Hi, I hope you might be able to give me some advice. I’ve never had a problem making friends, although I’ve always been selective about who I let get close to me. I am not someone with huge friendship groups though I have lots of individual friends. I do have a group of ‘best friends’ that I met at uni 10 years ago 3 of whom I am closest too and have stayed in touch. I would say over the last 2 years I’ve become more and more withdrawn from them. Due to the type of friendships I have with these people, the things we went through together and our closeness in the past, its not their giving up on me I worry about. Its the fact that I get phone calls from them and other friends & ignore them, I even get angry that they call me! I constantly make excuses for not answering the phone or not going to visit them. Mostly i’m not busy, I just don’t want to talk. However, when in a social situation with them I’m engaged and contributing, I would just rather not be there.
I have struggled a lot with S/H from age 14. Most of my closest friends knew of this in the past, though it wasn’t something I allowed to be addressed and as I have matured i’ve got a lot better at sustaining the personality type of someone no one would suspect of having a problem like that. I’ve never been to a Dr or spoken to anyone professionally as I am secretive and I’m ashamed. When it first started, I stupidly managed to self induce a phobia of doctors as a way of avoiding them, thinking I would get locked up if a Dr found out. (S/H much less common or talked about when I was at school)
I’ve worked hard to overcome my urges for the past few years, and have only ‘fallen off the wagon’ a handful of times. Now I’m worried about my new(ish) need for complete isolation and this weird feeling of annoyance towards friends. clearly I have changed and not them, they’re good friends to me, with problems of their own they need to talk through. why am I not interested any more? I’ve been up to 3 months of not seeing or speaking to anyone unless I have to at work!Seeking Constant Isolation, No Interest in Maintaining Friendships
Seeking Constant Isolation, No Interest in Maintaining Friendships
In order to best answer your question, I would need to know more about you and what has led you to begin isolating from friends. If I were your therapist, I would explore what might’ve happened right before this new symptom emerged. Was there an incident? Did something happen with one of your friends? Try to think back to what might have triggered your social withdrawal.
Social isolation is a symptom of several mental health disorders including anxiety and depression, among others. Anxiety can also make your body feel as though you are on high alert. The added hypersensitivity can increase irritability.
You also mentioned “S/H.” I am assuming S/H means self-harm. Self-harm is common among people with depression. People also sometimes engage in self-harm when they think they deserve to suffer. If they believe something is their fault, they might engage in self-harm to punish themselves for their perceived wrongdoing. Others engage in self-harm because it’s their way of dealing with strong emotions and difficult problems.
You said that you are ashamed and secretive about your engaging in self-harm. Your tendency to be secretive and isolative is worrisome. It has likely prevented you from seeking professional help and thus has prolonged your suffering. Most mental health problems are treatable but misplaced fear of one type or another often keeps people from seeking treatment.
The reality is that you have struggled with treatable problems since the age of 14. Isn’t that long enough?
Seeking mental health treatment is the most efficient way to address your issues. Mental health professionals receive specialized training to deal with the very problems you have described and they succeed at curing them.
Ask your primary care physician for a referral to a mental health professional. He or she will assist you in determining what’s wrong and design a specific treatment plan to eliminate this problem. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle