been experiencing this with significant others, my family etc. I put on the "Mask" because it makes me feel like I'm "trying harder" to be happy, relaxed, well adjusted, social or whatever but then it sort of backfires in that instance, because it's true - people think you are feeling so much better/you're more stable, when it's all just an act....

And the thing is, is that when you are explaining that you aren't doing as well as they saw, at least for me, they start to not believe me that I am really doing worse.  Then I'm told, well what is their to be depressed about?  and then get into all that shit.  Just because I look ok doesn't mean I am ok!  I hate living a dual life, but it has to be done. Unfortunately though, things like this come up, adding one more problem to deal with.

So when home, the mask is off.  My home is mine and is my space to be in, without my mask on.  As in leave me the fuck alone.  And thank goodness for caller ID!

Edited by melissaw72

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On 10/18/2016 at 6:16 AM, melissaw72 said:

I understand your perspective.

For me though, (and this is most likely because of the SZA diagnosis) being exposed to other people's thoughts, beliefs, and ideas isn't the best thing for me (even good thoughts) because if I ever become delusional again, those people and their thoughts/beliefs/ideas would most likely become a part of the delusions in a negative way.  Maybe positive, but more likely to be negative.  and then I believe the negative thoughts, and eventually lose the friends because I would be listening to the voices. (Let this never happen again for me in my life).

Also, sometimes I don't want to even meet people and hear their voice because eventually their voice (whether I know them or not) will be a voice that I hear.

But I do understand what you are saying.

Right on, I am the very same way, only I don't necessarily need to hear the voice. My mind can make up and assign voices to folks who's faces I've barely seen.

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I feel that I do not have a lot in common with most people, so I don't go out of my way to make friends. And I don't want to get too chummy with the people at work, either. 

When I do get in social situations I can even pick up on that the other people realize that I am socially awkward, which makes it worse. Plus my SO is a social butterfly, which makes it THAT much harder. 

Most people in my life are more or less acquaintances anyway

 

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The thing that drive me crazy is that norms think we should be very sad. The thing is that i don't think that many of us would use this as how we feel.

. We feel unable to function. We feel that we are loosing our minds! We are unable to concentrate, engage with others or have the ability to remember a conversation we are currently in.  We feel we don't belong in this world, that the world and people will never accept us.

Even though this is how we feel it is difficult for norms to understand,

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I can't function because of this and I isolate. I am in my late 30s and I haven't had friends since my college years.

It's very hard and disabling. I wish people wouldn't be so judgemental. My only friend is my family. :(

 

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Strangely enough, I feel like my best times and moods are when I'm alone, but I know spending too much time alone will make me depressed as well...

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