The Pains of Socializing While Mentally Ill

I don’t leave my apartment complex very often these days. Sure it is painful to be constantly lonely. But the pain of being around arrogant, angry, and rude people is even worse. I’m actually scared of socializing with people I don’t know. I literally do not have the ability to read people. Never have. I don’t know how to pick up on social cues, don’t know when people are angry with me without them yelling at me, don’t know when people are happy with me unless they specifically say so, and I certainly have no ability to pick up on things like power dynamics. It makes socializing with most people almost impossible. The pandemic and deepening divisions within society over the last several years have made it even worse.

I haven’t had a day without paranoia for several years. I get paranoid when I hear footsteps in the hallway. I get paranoid having to interact with my neighbors and landlady. I get paranoid even hearing people call my name. For the vast majority of my life, the only time people wanted to see me was to condemn me or point out what I was doing wrong. Most of this was quite nasty. I don’t enjoy socializing. It’s a nightmare for me.

Naturally I hate talking about my problems. First of all, seems like no one cares. Second, nothing ever changes when I do complain. I’ve had maintenance issues in my apartment that have taken over five years to solve. They got solved only when my family got involved. I don’t understand that. Why is it my complaints are ignored but when multiple people, namely my family, get involved, suddenly it’s like things start getting done. Even my doctors have never listened to me. It’s why I don’t go to doctors unless it’s an emergency. It’s just a waste of time if they aren’t going to listen to you and nothing ever changes.

I feel the same way about politics. I can’t understand why people are so rabid about their political beliefs when politicians are notorious for not getting things done or making effective change. The politicians themselves don’t decrease my quality of life, it’s the people who have a religious like fervor for their political beliefs that do. Sadly, that is most of my family and many of my friends. I’ve lost most of my friends over the last several years because of how serious they took politics. They care about it more then they care about their own children it seems.

I am tired of constantly feeling lonely. I don’t isolate because I am anti social, even though even my own parents accused me of this all the time while growing up. I am not anti social, I just have different interests than most people. Always have. Always will. I can’t even watch a football game anymore without hearing friends and family complain about the players, the coaches, the officiating, the strategy, etc. Most of this complaining comes from people who haven’t played even junior high sports. I don’t know anything about quantum physics or engineering, but I am not going to criticize those who spend their entire careers to such fields. My brother is an electrical engineer by trade. He has probably forgotten more about computers and electronics than I could learn in five lifetimes. I refuse to comment on his work. Yet people, who’s only experience with competition was playing dodgeball in grade school PE, feel they have a God given duty to complain about star athletes and coaches. Is it because we as a species value physical strength more than we do wisdom and knowledge? Probably.

As far as feeling lonely, it’s not because I hate people. When I find someone with similar interests, I can talk to them for hours. But if all people want to do is talk about how much they hate their jobs, how disrespectful the kids are, or the weather, I’ll be looking to end the conversation within a few minutes.

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