One of the songs I heard on the radio this morning – courtesy of the rather marvellous Sean Keavney on the equally marvellous Radio Six Music – was one of my guilty pleasures: The Pet Shop Boys, Being Boring. If you’re not familiar with the song all I’ll say is that I suggest you acquaint yourself and leave it at that. I should confess to having something of a soft spot for the Pet Shop Boys (it’s a camp thing I think), but beyond that, the song has always resonated with me partly because it’s sad and sad always resonates, and partly because ‘being boring’ can be an outcome of depression for me.
I was a shy child and I grew up to be a shy adult; that’s just my character, and it isn’t much of a problem for me in normal circumstances. When I’m well, shyness is an obstacle I can overcome fairly easily – I can get out to do things and socialise, I can even, on occasion, bring myself to try new things and meet new people. But when I’m not so well, the low mood and shattered confidence I experience exacerbates the problem to epic proportions. I suppose you could say that the two things – shyness and depression – come together to form a perfect storm. Here’s why….
When things get bleak, I don’t like myself very much at all, and to be fair, my company sucks. That’s barrier number one – if you can’t bear to be with yourself why on earth would anyone else want to spend time with you (not an altogether illogical thought process). After a little while with my dark passenger on board, I start to resemble what my mum would describe as ‘death het up’. I’m not eating well and I’m usually not sleeping so I look tired and drawn. Being bothered about my appearance is beyond me and even getting a haircut is a challenge too far so I also look dishevelled and worn around the edges. That’s barrier number two because I don’t want anybody to see me like that, or for that matter think that I’m really like that (this one not quite so logical, granted). Barrier number three is the big one for me, because eventually I lose all interest in the things that usually interest me. Put bluntly, I don’t actually have anything to say apart from ‘life is unbearable for me right now and I wish I was dead’… not much of a conversation starter, eh? So, for me, all of the barriers seem to conspire to knock what is already a slightly fragile sense of confidence and increase my shyness tenfold.
By the time I’ve landed in my pit it really does feel like the only thing I can do is stay there and hide for a little while because I didn’t have the confidence to do the things I was doing in the first place. All of which just makes the barriers bigger and more difficult to break down. The challenge, of course, is to do something about all of this.
We’ve already established that I’m a little shy so I think it’s safe to say I’m not taking up speed dating any time soon. Some things, however, are more realistic and I’ve started by devising myself a couple of good old lists!
Three things I need to do:
- Visit my friend and her new baby
- Get a hair cut
- Make a new Spotify playlist
Three things I like doing:
- Walking in pretty places
- Wii Fit
Three things I’d like to do:
- Join a book club
- Get a manicure
- Join a gym
Finally I’m armed with some achievable lists and I can forget about the other things that crowd my thinking for a little while. There are lots of things I could do, but right now, these are the things I’m working towards. When I start pulling them together, I’ll be socialising again, taking care of myself and maintaining some interests. Feels like a plan. I’ll let you know how I get on….