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July


I am happy. Or am I? Sunday July 31, 2016

I hear people say that they need to be around people, that they don't enjoy their own company, they may feel lonely or depressed.

I don't get it, I suppose I always feel depressed anyway, a little bit inside out and not belonging, so being on my own or being with others doesn't really make any different apart form a short term distraction maybe.

But I feel the opposite. I love my own space, I could quite easily be on my own constantly and I feel the need to look at this. Firstly, maybe I don't feel lonely because of the world of social media, texts, whatsapp etc and knowing that I can access this 'other world'. So I don't feel lonely when I am alone, I feel at my most loneliest when I am with people who have absolutely no chance of understanding my innermost feelings despite how I ache to release them to somebody.

So I find my own space, find my keyboard and I am happy. Or am I?

In a session of CBT it was suggested that my coping strategy is avoidance, and that this need to be alone is a way of me avoiding the outside world and the people in it. I take that, sometimes, but not all the time, maybe it isn't my depression, maybe it is me, so maybe it is about acceptance of the person that I am.

So how do I choose how to act, how do I choose whether to spend time with the person or people, or not? This is tough for me and is very much work in progress, it is my current focus with regards to self reflection / development.

I imagine being around that person and seeing it as a gift. Is that a gift I want right now? Is that a gift I need right now? If not, why not? What are my emotions regarding this, do I sense fear or apathy?

I share this because I don't feel I am alone in this. I wonder if others have this constant critical side who is analysing all their feelings instead of curling up on the couch with a good book and a nice cup of coffee and letting the world carry on without them :)

Peace Seeker
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Matt Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 6:29am

Oh yes, I can really relate to this!

My therapist often 'touches' upon this getting out and mixing business. Can you imagine how difficult this is with agoraphobia?!

I find no solace in mixing with others per se, because I find most people rather one dimensional, judgmental or, to be honest, not very interesting...I'm not meaning to be 'superior' in any way but joining the 'hoy-polloy' and doing the life comparison 'thang' is tiresome in the extreme, ergo I don't wish to engage particularly.

Getting out is difficult for me anyway as I experience dizziness, disorientation and panic attacks and to go through this experience to rub shoulders with people with the latest this and that is just not timer well spent.

I have very absorbing hobbies which are woodworking and music. I am musician playing both the piano and guitar and when I am not in the doldrums and able to achieve little, these activities give me solace and are creative.

One of my closest friends said to me once, 'the more numbers that you have in your phone, the more problems you have' and to some extent I agree with that.

So; you are most certainly NOT alone in these thoughts...I am not sure that you can take much from what I offer here, but it works reasonably well for me! Good luck and be well!

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 9:15am

I have every sympathy with you Matt. Maybe sympathy is the wrong word. Why should we be made to go out and mix with uncongenial people? There are a very few people with whom one can be at ease, and they are normally fellow musicians/artists/craftsmen/academics who understand the beauty of companionable silence.

Bridget Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 7:22am

I too very much relate to this. For most people, I can happily just meet up once a year!

What I have learned is that I do enjoy my own space but that I also enjoy others being in my space, as long as they can just let me be me. That is, no chit-chat but just reading or listening to music, with headphones if they don't want to hear it, walking the dog, watching a film etc.

I think what I'm saying is it's not the people per se that I want to be away from but all the pointless conversations and need to be active and sociable.

Ultimately, I like "being" with people but do not particularly enjoy "doing" with people.

Bridget

Orangeblossom Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 8:09am

Hi Peace Seeker. Thanks for your blog.
Self acceptance for me s an on-going process, "a work in progress". This is even harder when you believe that others don't accept you as you are.
Hope that you have a good day & that the week ahead is enjoyable & Peaceful. Perhaps you can take a look at www.headspace.com

Duma Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 8:15am

I'm rebuilding my circle after a period of intense meditation. I am enjoying doing so, but have had to use prophylactic anxiolytics, reinforced by acute meds to do so. My primary med is ariprapiprazole (abilify). While it works great for keeping my head 'in a low gear', it does cause social anxiety.

