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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Inadequate help for the lovelorn

Topic: Inadequate help for the lovelorn

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Unit1
    Unit1 avatar
    5 posts
    14 February 2020

    I had composed a bit of an essay for this but then I find it is limited to 2500 characters. Mine was over 16,000 so I have to forget all my carefully composed thoughts which I hoped would get across my feelings - so here it is in bullet form:

    * I am a 50 years old male and never been able to have a relationship due to a crippling fear of intimacy and a range of internal and external barriers to long to discuss in 2500 Characters. And no I'm not a creep or mysogynist. I am profoundly lonely and despite craving the companionship, affection and sexual contact of a woman I cannot overcome the barriers, so I live a stifled empty life. I have been ridiculed and patronised for my situation so i just hide now.

    * After a suicide attempt in my twenties I had15 years of therapy and medications which did not help one bit and now I find myself feeling like it is all over and I cannot believe that therapy can help me. I have delved deep into my problems with various counsellors and psychiatrists so there is nothing more to add to my knowledge of myself. I know my limitations well. I recently thought about therapy again but I see the same promises...

    * I think my personality and deep seated confidence problems are not very treatable. I think claims of therapy efficacy for such things is baseless or exaggerated.

    * I would find it less frightening to take my own life than somehow challenge my fear of intimacy in order to have a woman in my life, so I feel like my future will either be a slow lonely decay or I will suicide.

    * I'm sick of the b------t promises of the world of counselling. It is a field of health care that is far too young and under-developed trying to fix massive, complex and poorly understood problems to be of much help to many people. I have seen many friends similarly promised much from counsellors only to find no real lasting outcomes. Once a promise of help fails - the hope dies further still.

    I wrote a lot more but what is the point. Maybe someone will try to cheer me up with words of encouragement but that will not help any more than the ineffective "nothings" counsellors have offered me over the years - but still, thank you for reading.

    Happy Valentines Day from a miserable git.



    1 person found this helpful
  2. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10196 posts
    14 February 2020 in reply to Unit1

    Hello Unit1

    Welcome and thankyou for being a part of the Beyond Blue forum family too! It takes a ton of inner strength to post as you have....(from the heart) I used to have chronic anxiety for a long time followed by depression and my concentration is not what it used to be...and used to be anti-counsellor and meds...for a long time..I am 60 and only a humble volunteer on the forums

    I understand that some counsellors can be a pain and the frustration you have experienced as a result Unit1

    Just a note if I can....the forums are a non judgmental and safe place for you to post.....You privacy and well being are paramount..

    You mentioned "I wrote a lot more but what is the point. Maybe someone will try to cheer me up with words of encouragement but that will not help any more than the ineffective "nothings"

    You are not a miserable git at all! I have had deep seated low self esteem for years and its a pain in the rump

    There are also many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you too!

    If you wish to start with a particular subject....meds...therapy.. or whatever you want we can try to provide you with the best possible support we can

    I have been on SSRI's for 23 years as well as the occasional anti anxiety med when required...(just for your info)

    my kind thoughts...and Happy Valentine's Day to you too!


    2 people found this helpful
  3. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    381 posts
    17 February 2020

    Hi Unit1,

    Welcome to the forum. It is great you have started sharing your story here. The formality of counselling is not for everyone and sometimes looking further afield to get support is important. There are many ways in which people are getting support for their mental health now a days. You have made it here to the forum and from your post, it's sounds like you have a lot to say. It takes confidence to post on a public forum and you have taken some big steps towards your own healing over the years. I hear a lot of courage in your words.

    I wonder if you felt better after posting and if so, if you considered posting some more? As Paul has said above, the forum is a non judgemental and safe place to post where your wellbeing is paramount.

    If you feel safe to share more, we are listening.

    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Unit1
    Unit1 avatar
    5 posts
    18 February 2020 in reply to Nurse Jenn

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    I am not sure I can say much more but I guess I will because by nature I tend to prattle on... It's actually not the first time on the forum - twice before but many years ago. Same problems. In terms of meds I was initially on 2 types of SSRI that sort of helped but only to an extent, and I was on them a long time. After that I had tried 3 more meds of mixed types all of which made me very anxious and suicidal. The last one I tried a few years ago was horrible. After taking just the very first pill at a modest concentration dose it put me into a massive panic attack and collapse, waking up later on the floor covered in sweat and having soiled myself, then felt very anxious for about 12 hours. I don't think my doctor believed me but I just couldn't face trying anything like that again.

