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Faking normal


Stickler
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Was thinking about that...

I have to make sure I don't talk out loud to myself at work.

I do that everywhere else because that kind of ups my volume over everyone else talking in my head so that I can focus on my Front-stuff and get it done.

 

Sometimes I say "I need to do blahblahblah", and sometimes I say things like "We should get some chocolate chips, I think?" when at the grocery store."

Yes, we talk at the grocery store.

Sometimes I blurt out "I LOVE YOU!" because I'm getting an intrusive thought of something from my past that was exquisitely embarrassing and that I'm ashamed of.  That's how I blot those damn things out, by saying I LOVE YOU! really loudly.

 

All this is bad juju for work.

 

 Would be even worse if I/we worked an armed post...because yeahhh, who wants an armed lunatic on the jobsite?

Never mind that we are quite tuned in to reality and perfectly (in fact, uniquely) capable of protecting people and property...the two words "armed lunatic" is enough to do it for most people.

 

So it's work to rope it in.

 

Questions:

 

(1)Are you able to fake normal?

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

(Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

 

 

 

 

 

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(1)Are you able to fake normal?

Yes, I try to fake it as much as possible. 

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

Body language, tone of voice, facial expressions. Using small talk and smiling at people so they won't say I'm rude. 

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

5 - 10 (Today was a 10, too much social interaction poops me out and I still have to keep going - moments like today is when I just want to crawl in a hole and not say a word). 

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Questions:

 

(1)Are you able to fake normal?

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

(Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

 

1.  Yes.

 

2.  Self-control.   Also just knowing all the questions I would get if I didn't fake it, I do anything I can to cover my behavior so I don't have to answer to them or I am not avoided.  It usually happens differently every time, depending on the person and situation.

 

3.  Depends.  Sometimes it is really easy, but with some people it is harder to do.  Every person I deal with reacts differently to my mood/s, so I have to be fake sometimes really hard, or it's really easy.  Just depends on the person.

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Questions:

(1)Are you able to fake normal?

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

(Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

 

1. I think so - most of the time. I've had a friend ask me point blank "so... there are three or four of you...?" I'll take that over the dozens that actually comprise us. When I told Fuzzy about the DiD he said "well, that explains a lot." So, while I think that I can be quite normal, clearly things are slipping through the cracks that I'm not aware of. My mother doesn't see it at all.

 

2. I whisper to ourselves, rather than talking out loud. Sometimes I slip and use "we" (or "nous" in French) and then when pressed have to do something like count my co-workers or the number of people in the room around me. I take breaks. I try to stay solitary. I don't like being around people even though I enjoy being social for a while.

 

3. It depends on how hard it is. As mentioned the sadder or more distressed I/we are the more difficult it is. Right now I'm in a place where work is mostly okay (we see work as being a bit sacred) but outside of work is disaster.

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(1)Are you able to fake normal?)

 

I used to be really good at this. Now, since I had my psychotic break a couple years ago, this ability seems to be borked, somewhat. I can still (mostly) hold a polite "how's your mom'n them" kind of conversation, but only if it's brief. I tend to lose track of things and go off on tangents. I used to be able to corral that, or at least shame it into silence, but it seems to have escaped my control. Or maybe I'm too depersonalized to mind that particular gate latch as vigilantly as I used to. On my worst days, I don't dare go anywhere alone, and when I do go places I have both headphones in so that I don't hear people who call my name. It's better that way. 

 

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

 

1. I tend to derealize in conversation, out of sheer anxiety. The derealized "automaton" self, what I think of as my version of Big O, is absentminded (because its mind is actually absent, how about that), but jocular about it. I have an entire false persona in place that is almost a different person than I actually am. I joke, ask about friends and family members, etc. 

 

2. I rarely go out alone. I often go with family members whenever they take trips, and pick up what I need while I'm with them. Having others around helps keep me from shouldering the entire burden of the conversation, especially if it's a sister with me. Both are gregarious. 

 

3. I keep conversations brief. I often say, "I have someone waiting for me," and since I usually travel in a pack, this is accepted.

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

(Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

 

 

Shit...I'd say a 5-6 on a good day. That is, difficult but doable. On bad days I don't care how bad I need cream for my coffee, I'd rather stay home.

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(1) Yes. I would consider myself exceptionally good at it. In particular I am good at seeming okay when I am not okay. I had to learn how to do this as a child, and do it constantly, under threat of death. I have a great deal of practice.