I do enjoy alone time greatly, because it is quality timel with my tiny tiger - Honey. She's a 17.5 year old tortoiseshell (skip that bit, if you're not a cat person).

However, I dislike intensely the idea of anyone invading my inner sanctum, my wee granny flat! I know that it's irrational, but there you go...

Hopeful One Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 8:26am

Hi Peace Seeker- congratulations on becoming a new kid on the block as I believe this is your first Blog? What you are talking about is a common situation which psychologists call 'social anxiety'. Its name is self explanatory. Avoidance is a hallmark of anxiety. Anxiety is a reaction to future 'losses' tangible ,intangible, physical, real, imagined, abstract perceived.... the list is endless. Anxiety is linked to depression by the 'losses' which in depression are in the past in the vast majority of cases (admittedly there are cases e g bipolar where this may not apply or some forms of depression cases where there appears to be no apparent loss)

'I wonder if others have this constant critical side who is analysing all their feelings instead of curling up on the couch with a good book and a nice cup of coffee and letting the world carry on without them :)'. This too is common. Our Inner Critic is a formidable character and generally operates in the first mode i e critical. The trick is to convert him to be in the second mode i e giving one that feeling of warmth, acceptance of one self and generally loving and forgiving.

As it happens CBT has a good track record of dealing with all forms of anxiety ... including social, and all the 'phobias'. Hope this helps.

This reply is long so I will forego my customary laugh today.

Jul Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 8:48am

I found your blog fascinating Peace Seeker. We are under so much pressure these days to conform to whatever way the guru of the moment advises. The papers have daily advice as to the best way to lead a healthy life and I'm almost at the point of giving up my daily newspaper for this reason. We are made to feel guilty all the time for not doing the right thing, not eating healthy food, sitting around too long, not getting enough exercise (but beware, it has to be the right sort of exercise, a brisk walk, not a stroll etc etc) and the list goes on. I often wonder what a normal day for me would be if I didn't have this constant voice urging me to get out, walk, don't sit for too long, eat, this not that, meet friends, don't drink too much. I would by now have settled into a comfortable pattern I guess. I too have this dilemma about friends and people, socialising etc. I try to keep three good friends on the go but some days I just want to be on my own and when I do meet up with them, i come home exhausted from all the chat and listening. So ask me if I am happy or not, I really don't know is the answer. Julxxx

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 9:33am

Dear Peace-Seeker. What a co-incidence! I was mulling over my blog for this coming Wednesday and it was very much on this subject, the "I want to be alone" thing. In fact I've written about this before in my blog Solitary Confinement (6th October last year - I think). Just today - we are down at the sea again - my husband and eldest daughter have gone off sailing, and my youngest is water-skiing with friends and I am alone. Bliss.

Lou Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 10:01am

"I wonder if others have this constant critical side who is analysing all their feelings"

YES!!! Me.So much.

I read Susan Cain's "Quiet" and felt much better. I love people but also need lots of alone time with cat & book to recharge my batteries.

Great blog!

Lou

Caroline Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 10:15am

I was always told by Drs etc that my depression makes me retreat into myself which makes my depression worse, so I have to avoid this & its hard work. My counsellor has helped me to understand that I'm an introvert. I need time on my own to recharge my batteries from the busy world outside. With this breakthrough I can enjoy my solitude without guilt. Sunday is my quiet day, my chance to enjoy my own company, and discover more about myself. This doesn't necessarily mean being at home alone, I usually go out for coffee, or may have a day out somewhere. my mind just needs some peace to unwind & them I'm stronger & more able to deal with the roller coaster of life.

Leah Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 10:21am

Thanks peace seeker,
what a thoughtful blog.
When I am with a group of people who don't understand me I feel more alone than when I am enjoying my own company.
I agree with Jul, listen to your heart and forget what people tell us we should be doing.