    The only other thing that has come to my mind about my nature and those of some of my family is that I sometimes wonder if there could be the slightest shade of Aspergers in there somewhere - certainly not diagnosed. I have some experience with people with this disorder and whilst I don't think I am in anyway in the same level of affliction of those I know with this condition I can't shake the feeling that there are some traits in myself that are similar. Maybe it is not fair to draw this conclusion but it's a broad spectrum. I've not asked a therapist this but even if I was what help would that be. Maybe people think I am and don't tell me deliberately?? Maybe I am just odd. This is where I just start to wonder what the hell is the way to split individual personality quirks and disorder and how anyone is meant to do anything about it. I've been diagnosed by various people as depressed, NOT depressed, anxious, maybe social anxiety, some past trauma (maybe mild PTSD), maybe just need to cheer up. I once had a psychiatrist tell me there was nothing wrong with me, then he spent 15 minutes on the phone to his son who had locked himself out of the house, and then charged me extra for going over time. Seems like a long time without resolution and a lot of pain I've felt from "nothing wrong". There is something wrong but I just don't believe there is a solution or that there are the skills out there to help me find what it is and what to do about it. There is this great wall around me. I'm just plain scared and confused and sick of myself and my loneliness despite having a job and being fairly socially capable at work - nobody thinks there's a problem.

  5. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10196 posts
    18 February 2020 in reply to Unit1

    Hi Unit1

    I dont think there is anything odd about you at all...I see a strong person who is doing their best with some serious pain and anguish...I dont know what Aspergers is....I can google it yet it would be more helpful coming from you

    Nurse Jenn is always a bonus to have on a thread...and made an excellent point that counselling isnt for everyone...which is probably why I see my GP every eight weeks for a quick 'tune up' I understand that feeling you mentioned about having a great wall around me...

    I hope your day was good to you Unit1.....


  6. Katyonthehamsterwheel
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Katyonthehamsterwheel avatar
    705 posts
    19 February 2020 in reply to Unit1

    Hi there

    I'm a bit low myself, so apologies if this misses the mark. You said "I would find it less frightening to ... than somehow challenge my fear of intimacy in order to have a woman in my life". I understand how huge fear can be. I fear something different, but the feeling is the same. Have you at any point worked through an exposure ladder with a professional (or on your own)? And was it helpful at all? You have mentioned barriers, so apologies if I've simplified it, and it's rather more complex.

    Loneliness sux. I often thing there's something "not quite right" with me too. Kind thoughts, Katy

    2 people found this helpful
  7. Unit1
    Unit1 avatar
    5 posts
    21 February 2020 in reply to Katyonthehamsterwheel

    My understanding of Aspergers is difficulty with subtle social cues, taking phrases litterally, unusual language use, having obsessive interests and occupations, need for routine and distress when routines are changed or there is a need for stepping outside anything familiar and planned. I know some charming people who are diagnosed and I see these traits - but I also see mild but consistent traits like this in myself and family members and it seems quite obvious when I stand back and compare with most people. But then I'm not highly trained professional - even though several highly trained professionals gave completely different ideas about my problems so presumably several of their diagnoses are just as wrong as mine might be.

    One therapist did talk about social anxiety which I think I probably do have but no formal desensitisation or exposure therapy was tried. I have off my own bat had quite a few blind dates (with demoralising outcomes) many years ago and as I have said before, if I have to go to a social gathering I general "perform" OK and may even enjoy it a bit, with most people thinking I'm fine. The difference is that it wears me out and I can't wait to get home to my sanctuary and no matter how much I might meet people, especially women, I don't ever get any closer. I could be standing talking to a woman who may well seem to be at least possibly interested but there is no way I would ever say anything remotely indicating interest on my part. There have been probably about 3 times in my life where I was interested and thought maybe there was some sense of encouragement but I could not take the next step - like an idiot. My lifelong experience of physcial contact with other human beings (as adult) feels like maybe a dozen times, basic hugs, mostly at funerals. Been kissed twice, both unusual circumstances that was never going to lead to anything.

