Struggling for connection

Not since my mid-twenties have I had a close-knit circle of friends that I regularly spend time with. At that time, it was friends I’d made during college. Royce, Travis, Kendra, Cindy (whom I was married to for a tick), Jackie, and Jody.

Before that, it was friends from high school. Donald, Lester, Dan, Jim, James, Erin, and Jenny.

Before them, well I moved so much during my elementary and junior high school years, about every six months, that I rarely had time to make friends, and so I just didn’t bother. The frequent relocating was due to my mother’s mental illness, about which I’ve gone into in great detail before.

I’ve mentioned before, that I was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, a little known personality disorder that gets most often confused with schizophrenia due to the similar names. “Schizoid” is often used to denote a person who has schizophrenia, and schizophrenia is almost always misconstrued to mean dissociative identity disorder… which are two VERY different things. SPD and schizophrenia are also nothing alike. Not even close.

Anyway, the point is that most people have never heard of SPD. As disorders go, there are worse things to deal with. I’d never heard of it until my diagnosis about fifteen years ago. My therapist explained it to me, and I did a lot of reading on it, and in the course of just a few days, so many things about my life and behaviors began to make sense. For example, the fact that most people hold absolutely no interest at all for me. In fact, most of the time I want every one around me to just go about their day and leave me the fuck alone. But then, for whatever reason, somebody will catch my interest, and we’re suddenly really good friends.

It doesn’t happen often.

I have a hell of a time forming connections with other people. Most of the time, I feel like I’m standing outside of my own life, watching it all happen without me. I feel like I’m missing out on so many things. Some of those things are real, but most of them are just my disorder fucking with me.

I have a general apathy about people, commonly misconstrued as a lack of empathy, which isn’t exactly the same thing. I care about other people, I’m simply not willing to let their problems become my problems, if that makes any sense at all.

It’s difficult for me to get motivated about anything, and when I do get motivated, that motivation can very easily get sucked out of me in a hurry. Depression has a similar effect on motivation, but also not quite the same thing.

I spend a lot of time imagining the person I wish I could be, and the life that person would lead, something I can remember doing in the fifth grade. The comments on my report cards almost always included some note about me spending too much time day dreaming.

These are all very common symptoms of SPD, and they’re only going to get more pronounced as I get older.

I’m not just writing about all of this to fill you in on the ins and outs of my emotional problems, there is a point. That point being that I have spent most of my adult life struggling to connect with other people, and failing miserably at it. There was a time just after my divorce, before Laure and I were reunited, where I was so lonely that I would go to Walmart and wander aimlessly, without buying anything, just to be in proximity to other people.

I think that was the root of my decade long obsession with Flickr, and photographing people. It was an attempt at connecting. This blog is another such attempt. I’m aware that it has almost zero readership, maybe three or four people on a busy day. However, there was a time waaaaaay back when, where I was writing about actual interesting shit, and my blog was getting hundreds of hits a day, and I couldn’t keep up with the comments. That however, was just as social media was taking off. Twitter was in it’s infancy, MySpace was just beginning to lose the battle to Facebook, and blogging was still where everything was happening.

I feel so isolated from most of the people around me that, like so many people today, I spend a lot of time looking to the internet to help me make those connections, and being sorely disappointed.

I know this all sounds like depression talking, it’s not. I’m fine, but it may be time to go back to therapy for a bit.

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