Truths

Socialization Stings

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Alright everyone, roll up your fucking sleeves, slap that hat on backwards, put on some Ice Cube and lay your car low on the ground with the white walls because I got a long weekend ahead of me, and if I have a long weekend ahead all of you have a long weekend ahead.

Why?

Because you’re going to have to listen to my shit.

The good thing is I feel alright about it.

I believe one of the major things that increases my anxiety around people is societal expectation. People expect you to laugh at their shitty jokes; they expect you to smile when you greet them; they expect you to contribute to their conversation as if you have nothing better to do in your life; they expect you not to stand there like a creeper with your eyes on the scenery behind them thinking about all the stories and ideas you could be writing about right now instead of sitting here listening to idiots talk.

So therefore, from this day on, I have decided to accept that I don’t give a shit.

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Obviously I’ve been talking about this for about a week now, about the fact that underneath the piles of crud and depression and anger and anxiety I don’t really have the desire to be the extrovert everyone expects me to be. I don’t have the desire to have friendships like your average person with social anxiety disorder. I’ve been talking about it, but I haven’t really accepted it.

Tonight I have accepted it.

I have a weird thing I do. Well, maybe it’s not weird, it’s actually part of why I spent three years being in charge of my own recovery without medication or therapy. I have the tendency to test myself and I have the tendency to constantly question why. So when I panic, when I’m anxious, when I’m around large groups of people, I don’t immediately shut down. Sometimes I revert into my head and I ask myself why. At 17 I had decided the only way I was going to get answers was ask. I couldn’t ask a therapist–I’d just fired one, and she wouldn’t know anyway. I couldn’t ask my parents–I don’t have that kind of relationship with them. I couldn’t ask my friends because hell, they can’t tell the difference between social anxiety disorder and schizophrenia. I had no one else to ask but myself. I spent three years doing that.

Why isn’t my anxiety gone? Because life gets in the way and it took me twenty years to get like this, it’s going to take some time to get where I want to be.

I was going somewhere with this, and I’ve lost it.

evil-brain-pumpkin-large-msg-128771807182Damnit brain.

I’m tellin’ you, he’s been fucking with me for a few days now. Tonight he tried to tell me I didn’t have a mouth and I laughed my ass off and I said dude, I have a mouth, it’s right here.

If you didn’t know, I talk to myself. It’s usually random and in relation to a memory but it happens often in the shower and I’ll remember something embarrassing and blurt out an insult to myself and then I shake my head and remind myself I can’t be doing that shit in public.

I do it in public often. But I whisper. If I’m in class, holly hell, I pray to God no one hears me and I ain’t the tad bit religious–I’m already that one weird girl in the front of the class who never says a word but aces all the tests, I don’t need to be that one weird girl in the front of the class who never says a word except when she’s saying random shit to herself but aces all the tests. I just . . . I don’t need that.

But sometimes the phrases are random. And tonight, I said “I don’t have a mouth.”

I laughed. Glad my boyfriend was passed out. Or else he would have given me that look he gives me when my brain does weird shit.

I also forget to eat sometimes. Anyone else do that?

Then when I do eat, I scarf it down like I’m in the army and ISIS is about to bomb the shit out of our headquarters.

Anyway, I already knew a lot of my anxiety was irrational–that’s a hallmark of anxiety. I just now remembered what I was going to talk about. Anyway, it’s a hallmark of anxiety to know your fears are fucking stupid. So when I started going out places, I’d just ask myself “why” every moment I felt anxious. A lot of the time I found no reason and it actually surprised me. Even though I knew beforehand that there was no real reason, it was a whole different story feeling that there was no real reason. Sometimes my brain would argue back and we’d get stuck in loops of conversations about all the things I had to be anxious over, but we’d always end up at the realization, and feeling, that there was no reason, illogical or logical, to be anxious.

So when I say I test myself, I mean when I’m in social situations where there’s really no pressure on me to pay attention (A.k.a, NOT class) I tend to drift up in the rafters of my mind. Tonight while I was listening to people talk in an arcade I separated my anxiety from whether or not I really wanted to enter the conversation. I stood there and stared into space and listened and really thought about this, people!

My conclusion?

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My anxiety was over whether or not I looked weird standing there not saying anything. It was whether or not I seemed or appeared normal because I don’t think I know how to do that. If I would have talked, I probably would have wondered if I sounded stupid and I’d probably feel my face get hot.

I laughed at their jokes because they were genuinely funny. I also laughed at their jokes because it would seem weird not to.

But then I dug deeper and didn’t take the anxiety into account. Did I really want to join in? Was it necessary? What as the point if I did?

And I found, in this particular conversation, I did not care to join in. I did not care if these people thought I was friendly or smart or funny.

Weird thing is some of the anxiety left. So I reverted into my own space in my head until we left.

I’m pretty good at feigning emotion; I’ve said this and I’ll keep saying it because it’s a new and exciting development minus the excitement.

So I was laughing and smiling and nodding and I think maybe I did say something, but honestly I don’t remember any of the conversation because I wasn’t on earth with them.

There are times where I do like conversation. If there’s one or two people I’ve known for a while than I can converse with an average level of emotion and I’m usually the clown of the group–I have to be; humor is the only thing I can relate to people with. If I wasn’t funny I’d be fucked. With those people I have a loud mouth and I’ll voice my opinion and I’ll be part of the group.

But do I crave that?

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I think very rarely I do. There are times I want to just chat with someone, anyone, about anything. I don’t want a friendship, I DO NOT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD want to add another person to my fucking Christmas list, I just want to talk, throw around ideas, get myself out of my head so I can prepare to dive back in it.

I spent two hours in my bed reading today and then another 8 hours working on writing projects. And I didn’t feel the need to call someone or go outside or party or anything.

I will party. I will do that, if it’s with a small amount of people and if I know the small amount of people. I can get wild.

But all in all, I really do think I’m an introvert. I used to think I was an extrovert trapped in an introvert’s body but . . . the more I think about it, the more I know I’m not.

You know how when it’s really cold outside and you have to get into a pool but you don’t want to dive in like all the freaks who just suddenly grow ten pound balls and submerge themselves in it and freeze to death, so you slowly dip your big toe in and wait to feel the temperature paralyze you and then you yank it out and wait another five minutes?

That’s how I socialize.

There really are two kinds of people:

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I’m on the edge of the pool, where I like to be, and every once in a while I’ll dip myself in the water until I feel the sting and then I hop back out.

Socializing is chore I do just to keep myself sane. Humans are social creatures and I respect that about myself. So for my health’s sake, I surround myself with other humans.

But: I’m never going to be satisfied submerged in the water.

I’ll never have ten pound balls.

That’s probably a good thing.

If you like to take things literal.

About AlishiaDee (372 Articles)
Alishia D. is a blogger, a beginning novelist, and a counselor at 2nd Story Peer Respite house where diagnostic labels and the culture of mental health is long forgotten. She's a mental health peer who has bounced through as many labels as she has doctors, and enjoys being sarcastic when she can. She also hates writing in 3rd person.

3 Comments on Socialization Stings

  1. You are not alone in talking to yourself – I am often to be found tellin myself to shut the **** up – usually when I am alone, and a lot in the car – I often wonder what other drivers make of me talking to myself at traffic lights. At home my wife is used to it, but occasionally I do it at work which can be a tad embarrassing. …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely – like you it’s usually in response to an embarrassing memory or thought – saying it aloud is like taking a bit of control back!

    Liked by 1 person

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