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Can't Contribute To Conversations

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Can't Contribute To Conversations

Postby satonam » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:43 pm

I have never been diagnosed with any kind of mental disorder or illness of any kind in my life, then again, I've never spoken to a therapist or mental doctor of the sort. Ok... Once; My dad took me to some therapist ages ago and the guy said I showed signs of anxiety after sitting with us for no longer than a minute. My dad dismissed the thought and that's where that ended..

Looking back at my life from where I stand now, I can honestly say that I was depressed. I don't know how long or where it started or ended, but I can only tell now because I'm generally happier than I've ever been during my teen years. Regardless, as happy as I claim to be, there are consequences of that depression which I continue to struggle with today and it's hindering my ability to socialize with people. It's like... "The Aftermath of Depression"

I've been told that depression is different for many individuals. For me, it meant a lack of general interest in... well... everything. I have my own personal theory as to how I became depressed throughout the years despite having a wonderful childhood, but that's a story for another time. I've come to this forum in hopes to meet individuals who struggled or continue to struggle similarly, but most importantly, to meet individuals who may possess the magic words of wisdom to snap me out of this rut once and for all.

My problem is that I can't hold a conversation with anyone beyond personal experience and anything which requires nothing but my mind and thoughts. I have carried this trait throughout my entire life, therefore, I was always the quiet student that never spoke to anyone. My own mother would yearn to hear my voice but I can only manage to answer quick and short answers because I don't understand how people can talk a storm so effortlessly. People's impression of me was that I was either shy or arrogant enough to think they weren't worth conversation and debate; however, my issue is that I simply can't speak. And I know why too.

To put it into perspective, when I was in high school, I would sit in a corner and write down conversations I heard in the distance. I hoped that I might distinguish a pattern and somehow teach myself to speak with people, but it all sounded like random nonsense to me with no rhyme or reason.

As I said, for me, depression meant lack of interest. I feel I checked out of society from an early age after a chain of failures. I started getting addicted to the computer and hanging out in forums, I would play Massive Multiplayer Online games like MapleStory, binge watch anime, and even role-play fictitious characters in online forums built around a fantasy world. That was my world and I loved it -I LOVED it-, and I would be hard pressed to change it, but it was harming me and I missed my opportunity to develop social skills. What resulted was an individual with limited knowledge of the real world, profound insight in matters of the heart (so I've been told), but a very specific set of inert interests. Ultimately, I was boring, and I am.

My mother once said that she isn't as hard on my little brother as she was with me because she doesn't want him to lose "his spark", and my mother loves me and doesn't realize the pain I felt after hearing those words, but it only served to consolidate the beliefs I had carefully cultivated throughout the years.

Because I had these very specific and limited interests, because I couldn't be bothered to learn trivia -which seemed so pointless and banal to me, I don't have the "common knowledge" a young adult my age typically possesses. Back then, somehow it wasn't so obvious, but I eventually realized "You can only speak about what you know." In other words, if I want to perform better in social interactions, I need to broaden my horizons. I'm stuck trying to play catch up with society, but there are so many subjects and they are all so broad that I don't know where to begin. And now that I'm a college student, it exacerbates my problem because I can only work on these personal self-improvement goals during the summer.

I've tried to do this before, broaden my horizons, but it all feels so futile because I'm learning entire subjects that I'm not necessarily interested in, with hopes that it might come up in conversation as opposed to thousands of other topics that may ensue. Furthermore, I have to deal with the anxiety that everything I'm "learning" about will fade away by the time it becomes relevant. How can I make sure I have ingrained all this information in my mind in a way that grants me access to this social world I've been watching from the outside all my life?

I'm currently in a quasi-relationship with a girl. We mutually like each other and it's obvious, otherwise she's a great actor, but it's only gone so well because I've managed to stick to things I CAN talk about; such as my thoughts on religion, prolife or prochoice, my past, etc. But there is only so much we can talk about until we run out and I feel she'll start to realize that my topics are counted and then she'll become bored. Not to mention, being a boring person means I also can't make good jokes. If I don't have a large knowledge base, I can't make witty remarks or references, my topics are limited to serious conversations about life and personal struggles, and that's why I've gone this far.

This isn't about her though, yes, she's a prime motivator to get my act together, but this extends beyond my relationship with her. For the longest time, I haven't had a "best friend", because I lack the skills to form meaningful bonds with strangers. My social interactions are analogous to our own universe, full of planets with potential life, but mostly cold and empty space; rocks and debris dance with hopes of becoming something greater than the sum of their parts, like a planet full of vibrant life or a star, but just when it seems like something might form, it gives in and collapses -only to try again.

To be honest, I don't know what I'm expecting you to tell me. I already know the answer to my problems. Diversify. Learn new things. Expand my horizons. But I've been trying to do this and I don't know where to start nor how long until I see the fruits of my labor. How much media must I consume before I can become a capable and well-rounded citizen with insights to offer in conversation? Should I learn about taxes in case someone needs help with it? Should I memorize the names of artists like Stevie Wonder and the fact that he's blind although I'll never meet him? How many books should I read and how do I know I will have digested every piece of information to the point that I can spit it out at a moments notice and entertain the person in front of me?

And then I often times get the following thought, which may or may not be destructive: If I reallocated all of my time, effort, and determination to studying for my coursework, I might become a genius. I don't just want to be a successful guy, I want to be the best, I want to make positive long-lasting change in my community. Am I distracting myself from my goal of professional maturity? Or is my ambition distracting me from becoming a full and complete human being? Where's the balance? How do I stop feeling guilty about putting effort in ostensibly mundane things like "socializing", when instead I could deepen my understand on subjects which are pertinent to my future career of choice?

When propped against my future and my professional development, memorizing the lyrics of a song just to sing along with friends IF it were to come up, seems like a waste of time.
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