Posts tagged social anxiety
Posts tagged social anxiety
I said, “Can I ask where you got that bread” to a guy standing in line at the pizza place. And I also made non-committal affirmative responses when he explained the bread. I even made eye contact for like 1/5th of a second!
I’m not sure I’ve actually done that much this whole entire year, so go me. Plus I’m totally set till, like, June of 2014 now.
(Background info: the farmer’s market that’s by the pizza place, and my work, is only on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the nearest grocery store is about 2 miles away. So a dude with a loaf of fresh bread in line at the pizza place really is worthy of some kind of interaction.)
And about a million other decisions exactly like this, only with slightly (VERY slightly) different details.
I came home to find a bunch of stuff - a reusable shopping bag filled with library books, a neoprene tote bag with some random soap and things in it, and a box with some, like, foam padding inside - outside my door, on the stoop I share with my RIGHT NEXT DOOR (like literally you can’t open her door and mine at once) neighbor.
And I totally did the following:
1. I tried knocking on her door (she one time forgot milk outside, so technically this isn’t the absolutely horrifically terrifying thing it would be with any other door in the neighborhood)
2. I went into my house, got a piece of paper, found tape, and wrote a note to my neighbor that included my name and my house number. I taped it to her door (!!!!!)
3. I picked up all the stuff (!!!!!) and took it round back to her patio and OPENED HER PATIO DOOR (!!!!!!) and put the stuff actually in there, like even under a table which required moving things around and more than just hovering over the edge into the patio, AND I EVEN COVERED THE STUFF WITH A GARBAGE BAG which means she’ll have to trust that it’s not a bomb or a horrible trick or whatever (in her shoes I would probably have to call a friend to open the bag, but I bet she’s less scared than me, since nearly everyone is less scared than me.)
I was absolutely shaking after all of this; normally I feel worried just looking at their patio in general, and they also have a dog that could have theoretically been outside (yeah, scared of dogs in particular too.)
And the whole time I was seriously fighting off the desperate urge to drop everything and run in my house and pretend I hadn’t seen any of the stuff.
I think that if the weather people hadn’t been promising rain all day, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. But there were books, and I have actually spoken to this person once or twice, and she was happy when I gave her the milk, so.
I just hope it doesn’t end badly. :(
The challenge: ask someone at church if I can hang out with them at some point.
(Yes, really, this was my homework. It was ALL of my homework. It took me from April 29th to today, to get myself up to actually doing it. This is the first time I’ve asked anyone to hang out, other than my sisters, in something like eight years.)
Today I had to talk with and interact with about a dozen people for four hours, and participate in many sustained conversations. This was… challenging. Especially the eye contact and the shaking hands.
I got home feeling like I was about to crawl out of my skin, and eventually had strip and then spend half an hour trying to convince myself to put any clothes back on and get back out of bed.
Oh, and all my clothes are basically contaminated and have to be washed again before I can put them on; it was a major victory to keep my socks on (and they were the second pair I wore today, and my feet are itching like crazy and I will probably take them off when I hit “publish.”)
It is seriously a victory to be interacting with the universe as much as I am right this second (typing on my PC,) and oh by the way, I can’t get myself to turn on the TV or any music or the fan over my stove (noise,) and I will have to stop typing now because the sound of the keyboard is driving me up the wall. I think the only reason I got myself out of bed was the sound of the automatic light timer buzzing.
My social anxiety/isolation plus my sister’s dysthymia and general frustration with life… sigh.
Her dysthymia manifests itself externally largely through aggression and irritability; I am terrified by demonstrations of aggression and irritability in others. I like having her over for dinner - it’s often the only meaningful social interaction I have at all in any given week - but there are many distressing moments and I keep finding myself relieved after she’s been gone for a few minutes.
(Today I only felt like crying two or three times, and it only felt like she was angry with me… five or six times, I think. This is a little better than average. I really wish she was under less stress.)
I’ve been hearing about it (and suggesting it to people) for months and months, and finally the new session is starting in my area, and of course now I’m terrified. New building, strangers, have to stay there for two hours, more people will know I’m sick, area of town I’m not familiar with, ack ack ack.
I’m trying to talk myself into making it less scary, but I’ve known for a while that this was going to require a hefty measure of courage and stuff, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make myself go even if I really am scared to death when the time comes. It helps that the person who’s in charge also leads the NAMI Connection support group that I go to on Thursdays, and I promised her I’d be there. She knows how I feel about mindfulness exercises and being touched and stuff, which really nice.
If you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, the program is described in detail here. Basically, it’s a ten-week class for people with serious mental illness, focused on recovery and living well and stuff. It’s taught by people who actually live with mental illness, which is one of the big reasons I’m interested in it; the cluelessness factor of therapists and counselors about the actual lived experience of mental illness can sometimes be very high.
The class is going to talk about a lot of things I already know something, or a lot, about, but I’m not thinking I actually already know it all. It’s fairly interactive, from what I understand, and in any case I wouldn’t mind working on things like my Wellness Recovery Action Plan with people there making sure I’m doing it; I’ve had a “working draft” for ten months and I think I’ve filled out about three sections.
One of the real benefits, I’m thinking, is that it’s longer-term in focus. The stuff we did at the hospital programs was always really short-term; how to get up in the morning and how to get yourself to do one or two things a day when all you want to do is sleep. I wouldn’t mind having a little bit more of strategic thinking for the long term.
I don’t honestly know if this will help me much or not. I don’t normally recommend the course for people who know as much as I do. ;) But if nothing else, it gets me out of my house for another day this week.
This is one of the GREAT times for a thought record. For me, thought records work better on this exact thing than almost any other time. If I’ve figured out that I don’t want to do something because it’s scary, but I know I have to do it, this is like, a sign from the UNIVERSE that it is time for a thought record.
Oh, hey, links to thought record stuff:
Today I went to my first group therapy session not in the hospital. And it was… downright survivable. I even spoke a little!
This is a really big deal, everyone. Seriously. This will impact what kinds of meds your insurance will pay for, what kinds of therapy you can get, what can be put in your IEP, whether you will qualify for accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act, whether you have FMLA protection so you can keep your job during an episode, and all kinds of stuff.