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This is not my idea of a good time

Imagine you’re walking down an abandoned street in a town you’re unfamiliar with. It’s night; there are a lot of alleys off the street you’re walking down, and there are noises in the alleys that imply there are people down there. The noises sound menacing. You hear a scream off in the distance; a portentous chuckle not too far from where you’re walking. People whispering from one of the openings ahead.

What emotions are you feeling right now? What is your body urging you to do in this situation?

Most likely you’re not seeing this as an fun adventure. Your fight-or-flight has kicked in. Your startle reflex is high. You want nothing more than to be out of this place; your heartrate is up, thumping away in your ears, your nerves are jangling, you’re attuned to every little thing around you, ready to jump at the slightest noise, touch, scent.

You want out. You might walk faster to get out of here; if you’re really freaked out, you might run. If you know you’re going to have to be in this situation, in this place again, you’re going to probably avoid this street, and you’re going to go another way, or stay home altogether.

Now: imagine something so much nicer.

A party. Everyone’s wearing nice clothes; there are frosty beverages, but no one’s really over-imbibing. They’re just drinking enough that the conversation’s flowing and there’s a lot of laughter. People have gathered into small groups, two, three, four or more; everyone’s very happy, talking a lot, if there’s music playing, it’s low enough in the background that it’s not distracting. Every now and then someone’s voice spikes up over everyone else’s in a laugh or a joyous cry. Snacks on the tables, never a long wait for the bathrooms. It’s a good party. It’s a party everyone would like to be invited to.

How does this make you feel? What emotions? What’s your body telling you to do?

Calm and happy; you’re having a good time, you’re among friends, you’re relaxed and safe. This is a good place. This is something you look forward to for weeks. This is something everyone likes. When this ends, people are already talking about when and where the next one will be.

What, exactly, is wrong with someone, then, when the second scenario creates the same emotions as the first one does? (Or – and this is even better – the first scenario is LESS SCARY than the second?)

The thought of a party like this causes an increased heartrate, sweaty palms, and an upset stomach; actually having to (heavens forfend, and only if you really, really can’t avoid it) attend one means you spend the days leading up to it in an heightening state of panic, characterized by the inability to sleep, headaches, and nerve problems (such as jumping about two feet in the air when a coworker taps you on the shoulder when you’re not expecting it.) Once you’re there, you’re the person in the darkened street. You’re in fight-or-flight mode. You’re sure everything is out to get you (including yourself; everything you say/do/are is wrong, and you’re a total embarrassment to life.) If there’s a room no one’s in, you hide in it, but someone always finds you. Mostly what you do is sit very quietly, like a deer in headlights, and hope no one sees you. Or talks to you. But they always do. And usually in that pitying “oh, this poor dear, she’s so lonely and sad and pathetic” way.

This is social anxiety, kiddos. No, it’s not just “being shy” or “hating people” or “not being good at parties” or whatever. It’s social anxiety. And it sucks. Like, sincerely, sincerely sucks. Because going into a social situation is, to those of us who have this, to me, akin to going on live television naked, and the studio audience consists of my high-school nemesis/bully who is screwing my current-day crush. While they both talk about me meanly. And laugh. (DAMN, but they’re multitasky.)

Here’s one of the (many) things that sucks about social anxiety.

You are constantly having to defend yourself. Because no one believes you have it.

Yes, I have trouble going to parties, and actually haven’t been to one in years because of it. But also, yes, I am active on the internet, and can function (albeit somewhat nervously) in smaller social groups, or (even more strangely) larger groups of people I don’t know at all. And I SEEM like I’d be a lot of fun! “Amy!” people say. “You must be SO MUCH FUN TO HANG OUT WITH!”

If I know you really well, and it’s just a few of us or just the two of us – yes. I’m a barrel of friggin’ monkeys to hang out with. If we’re at a large party, I’m in a corner trying not to vomit. I am not fun. At all. I am not HAVING fun, and I am not fun to BE with. Sometimes I’m crying. Why? Because no reason at all. Fear. Nerves. Straight panic.

“Oh, well, you could be having fun if you TRIED harder!”

No. I couldn’t be. Because my brain utterly will not let me; it shuts the hell down. Or, I suppose, goes on overdrive.

“Well, maybe you just need a drink. That helps everyone.”