 

(2) Lots. Body language, inflection, facial expression, tone of voice. When you smile, you have to crinkle your eyes or people subconsciously recognize that it's a fake smile. Ever since I was little I've spent a lot of time watching the people around me and carefully mimicking how they react to certain situations. I consider this an invaluable tool in pretending to be normal. 

 

(3) It's not. It's, depressingly, usually much harder for me not to fake it. It's so completely ingrained in my way of being around other people that I can't really turn it off when I want to. It is very difficult for me to express any emotion organically. I'm not really sure I know how. 

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I do the "talking to myself" in the grocery store and other places too. I sometimes refer to myself as "we" too. Even though I think there's only me in here. I guess I'm used to thinking of myself as being in pieces. I talk to myself like there's someone listening.

 

Am I able to fake normal in public?

Yes, I guess so. I'm not that good at it. I have a reputation as a space case that I know people talk about when I'm not around. I can have small talk with people or have coffee together.

 

What covering behaviors do I use?

I've studied facial expressions and lie detection. I feel bad but I use those techniques to help myself. I smile. I try to remember details about people I should know. I let them do most of the talking. That's probably the biggest.

 

How hard is it to fake?

I don't really know. Faking is a second nature to me. Getting caught at the grocery store by someone I know drains me though. I'll say it's somewhat difficult, based on the physical strain alone. I don't pay much attention to the stress responses of the body. I don't always notice the physical signals of stress. But I guess...anywhere from 4-undoable, depending on a lot of factors. If it's a day where I can't handle it, I usually didn't even go out of the house. I might still be sitting at my kitchen table. On a 4 day though I still get out. I just might not remember.

 

That's not that helpful, I'm afraid.

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(1) Yes. I would consider myself exceptionally good at it. In particular I am good at seeming okay when I am not okay. I had to learn how to do this as a child, and do it constantly, under threat of death. I have a great deal of practice.

 

(2) Lots. Body language, inflection, facial expression, tone of voice. When you smile, you have to crinkle your eyes or people subconsciously recognize that it's a fake smile. Ever since I was little I've spent a lot of time watching the people around me and carefully mimicking how they react to certain situations. I consider this an invaluable tool in pretending to be normal. 

 

(3) It's not. It's, depressingly, usually much harder for me not to fake it. It's so completely ingrained in my way of being around other people that I can't really turn it off when I want to. It is very difficult for me to express any emotion organically. I'm not really sure I know how. 

 

 

^^In bold.  Holy shit ... I thought I was the only one who had learned to do these things since childhood.  Thank you for wording this because I couldn't have explained it myself.

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I have to make sure I don't talk out loud to myself at work.

 

Sometimes I blurt out "I LOVE YOU!" because I'm getting an intrusive thought of something from my past that was exquisitely embarrassing and that I'm ashamed of.  That's how I blot those damn things out, by saying I LOVE YOU! really loudly.

 

All this is bad juju for work.

 

 

So it's work to rope it in.

 

Questions:

 

(1)Are you able to fake normal?

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

(Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

 

I know exactly what you are talking about.  I live in constant fear of blurting something out at work and in other situations.

 

Ironically when I am alone it is actually worse as I know I can blurt this stuff out whenever I want and I just walk around my house talking things to myself and stopping what I am doing and don't get anything done.  Then sometimes I will get really loud to the point where the neighbours might hear so I feel worse.

 

I don't blurt out "I love you" but i have a bunch of other stuff I commonly blurt out (often swear words) when I get exactly as you said, an embarrassing and intrusive thought from past about something I was ashamed of or when someone was unkind to me.  I also often physically stop what I'm doing and stand there with a stupid expression on my face or with my eyes closed or whatever.  Super embarrassing.  

 

When I am out in public or at work, I can "fake normal" a bit by "thinking" instead of saying (eg running through a list of rhyming words in my head that I might feel like saying, but not saying anything), I also can also often manage to substitute something "acceptable" for whatever bizzare thing I might be about to say (such as swearing at my PC, which my colleagues sometimes do and is OK, although I have had comments that I "sit at my desk swearing like a trooper" but better than "talking  like a madperson").  Listening to the radio when driving or walking helps a touch to prevent the talking too more so if it is music that I actually like.  Other times I focus on something that makes me very angry to stop the talking to myself which is not healthy but if it helps in a bad situation I try it.  Turning down the volume of the words to a whisper in public also works for me, I shout them when alone! Driving is the worst thing for me as sometimes I actually close my eyes against the thoughts and words.  But I don't know what to do to cope with this better.   

