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[–] turkey87 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago  (edited ago)

Hey man. Sorry I don't know how to PM, but you seem intelligent and I could use some insight here. I'm in my early 30s and I've been super depressed recently (memories of a friend who killed himself when I was 18). I've been on a bit of a solo bender because of it. Young people keep looking at me and smiling while I'm out. Any idea what it's about? It's been bothering me. If I smile back or wave or say hello they keep smiling like I didn't do anything. Women have been hugely flirtatious with me as well but I've been ignoring it.

[–] McFucklet [S] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I don't know how either so no worries. Thank you for the complement. By solo bender are we talking alcohol? Or do you mean you've been isolating yourself long-term?

Two things immediately come to mind regarding your experiences:

I think a lot of the fact that this seems conspicuous to you might have to do with the extreme contrast between how people are acting compared to how you feel inside. I don't have much to go on, but this indicates to me that however bad things have gotten, you're keeping yourself together well. They're responding to what they have to go on and it sounds like these are random people that have no context of you besides the observable, which is principly appearance and demeanor (including body language, posture, etc.). Men often improve in appearance with age, too; women decay from their peak beauty whereas we grow into many of the things considered attractive about men (think wiry 19 year old vs him physically matured 10-15 years later and showing signs of outward success).

There also might be changes secondary to how you've been living that you didn't notice but that gradually appeared. I experienced something similar when I was depressed and lonely my first time around in college. I took up cigarettes and weed to avoid dealing with what I was going through and my appetite was already stifled from going through depression and I lost some weight without realizing it. Im one of those people that is conventionally attractive at one weight but am any old five or six out of ten if I'm 10 or 15 pounds heavier than that. Inadvertantly losing weight made me noticable and suddenly I'd run into girls from my humanities class in the book store or dining hall and they were all smiles and wanting to talk. It weirded me out as well until I realized what did it later (the weed had compromised my insight at the time). A small amount of weight near your healthiest weight is what really brings out facial features and I wonder if this might apply to you at all, or maybe another creeping change that gives people a different first impression than you are used to (e.g. perhaps you've disengaged from the world because of how you feel, but this appears on the surface as confidence if before you were more reactive and now you just plow your way through your routines or don't display social hesitance or anxieties that you might have if you were more engaged before; these are just a couple ways I can think of). Anything you can identify?

Plato's Republic has the one quote that explained life to me in it, book 2 IIRC: since then, as philosophers prove, appearance tyrannizes truth and is Lord of happiness, so it is to appearance I shall devote myself. You might get a kick out of the conversation that's from; Adamanteus is talking to Socrates and a couple others and it's an insightful dialogue. You might get a kick out of it given what you're experiencing.

I'm curious to hear more about their non-response. Certain flavors of mild psychosis give this same impression, but you don't sound that way to me. I know lots of us get stuck in our own heads when we are down and isolated, and it's easy to think more of what's happening around us is about us than really is. There's also the ice break factor when engaging others. Idk about you but for me and a lot of others, it's a big leap from a smile or nod to actually starting up a conversation. Think how many guys will look at a pretty girl and smile or wink or nod compared with how many of them would be willing to go up to her and start talking if she smiled back, or even waved. This might be your situation, flipped. Again, I'm curious to hear more as well as if you've thought about engaging the flirting. I know when I've been solo for a long time, I've lost my bearings a little bit for how normal life goes and in general, if something has changed how other will perceive you, then you are not re-entering the same set of interactions you are used to so you're jumping into a pool of a different temperature.

I'm really sorry to hear about your friend and how it's still affecting you. I've never lost someone to suicide so I can only imagine what that was like. I've just recently gotten through a winter season of my life myself and I'd like to hear more about what's going on if you're down to talk.

Either way, sorry you're feeling depressed and I hope that how the world is reflecting you means that things are getting better.

[–] turkey87 1 points 1 points (+2|-1) ago  (edited ago)

A lot of women prefer the young wiry look. I was that look at that age. Some muscle on me, but mostly your typical tall+lean guy. I've never considered myself attractive, if I ever have been to anyone well from a personal perspective there's always awareness of what needs to be improved, so to self always unattractive. I think it's this way for most people, whenever I would feel attractive it would be because of how attractive a woman expressing interest in me was.