    I don't see any sort of "exposure ladder therapy" for the more intimate parts of human relationships being a very realistic proposition (not without being highly controversial) so I guess maybe if there was some sort of social anxiety workshops that might help but it seems like these are for the acutely afraid of any conversation... If I went to the workshop they would all probably call me an imposter due to being a relative social butterfly. My problem is much more about intimacy (not necessarily just sexual), but about true closeness to another person. Only seems like there's talk therapy for this...

  8. Unit1
    Unit1 avatar
    5 posts
    21 February 2020 in reply to Unit1

    Adding to the above seeing as how I ran out of Characters again...

    I feel like human beings go through the transition to adulthood in their teens; awkward, scary learnings about relating to others and the world of sex and social expectations. I think if you miss this or something goes horribly wrong you end up not really making it into the realm of normal adulthood. You end up a messed up child caught in a grown-up's body. Something to be laughed at, patronised or distrusted. Not a very suitable prospective partner for anyone.

    I feel like I am this sort of pathetic man-child. I think my situation is pretty much obvious to all who know me but only the most impolite mention it. It is like life is a particularly clever piece of comedy but people like me are simply not in on the joke. It is too sensitive a subject for anyone to help me. Maybe people think I'm OK with how my life is seeing as I often prefer to be alone despite the loneliness. I once read an interesting book called "Solitude" by Psychologist Anthony Storr which I found rather profound as sections of it described so well a lot of my life experience.

    I grew up in a rural setting and it has always struck me how much intense emotional pull the landscape has for me - it is like I feel a companionship and closeness from familiar landscape elements that I fail to get from people and I wonder if somehow early on I have always had this internal block to making a deeper contact with another soul, despite the immense inner need I feel for this contact. It is like I have for a very long time given up on people and turned to other things to try to give my life meaning. It just isn't enough. Nothing has very much meaning any more.

    Work, my friends whom I see rarely, what's left of my family, my wide range of previous interests, writing this wallowing self-pity on this forum in some vain hope of discovering something - None of this has any real meaning. I just seem drag around the wreck of what's left of my identity, going through the motions of life purely out of obligation with no enthusiasm and no expectation of improvement. They talk about brain plasticity but I think my wiring is etched in stone having been set this way for so long. I used to have a lingering hope that I would one day find love but I now do not believe things will ever change for me.

    I don't want to talk about it any more. Talk is overrated.

  9. Katyonthehamsterwheel
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Katyonthehamsterwheel avatar
    705 posts
    21 February 2020 in reply to Unit1

    Hey again. I'm sorry you're feeling so down and in so much pain. I know what it's like to feel stuck, and to feel hopeless at times. I wish I had more to offer, but I'm certainly no expert. Just a fellow forum user looking for answers too. I do, however, believe in brain plasticity. There's proof that we can create new neural pathways. You're obviously familiar with the concept. Have you read "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge? My psychologist recommended it to me. There's also another titled "The Woman Who Changed her Brain" by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young. They make me feel hopeful. It's certainly harder to change when we're older, but not at all impossible. Our old habits are just embedded more deeply.

    In regard to exposure therapy, yes, I guess it could sound controversial, but not in the way I intended. With any fear I suppose it's about breaking it down into parts and working out what's easier and harder and then laddering them. And then looking at the first step, the easiest, on the ladder and what our thoughts and behaviour are when it comes to that step. And if there's any changes that we can make to make it more achievable. That's the whole cognitive behavioural aspect. And then there's visualisation. Imagining ourself doing that thing which we feel unable to do in real life, is apparently also helpful.

    Anyway, I do believe in our capacity to improve our situations. It's a matter of thinking and rethinking our strategies, and often having someone to bounce ideas off, until we find what works. And I don't think there's anything pathetic about you either. Our lives all have different trajectories and we don't all do things at the same pace.

    My kind thoughts, and if you do decide you want to talk more, I'm happy to. Katy

    2 people found this helpful
  10. wallflower_70
    wallflower_70 avatar
    83 posts
    25 February 2020 in reply to Unit1

    Hey Unit,

    Im sorry you are feeling this way and have been for so long. Not necessarily helpful but you write very well and are obviously able to construct your thoughts and feelings well. It's impressive. Wish I was half as eloquent as you, given that I recognize a lot of your pain in my own experience but hadnt been able to put into words as well as you are able to.

    You are worth it - all of the things 'it' may mean and be. Including the intimacy you crave.

    1 person found this helpful

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