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Hello,

Found myself reading through the forums, and thought I'd introduce myself...

I have ADHD and was on ritalin and antidepressants for the majority of my teenage years; I'm 29 now, and for the most part have navigated my 20s without any major issues.  I struggled at first, though.  I first came off medication when going to university at the behest of my parents - their belief was that I should learn to live without it, and I didn't really want to be on it for the rest of my life either.  It was a bit of a shock initially, and my grades took a drastic U-turn as a consequence.  I was struggling with most aspects of university life.  I asked my parents if I could take the medication again until after university, but they thought it was a bad idea and I didn't have enough guts or initiative to pursue the idea on my own.  I scraped through university (with the poorest of grades), but things got better on entering the world of work.

I started in a low-paid job in comparison the majority of my fellow graduates and friends, so very much felt like I was starting at the bottom of a long ladder.  I was willing to do this to make up for my time at university.  I got together with my first girlfriend during this time - someone I had been "chasing" after for 6 years or so, since we were at high school.  I was very much into her, but she saw me much more as a friend, and for this reason (amongst others) it was short-lived.  In truth, she was very much out of my league, so it's a miracle I managed to convince her to go out with me at all.  I sunk into a period of depression after it ended and saw a councillor to help me through it.  My ex and I remained very close friends after it ended.

In my mid-20s, I moved to a different city after being offered a job at a well-respected company, doing the sort of work many of my fellow graduates straight out of university.  I was pleased with the move.  I've since risen to a position of responsibility within the company and am very proud of this.  I don't necessarily feel that I'm doing a great job, nor that my position is particularly secure, but I'm getting by.  I feel I might not necessarily command respect in my role - I'm one of the youngest in our department, and consider myself quite immature, and whilst I should be working hard to prove everyone that I'm deserving of my role, I don't feel I'm doing enough just yet.  In general, however, work is one of the more positive aspects of my life.

The negative mostly revolves around my relationships with other people.  I've never been popular, but at high school I had a modestly-sized, tight knit group of friends.  I struggled to make friends at all at university, owing to a mixture of shyness and social anxiety - I virtually skipped our fresher's week which is where most social circles are formed!  I did have a small group by the end however, but it was one that I made almost no effort to keep in contact with afterwards, and I do regret this slightly.  My high school friends were the ones that I made the effort with, and still do.  Over the past couple of years, there have been signs that we've been beginning to drift, and this has given me cause for concern more than anyone else in the group, I suspect.  As relationships and marriages have formed amongst each of my friends, I still only have a short relationship to my name, and the same friendship group I had 10+ years ago.  As everyone else's social circles widened, mine grew smaller.  

I've also found differences growing between myself and people I once considered very close.  Unfortunately, my friends are very intelligent.  I wouldn't call myself stupid, but my friends almost universally attended Oxford and Cambridge, and I was one of the few that didn't.  This difference in intelligence seems to be making itself more apparent as we get older.  It's highlighted through general knowledge board games and games of trivia which we find ourselves playing more and more, and more and more I end up becoming the butt of all the jokes as I'm unable to answer (seemingly) simple questions.  It's a bit embarassing, and does little for my self-esteem.

Then there's my inability to make new friends or find a new relationship.  I still consider myself very shy at 29, and quite socially awkward.  I'm dreadful at maintaining a conversation and even worse at starting them.  I'm a bit better with people that I know well - old friends and colleagues - which makes me think that shyness is definitely a factor.  I'm not very outgoing, so rarely meet new people, which, when combined with a (relatively) unattractive appearance and poor social skills, makes it incredibly difficult to find someone to start a relationship with.

