Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….




Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am frequently late for appointments, and it drives some of my friends mad.

I don’t know the exact reason for sure, but I know one of them is down to my underlying reluctance to leave my flat for anything/anyone, especially if I am going somewhere where I will be out of my comfort zone.

Last night was such an appointment.

As a challenge, and to meet new ‘healthy’ people (as Aunty C, my counsellor, calls non mental folk), I joined a ‘Meet Up’ group and arranged to go and see a gig with them at a pub.

I wanted to see the band, the group looked nice (I’d met the host before and she was fun), but as always, when the time to leave approached, I used all kinds of delay tactics (Facebook, tidying up, sorting out sock drawer, bleaching spoons etc.) and had to fight hard with my inner demons who came out with the usual shit (everyone hates you, you’re ugly, too old to be going to gigs etc.) to make myself leave the flat.

To do this, as advised by Aunty C, I tried to play the ‘Good Parent’ to myself, and reassure the child (that’s me) that it’s OK to be nervous, but to that it would be good for me to socialise, make new friends, and that if the child doesn’t like it, she can always come home’.

That’s easy enough to say, but in real life, things aren’t always that simple.

Leaving when you want or need to isn’t something we tend to allow ourselves the luxury of, as even with good friends, we don’t want to seem aloof, rude or impolite, and whilst a few of my very close friends do sometimes tolerate me legging it mid event, strangers won’t necessarily be quite as understanding.

Take last night; by the time I managed to convince myself to get out of the door, I was already 15 minutes late, and very conscious that this was hardly creating a good impression on the group, but in the end, it was a blessing in disguise, as when I arrived, I found my new buddies in a vast crowd/queue waiting to get into the room where the gig was taking place.

So we spent about 40 minutes standing there in a sweaty, sticky pub being pushed and shoved, and I could feel my anxiety grow minute by minute.  Had I known that was going to happen I’d have stayed welded to the sofa.

I don’t like crowds.

I don’t like feeling trapped.

I don’t like people touching me.

Had I been on my own or with close friends, I would have been out of there like greased weasel shit, but because I was there with new people I had just met, not only did I have to stay, deal with my mounting claustrophobia, listen to my inner dialogue….

(it’s hot, i can’t see the door, i wanna get out, don’t touch me, how much longer, i wanna get out, who did that, try to look normal bitch you’re trying to make friends?!!, i wanna get out, touch me again you stinking fucking pseudo hippy twat and I’ll rip your liver out and slap you around the face with it, you’re drifting off again focus on the conversation, what’s her name again, i wanna get out, i’m going to faint, i hate you and your fucking backpack you cretin, i want out of here now, OW! etc.)

….biting down the urge to punch anyone in arms length of me and head for the door, I had to make small talk.

Small talk.

Small.  Talk.

Two simple, seemingly innocuous, one syllable words that without fail or exception fill my soul with a cold, creeping, despairing dread.

It’s not that I’m not capable of it.  I am. Well I used to be.

I did it for decades, as it was a requirement of the job and industry that I worked in.

And for most people, it might have been a pleasure because a lot of the people that we schmoozed were nice enough, the events usually took place in very salubrious surroundings and I was being paid well to do it.

It’s just that it took such a super human amount of effort for me to network, that I’d usually need to be shit faced to drum up the energy, and need a day off sick afterwards to recover from it by not speaking to anyone at all.

It’s not that I think I am better than anyone else; quite the contrary.  It isn’t that I think I’m better company than anyone else; I just find pointless, social chit chat hard work, soul suckingly boring and a complete waste of life.

I don’t know whether it’s down to my depression/paranoia/nervousness, my being empathic/HSP or both but I honestly don’t get it.

And some people can willingly, nay happily do it for hours.

I suppose putting me in those kinds of scenarios is a bit like someone who’s not keen on kids being locked in a crowded nursery, who’s forced to coo, entertain and sooth them whilst all the while thinking, ‘Fuck, I wonder when I’ll be able to escape from this’.

