(I think I wrote this in about 2008)
(I wrote this just after discovering love shyness and wrote it as an ‘idea’. Now I do not believe this explains most love shyness, though it may have an effect on some people I suppose. I also have discovered, since then, that I apparently suffer from love shyness.)
Here’s a thought:
I have a theory that might explain some cases of love-shyness perhaps. Whether it’s true or not I don’t know. I am no expert.
Let me first say that I don’t know if I am love-shy. Some of the symptoms don’t seem to fit me that well. I think I have something that appears like love-shyness and it may be a type of it. It’s true that I do tend to be shy around girls in general and am reluctant to ask girls out, but I don’t think it’s any worse than a lot of other guys. The problem I have is more that I don’t associate with girls much (nor do they associate much with me) even though I’d like to. For most of my life the female seems to always be absent. In fact, it was in my mid twenties, I think, that I started to joke about having a girlfriend called ‘Consistently Absent’. In my life the female has always been Consistently Absent, they are simply never there. I always complained how they never seem to be anywhere. I guess it was when I was about thirty that I began to notice that I didn’t seem to notice them. I see them but I don’t NOTICE them. Other guys would say to me, “look at that girl over there”. I’d look and shrug my shoulders as if to say, “who cares?” Guys joked how I didn’t seem to find females interesting. In my thirties I developed nicknames for females: Shadows, Ghosts, Blanks, Non-Entities, Unpersons. It just seemed like there was noone there. They seemed like images walking by. I described it this way: If you look out you see images, a picture, a table, a chair, that’s what the female was like, just an image. There’s nothing that makes her stand out from a chair usually. Sometimes I compared them to a life-size cardboard cutout.
Secretly, I yearned for a relationship. I can’t tell you the pain this has caused in me. But something seemed missing to me, like there was some big gap somewhere that prevented it. I compared it to a railroad. Let’s say one of the rails is missing between me and my destination. I could yearn to be at the destination down the line but I can’t get there if one of the rails is missing. The train is stuck on this side. This is the strange sense I had – I was ‘stuck’ here.
All this has mystified me for years, but something happened that may have given me a clue . . . perhaps.
For most of my twenties and early thirties I was a nervous wreck. I felt I had an anxiety disorder. About in my mid thirties it changed to depression. It got really bad. In fact, I told myself I would not put a loaded gun in my hands. Fortunately, we found my blood pressure was a little high and so I had a physical. One of the questions the doctor asked me was about depression. I told him I was depressed and I had suicidal thoughts. He gave me a drug called Zoloft which is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that allows the electric charge to pass from one neuron to the next. Not enough neurotransmitter in some parts of the brain can cause psychological problems.
Naturally, I didn’t feel depressed anymore but a weird side effect happened, one that I cannot find in the drugs side effects.
Several weeks after starting Zoloft I went uptown and found the girls looked so DAMNED PRETTY (normally I don’t notice them). I was amazed by it. I marveled at how pretty girls were. It was like a high. Everywhere I turned there were these pretty girls. It was not a lustful attraction, I found, but more of a marveling. I compared it to looking at a work of art. It was like a light was shining on them. I also compared it to one of those commercials where the product is in color and the background is black and white. They somehow STOOD OUT from everything else, like some magical thing. I can imagine what I look liked as I looked at these girls. I’d watch movies and look at paintings and seemed to fall in love with many girls that are in them. I did have a crush on two girls during this time (the last time I had a crush on a girl was probably over 5 years before – I’ve only had a crush with one in the 5 years since). A friend of mine pushed me to ask one out, and I went and asked the other on my own. Both said no (of course).
Another doctor changed me to Celexa, I think it was. I didn’t notice much of a difference, though I think it seemed that it wasn’t as pronounced with this new drug.
After about 6 months I could tell that the drugs were giving me an artificial calm so I decided to quit taking it (I don’t feel it’s good to take drugs for long periods of time). Several weeks later I went uptown and noticed the girls seemed blah and not that pretty. Who cares? They lost their magic. They no longer stood out. They seemed to blend into the background with the trees and the buildings. I thought that was peculiar. I went to look at the girls in the painting that I fell in love with and they seemed dull. It mystified me how I was marveling how pretty they were just weeks before and now they seemed like nothing. It was weird.
Several weeks later I went uptown again and came back home. It occurred to me that something seemed to be missing. As I thought about it I realized I hadn’t even noticed any girls. I wondered if there were any up there at all. They disappeared. I was right back to where I was before I started to take Zoloft and Celexa. I still don’t notice girls that much since then. That was about 5 years ago. To be frank, for most of my adult life I could care less about girls . . . So What! . . . though deep down I wanted a relationship.
Because of this I jokingly called Zoloft and Celexa the Infatuation Drug, as they seemed to make me infatuated with girls.
Recently, I began to look at this phenomena, as females still seem Consistently Absent to me. I still wonder where they are.
