So very lonely
My girlfriend and I are both sailors in the Navy, so it's common for us to not see each other for long periods of time. In 2019 we saw each other for a total of 7 days for the entire year. Not ideal, but it's the nature of our jobs and I wouldn't have met her without it.
But I've recently been diagnosed with a whole host of mental health issues, which means that I can no longer sail and thus am stuck in a boring job ashore while I wait for my medical discharge to progress. This means my girlfriend is away often and I'm stuck at home waiting for her return. I have also realised that I have no friends, and that everyone we hang out with in social settings are actually HER friends that she has on board her ship. That means when she goes away, all of the people I know have gone as well. My family all lives interstate, which means I cannot see them very often so I spend my time counting down the days until she returns. I am introverted, shy and socially anxious so meeting people is a huge ordeal for me, but I can force myself to go out and I usually have a good time once I have calmed myself down. I've gone down to my local pub several times (by myself) in the hopes that I might make a friend but everyone is already there with people, so the bartender just feels sorry for me and talks to me instead.
I've even signed up for an app that helps you find friends, but I'm too scared to even message anyone. I feel silly for even going down this route, but I literally don't know what else to do.
Thanks for reaching out on here 🙂
It must be really hard not having a support system with you after your diagnoses. It's great that you've taken the initiative to try and make new friends, it's so important.
It's understandable that you feel silly for it when you're introverted. Making friends isn't easy, especially with social anxiety. I hope you can feel proud of yourself for putting yourself out there.
I'm curious.. Do you think being socially anxious has made it really hard to meet people, and you find yourself feeling insecure?
I can relate to your post a lot as I have recently moved to a new city with my partner and don’t know anyone else here. My partner is an alcoholic so things aren’t always good between us and so I’d like to establish a life for myself here, which means making friends and putting down roots. I have actively been trying to make friends for a year and for a long time it felt like nothing was happening, but almost all at once it seems to have finally come to fruition. A year ago I joined a local indoor sports competition and have been playing with various teams during that time. I have met some great people but it’s only now that we are at a stage where we catch up outside of the competition. At first I felt silly about it but I realized I needed to put that aside and make the effort, ask people out for coffee etc. Like you, I joined an app over 6 months ago and have had a lot of success with that. Mostly because everyone who is in there is on there for the same reason as you, to make friends, so it feels less weird. One of the friends I met on there has recently introduced me to her friend circle and suddenly I find myself going out with a group of people, which is nice and something I’ve never really done before. Like you, I am an introvert and can be socially awkward but stick with it and you will eventually find that it happens for you.
I used to feel exactly the same way, I have a medical condition and when I get anxious it acts up and causes problems for me, so I initially had a lot of anxiety around meeting up with people. But then I realized that I can spend my life caring what total strangers think of me or I can actually get out and do the things that I want to do - the only person holding me back is me! And now that I’ve done it, I don’t even feel scared about meeting new people anymore, I find myself talking to strangers in my day to day interactions more and I am so much more open than I used to be. It’s tough at first but like everything, you get over it, and the rewards are so much better than the downsides. And if you meet up and have nothing in common with the person, you never have to see them again, or if you freak out, you can always postpone and say something came up last minute, most people are pretty understanding. After spending so many years crippled by fear and anxiety, I’ve decided I’m not going to do that anymore and it’s very liberating
I did the same thing a few times, I once went to a meet up group and felt a bit awkward there so made an excuse and left. But there is nothing wrong with that, you can leave things as many times as you want. Just tell yourself that but keep going, one day you will actually have a great time. Other times you may not, and you can make an excuse and leave early. But the important thing is to push through and give it a chance. I didn’t want to go to my sport the first time. I was so self-conscious I was actually sick and now I don’t even think about it. If you don’t give it a chance, you’ll never get comfortable with it and you will stay in the exact same spot you are now. If you are happy with that then it doesn’t matter, but if you are unhappy with your situation then you need to persist and do something different to get a different result. This is what I told myself. It’s ok to be anxious but it’s important to do it anyway. Don’t let it stop you or your world will just get smaller and smaller.