Lost and clueless

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have trouble focusing on anything I do. I’ve ALWAYS been like this. Ive also ALWAYS had social issues. I remember when I was very young and would see someone from school at the grocery store or whatever, they would say hello, and I would look at my feet and get embarassed. My mom would tell me I was rude, but I didnt know how to change. I HATE talking to people now. I have tried to learn body language, listening, and observational skills, with minimal success. I KNOW I am being misinterpreted. I KNOW that when I think people are talking about my social inadequacies, they ARE. The worst part about it is I KNOW that I am a social retard. I am completely aware of it, yet nothing seems to change. I have tried to find a root, as if there is some singular problem that can be fixed that will solve my social problems, but there isnt. I have tried to diagnose myself as having autism, asperger’s syndrome, depression, social anxiety, ADD, and others, but NONE of them really fit. Aspergers is the closest, but I have no OCD or anything similar.
I also have a speech problem. This, along with my social retardation, has encouraged people to think that I’m homosexual. I know that I’m not, but I still try to convince people that I’m not, even thought I know that this is probably affirming their convictions.

I know I shouldnt care what people think, but I dont understand how to be social if I dont at least consider it.

My girlfriend continues to ask me when we’re going to get married. I love her, but I dont know why. And I dont trust her. I cant prove that she cheats, but I know she does. I can see it in her eyes and hear it when she speaks. I also see it when we are in social situations. She will never admit it, and I cant talk about my feelings anymore or she will leave. Should I cheat too, and just be cool? I dont want to feel like this all the time AND be married. All I want out of life is to feel like a man, be a man, and have a woman that is as faithfull as I am. I dont have any of these. I dont even have anyone to talk to about anything, and I solve anything on my own.

These are just tips of icebergs, and may possibly be side effects of other problems that I am unaware of. Im not sure what kind of advice you can lend me, if at all, but Im pissed off that I have to deal with this stuff. At times, I would rather be oblivious to all of this, than be aware that Im retarded.

A: Thank you for writing. I have a guess that it wasn’t easy to lay out all of your troubles so starkly. It must be very, very painful to live with so many doubts about yourself and the woman you love. I don’t blame you for being angry and sad. I give you lots of credit for not getting married until you settle at least some of these issues. No, you shouldn’t cheat to keep things even. That would set a divorce in motion before you were even married. You should get some help that will get to the root of the problem.

You describe symptoms that are consistent with a number of different diagnoses. Without talking to you, I can’t narrow it down. What I can do is suggest to you that you make an appointment with a psychologist for a thorough evaluation. You’re a complicated guy. You want to find a psychologist who has the skills to do some psychological testing if she or he deems it necessary to go beyond the usual interview in order to understand you. Ask you doctor for a referral or contact your local community mental health center.

I think you will find that naming your problems will give you some relief. Once you know what you are dealing with, you and the therapist will be able to develop a plan of action that will help settle your anxiety and build your skills for dealing with the social world.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Mar 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Lost and clueless. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/03/12/lost-and-clueless/