I am so scared to meet people and get close to people, and yet I long to have friends to trust and be able to go to and spend time with. My mind can’t decide which is more important – protecting myself from possibly being hurt, or taking the chance of actually having someone to help me when I am feeling hurt. I know this occurs partially because of my BPD – pulling people in and pushing people away. But I think it really occurs with all mental illness in some aspect, and I think mine occurs more because of my social anxiety than anything.
Since the abuse from when I was younger, the molestation by my teacher in 7th grade, I have had a hard time trusting anyone. I began to isolate from any friendships that I did have. We moved the year after the sexual abuse happened and I didn’t want to make new friends or have to trust anyone. Despite that, I really wanted to – I wanted to be able to confide in someone, to have them tell me everything would be ok.
Now, 13 years later, my mind still works that later. Constantly arguing with itself – should I socialize or isolate? I am terrified to go out and meet people. Will they judge me? Will they see through me, will they see that I was abused? Will they blame me for it? What if they find out I am on disability, what will they think of me then?
What if they actually like me though, and then they want to hang out with me? See, I have been able to meet people sometimes. I have made some friends. But I am not someone who can constantly be around people non-stop. I still need my space or I get overwhelmed. I feel trapped, just like when I was being abused. So keeping the friendship is hard for me because I begin to pull away and isolate. Turning down offers to hang out, quit answering phone calls, and slowly letting the relationship dissolve until they no longer call me.
Isolating is so bad for our mental health though. It keeps us in a negative state of mind. Sure, it is good for us to have time for ourselves. It is actually healthy for us to take time out for ourselves and spend time alone — sometimes! Key word, sometimes. But when we let our depression or anxiety take over and keep us from getting out to do things or spend time with others, we are preventing ourselves from actually enjoying life and living. It is something I really need to work on. I have definitely not won this battle yet. I struggle with the social anxiety. And when I get depressed it compounds my isolation even more.
It’s funny how we can long so much for company and yet not want anyone near us at the same time. Our minds work in funny ways.