Tim Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 10:24am

Hi. I remember this. It went away. Partly, it feels, "on its own". More probably due to psychodynamic therapy which helped me see more of myself, and accept what I saw. I had always liked time alone and time with others. It felt the perfect balance. I couldn't imagine wishing either were less. But I do now accept that enjoying solitary time, and in groups or with individual friends, acquaintances or strangers, might imply I find intimate 1-on-1 relationships more difficult. It's made me look into what intimacy means, and do I want it. What I others do? Does it feel stifling, or selfish, or just irritatingly parochial? Could it be deeply satisfying; fulfilling in a way that removes my enjoyment-seeking in spontaneity and cosmopolitan variety in life? Maybe. But, these days, I no longer analyse to try and find out. I'm happy to live and to be. And I thank the professionals for leading me to this place.

Tim Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 10:31am

That should have been "What if others do?" (not "What I others do?"), raising the awkward question of how much we should bend and change to meet a partner's wishes (needs?)

Dolphin Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 10:52am

Thanks Peace Seeker. Your blog exactly describes me and, from the comments, lots of others too. Such useful comments from everyone. So often it seems that extrovert behaviour is valued more than introvert and that's what lots of us are. I also need time on my own and quiet and talking can become too much even with very close and dear friends. I'm the one who is itching to leave earlier than everyone else, to get home to read, however good the company...

Whether this is avoidance or just knowing ourselves well is a question I battle with too. Reading all of your comments, however, I wonder how much labelling something as 'avoidance' is a judgment we don't need.

My current explorations of myself is about my love of travelling. I've just returned from a glorious few days by myself before meeting a friend for further travel. A few days ago I read a description of solo travel as 'a sabbatical from myself'. I think that's true, but I'm mulling this over.

Every time I read a blog and engage with the comments, it develops my own thoughts, so thank you to all x

The Gardener Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 11:40am

The last few days this theme has been dominant, in various guises. Living with what you've got - depression is destructive, mania, channeled,can be useful. One of you did 'channel' her mania - the 'stay at homes', worse case agaraphobics - if cajoled and supported find that it's quite nice meeting people. (example of this last week here).Mr G was not agaraphobic, just anti-social. When I discovered music, and refused to be imprisoned with a man who read and did nothing else, Mr G decided that if he wanted to see anything of his wife he'd better go too, and found there was more to like than a paper-back. Bi-polar is part of our genes - to be managed - and in the good times, enjoyed. Defining happiness? Peace? On your own? I like the 'sabbatical from yourself'.Happiness is, for me at the moment - echoed by many, I'm sure, that for a few minutes, hours, you are free of responsibility and can do JUST what you like - but much I might term 'happiness' is just relief from stress. Be interesting if people could 'freeze' the current moment and analyse it - walking the dog? Still in bed with the Sunday papers? Cheerful church service? Preparing for a festive lunch? Going out to a good lunch prepared by somebody else? Exhilarating bike ride? Lying on a beach? What about a ride on a steam train? That seems to provoke serious enjoyment. 'Carpe diem' I think

Tychi's Mum Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 11:45am

Thank you Peace Seeker for a very thought provoking blog.

I truly thought that everybody had an Inner Critic...is that not the case?

It's certainly been reassuring to read that those that have commented have one. Beware of the "chattering monkeys," as my friend calls them.

Wishing you all a quiet Sunday....

Tychi's Mum

Deborah Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 11:49am

What a great blog. Honest and real.

Isn't it interesting that therapists give labels to your prefered state, and the label is negative..." Social anxiety" But to be honest, if they didn't, you might go away content, and they wouldn't see you again.

The only thing about your seductive keyboard is that you might start to feel a bit woozy and have RSI if you don't have breaks and fresh air...though these days you can take your iPhone and play Pokemon at the beach.

A dog is good! They have needs and are devoted. And you, as carer feel less selfish, but can still avoid the people thing.
.
The greatest art is being at peace with yourself. Congratulations that you enjoy your solitude.

If you ever come across a person who really tweeks your curiosity, then say hi.

If not, don't.