 

I would say it is very hard to "fake normal" and is exhausting.   

 

My therapist thought my talking to myself was "normal" and I shouldn't worry about it. Well I know lots of people that talk to themselves but they don't say bizzare things, make up words, and have their lives ruined by the problem (as far as I know).  I also don't know anyone who actually stops dead in their tracks what they are doing to say something?  Who knows what is normal I guess.  Sometimes I think the therapist says that it is normal because they think it will make us feel better.

Edited by eee123
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Questions:

 

(1)Are you able to fake normal?

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

(Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

 

1. Yep.

 

2. Make up. If I've been depressed and haven't been eating well or sleeping right, I tend to look like death and that's enough to get questions right out of the house. I hate how heavy make up makes my skin feel, but blush is my friend when it comes to covering up the zombie. I tend to do a lot of praying in my head on particularly anxious days. For racing thoughts, too. When I used to get really manic, I would count to twenty between speaking up in a conversation to keep me from hogging the floor.

 

3. Right now, I'm pretty stable, so one or two. On a bad day, maybe a five, excluding panic attacks/psychotic episodes. If people ask me if something's wrong, I usually just say it's my blood sugar dropping and they don't question it.

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(1)Are you able to fake normal?

yes, most of the time, if i am able to take breaks and hide

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

smiling, smiling, and more smiling.  appearance is crucial - hair done, makeup, the whole thing (even if i'm just wearing jeans).  always being able to turn the conversation back onto the other party.  having stock answers ready for everything i can't be honest about.  sense of humour, willingness to make fun of self before others get a chance.

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

i can't turn it off on purpose.  if i'm not doing it, i'm most likely trying and failing.  it is nevertheless an incredible strain.  it happens almost naturally since i learned it very young - but it still makes me exhausted and the more i do it, the more likely i am to become unstable.  thus the lack of employment - i can fake it GREAT, but i can't do it day after day without breaking down.

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1) faking normal:

 

yes if it's a sub-culture normal

i.e. weird-normal, nerd-normal, artsy-normal, academic normal

(make any sense?)

 

We can do brief

(up to an hour or so)

interactions of 

Expected Southern Social Normal

(exhausting, lemmetellya)

mainly by 

letting the other party/ies

speak All About Themselves

and

asking open-ended questions

 

2) covering behaviours:

 

um

i think i inadvertently 

said some already:

open-ended questions in social situations

having lists for tasks

taking iPod with Us always

taking J with Us nearly always

polite listening look on face

(that makes)

(Us sound)

(a bit horrid, doesn't it?)

 

3) strain to fake normal:

 

got any log-log (graph) paper?

a quadratic equation

might suffice as well

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 Even though I think there's only me in here

...I thought there was only me in here for 38 years...

When I was starting to realize that inner child work was going in a VERY unexpected direction...

I was typing to someone in an IM chat "I don't think I'm multiple."...

A voice in my head shouted "YES, YOU ARE!"   :blink: 

 

 

...We were arguing in a Kroger's recently, b/c we're stressed.

Joy kept demanding cookies and I/Katherine were like, No...fruit, veg, good stuff...

But we caved and went for the peanut butter and jelly, at which point we had to argue aloud about jalapeno versus raspberry jelly and what brand of natural peanut butter

...Then a motion activated ad machine started talking to us and we pointed at it and said "SHUT UP!"loudly.

 

...A moment after doing so, we realized there was a lady beside us trying to pick out jelly.

 

"Sorry," I said,"I have to act sane at work, it takes a toll on me."

She nodded. "Gotcha."

 

This uncomfortable moment in a supermarket brought to you by the letters DDNOS... :blush:

 

There's another coping habit BTW. Humor, joking about your slipups.

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Food stores are my/our downfall. There's something about them that makes us turn into something that we're otherwise not. This to the point where I bike 12km one way to go to a tiny community food store where enough people know me from other places that it keeps me grounded. Because otherwise we'll wander the aisles for hours, long enough to see shift changes, arguing. 

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Food stores are my/our downfall. There's something about them that makes us turn into something that we're otherwise not. This to the point where I bike 12km one way to go to a tiny community food store where enough people know me from other places that it keeps me grounded. Because otherwise we'll wander the aisles for hours, long enough to see shift changes, arguing. 

yes yes yes.  having R with me and a list makes all the difference in the world.  it still isn't fun, but it isn't nearly as nightmarish.