Only difference being kids are generally pretty amusing.

It’s not that I don’t like people either.  I just find it hard work to operate on such a superficial level, because I need some kind of spark or connection on a deeper level in order to invest time in a person.

That’s one of the reasons I don’t have hoards of friends.

Because in reality no one does.  What popular people actually have is 70% acquaintances, 20% casual friends, 10% good friends.

And whilst I know I need to have more casual friends to complement my few good mates, I don’t have the energy for a load of acquaintances who I have to fight to feign interest in.

Some people are very good at pretending to give a fuck when talking to someone they have no interest in whatsoever.

But whilst having to do this at various functions in the past, I have had to fight the urge to flick the canapé off the cocktail stick I’m holding so that I can slam the sharp end into my eyeball, then I can escape to A&E/ER where I can sit on a nice uncomfortable plastic chair for 6 hours next to drunks, screaming kids, yobs, disorientated pensioners and people with unusual things stuck up their orifices and not have to talk shite with anymore anymore.

And to be honest?  I’d sooner talk to any/all of the above than someone banging on to someone about the frigging weather.

And when I have  had to make small talk with someone who is a genuine, card carrying, 18 carat bore?

My tolerance level is zero.

I’m not being a diva here, and I do try and be polite and interactive, but because I am both unconfident and shy, I find it hard to maintain eye contact at the best of times, but if someone is excruciatingly dull, they exhaust me and I have to fight not to hurt anyones feeling or embarrass myself by drifting off in their presence.

I did actually once fall asleep when chatting to one client at a dinner because I couldn’t escape any other way.  Luckily he thought I was hammered.  I had actually been drinking water all night.

Back to last night.

Somehow I managed to stay put (cursing Aunty C for every minute of my life I was losing to this hell) and eventually the crowd carried me towards the room the act was appearing and I found myself in a seat with the rest of the group, and whilst I did the small talk thing with them as best I could, all I could think was that there was only about 2 inches of space between me and the big long haired beardy in front of me and the woman with halitosis behind me, perspiration was practically dribbling into my eyes and the girl next to me’s thigh was so mashed against mine that I was considering proposing to her.

So I endured….

The band came on.

I endured….

My face hurt from smiling.

I endured….

The hairy bastard in front of me flicked his manky mane and the tail end of it landed in my drink.


Oh how my new friends laughed!

Oh how he laughed!

Oh how I laughed!

But I really wanted to scream.

Then, mercifully came the interval, and I made good my escape to the bogs.

You can guess what happened next, can’t you?

Reader, I legged it.

Because I was specifically told that if I didn’t like it the child can always come home’, right?


But I doubt that my host felt the same way when I text her to say I had to leave  because I had a headache, the cat had coughed up a fur ball, or whatever lame excuse I gave her.

Because, I suspect that by her complete radio silence that in her eyes what I did was rude.

But there was no way I was going back into that sweaty hellhole to talk about the weather, peoples kids and/or what they ‘did’ whilst drinking warm, hairy vodka and cranberry with a complete strangers thigh pressing enthusiastically against mine.



Welcome to the first chapter of ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ by Sista Sertraline 😦

Maybe I’m just not cut out for ‘healthy friends’….

So what do I do in future?

Not go to these things?

Try and be more normal?

Take double doses of medication and come across as a stoner?

I honestly don’t know.

But even amazing evenings out in the company of like minded souls can feel like a complete anti climax to me, so I guess how I behave in ‘polite society’ on a regular common or garden evening with dull/predictable/normal/well meaning folk is just the nature of this anti social beast….

And I’m done with pretending to be anything other than who and what I am.

You know, little kids and grumpy old aged pensioners are great at this kind of shit, because they just say what they mean, if they don’t like someone or something they say so, if they don’t want to do something they refuse to do it and if someone tries to make them, they kick off, go apeshit and behave in a generally embarrassing fashion until someone drags them out of the building and gives them a telling off, some sweets or a Mogadon.


