Archive for the ‘social anxiety’ Category

Social Dancing   1 comment

I’m getting a little tired of doing the “should I be more social?” dance with my brainweasels, and so I decided it was time to write about it in the hopes that getting it out in the open will stop the endless brain looping thing I have going on.

Here it is, in a nutshell: I start thinking about socializing outside of what I normally do (work at corporate job, work at swimming job, chat with online friends, participate in various online communities), and I realize I don’t really want to do it.  I wonder if I should want to do it.  I convince myself that there’s something wrong with the fact that I don’t want to do it…and that bothers me until I get distracted from it, and then I stop thinking about socializing until something else happens to trigger the dance again.

Just about anything can loose the weasels – a Facebook invitation to an event, a throw-away comment about someone’s vacation, my husband going to hang out with his friends, my son talking about what he’s doing at university…all of these things can open the corral and send my brainweasels racing.  It’s not a consistent thing, but it happens often enough that I sometimes become exhausted just thinking about the mental gymnastics that I may end up performing.  Because, convincing myself that it is okay to deviate from the norm in yet one more way isn’t an easy thing.

Then again, no one ever promised me a rose garden.  And, that’s good – roses are a lot of work.

If I take the definition of socializing that the people around me appear to use and apply it to my own life, I am dreadfully anti-social.  Outside of work, I rarely go out and do things with other people – I’m content to be home with my video games and my books and my love of napping on weekend afternoons.  I’d rather gouge out my eyes than attend a party most of the time, and the idea of an afternoon of shopping with a group sends me screaming and running down the hall.  But, if I look at what I do every day of the week, well, there’s quite a bit of socializing built in…and I guess my disconnect (and the reason the brainweasels gleefully chase each other) is why being with people in one setting is considered being social when being with people in another setting is not?

I have two jobs, a full-time one because I have to, and a part-time one because I want to.   My full-time job involves a 60 mile round-trip commute four days a week (I get one work-from-home day), and my part-time job involves a 1.5 mile commute three days a week.  Interestingly enough, the part-time job occurs on days when I am not commuting to the full-time job…which means that I leave my house to interact with people not of my choosing seven days a week.  Seven. Days. A Week.

In addition, my best friends (aside from my husband) are all people I originally met online…and they don’t live anywhere near me.  Seeing them is a major production that happens maybe once or twice a year (the closest is an 8-hour drive from me), so we do most of our chatting and hanging out online.  I can do some of this during my work hours, especially on my work-from-home days, but I still wish I had more time to spend with them.  Since they’re not local to me, we can’t go out and grab coffee or dinner once a week or something…and they’re the people I want to be around!

When I just read what I wrote above, my first thought was, “Wow – I am busier than I think I am.”  My second thought was infested with brainweasels shouting about how what I do doesn’t count, and that I am a sucky anti-social person…and now I am wondering about how other people see me.

I know where the brainweasels come from – I have some social anxiety on top of everything else, and it manifests when I don’t have a specific role or job to do.  That is to say, put me in a room full of people and give me a defined set of goals, and I’ll make the entire group fall under my spell.  Put me in the same room without a specific task to accomplish, and I’ll hide in a corner and not talk to anyone, or I’ll cling to the one person I do know.  This last bit is actually why I haven’t gone to as many of my husband’s shows as I’d like to – the idea of sitting with people I don’t know without a job to do makes my skin crawl and ties my stomach up in knots.  In fact, I felt amazingly guilty after the last show I attended – I watched him play quite happily, but left when the next band came on because he was recording their performance and I would’ve had to sit with a bunch of people I barely knew.  I berated myself the whole way home…or, rather, the brainweasels did.

So, the social anxiety feeds the brainweasels and the brainweasels run amok at random based on how social I am.  When I don’t go out and do things, they yell that I don’t have any friends and don’t deserve any because I don’t put the effort in…even though I know I don’t want to.  When I do go out and do things, they yell that I’m doing them incorrectly.  I haven’t quite figured out how to get rid of them: one of the points of this exercise was to exorcize some of my weasels…and I don’t think it worked quite in the way I wanted it to.  Right now I seem to be stuck on the fact that I am an anti-social sucky person who won’t even put in the effort required to make new friends.


Anyone else dealing with this?