Mental Health Support
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Lonely, isolated and too nervous to do anything about it

I'm new here and would really appreciate some advice about how to brighten my life up. I am 28, living at home with my parents, and it just feels like my life is on hold. We moved just over a year ago from one side of the country to the other, so all my friends are 300 miles away. I have social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder, as well as Aspergers syndrome, so I really struggle to make friends. The only people I have since gotten to know are work colleagues, and there's only a couple of them that I could class as 'close' friends.

I write (I've self-published two books on Amazon), and writing has basically become my only occupation, outside of work. I work for the council in admin; I left school at 18 with A levels but no real idea what I wanted to do. Hence, I've been stuck in admin jobs because I have no higher qualifications.

I avoid society as much as I can do, yet it makes me feel so incredibly sad that I know there's a better life out there. I never go out in the evenings or at the weekend, unless it involves my parents (how sad is that???). When I look on Facebook and see my old friends meeting their boyfriend's parents or getting engaged, it makes me wonder how that's ever going to be me.

I'm not very attractive at all; I currently have braces on my teeth (so hopefully that will be better in a few months or so). I'm going to have laser eye surgery too so I can stop wearing glasses. I'm trying to make all these cosmetic changes in the hope that people won't think I'm quite as ugly, but I'm also feeling panicky that I still won't look 'normal' and it won't have made any difference to me, confidence-wise.

My life consists of getting up, going to work, eating lunch (alone), coming home, having dinner with my parents, sitting in my bedroom for a couple of hours while I write/browse the internet, watching TV with my parents for about an hour and then going to bed. It feels like I'm just wasting my life, but I'm too nervous to make any changes. I'm never going to have these years back, and it makes me so sad to think I'm wasting them.

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Do you have any opportunities for volunteer work in your vicinity? It would be good therapy for you (to socialize a little) as well as a chance to do some good for others.

You are doing the best you can with the burdens you have to bear. Don't compare yourself with your friends who don't have those burdens. It's apples and oranges. We all have to play the hand we were dealt in life. Just play it the best way you can.

I wish you well.

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That's a really neat way of looking at things - make the best of what life's dealt you. Thank you for helping me see that :-) And yes, I am going to try and get out there more, maybe with volunteer work, but only when my teeth are sorted. Right now, I feel really ugly, so I'm hiding away from the world while I still have the braces!

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Well, that's up to you. But I'm sure charities would be happy to see you, braces or no braces!

I have found that, when I feel isolated and "walled off" from everybody else, the truth is that I unconsciously put those walls up myself. The world is much more friendly than it seems - at least when you're around good people. When you volunteer, you're going to meet good people, or they wouldn't be there in the first place!

I came across a good saying on this website: Don't compare your insides with everyone else's outsides. Everyone has a tale of woe of some kind or other. They're just good at hiding it.

You sound like an intelligent woman with a lot to offer the world. It's always scary at first to break out of your "shell" and do something different, but believe me, it's well worth it!

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Hi Nikki,

I'm sorry to hear you're in this situation. If it's any consolation, I think it's amazing that you've made some close friends and are managing to work in spite of your difficulties. That's really challenging for someone with Asperger's, GAD and social anxiety. Not to mention publishing books - get you! :-) So give yourself credit where it's due.

I think the way forward is incorporating small changes in your life, one at a time. If you do this in the context of having a routine then this should be easier to cope with.

You could maybe see if there any evening classes near you - say, one day a week of creative writing. It's something you love and as well at helping you occupationally, it would give you the opportunity to meet new people with a common interest and may be make some new friends where you're currently living. Then just take it from there. You could challenge yourself to talk to one new person at work - although I understand approaching someone would be daunting in the context of Asperger's and social anxiety.

It might also be worth arranging a get together with your current friends, such as inviting them to visit, or if you feel able to, going to them, as you probably miss them and I reckon seeing them would give you a boost.

I hope these help. :-) xx

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Hi Wallflower, thanks for all your lovely ideas :-) I did actually join a creative writing class not long after I moved, but I was so nervous, I hardly spoke! I think I read my work out twice, and you could literally hear my voice shaking (so that wasn't at all embarrassing!), and I was just too shy to make any friends out of the other people. But I am thinking about going again if/when the classes come up. It was moving such a distance from a place where I felt safe that really knocked my confidence, but now I am a little more 'secure' here, hopefully it will be better. Thanks again!

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Hi Nikki72 and welcome to this caring forum. I am sorry to hear you feel this way. You have received some really helpful replies and suggestions. Congratulations on your books being published. This is a wonderful achievement. I would like to write short stories for children for a hobby. You should be so proud of yourself as you have achieved so much. A creative writing class does sound like a good idea and it will be good for you to meet others who share the same interests. Many friendships are made in this way. If you would like to do some volunteer work you may like to have a look on Google to find out about opportunities in your area. There are volunteer bureaus where you can discuss with staff suitable opportunities. Keep posting and take care. Best wishes.

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I'm going through exactly the same as you are - slightly different situation but same issues. I've had a course of CBT and the only advice they gave was to do all the things you find difficult more often to make it easier. It's kind of common sense but not very helpful.

The only advice I could give is for you to focus on the good things and not stress about the bad things. I know that's easier said than done. You've got positive things going on and it seems the good things are going well. Nobody has a perfect life but it's finding the balance.

If you haven't already speak to your GP. I found mine to be useless but they put me in touch with people that have kind of helped. Just remember it's not all bad, there are people out there who can help it's sometimes a struggle finding them.

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Yes, I've had 6 sessions of CBT too, but I can't really say much of has come in useful since then. Perhaps the problem is that I want everything to be perfect? I keep thinking if I get my teeth fixed and have laser eye surgery, then that will sort out my body confidence issues (it probably won't; I'll just find something else not to like!). It's like you say, I have to find a balance. Thank you for responding :-) It's good to know I'm not the only one feeling this way!

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It seems we think the same way - you kind of took the words out of my mouth when you mentioned any cosmetic work will just make you want to change something else. I think that is finding an excuse for how you're feeling. I don't mean that in a horrible way at all, I find excuses to do or not do things daily.

Life isn't perfect for anybody - that's patronising, I know. But given time and focussing on the positive will help. It's a long road to recovery, I'm far from the end of it but seeing improvements.

If you are in UK lookup MIND, they have a fantastic helpline you can call without appointment for a chat with somebody who understands.

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