Diary Page 21
January 28, 2003 - I've been thinking a lot lately. About many different things. I sit around thinking all the time. I'm discovering things about myself but I'm also yearning for more. One thing I have discovered about myself is my yearning to be able to identify with others. I think everyone has that desire in some form or another. For me it is almost an obsession or at least an overwhelming desire. Every time I discover something about myself I immediately try to find others who are like me. There are so many things that make me abnormal. My severe depression, bipolar disorder, intense shyness, loneliness, sensitivities, background, faith etc. Of course, these kinds of differences are what make each and everyone one of us unique. But I am always trying to find others who I can commune with. For example, when I learned that I was depressed, I soon found a forum for depressed people. I like reading the thoughts of others who are dealing with the same thing that I am. Of course, what I really want to do is make it more personal than some internet forum. Well it's like this with everything. I am always trying to find some group that will accept me as one of them. People who understand me. I'd settle for one person in a heartbeat, but perhaps it is easier to find that one person if you find the group first. But there are always drawbacks. When I am talking to other bipolar people, well, many of them seem to be more manic than me. So in a way I feel left out. Or when I find other highly sensitive people, well they seem to be more creative than me. Everybody always has something else to share. I only have the one thing. I feel like I never bring anything else to the table. This is kind of the reason I don't like joining my friends in groups with others. The one thing we all have in common is my friend. But they usually have more and I always feel left out. It is the same with all groups I guess.

I have to find another way to cure my loneliness. I've read a lot of good ideas on the subject. Some say to develop a hobby. I've thought about that. I've always had a hobby and that's reading. But apparently reading does not help break the cycle of loneliness. Perhaps loneliness is caused in part by self-pity and self-absorption. No one ever likes to think about that but it is probably true. So I need to think about things and others besides myself. And then I need to act on those thoughts. Well last night I was thinking about the ministry. I really want to get out into the ministry. It is the only thing I've always wanted to do! I never had any other goals. I never wanted any. It is the best way that I know to make people happy. And that always makes me very happy. Of course the second-best way for me would be through marriage, a partnership that involves sharing and making each other happy and working together as a unit. But that is a whole other subject. Earlier today I was trying to devise ways to get back into the ministry. Sadly, all of them involve things I can't do right now. I am so fed up with being sick but that is the way it is right now. So if I can't take part in the ministry than I'm going to have a hard time breaking out of my loneliness. To be honest, when I did take part in the ministry I was still rather lonely. But it wasn't so bad. But clearly the ministry by itself will not cure loneliness. It can serve as a much needed distraction from myself.

Another way to battle loneliness is through the development of social skills. All shy people of the world, please join me in a collective groan. The dreaded social skills. The art of conversation. I can't stand that anymore. I have no problem conversating with certain people. Every once in a while there comes someone who I can talk with for hours and our conversation naturally flows. But those people don't come along very often if you just sit and wait for them. So apparently I am supposed to go out there and find them. At congregation meetings, at social gatherings, working together in the field ministry. These are the three main ways. Now obviously I have a big problem because my social anxiety disorder is currently preventing me from taking part in any of those activities. But let's just assume that I didn't have to deal with this and that I am just a painfully shy a person, which I most definitely am. All the experts say go up to someone and just greet them and start a conversation. Don't expect people to come to you. Well you know what, why shouldn't they come to me? Why is it okay for the extroverted people to wait for all of us shy people to come begging for attention? Why can't people just notice me at all? Okay, okay, so I am supposed to take the initiative. Now we come to the fear of rejection. Some claim this is all a distortion in the mind. But I maintain that rejection is real and it happens all the time. Perhaps I have magnified it a bit but I guarantee you, I have been rejected before. It hurts a lot. Sometimes people look through you, sometimes they excuse themselves prematurely, and these are just the subtle ways. How am I supposed to feel when that happens? But okay, so I decide to bite the bullet and start a conversation anyway (obviously I have done this before or I wouldn't have been rejected). What are we supposed to talk about? I've read so many books and articles on topics of conversation. So many topics start with "I noticed". So apparently I am supposed to notice something about the person and comment on that, and then they can yammer about it and I can nod my head and ask them questions. Well it isn't necessarily hard for me to notice something and comment on it. But there comes a time when they have to be interested IN ME. Because if they never develop any kind of interest in me, they will soon become bored. Man I do so hate small talk. I wish we could skip to the the juicy stuff. There are people who will tell you that I am very talkative. My friend Shemelia once said I talk too much. This came as quite a shock to me. But yes I do talk a lot. Come on, this is apparent from my diary. I have a lot to say and I am interested in a lot of things. But for some reason it is not easy to pry it out of me. I don't know how to start.       

I am still thinking about loneliness. Last night I was thinking about the times I feel most lonely. Well right now I am extremely lonely because I am so isolated and I feel so different right now. Like I don't fit in anywhere. But there are specific circumstances that make me feel very lonely. A party would be one. Another would be group gatherings of any kind. And that leads me to conventions and assemblies. Specifically, LUNCHTIME. The loneliest time of all, on a day when one should feel happiest. There is nothing like being lonely in a crowd. It seems like everyone is chatting and seeing old friends and making new ones. There are lots of hugs and laughs. Sure, people in my congregation or others who know me may wave or say hello. Soon they move on and I am just there, alone in a crowd. Our convention is in a large outdoor stadium called Veteran's Stadium. NFL fans have probably heard of it. Anyway, at lunchtime I tend to walk around the entire stadium, over and over if there is time. I walk up and down the steps. Around the concourse. Hoping someone will see me. I try to see if there are other people who are in the same situation but for some reason I can't find them. I know they must be there, I can't be the only one. If I'm the only one then I am truly pathetic, but I know in my heart that there are other people wanting to be noticed, to be seen, to be wanted. I want to notice them, see them, and I do want them. I can never find them. Sometimes I wish we could skip lunchtime.  

I just read this poem about expendable people. It is found
Well I really feel like that all the time.
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