 

Stickler, the using humour as coping is huge for us.  it's a very important part of how we cope with anything and everything.  out loud, we use a lot of self-deprecating humour and intentional hyperbole so that we don't sound like "drama" if we have to say something unpleasant.  internally, we're always striving to find the dark humour in whatever we encounter.  it helps us take things less seriously and god knows we need 10000mg of THAT daily.

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Questions:

 

"(1)Are you able to fake normal?"

 

Yes.  It sits somewhere between social camouflage (because dealing with people who can't handle difference is even more hard work) 

and courtesy (some move to meet people's expectations makes life run a bit more smoothly.  You know, like that "putting clothes on" thing)

This is  not just submissive conformity.  I choose.  And there are limits..

 

"(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?"

More eye contact than I'd normally prefer.  Trying to stay focussed on (or at least aware of) the other person's values and priorities.

Sometimes that's a real conscious "theory of mind" exercise.  Trying to see things from inside the other person's head.

 

"(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?"

Very variable.  At work I used to have a professional persona I put on together with the white jacket.

But there is always some drain.  Very rarely is being with people recharging.  It's always tiring even when fun or worthwhile.

Recharging I do alone.

It's a continual set of "away matches": very rarely does the other person make shift to come and play on my home turf, where I'm at home.

With exceptions.  The staff at work learned and accepted that if I was listening to you with my eyes closed that was not an insult displaying rejection or boredom, it was a sign that I was *really  listening* to the point of not doing anything else.

On the other hand people who would be comfortable joining me in  a conversation in the dark have been few and far between.

 

How much this costs or hurts is very much related to fatigue. So under more normal circumstances I just needed recuperation time.

Now, with my chronic fatigue syndrome, the energy spend for live interaction is largely out of the question,

 

Chris.

 

Like, I'd say, probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest...BUT that's when not depressed.  If depressed I may not even be able to fake normal)

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I have been working on faking normal for what seems like my entire life

 

 

I observe the people around me and try to behave as they are

 

I kinda keep myself behind a curtain in  my mind 

 

sometimes I blurt out random things - but they are usually humerous  so people just think i'm weird   and kinda silly   I dunno  it kinda works for me at times

 

I try to remember to keep positive facial expressions

 

I've trained myself not to outwardly react to what is going on in my head

 

I can't work cause I can't hold it up for that long anymore 

 

but I can muddle through appointments and social interaction

 

 

maintaining "normal"  through working hours   was taking too much of  a toll on me

 

 

no one could notice anything was wrong - but it has also become a hinderance my ability to blend in and appear normal   - cause my current pdoc   does not take me serious

 

but I do not know how to switch off

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I have been working on faking normal for what seems like my entire life

 

 

I observe the people around me and try to behave as they are

 

I kinda keep myself behind a curtain in  my mind 

 

sometimes I blurt out random things - but they are usually humerous  so people just think i'm weird   and kinda silly   I dunno  it kinda works for me at times

 

I try to remember to keep positive facial expressions

 

I've trained myself not to outwardly react to what is going on in my head

 

I can't work cause I can't hold it up for that long anymore 

 

but I can muddle through appointments and social interaction

 

 

maintaining "normal"  through working hours   was taking too much of  a toll on me

 

 

no one could notice anything was wrong - but it has also become a hinderance my ability to blend in and appear normal  

 

I can totally relate to all of this.

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(1)Are you able to fake normal?

yes, most of the time, if i am able to take breaks and hide

 

(2) if so, what covering behaviors are involved?

smiling, smiling, and more smiling.  appearance is crucial - hair done, makeup, the whole thing (even if i'm just wearing jeans).  always being able to turn the conversation back onto the other party.  having stock answers ready for everything i can't be honest about.  sense of humour, willingness to make fun of self before others get a chance.

 

(3) how much of a strain is it to fake normal?

i can't turn it off on purpose.  if i'm not doing it, i'm most likely trying and failing.  it is nevertheless an incredible strain.  it happens almost naturally since i learned it very young - but it still makes me exhausted and the more i do it, the more likely i am to become unstable.  thus the lack of employment - i can fake it GREAT, but i can't do it day after day without breaking down.

 

 

 

Everything on here is true for me.  Except the employment issue, because my employer knows I"m nowhere near normal and still hired me.  It's awesome, but scary.

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