Yesterday I was invited to join a craft group that meet up just down the road, I’ve ignored the invite, I get invited to lots of things that I never go to, even my friends who live just down the road don’t get graced with visits. When we go to festivals I tend to stay in my tent or around my tent or find a corner somewhere, even though there are loads of fun things to do and people to see.
Lots of people take this personally, take it as though I don’t really care about them and some even think it’s because I think I’m better than them. The truth actually being that it’s my idea of hell. I love my friends donnot get me wrong, I admire all those that have a fantastic social life, that have all of these amazing experiences and see equally amazing artists, bands, shows etc etc people who meet up after chatting online .. Such as Instagram meet ups, blogging events etc etc
I am a complete social
Phobic, suffer from social anxiety. my home is my comfort zone, it’s my nest and a place where if things get too much I can take myself off to my room and ground myself. I can’t do that when I’m out, I’m trapped with no where to go, surrounded by people that I have nothing in common with, don’t have a clue what they are talking about most of the time and dread the “what do you think?” type questions, because then I have to work out the socially acceptable response. On the odd occasion I am put in this type of situation I tend to respond with an attempted joke or just shrug. Even if it’s something I feel passionate about I will not say anything because people tend to take things as a personal attack on their view or it ends up with me having to then deal with comments about being a hippie, or when around other hippies get told I’m not much of a hippie. I don’t get it I really don’t and I don’t feel welcome most places I go.
People often say that I use to be so sociable when I was younger as I’d go out once or twice a week. It’s true,I did. But would you find me chatting around a table? Nope you would find me on the dance floor, in my own world where it’s just me and the music or outside cooling down after dancing until I can’t physically dance anymore.
I do not know of a time when I did go out and socialise apart from distant memories of childhood play and let’s face it even then I was in my own world. Family get togethers Id be the one always on the dance floor or in the corner people watching.
There was a time that I couldn’t actually leave the house, not even to take myself off for a walk so I think I’m doing really well, but even now when I do go out it is for a purpose and I am so very relieved when I get back home.
Even when people come around to my home i’m often told that I’m rather quiet. I can have a houseful and not say a word for hours.
People presume I don’t like them, or that I think that I’m better than them, that I must not be interested in what they have to say or in the event I’ve been invited to. “You’ll enjoy yourself” is something I dread to hear along with “it will be good for you” because then along come the prospect of having to explain myself without actually explaining myself because most people do not understand. “You’ll be fine once your there” is something I also hate hearing because even though I know sometimes I do that feeling of wanting to be home is overwhelming. I have coping strategies for when I am out, I no longer drink alcohol when in a situation like this because once I start I do not want to stop, the need to get away from the situation one way or another is pretty much the only thing on my mind. Also when I drink all ability to monitor my reactions and what I say is diminished and I tend to speak exactly what is on my mind…. Without any form of tact in the slightest. So it is always best not to have ‘just one’
What doesn’t help is that people don’t understand and people gossip deciding for themselves the reasons why I don’t go out. They take it personally and then the truth of the situation is replaced by judgmental gossip. Usually by people who have no issue with social situations or believe it’s a choice I make.
“She’s not really your friend if she can’t make the effort” “it just shows she doesn’t care” “she’s just a fake friend only out for herself” etc etc and I know a lot of people will then presume that if any of my friends think that then they themselves can’t be my true friend. This isn’t the case it just means they do not understand.
So this is why I am writing this, as a hopeful way of explaining myself to my friends and someone out there may come across this who also feels the same and realises that they are not on their own. I know a few already, I know how terribly lonely it can make you feel and how many regrets you live with every single day because you miss out on so many things.
I’ve missed out on so many experiences that I have actually lost out, I’ve missed seeing performances where it meant a lot to those performing to of had me there, I’ve lost friends over it, lost out on not only their children growing up but also my own niece and quite possibly my nephew once he gets here not to mention my brother and his wife. I have a little brother and sister I do not see, or either my parents. I can’t even bring myself to go and see my grandma who I love more than anything in the world and all because i simply can not handle the emotional turmoil. My eldest son has his own flat and I have only been there once to help drop his belongings off.
So if you are reading this and are of the many people who have been effected my lack of socialness I can’t apologise enough. I can’t ask you to understand but hope that there is a part of you that will believe me when I say I love you. I may not meet your idea or others ideas of what a friend, sister, daughter Or granddaughter should be, it isn’t a judgment I would like you to hold about me because it isn’t true. I am not writing this as an attention seeking way or to make “crap excuses” I am simply trying to explain myself in a cowardly way, because the thought of trying to explain it to you in person is also too overwhelming for me to handle.
I’ve been this way as long as I can remember, I will always be working on it when I have the strength to and I have a feeling that this is part of who I am. I hope one day you’ll understand and believe my words over those of others but please stop telling me “it will be fine once you get there” or “what’s the big deal if you really want to do it you will” because non of that is helpful.