I began to question the influence of SEROTONIN in this. It struck me how the SSRI’s effected me. After some research I found out that I do have some symptoms of Serotonin Deficiency Syndrome. This syndrome seems rather fuzzy as a disease and I’ve heard conflicting views as to what symptoms are caused by this syndrome. Depression, anxiety, and insomnia are common symptoms, for example, but can be caused by other things. I’ve also heard of Sexual Dysfunctions (which aren’t clarified), Attention Deficit Disorder, and even Shyness as a symptom.
From what I learned about Serotonin I began to take 5-HTP as an experiment to see what would happen. 5-HTP is an over-the-counter supplement pill you can get at health stores. 5-HTP is metabolized into Serotonin and increases Serotonin in the brain.
The change isn’t as pronounced as the anti-depressants but there was a change at first. I began to notice that girls seem more ‘there’ to me, like there’s someone standing in front of me. They aren’t quite the dull image they normally were. I’ve found a tendency to find them more attractive and pretty. Some girls have become VERY attractive to me. I think I could “fall” for them easier. I seem more willing to associate with them.
After about a week of taking 5-HTP I went to Sears with my parents where we talked to one of the sales girls there. It’s hard to describe. I could feel her ‘presence’. She seemed three dimensional and, at one point, I had this weird desire to reach out and hold her. I wanted to talk to her. I could feel a desire for some relationship (but she was too young). Normally, I wouldn’t of cared. As I walked around I noticed girls all over. When we walked out I thought to myself, “there are sure a lot of pretty girls in Sears”. This is from a store I’ve been in many times and never noticed the girls. I knew they were there but never noticed. I didn’t realize all this til later as I reflected on it.
Girls seem more alive to me, more animated. They often STAND OUT. If I walk somewhere its like I can sense them sometimes. Normally, I’d not give them a second thought. Their giggling and talking seems more alluring, almost enticing. Most of the time I never noticed.
I also noticed that I often have this odd sense that I’m being looked at. When I look up I see a girl looking at me who quickly looks away. I’ve never noticed that before. I never considered myself good looking or anything. Maybe they think I am funny looking or something?
I also feel like I’m more willing to do things and not so reluctant and downtrodden. I seem more outgoing. I keep saying that I feel like I want to “do something” like “go out and yell”. This is quite a change from how I’ve felt for most of my adult life. I also feel more ‘chipper’ overall.
Unfortunately, this seemed to last about a month and it all disappeared after awhile and it was like I wasn’t taking it anymore. I probably needed to increase the dosage but, as I said above, I’m apprehensive about taking drugs for too long.
It’s all so weird. All this just for increasing a common neurotransmitter in my brain!
If you look at my past, and the results increasing Serotonin did, everything seems to point in a certain direction: that I, as I often say, “have a hard time seeing girls”. It seems that I may have a deficiency in a certain part of the brain that makes it so I don’t “see” or “notice” girls that well. In short, that part of my brain that makes girls “stand out” just isn’t working that well. Because increasing Serotonin levels seems to change things I’m inclined to think this part of my brain uses Serotonin as a neurotransmitter. By increasing Serotonin levels that part of my brain works more effectively and normally. It seems to make me “see” or “notice” girls and find them attractive and appealing which increases my desire and willingness to be around girls. This naturally leads to relationships.
When this isn’t working, as it seems to be in me, I may want a relationship but, because noticing girls is hampered, nothing happens. It’s like driving a car. You may want to drive it but there’s no way to drive it if you don’t have a key. In other words, if the first step in a process is missing you cannot continue to the following steps. This dilemma has created this horrible frustration and pain which has plagued me for much of my adult life. I want to but something seems to prevent it from starting. I’ve always complained about that.
I compared it animals. For a lot of animals to mate they have to have something ingrained in their brain that makes the available opposite sex “stand out” from all the other images in their sight. Some animals would have to have something like this as there’s only one every so many square miles. If there’s a lot of them they would have to be able to tell which one is which. This ability would have to be ‘preprogrammed’ in the brain. What if this part of the brain is not working effectively? It’s certainly conceivable that this happens. Would they be able to find each other?
Could this be the problem I have?
I wondered if this weird condition made it appear that I was love-shy (or maybe it’s a type of love-shyness?). Because I don’t “see” or “notice” them that well I don’t pursue them at all or find them interesting. I don’t “move” toward them, so to speak, so it appears as a shyness or bashfulness around them. It literally stops me in my tracks and prevents me doing anything. It makes it almost impossible to start a relationship even though I want one deep down. The result of this tension: a horrid pain that I seem helpless to. As a result, I act like a love-shy guy and what happens to love-shy guys ends up happening to me. I had so little involvement with girls that some people have questioned that I hated girls, was scared of them, or was gay. For a number of years I questioned it too, wondering if what people said was true. I came to the conclusion that they were wrong and looked for other answers, which is where I am today.
It seemed that by taking drugs that increased serotonin this problem was reduced. I get the impression that my case, if it is indeed true, is rare. I’ve never heard anyone speak of the symptoms and conditions I spoke of above, but I’m also not any expert in this sort of thing.
Could this problem be a type of serotonin deficiency problem?
Is this a type of love-shyness or something else altogether?
I don’t know.