The Social Life of an Anxious, Depressed Guy

Oh hi. It’s been a while. I was meant to write all about my journey through volunteering but then I moved to the other side of the world and just completely forgot to blog. I ended up a little busy so we’re going to just roll with the punches and write about whatever is on my mind tonight!

I was searching for a job for a few months. During that time I spent as much time as I could with my best friend and she ended up becoming my girlfriend which is incredible exciting. I’ve been getting accustomed to my new life in Australia by learning as much as I can about the charity sector here and getting stuck in working for an emergency food relief charity, learning the lingo and getting used to the systems in place in an Australian workplace.

All the while though, I’ve been trying to adjust to a new kind of social life. I have a couple really great friends here who I am 100% comfortable with and really love being around them, but I do (obviously) still miss all my friends in the UK. My friends in the UK and I have years and years of history, jokes and shared experiences and it was easy.

Now, however, I have to make a conscious effort to try to make friends which, for someone with anxiety and depression, is incredibly exhausting. My depression likes to remind me that I don’t really have friends over here and prevents me from going out to meet people because it convinces me that people would never want to get to know me anyway. On the days that my depression isn’t kicking my ass, my anxiety just makes me terrified to talk to people, to make conversation, scared to say the wrong things or anything at all.

All that aside, I’m very happy and very lucky. I have the most supportive, wonderful friends and girlfriend both here in Australia and back home in the UK and slowly, I’m re-learning to deal with my mental health in a brand new environment and with fewer of my usual support networks.

This might sound like I’m miserable here, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I feel more comfortable and at home here than I have felt in London for a long time, despite knowing less people. I’m able to explore a country with one of the unique landscapes and wildlife in the world. I get to spend time with people that I rarely ever got to see when I lived in the UK. Mostly though, no matter how down I get about missing the UK, I am so proud that I took the risk, the blind leap to come here because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to experience all this side of the world has to offer, I wouldn’t have got together with my best friend and I wouldn’t be in the best mental place I’ve been in a long time.

Trying to find a new social life in a new country is tough, exhausting and anxiety inducing but for me, at least, it’s worth that struggle to be able to say that I have two places that I can call home.


Welcome To Mental Health Awareness Week

So today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (if you couldn’t have guessed by the title) and I thought it’d be a travesty not to write this week.

So I might not be able to commit to a post every day as I’ve not done a huge amount of planning but I want to write as much as I can. I’ll be uploading a post to the blog that we do at work so I’ll be linking to that at some point. This year’s theme is Surviving or Thriving? It’s a good theme and one that I often ponder.

I’ll try to discuss that theme later on in the week but today I’m here to talk a bit about one of the worst parts of depression and anxiety (in my opinion).

The feeling of loneliness. 

My depression often makes me feel worthless. It makes me feel like I’m undeserving of friends and on my worst days that I don’t have friends. I used to (and occasionally still do) think to myself that my friends weren’t my friends at all. Instead they were gaining my trust so that they could pull some kind of shitty pranks on me and were just waiting for the right time to humiliate me. And I thought that they were all in on it too. Even the ones who don’t know each other. So while my depression makes me feel like I don’t have friends, my anxiety has a different effect.

Anxiety prevents me from reaching out to people for fear of alienating the few friends I imagine I have. And so begins the spiral of loneliness as a result of mental illness. My brain tells me I have no friends and I’m worthless and as a result of that insecurity I become too anxious to attempt to make any new friends.

I’m one of the fortunate ones though. My friends have proven time and time again that they’re there for me. That they’re real friends. That it’s not some sort of sick and extremely elaborate hoax. I know I have so many people I can turn to. People as close as London, as far as Newcastle. Hell one of my best friends is all the way in Australia. And they’re always there for me. Some are friends I’ve made online through video games or forums or Instagram. I have managed to find friends when I thought I had none and would never have any and I’m grateful for every single one of them. And if they ever need me, if they ever feel like I did and sometimes still do, I’m going to make sure that they know I’m always going to be in their corner.

Sometimes you really have to look and reflect to see who’s really there for you. I really genuinely hope and pray that anyone who has the same thoughts as me can fight through them, reach out and remember that people care. If you really can’t think of anyone, remember that I care. I’m in all of your corners. I got you.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, please make sure you contact your doctor. You can also access counselling services and other treatments, often for free through charities.

If you’re in the UK check out these guys:

Be there for one another. Look after yourselves.