Maybe there are some things to enjoy about getting old after all 🙂

Come and get me menopause, I’m all over this!


15 thoughts on “HELLO, I MUST BE GOING!

  1. You are of course, too hard on yourself. {hugs}

    But the writing of this, is really quite good, I totally understood where you were coming from and related to it.

    I guess in my case the decision was that I was not going to be friends with people just because someone said I had to or they had to. I don’t have a lot of friends…but I’d like to think it’s quality vs quantity. I miss people I can relate to…but realistically how can I miss something I that I never had.

    They’ve talked about how group therapies are good because then people share the same kind of realities that you experience…and really isn’t that what connecting is about?

    Don’t be so hard on yourself about making distinctions between the non and the “mental” ones….really most people have SOME kind of ‘MENTAL’ issue going on, just the ‘non’s are better at hiding it or haven’t been outed yet. 😉

    We all struggle with something. We all need to connect at a deeper level, MAYBE someone in that crowd in a different place or time is going to end up being someone who could really relate to you and you to them. We are all wearing a mask in life at these things, but the opportunity for that mask to come off is not where you were….at least that seems unlikely given your description.

    And truth? I avoid things too….you are definitely not alone in that one. I hate people touching me, get claustrophobic at the strangest points in time, and generally avoid situations where all that might slap me hard about the face.

    Right now? I’m putting off going outside to walk a few blocks to get my new glasses…because it means walking past a place I like, but I’ll feel that, ‘do I go in’ or ‘do I keep walking’ ‘I don’t want to be rude by not going in’, ‘I don’t want to be needy by going in’.

    I have to remind myself, it’s a business establishment, they like customers, they are ALWAYS happy to see me – sincerely, we have great conversations, they accept my bit of ‘crazy’ – I try to remain open about it because I can’t live in the shadow anymore and I’ve met some wonderful people in there too. So what am I really worried about?

    I don’t want to be needy. I don’t want people to feel forced to be my friend or be nice to me, so I don’t give them a lot of opportunities…I am self sufficient, and capable. I do lots of interesting things alone. I am good at what I do. I’m a good friend, I always follow through. I’m a lot of good things….but I don’t want anyone to feel like they HAVE to….have to be my friend. So I make it impossible by being too busy, and staying ‘focused’ so I don’t make the time and be available for someone who really hopes I ‘just go away.’

    There must be, actually scratch that….THERE IS A LOT OF formative years of that kind of knocking around going on in my head….it’s a good thing I’m in counselling. 😉

    But sometimes I hear a song on the radio, or on my iPod and I wish I didn’t freak out so badly that I am so isolated now….I think it’s just a very real issue of taking it one day at a time.

    Be well

  2. Start a list. The title is “The Upside of Menopause”. Top of the list is 1. Welcome to the “fuck you fifties”.

  3. I am older than you — I’m visiting a relative 1200 miles away (won’t make that drive again). While trying to rlive with the god-awful heat and other family issues, I’ve been able to hide myself now and then and I’ve had an opportunity to read most of your blogs; got there in a round about way through another link. I sympathize, I do; but seriously, if you spent as much time looking to improve your situation (friends, employment, not getting involved in self-pity parties, etc., —- which you do all the time, then your life might improve. You write well, you have some talent, so consider doing that — and selling it.
    If I’m to believe this really is your life, I am truly sad for you. Somehow, can’t help it; but I feel as if you’re enjoying the on-line attention.

    • Hi Frieda

      Thanks for your comments, but if you have read this blog, including the monthly updates, you will know that (a) this is an online journal/diary where I brain dump anything that is in my head, unvarnished and unedited, so yes this is my life (b) that the purpose of it is to improve my situation and (c) that progress has been made and hopefully will continue to be made.