Yes. That helped me for years. I was a HELL of a lot of fun when I was drunk. It helped me forget I was afraid of social situations. And then I realized it was helping me right into early alcoholism, and I refused to lean on a crutch that was actually less of a “crutch” and more of a “thing I needed to both get out of bed in the morning and get back to bed at night.” The crutch became a wheelchair and the wheelchair was threatening to become either that thing they strap Lecter into when they want to take him out into public, or a coffin. Either way, probably best to walk away from that crutch before it bludgeons you into the inability to function, right? Right.

I get severe stage fright having to talk in front of groups; however, I can act in front of people with no problems in the least.

“THIS MAKES NO SENSE!”

Actually, it makes tons of sense. If you’re acting, you’re using someone else’s words. People are judging your ability to act, and that’s it. There are also (usually) other people on the stage for them to concentrate on other than you. If you get in front of a group to talk, be it to give a speech, or present something, or to read something you’ve written, or what-have-you, people are not only judging you, they’re judging what you’ve written. They’re judging a LOT of things. That’s terrifying.

When people HAVE seen me in social situations, I seem like I’m fine. I’m not rocking in a corner; there are stories floating around about having seen me at parties functioning, being friendly, funny, and fine. Therefore, I must be lying about this, and just don’t want to attend parties because I’m a terrible human being and/or a huge bitch.

Well, both items in the latter might (eh, fuck it, they sometimes are) be true, but just because you saw me being personable ONE TIME at a party doesn’t mean inside I wasn’t petrified. I’m a very good actress. I can pretend to be someone I’m not, if I have to. I can pretend I’m not petrified; I can bite back the tears (and the vomit.) I can tell entertaining stories and I can laugh and I can be engaged in what you have to say. And the minute, THE MINUTE, I wave my last wave and am all, “Oh, my, yes, we will HAVE to do this again!” and drive off, I’m a shaking mess, and no, we don’t do it again, because I was LYING to you. I was NOT having a good time. I wore the mask of someone having a good time. While you were enjoying yourself, I was working. Does that sound like fun to you? Because it wasn’t. Not even a little. I’m tired, and I want to go to bed and cry a little, ok? And why the hell would I want to put myself through that AGAIN?

I really, really thought this would get better as I got older. In a super-fun (in a not-at-all-fun way) twist of fate, it’s gotten worse. To the point that I sometimes get paralyzed at the thought of these things. I have a wedding to go to, and I just found out there’s going to be at least an hour of socializing before the food gets served.  Now, I was cool with going to the ceremony, going to the banquet hall, eating, then immediately leaving so I didn’t get sucked into the drinking/dancing/having to make small talk part of the evening. I attempted to plan ahead. It’s how I handle these things. I specifically asked if there would be downtime before the food; I was specifically told no. I assume I was misunderstood, or perhaps I misunderstood the answer.

I’m therefore leaving right after the ceremony. I’m pretty sure no one will notice. A lot of people will be there. I’ll just walk like a lady with purpose. Maybe people will think I left something in my car. It won’t matter; by the time anyone notices I’m not there the night will be in the wee hours, anyway.

I am furious about this. Not at the setup of the wedding – that’s probably how weddings work, I’ve only been to a few in my life, my friends tend to live in sin rather than make it official – but I’m furious at MYSELF. I’m furious that I can’t celebrate my friends’ special day with them like everyone else who will be there. I’m furious that I have a broken brain and I can’t make it behave for a few hours so I can make nice and go to a damn wedding reception. I’m furious that people think I’m making this up because I don’t WANT to be there. Because it can’t be an actual PROBLEM. It’s easier to just think I’m an antisocial bitch, not someone standing outside the pretty party wanting so, so badly to go in, but it’s like there’s a force field around it: one, that, if you crossed it, your entire body would rebel, and you’d start panicking, freaking out, getting physically ill.

This is an illness that takes lonely people and makes them MORE lonely. So it nicely goes hand-in-hand with depression. What are you going to become if you desperately would like to connect, but your brain just won’t let you? Well. I’d think depressed, probably.

I also hate feeling out of control, and I hate hate HATE feeling weak. And this makes me feel both of these things. What’s wrong? Oh, nothing, being around people makes me have a panic attack, like a Victorian lady swooning on the couch, is all, I’m getting the vapors, where are my smelling salts. I hate complaining to my friends; I feel like in doing so, they will run screaming for the hills because ANNOYING. Why the hell can’t Amy have a NORMAL problem? No. SHE IS SCARED OF SOCIAL GATHERINGS. Shun the nonbeliever. Shunnnnnn.

