Problems Socializing With Mental Illness

Not a great deal has changed the last few days.  I still force myself out of my apartment at least once a day, usually at night.  I’m still kind of paranoid about crowds and people in general.  I’m content anymore to do my socializing online and over the phone.  I still contact my family and friends a couple times a week.  So it isn’t like I’m completely isolated.  Anymore I desire to be alone most of the time.  As I have advanced in age with this illness I have found that I just can’t relate to most people. I don’t have kids and I’m not married, so that alone cuts into my social life.  I’m not really interested in sports, at least not to the extent that most my neighbors, friends, and family are.  I mainly follow sports primarily to have something to talk about with family and friends.  Otherwise I wouldn’t care much.  I haven’t gone to the movie theatre in almost four years.  I would rather watch movies from my own home and comfortable couch and make my own snacks.  I just never did enjoy the movie theatre experience.

There really isn’t many opportunities to socialize for single people in their thirties and forties where I live.  I never enjoyed the bar scene as it’s too crowded and the music is too loud.  I don’t have kids, so that eliminates me from most social activities.  I feel out of place when I’m at even a family gathering and I don’t have kids and everyone else does.  I tried the day rehab for mental health patients but it just seemed too remedial for me.  Socializing is tough for mentally ill people.  It’s especially tough when you don’t share many of the same interests as everyone else.  My big interests involve a lot of science, technology, history, economics, literature, and science fiction.  I have never found many people outside of academia that are even remotely interested in any of this.  I just never could work a forty hour week job, complain about how much I hate said job but never do anything to make it better.  I never could just go to bars on weekends, get drunk, and try the hook up culture even fifteen years ago.  I never got married, thinking I was doing the responsible thing by staying out of that while fighting a mental illness.  While I avoided the potential of a divorce or an unhappy marriage, I also killed much of my social life opportunity.  I’m the only person in my circle of friends who isn’t married.  And I don’t have much of a social life.  I have a couple cousins that are the same way, but they have the saving grace of having full time careers.  Being on disability I don’t have even that.

In spite my problems socializing, I still prefer being an adult to being a teenager.  At least as an adult I have the option of avoiding bullies, jerks, and idiots.  In high school I had the same interests I do now and the bullying and torment was awful.  I don’t feel nostalgic at all about my high school years outside of a few friends and a few school activities.  I didn’t enjoy being a kid and even twenty years later I still remember what it felt like.  Sure I have made my peace with my past and moved on.  But I don’t want to relive those years.  And I’m certainly not going to get nostalgic for my teenage years when they were quite lousy overall.  I far more enjoyed college than high school mainly because there were more eccentric and intelligent people to socialize with.  We had our share of fools and losers like high school, but the bullies and jerks who did well in high school struggled in college.  And they struggled even more once they hit the adult world.  While I am glad for the interests I have, these interests make it very difficult to socialize with average people.  Seems like most of what I hear that passes for socializing are reruns of old things I’ve been hearing for years.  I guess the only real bad part of being an adult is having to socialize with boring and rude people without pulling your hair out.

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