      As for online attention (a) that isn’t the aim i probably alienate more readers than I attract including yourself (b) I don’t have that many followers and again don’t write this blog with that purpose in mind and (c) whilst I appreciate interacting with my fellow bloggers we tend to banter more than sympathise with one another and that is what helps me the most, along with comments from some others who say that reading my experiences has in some way helped them which is music to my ears.

      So whilst I appreciate your advice, I will be continuing in the same vein, as for me to write to seek approval or deny or pretty up what is going on in my life totally defeats the object.

      I have made a number of new friends this year and do give people a chance but there are some days when I’m less receptive or able to participate especially when dreaded small talk is involved. Fact. And I make no apology for that.

      And the Pity Party section does flag up when I’m feeling sorry for myself in a tongue in cheek fashion, but everyone does feel that way sometimes, and I just tap into music to show how i feel and share some damn fine music in the bargain.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. I have to do it —- quote from one of your past blogs; what are you thinking girl ?
    “So if you will humour me just this once, I’d like to ask you a favour; the next time you’re at a gathering and someone gets on your nerves because they seem to be telling one too many stories or anecdotes, before you give them short strift or bitch about them behind their back, you might want to consider that they just want to be your friend and part of your group, and if you explore that opportunity and get to know them, they might just calm the fuck down and be more bearable to be around.”
    It really isn’t about do what I say and not what I do. Geez.

    • Again, this is my DIARY where i get to say whatever comes into my head without hurting or offending anyone, so I’m not bitching behind anyones back. In real life whilst I don’t go out of my way to hurt anyone, I am pretty shoot from the hip, whatever I would say behind anyone’s back I would say to their face, so I don’t like that inference.

      The only thing I would say to you Frieda is that you keep a similar journal, on line or otherwise, for a month, then read it back. if it is 100% sweetness and light, then congratulations. You’re a better gal than I, Gunga Din….

    • Oh and finally, I had to do it.

      From one of my past blogs, a little quote from Brendan Behan:

      “Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.”

      In other words when you’ve had the bottle to put yourself out there on line in whatever capacity to be judged and critiqued, perhaps I’ll have a little more respect for your rather skewed opinion based on skimming random posts of my blog whilst hiding from your family.

      And spare me your pity. I may be pretty fucked up, but I’m not stupid and I sure ain’t no coward.

  5. Pingback: MEET ME HALFWAY – ‘FLIGHTS’ UPDATE JUNE 2013 | Phoenix Flights

  6. I’m about 3 years old so maybe you shouldn’t listen to me. But y’know… Just because the rest of the world can tolerate something, doesn’t mean it’s not the terrible thing it might be. There are so many things wrong in the world that people don’t care to fix because they’re not that bothered by them. The way I see it, it’s people like you, the people who can’t tolerate what’s wrong, that will end up making things right. I mean, if you’d like to.

    • Hi Pyrusic, I don’t necessarily think small talk it wrong (well I do, but I’m not being reasonable here), I just find it boring and sometimes, when I’m not on form, totally intolerable. But in fairness, it is probably more acceptable to most than say, someone moaning about their hated spouse, their dog’s benign cyst, or when they had their gall stones removed….

      • Haha. That’s true, about the gall stones… But I’m sure there are better ways to start random conversations with people you’ve only just met. For example, something like: “I noticed your pin, are you a fan of Star Trek too?” (I’m not.) But what I meant to say is: pay attention to how you feel and why you might feel those ways, because you might just be on to something. Or you might not. You never know until you look. Again, 3 years old.

        What is small talk anyway? Whenever I’m liable to be stuck with strangers for longer than a few minutes, I ask them what they took or are taking in post-secondary, if they have or plan to travel, what kind of books they read. Does that count as small talk?

      • I think that trumps the usual topics as they’re interesting things to talk about, but when I’m not in health, i find chatting to new people hard work alas, which is why I normally stay indoors.

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