Antonella Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 12:30pm

There is a time to be alone and a time to reach out to others. I believe this is true for everybody, extroverts and introverts. When we allow ourselves to follow our rhythm, we feel better. However, the fact that we moodscope members share intimate thoughts with each other, writing under a pen name, makes me think that we have in common the fear of sharing our intimate thoughts with people in the flesh, those around us, that know our real name and our face. This, in my case, has to do with my fear of rejection and abandonement, that is stronger the stronger the intimacy of the relationship is. If on moodscope we find soul mates, why not in our neighborhood, at work, in our social circles, in our family? Nice to meet you, peace seeker. I liked your blog. I am happy too, today. It is a very hot day, there is nobody in the block, the other 3 families are away on holiday, I just played with my housband and children in the garden, with the garden hose.Very refreshing! For the record, I was the first to say “ enough for me”, and go back inside.

Aaron Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 4:30pm

Thanks, Peace Seeker. This really resonated with me, especially your assertion that you "feel at my most loneliest when I am with people who have absolutely no chance of understanding my innermost feelings despite how I ache to release them to somebody."

As a staunch introvert (...with a learned extroverted skill-set, and strong Type A tendencies), I've traditionally cycled into modes where I just really want to be my myself, free to pursue my own aims, without having to worry about what other people are up to/ dare I say, the interference?

Sometimes I just really need the space to evaluate what's going on upstairs. Sometimes I get a little tired of the influence of others. Sometimes I want the freedom to live what feels more like my natural rhythm. Sometimes it's avoidance. Sometimes it's a result of burnout, etc., etc..

Along these lines, I often get like this when I'm frustrated with my current situation for a sustained amount of time. This tends to be pretty draining, and often gets coupled with judging others and myself. When I isolate, that tends to be the low of the low (and ironically, forcing myself to be social helps substantially...).

Admittedly, I don't like the notion that I need to change myself/ adopt behaviors or beliefs that I don't necessarily agree with, just to fit in with certain types of people. Referring back to your statement above, I'd rather have a smaller set of friends that I easily get along with than a well of acquaintances. In other words, I'd rather spend time with someone I can have a deep conversation with (or where we feel comfortable not having to say anything at all). Does anyone else really despise smalltalk?...

Part of me feels like, we have limited time, shouldn't we be somewhat evaluative of how we spend it, and who we spend it with?

Ultimately, your "appraisal criteria" is helpful. Thank you for sharing your perspective, and you are certainly not alone.

The Gardener Sun, Jul 31st 2016 @ 5:11pm

My last post was un-co-ordinated - must try harder. The day has been grim - seizing any bright spots. Drying my hair in the sun among my flowers on the roof terrace and a tirade of moans from the next room I tried to pin-point a time when we were REALLY happy, and why. It was the first few years in France. We took a risk, and it proved a good one. We were lucky, retiring at a time when our finances all came up trumps - they called us the 'papi-boomers' in France. Our elderly mothers were cared for. So we had enough money to carry out all our plans. No problem adjusting to retirement. We were stretched and challenged - Mr G on technical ability and he had to learn French. I had full rein for my creativity, and having become a researcher and historian I met loads of interesting new people. We gave loads of parties - chance to show off. Crossing the channel was not at a prohibitive cost, so loads of people 'popped over' for the week-end. Friends would do dinner bed and breakfast on the way to and from Spain. Grand-children were 'posted' and were introduced to French life. Always in the background was the fear one might be ill (good health was one of our blessings) but when a crisis arrived we found French health care excellent. We did not even have to face the gloom of a Normandy winter. Second son was living in Indonesia, then we got involved in India, so the 'dead' months were spent in the tropics. If that failed we found ourselves a flat looking over the Mediterranean and lived their for six weeks. I joined church choirs wherever we stayed, and met another group of people. Yes, those years WERE happy - all boxes ticked. There is a saying that 'School days are the happiest years of your life' I don't think a straw poll now would concur. There was always un-done prep, mistresses you did not like, hockey in the winter and the dreaded report. Enough blethering, must go and water garden, and try and cheer Mr G up with a Kir.

Edwin Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 2:11pm

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