Alcohol and nicotine, both of which I don't often consume otherwise. I'm going to be slowing it down here though, or cutting off entirely.

I don't think I look outwardly successful at all. My life is kind of a mess, beyond this being a "friend's suicide" dip, there are other factors making me depressed, but they alone wouldn't make me behave like this.

I haven't really considered trying to engage in the flirting. I get the visceral response I think any straight guy would get when attractive women make their interest very apparent. I've had some basically go from unknown stranger to right up against my body smiling at me like we're boyfriend/girlfriend as first contact - when I was younger I'd roll with it (it meant they were letting you skip a lot of the flirting process before anything physical was granted is all), these days I do my best to act like nothing happened. Any time these flirtations have been extended when older people are around, they give me real crappy stares like I'm doing something criminal for inspiring that flirtation. This has been happening in a wide range of versions of dress, which I only bring up because often people would be like "Well what is it you're putting out there?" Tank top and shorts on a really hot day. Tank top and jeans on a cooler but still hot day. Leather jacket, comic book hat and blue jeans. Went out dressed like I was going to a Saturday night church service. Went out dressed like I was going to a traditional Sunday morning church service. Was going out with hair that needed to be cut and like two weeks of unkempt growth (I don't grow a beard really though), then buzzed my head and shaved and was going out. I keep getting the same social feedback. It's futile I guess but I thought I'd be able to change it based on the "outfit" and maybe find one that made me invisible.

I have a decent amount of experience with women from my youth (some great some truly awful), plus hearing about friend's dealings with them. I'm not sure what I'm trying to say to that end. I suppose the gist of it is that I'm trying to avoid getting involved with other people, while knowing it's a little hypocritical because I'm out in highly social settings, but the intent isn't sex or friendship. It's really therapy from substance use to try and do something with this thing that's making me need to do it.

My friend's suicide, well, people say you can't blame others for your problems and I don't mean it that way. I'm not mad at him either, although what I'm going to say may make it sound like I should be. But he's the reason I started drinking a lot and ever got into drugs, though I don't necessarily think all my drug experiences were bad. Again I don't know what I'm really trying to say here, it's like compared to how I used to be (alcohol free aside from grad party where I only drank because I felt I had to, and definitely drug free despite having been able to access multiple times when growing up if I had wanted to), it was a healthy clean guy to "alcoholic drug addict". I wouldn't have considered myself an alcoholic or drug addict, but that's the social problem with these, even if they work better than "cleaner" avenues (because meds definitely did not help), a lot of people cast a lot of judgment on it.

I don't socialize a lot anymore and that might be why most social responses I'm getting right now seem weird. I did get some bullying in school though and am not unaware to social pressures, which is why I feel like something is going on here and wanting insight because I'm rusty. If I smile at someone I have any interest in and they smile and wave or say hello to me, I nod wave or smile back. Maybe they just frequent these places and they know I am new, so are pulling my leg a bit.

I did have another weird one though where I went someplace I hadn't been before just to have one beer. People were chatty when I was buying it, but for some reason when I was walking back to the bar to return the empty glass. I could hear the buzz of them talking, but then when I got where they could see me it was definitely weird, they all shut up at once and some of them were just staring at me as I put the glass down and then left. Like my presence hit a mute button for some reason, it was really weird.

I sometimes wonder if people are pissed at me because they couldn't help me when my friend killed himself, and that treatments couldn't help either. Like I'm maybe a reminder that if something bad happens to your life even if carefully crafted, that's it, you're done, nobody can save you.

I'm a really weak person. I don't really like having people get to know me because once they tune in to this I get chucked quickly. If I confess this as a fear early in a relationship, people say they aren't that way, but then when they find out I'm weak that's how it goes. Human nature is what it is.

Honestly at my age, being out drinking alone isn't going to look good anywhere. Maybe they find it amusing just because they're wondering what kind of life I had to get me in this position. If things had gone better - say my friend didn't kill himself or I could have handled it better - I'd be your average sort of happily married career-oriented guy. My life is a mess and there is really no solve anymore.

I had a really bizarre life experience a couple years ago. I kind of fell out for a while. I've investigated a lot of areas in life looking for meaning and I've long since come to the conclusion there isn't one. It's disappointing. And it seems like all people do is argue about that. Like that's all life is. People arguing over nothing. It's depressing.