I’ve lost all the friends I’ve ever had.
First, there were the ones I had as a young kid at high school. I left school one afternoon (for good) and my illnesses prevented me from ever seeing them again!
Next, was the pal I made while living for a few months at an adolescent psychiatric unit. We used to go to a pub in Manchester every few weeks to play pool together, Andrew and I. We were both a bit odd, I suppose. He was a little bit green and had long fingernails, for a guy. We’d walk around the shops for hours!
Onto my next long-lost friend. He was called Tony, a fellow student at university. He was a mature student, and the star of the year. A very studious type. We only went out socially a few times, but we’d always go to classes together. Also, we had a common interest in running, though he was much faster than me. Finally, onto the last lot of people I’ve loved and lost. These are the friends I made in America, during the couple of years I was living there: Collins and Casey. They were much younger than me, but we did quite a bit drinking and smoking together. Some fun times were had. A year or two of partying!
But all these friendships never lasted. Probably due to my illnesses, as I had a great fear of making contact or going out with them. And as time goes by, it becomes almost impossible. I get sad now, thinking about them all.
A Loner’s Life
Life as a loner does have its good points though. It has always made me feel comfortable, being on my own. You can control your life, and don’t have the stress of having to be with others. You can live life on your own terms.
When I was in full-time work, working for companies, or even at university, I never had any friends. I would always spend my lunchtimes alone, eating by myself. Then, in the evenings, I would slope off by myself in the evening and be on my own for the night. Every moment of the day or night when I had some free time, I would look for a quiet place to escape from other people. I’d go into the library. Down to a deserted area at the local train station. Even onto the roof of a department store every day when I was in Japan. There was never a greater loner than me. I was chronic. Being by myself has always made me feel completely comfortable, relieved and happy.
But I’m resolving to never again live this way. I have changed, and now realise the value of being a sociable type. I’ve changed my way of thinking. I used to believe that it was by far the best way to be in life. I was extremely scared of humanity. I thought people were mean and even evil, and that interactions were troublesome and complicated. Best to be avoided at all costs.
But now I realise I was wrong. People can be mean, of course. I still believe that. There is good and bad in everyone. But human interaction is wonderful for our soul development and for our happiness in general. Although being on our own may provide temporary relief, I don’t believe it’s great for our long-term psychological wellbeing, in many cases.
No, from now on, I will keep any true friends that I make, no matter what anyone else thinks. I’ve listened too much to what others think.
The tables have turned. I will need friends when I get older. I have a fear of dying alone, with no one coming to my funeral. All my family are older than me, you see. We need friends to help us enjoy life. It’s not as much fun doing stuff on your own. They’re also useful to have as you can help with their problems and you can get support with any troubles you have. They bring light into your life.
So I’ve decided to make some good friends in the future, and then to keep the ones I do make. Let’s see what happens.
I also have a blog, at www.ibeatmysocialanxiety.com Please stop by if you can, and subscribe to the site to get information about social anxiety and mental illness in general. Many thanks! John