My living situation is the most recent source of negativity in my life, which pushed me on here.  Last year, I was living with a guy when another girl moved in with us.  She was foreign, stunningly gorgeous, and seemingly very pleasant.  We got along reasonably well, despite not seeing much of each other.  We were kicked out of the flat at the end of last year, and she asked if I wanted to move from a three bedroom flat to a two bedroom flat with her.  I jumped on that opportunity because she was by far the easiest person to live with that I had encountered, and admittedly, I held out hope that something might happen between us, despite (again) being way out of my league.  We're living together now, and still get along well, but I'm concerned things are going downhill with her and I don't quite understand why.  We've never socialised much with each other, but started having evenings in front of the TV conversing and finding mutually appreciated TV shows we both liked.  I felt like this was a relationship (friendship) that was beginning to blossom, but recently it has been going the other way.  Rather than spending more time in the shared space, she is spending more time on her own, and (intentionally or otherwise) avoiding me more and more.  I have found myself looking forward to spending time with her more and more, but it's becoming rarer and rarer and it's knocking my self esteem even further, because I'm thinking that I've messed up our friendship somehow.  Besides my usual social anxiety, the only thing I can think that may have caused this is my penchant for doing overly nice things from time to time - this is a trend that arises especially when I find a girl attractive.  I've recently left her a thank you note for keeping our flat tidy and apologising for not doing enough of it myself, and since then I also left some spare pillows out for her when she had friends staying with us (and told me in advance she planned on sleeping on the sofa).  I'm wary of being overly nice incase it comes off as creepy, but have I already gone too far?  I feared she was pulling away because she thought I wasn't particularly friendly or nice, and that those two acts might bring her around, but the trend of pulling away has continued.  I'm afraid of bringing up the topic directly, incase I'm misinterpreting the situation.  She is introverted like myself, after all, and this may just be her natural desire to retreat that I'm seeing.   I'm envisaging a situation when our lease comes to renewal and she tells me she wants to move out because she's not happy with our living situation anymore - it seems nightmarish right now, because two or three months ago I thought we were flying high.  It's knocking my already low self-esteem to the point where I'm questioning every decision and every shared experience we have.

One problem that I recognise in myself is that I have a porn/sex addiction.  It brings with it lots of shame and guilt, but it's something I'm actively combatting.  I relapse often, mostly when feeling down, but find myself getting stronger at fighting this one aspect.

I'm hoping to find ways to manage the negative thoughts that run through my head - so far I'm not having much luck!

Thanks,

Nick

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Nice to meet you Nick

 

Sorry you're going through a rough time.

Would you benefit from learning some assertiveness? Working on being assertive (not agression) can really help with more effective communication skills. Why such things aren't taught in school, beggars belief. Majority of people can't communicate effectively. 

There could be numerous reasons as to what is happening with your room mate, wouldn't it be better to ask, rather than it worsen or potentially have a nasty surprise at lease renewal, besides it surely is better than torturing yourself?

I always find confronting things head on, helps with negative thoughts for the most part. I'm sure others will have some great suggestions.

 

Edited by Ba3inga
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Hi Ba3inga,

Thanks for your reply.

I expect I would definitely benefit from learning some assertiveness.  I recognise a lack of assertiveness in myself - I fear the confrontation which it can potentialy bring - and it does make life difficult, at times.

My worry in asking my flatmate if something is going on is that I find I sometimes make mountains out of molehills, and have found it to have adverse affects on friendships in the past when confronted.  I've had experiences where I've thought I've sensed changes in my relationship with a friend and started worrying about why it happened, and whether I had done something.  When raising the issue with the friend, I've been accused of imagining it and worrying unnecessarily.  The friends are probably right, especially as it has happened more than once with different people, but I also wonder whether I'm just quite sensitive to minor changes in my relationships with people. An alternative is that I'm mistaking changes in my relationships for differences in the mood of the other person, and that I'm worrying unnecessarily that I've done something wrong.

I'm quite concerned that my aforementioned issues with relationships always occur with members of the opposite sex.  Perhaps a desperation to cultivate relationships with members of the opposite sex is causing me undue stress and worry?

Thanks for all the help you've given people on this site.

Nick

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1 hour ago, nickm87 said:

I expect I would definitely benefit from learning some assertiveness.  I recognise a lack of assertiveness in myself - I fear the confrontation which it can potentialy bring - and it does make life difficult, at times.

You absolutely would. I'm always amazed at how much your salary and career progression depend on that, people rarely get a raise or a better position just for doing a good job, you have to ask for it. Being shy and unassertive will hold you back not only socially but professionally. 

1 hour ago, nickm87 said:

I'm quite concerned that my aforementioned issues with relationships always occur with members of the opposite sex.  Perhaps a desperation to cultivate relationships with members of the opposite sex is causing me undue stress and worry?

That could very well be. Most women seem to be quite good at picking up on desperation so odds are that your roommate noticed that you're into her and perhaps this is why she's withdrawing as she doesn't want things to become weird. If you're doing a lot of nice things for her that you wouldn't do for a male roommate she'll probably notice your interest in more. 