I like being the strong one. I like being the no-nonsense one. I like being the one all “I will solve that with COMMON SENSE and also a little SPIT AND WILLPOWER.”

I am quite aware I need to go to the doctor at some point and get some Xanax and maybe some therapy. The last time I attempted to do this, the therapist told me the only problem was my attitude and to get more sleep and exercise and THAT was dismissive and shitty, so I haven’t been back. I’m sure there are good therapists out there. I just have this thing where, if you fool me once, shame on you, but if you fool me twice, well, that won’t happen, because I’m long gone after the first time and you’re dead to me. So therefore, all of therapy is dead to me. I realize this is not the best way to approach life.

I’d love to give you some sort of pithy ending to this, but I don’t have one, other than this, I suppose: please, for the love of Pete, stop being a dick to people who have actual problems THAT YOU CANNOT SEE. The depressed person isn’t just “sad” and she will not just “snap out of it.” The person with social anxiety isn’t “antisocial.” YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN SOMEONE’S HEAD. Stop judging them. Everyone has something they’re dealing with. Either help them or get the hell out of the way, but don’t make it WORSE.

That’s all the pithy ending you’re going to get out of me. I’m tired. My body’s been on high adrenaline for days in a row. I’m like a sniper waiting for the target to step out of the treeline. AND THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF A WEDDING. I just want to sleep for a week.

Also, I think it goes without saying that none of the rest of you can get married, or, if you do, you need to livestream that shit because it’s just way too stressful for me to attend. As it’s all about me. Me, me, me. Me, the antisocial bitch who hates everyone.

Back to watching the treeline for those damn targets. It’s exhausting, but my brain tells me we’re nowhere near done. You can’t just walk away. You never know when that wily badguy will step out of those trees. And when’s a brain ever been wrong, I ask you?

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

52 responses to “This is not my idea of a good time

  • A Pope

    You express things so amazingly. I got through the socializing of college on liquid courage and was just able to stop before I got into a situation that could kill me. Afterwards (older and drier) I would hope there was a small child or animal I could relate to…

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I still hope that, sometimes. I’ve spent plenty of parties with the pets. Or cleaning the kitchen. Cleaning the kitchen is good. You’re doing a nice thing! And people leave you alone because they think you’re insane!

      Like

  • elaine4queen

    Well, you know, not ‘like’ as such…

    Remember when the military buzzword was ‘surgical strikes’? I adapted that to a load of different scenarios. Started with surgical shopping, and then mutated into surgical visits. It’s quite handy to have someone you are in cahoots with about these things. It doesn’t always work, because one person’s surgical is another person’s eternity, and because one person can get stuck in something… but the idea is solid and it has worked for me in the past, and it’s you go with someone else who wants to keep it short, the first person to want to leave goes to get the other one, they have kind of open season on blaming each other, or have an excuse about having promised lifts, and the exit is made.

    Of course I don’t go to things now. Pretty much at all, and when I do I usually have Ten and maybe Poppet as well, and it’s fairly well known that I will be needing to leave and Ten will gather me up. Sometimes I don’t know how much my pathetic short visit into the world of normal has cost me until we are 5 minutes away and I realize I can hardly walk I am so drained.

    Like

  • innyganker

    Reblogged this on In an Indian Week and commented:
    There are times I would love to be able to express just what having social anxiety disorder feels like to those who do not have it. Lucy’s Football has done exactly that. Thank you Lucy for doing such a beautiful job describing this!

    Like

  • innyganker

    I have tried so hard over the years to explain this to people but have never been able to so accurately. Thank you so much for sharing this! I totally just reblogged you.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad it resonated with you! (Well, not GLAD, because it means you’re experiencing it, too – but glad I could put words to what you’re feeling.) Thank you for reading!

      Like

  • Samantha

    You have expressed this so well. All I can say is that I know just an inkling of what you’ve written, but it still resonated with me greatly. I think you are brave for writing this and that it can help others know they’re not alone in how they feel in those kinds of situations.

    Like

  • ksbeth

    best of luck to you, i understand and hear what you say. have you read the book, ‘quiet’? it’s about the world being made up of 2 kinds of people, introverts and extroverts. interesting.

