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There is this person, L, I worked with for a year or so and got to know. She's a giving, gentle person who's got yards of kindness. When she started working, I helped her out because she was well suited for the job, but had some issues getting the hang of some of the systems at first.

 

I've been for coffee and lunch and such with her a few times, just hanging out. I am horrible at small talk and actually relating to people, because I'm basically a recluse who doesn't "get" how to do the human socializing thing, but she doesn't seem to mind overmuch. The thing is, she is social, and has had other friends out on these outings as well, introducing me to them and such. Now these other friends are also sending me texts and friending me on Facebook, because I didn't have the guts to say no to the phone number exchange.

 

I know this is how being social works, but fuck, it terrifies me. These people want to know things about me. They know about me when I'm not there. They know things, like that I have A THING about table manners and being polite, and that I'm allergic to makeup, and that I like nail polish, not to mention the thousand or so nonverbal things I'm sure I project, and my brain is saying who knows what else they know? This is unacceptable. Being seen is horrible. It is freaking me out, to the point where I'm doing the no-appetite dread thing for days before I have these outings. And they seem to be becoming more frequent.

 

One of the things we talked about the last time was anime. They were talking about Hellsing, and I mentioned in passing that I hadn't seen it. They told me a bit about it, whatever, conversation, great, fine. Then L invited me over to her house to watch it with her this week. It should have been fine, because one on one is normally something that I can do, if not necessarily enjoy. But I cannot do this. My brain is, full stop, refusing. I'm resorting to escapist tactics I haven't used in months.

 

I know it's stupid to lose sleep over this, but being seen is my worst fear and the thing I've avoided for the longest. The longer I know someone, the worse it is: I feel increasingly hunted and unsafe, and eventually paranoid. I've kind of started to get the hang of this not being paranoid thing, and I have to say I prefer it. I don't even like doing this. I don't get any fulfillment or happiness from it.

 

The last thing I want is to hurt this woman, who's gone out of her way to make me feel included and talk about things that I know. But I don't know if it's appropriate to tell her what's going on, or if that will just make her feel hurt anyway. I should have told her long before this, and I'm kicking myself hard for ever being nice in the first place, which I am pretty sure isn't right either, not to mention pointless.

 

I'm sorry I've gone on so long about this. I would usually go to tdoc for this stuff, but I don't have her now. I'm looking again. This shit is so stupid, and I get so tired of it. I have no idea how to approach this, and I'm afraid I'm going to pull a disappearing act and hurt someone who doesn't deserve it.

 

edited because I ramble on

Edited by Mim
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Is there any part of you that wants her to come over and watch the movie?  Or is this a "no go" situation?

 

It sounds to me like it would be good for you to allow her over.  Good practice and good for your head too.  

 

 

I've been staying with it under the same hope that perhaps, if I stay with it, I'll get some sense of enjoyment, or impetus to stick with it and keep trying. This is a good group of people, as far as all the ones I've spoken to so far, and I think if I were going to try this with anyone, it would be they.

 

I feel overwhelmed and I'm not sure this is going to be a good idea at all, honestly. I feel like I'm approaching my "no go" limit. Part of the problem is that I'd be going over to her house. For some reason, it's easier when she's over at mine, but that's not doable at this point, because violent anime + my three year old nephew is a combination neither of us is really okay with.

 

I appreciate the advice, Phoenix, thank you. :)

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She sounds like a nice person who enjoys your company. Maybe you can clue her in on your social anxiety, or the fact that you are an introvert who finds it difficult to socialize, and let her know that at times it is too exhausting for you but that it's not a reflection on how much you enjoy her company. I don't think there's a need to brief her on your entire MI picture, but I think many people would relate to someone being "shy" or socially anxious. I agree with Phoenix though; if there's a part of you that would like to enjoy her company or that of her friends, it might be good practice now and then. But this sounds very painful for you, and I sympathize with how difficult it is. I gather so from your sig, but you're not on any benzos that might help you with the worst of it?

Edited by Unstrung Harp
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I think I need to clue her in, and try my best to explain that "it's not you, it's I." She may know I'm not all together, because the job where we worked together was one where I had a bad mood episode and quit suddenly. She may not be surprised, or not completely.

 

I keep trying the social thing, hoping to eventually trigger whatever enjoyment I'm missing, but I don't "get" the sense of happiness or fulfillment from social contact that other folks seem to. Perhaps it's anhedonia? I'm not sure.

 

To be honest, I'm doing this more as a survival mechanism than for any real enjoyment. I know basic social skill is something I need in order to function among people, and even though I don't like it, and I don't get anything out of it, all the pros I've talked to, especially my therapist, who was a bit obsessed, have told me it's really important and that if I find the right group it'll help. I'm the one without insight, haha, so I'm trying it. I'm getting the "how," at least intellectually, but the "why" is still problematic. Given the combination of getting no pleasure or happiness from social interaction, and anxious avoidance/paranoia, this has been...uphill.

 

Thanks, Harp. I appreciate you relating.

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I ended up giving her a call, telling her that I couldn't do this one and was thinking of lying low awhile because I wasn't feeling well. She asked what was wrong, and I just said anxiety issues and that I didn't want to give up completely, just needed to slow up a bit. She took it a little personally, but I don't think it ended badly. I'm not sure. Time will tell I guess.

 

Thanks again for the suggestions and support.

 

I didn't intend to ignore the benzo question, I'm sorry. I don't take any; I haven't asked, and my doc hasn't offered. I've thought about it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just finished talking to L again, and she, of all things, apologized for not being in touch with me because she's had some of her own stuff going on. We talked a little, and the air is clear between us. We have a good understanding. 

 

So thanks again for the advice. :)

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