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Hi Nickm87,

     I read your post and am sorry you are suffering ! ! !  I cannot really offer anything better than what has already been written to you, so if I may, I would like to add something different.

     Most of the advice offered to you so far concerns "doing" and "having," so I would like to offer, for your consideration, a few words about your "being."  Not everything that exists in the universe "gets to be" a human person.  But you have been given that privilege and dignity.  Quantitatively there are many things in the universe bigger than you, but from the point of view of quality instead of quantity, you are a singularly complex being, more complex than a giant rock in space.  So you have an individuality and uniqueness and depth and complexity that has never existed before in all of time, history and eternity. 

     I am not talking about what you do or have, but what you are:  your very being.  A diamond is nothing compared to you.  You value and inalienable dignity  far surpasses almost everything in the universe.  You bring something into the universe that has never been here before and never will be here again.  Your value is inestimable. 

     And that value does not depend on what you have or don't have; doesn't depend on what you acquire or lose; doesn't depend on what you achieve or do not achieve.  It can never be taken from you as long as you exist.  And so, what people in your social environment think of you, how they "rate" you  how they "label" you and categorize you and relate to you:  none of that affects the fact that you are priceless beyond all measure and all reckoning. 

     Perhaps some people will "accept" you or "like" you or "love" you if and only if you do this or that, or have this or that, or become this or that.  And you might feel that their opinion has the magical power to devalue you, but it doesn't.  You cannot be devalued because your value is ontological.   The fact is, your value is off the scale.  That is the truth.  If people devalue you they are in a sense, wittingly or unwittingly,  not only violating your innate dignity as a human person, but in a sense, they are violating truth.  They are failing to recognize your unique being, your unique truth, your unique dignity and beauty and goodness.

    You have inestimable value if you are introverted or extroverted,  if you are  assertive or not assertive and so on.  The qualities you esteem:  there are millions, maybe billions of people who have less of those qualities than you have right now, not to mention less complex beings like animals and plants and compounds and elements and particles.  You are already so far beyond what most things in the universe "are" that you are like royalty in comparison.

     Sometimes people fling "labels" at themselves, like:   weak, stupid, lazy, ugly, no good, failure, loser and so on.  These "labels" are not only over-simplifications of the complexity of human beings, they are gross over-simplifications.  They are not half-truths.  They are not even one one millionth of a truth.  People are too deep and complex, made up of trillions upon trillions of things and events to be "summed up" or equated in negative labels.  The label is untruth to the person and to the truth itself.  The label is unfair to the person and to fairness and justice itself.

     There is a little flower in my yard.  It has had a very hard time.  The wind and rain and insects have caused a lot of damage to it.  It is missing some leaves and petals.  It is growing up in a crack in some concrete.  But to me, that flower is just unforgettable.  It is out there.  It is existing and surviving in spite of everything.  Its very being is a testament to its beauty and greatness.  You are like that, someone to be respected and admired and looked up to.  It is a privilege to know you!!!

     I have tendinitis in my hands and I cannot believe I have typed for so long today.  But I just want you to know that you are irreplaceable.  I hope you will be able to see that about yourself.  I wish you only good things!    - epictetus

    PS:  Consider this:  Since you can never truthfully and fairly be equated with a negative label, why not write the word "over-simplification" on a piece of paper and keep that paper in your pocket all the time.  Any time a negative over-simplified label pops into your mind and makes you feel bad, look at that piece of paper and remind yourself that you are a trillion times more than can be expressed in such a label?

Edited by Epictetus
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@Epictetus, your post made my day! I saved it to my collection of tips and tricks. So beautifully written and so true! Unfortunately, human brain tends to think in labels as a way to spare energy. And maybe that's ok, that's just what the evolution gave us. But sometimes, it's good to remind ourselves that labels are nothing more than that - meaningless words, that in no way can define us and people around us. Thank you for this, you made at least one human being a little happier today. :flowers:  And I'm so sorry about your tendinitis! It's fascinating how strong is the need to help others in some people, despite their own pain and suffering.

P.S. I believe, some posts deserve to be attached somewhere, where more people can see them. It's a shame that gems like this can get lost in the ocean of topics and posts.

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