    Like

  • Kelly Naylor

    (1) I love how you got into my brain, but I want to know how you did that. That bit about acting… no really, people, Kel is ONE HELL OF AN ACTRESS! I should have All The Awards.

    (2) I’m already married and I don’t ever plan on doing it again; you’re safe there.

    (3) Apropos of #1, I should try to get our video recording dude to record the “mingling with the audience after singing” part of our concerts, because… wow, All The Awards! Of course, then I’d have to do a running commentary over the video of what all the voices in my head are saying, starting with Real Me who is berated by The Others for being a sissy. Hey, there’s a reason The Others exist, and it’s a good thing I can write their stories out instead of… oh, I don’t know… developing multiple personality disorder.

    (4) And now I need to harass the video recording dude for his failure to actually record the video portion of our concerts. You should be able to watch them from the comfort of your own home with Dumbcat. Hmm… livestreaming. Now, there’s an interesting thought… it would need to be a fairly private affair for special people only, since we really do sing better when there are live human bodies (and some of them might be aliens, but I’m cool with that) in the seats in front of us. But I kind of like the idea. And former CPS members who’ve moved out of state would like it, too.

    (5) It’s funny (in the weirdest possible way) that I’m totally the Real Me when I’m on stage singing.

    (6) Lately (i.e., since 27 January 2013), I can’t trust my brain, because I never know when it’s right or when it’s wrong. I’ve been spending more time listening to The Others than to my brain, but I feel like I can only trust it when it’s telling me this way of coding a function is more efficient than that way of coding the function. But you can probably trust your brain. In fact, most people can probably trust their brains. And it’s good that I can recognize that I CAN’T trust my brain, right? Right.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I think most people can trust their brains…and I know I can, MOST of the time. (And I know when I can’t…so part of my brain’s still functioning, even when the rest is going haywire.) So I think you’re good if you know you can’t trust it. It’s still working, on some level.

      The people that can tell when I’m acting like I’m ok and when I’m really not ok? Those are my people. The people that think I’m having a good time when I’m just acting like it? Those are everyone else.

      Like

  • Mer

    I can relate so much of this. Love you!

    Like

  • grrgoyl

    I used to be this. Used to hate parties, dread them. I remember I got invited to a fellow lesbian’s house, full of people I didn’t know except for her, and spent almost the whole night hiding in the bedroom crying to Tery on the phone. Going to things with Tery helped me get over this, although socializing is still physically and mentally exhausting to me. The irony is, Tery is an alcoholic, and now that she’s sober she avoids parties (triggers) and I’m the one trying to drag her there.

    We do have friends who are a couple and we had a game night, just the four of us. INSANELY fun, and I actually felt energized and high as a kite as we drove home. That was the first time socializing didn’t utterly drain me, and I was amazed.

    The worst is the people who see you’re alone and think they’re doing you a favor by talking to you and trying to pull you “out of your shell.” No, you aren’t helping. I’m perfectly fine on my own.

    This was well written and well articulated, though from you I expect nothing less.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I could totally do a game night. It’s something to DO. It’s just the aimless socializing I can’t do, you know? I feel useless. I feel like I’m going to screw up, and that everyone’s looking at me, even though I KNOW they’re not. (Game night sounds awesome!)

      Thank you – I almost didn’t publish this. I forced myself to schedule it then ran out to work this morning because (ironically) publishing a piece about anxiety gave me all the anxiety.

      Like

  • cynthiaw

    Ugh… I feel your pain. I can tolerate party situations only if I’m with my husband and then I’m like some kind of lichen clinging to a rock – if he wanders off or ends up talking to someone else, I’m going to totally freak out and hide in a corner. Or find ONE poor soul who I can latch onto and then spend the whole night talking to him/her. Like you, I used to be able to do a decent job at parties if I drank enough, but I really don’t like drinking. And I have no tolerance anymore.

    People think that it’s odd that I’m a teacher – I’m around people all day. A. I KNOW them. B. I’m in charge of them. C. I’m PERFORMING, not really interacting in a social way. Parent nights are a complete and utter nightmare for me – I’m okay during the presentation part, but terrible during the informal talking to people part.

    Also, my principal gets mad at me every year because I decline going to the school board dinner that they put on to “thank us” for our service – it’s in the middle of the week, involves a social hour before the dinner part, and I’ll be laid out with a migraine for two days after. She also gets mad that I don’t go to the auction dinner that the school puts on to raise money every year – again, it involves (even more) socializing before the actual dinner and I’ll end up in bed for two days trying to recover from the strain. Sorry – neither of these things involve my actual JOB, so I don’t see why I should have to suffer from extreme anxiety in the week leading up to them AND suffer physical pain in the days after to do something that I don’t want to do anyway. Gah…

    I’m already married, so you don’t have to worry about me. If we ever do socialize in person, I promise that it will just be the two of us and we’ll go on ADVENTURES and visit weird Texas places.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      YES. I totally get that, too – I can deal (better, at least) if I have a person. But that person always leaves at some point, because who wants to hang out with just one person all night? And then I’m adrift. And want to run away. Too scary.

      Adventures are ok. Two people are ok. LARGE PARTIES NO NO NO. Ugh, socializing. (I used to be able to make nice, if I had to, at the theater, but I’d have to steel myself up for it ahead of time, and tell myself, “this is your job, treat it like a job, go in, do a job, leave, YOU CAN DO THIS” the whole way. And it kind of was – the nicer I made, the more donations/repeat business we got.)

      Like

  • Charleen

    I get it. It sucks. I don’t think I have it as bad as you, because I’ve only ever had two full-blown panic attacks in my life, and neither was actually because of a party… although one was right before (possibly at least partly because, but really who knows) I had to go to work, when I was working retail and hated having to deal with customers. Of course, in that case my social anxiety was taking something I already hated and making it worse… which sucks, of course, but I think it’s worse to take something you legitimately want to do and make it so you can’t.

    Could you go to the ceremony, leave, sit in your car for an hour reading or something, and then come “late” to the reception, just in time for dinner? Or would that just be even more awkward and not worth it?

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I actually CAN do the things I don’t want to do. (I just don’t want to do those – like work – because I want to sleep. Heh.) But yeah – the tough part is definitely the things I want to do, and just can’t. That’s so hard. It’s infuriating.

      The wedding has come and gone. I did actually think about that – sitting in the car for an hour or so – but it was hot, and the parking lot was practically on top of the venue, so people would have seen me, and that would have been weird…plus EVERYTHING in me, utterly everything, was screaming “GET OUT GO GO GO!!!” So I just left. As fast and quietly as I could.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    The problem with panic attacks is that they’re not logical. Or they are, in so far that they follow a logical pattern and can be predicted, but what I mean is that they override your logical part of the brain that knows full well that this is not a life-threatening situation and keep on insisting that it is. And no matter of reasoning is able to convince it that is not. Fear triumphs logic.

    I’m sorry you’re suffering from panic attacks. And you’re right: it’s an invisible ailment and therefore difficult to explain to others. Especially since people suffering from it are trying very hard to hide it. But this post has explained it very well. So the next time people wonder what’s wrong, you only have to give them this URL. That’ll do it.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You assume people I know would bother to read this many words about anything. “Sum that up for me in a sentence, Amy?” “Sure. Parties plus me = panic attack.” “Thanks! That’ll do!”

      You totally get it. And you KNOW I like logic. (Well, I like to be silly, who doesn’t, but logic always trumps silly with me.) So when my brain’s being silly, and I can’t get it to stop, I get SO ANGRY at myself.

      Like

  • DogsDontPurr

    *hugs*
    I know exactly what you mean. I absolutely detest going to parties alone. And if I actually muster up the courage to go with someone else, that person has strict instructions to stay by my side at all times. It’s awful.

    The only thing that helps get me through, is to think up some talking points ahead of time. I’ll try to find someone who looks interesting or easy to talk to, then start asking them questions about them self (people love talking about themselves!) Maybe I’ll start the conversation by complimenting them on a piece of jewelry they’re wearing, or compliment their shoes…anything like that gets the conversation started. Then I ask how they met the person who is giving the party, which usually leads to asking them about their work, etc. Then the questions/answers conversation keeps itself going and…boom!…instant friend to cling to.

    I try and plan/think this scenario through before the party, then focus on carrying it out. Often this technique gets me through because I’m so busy with my plan that I forget to be freaked out. Of course, it doesn’t always work, but it does help a little to have a plan like that.

    Good luck. Take care of yourself and know that you are sooo not alone. There are quite likely several other people who will be at that party who feel exactly the same way you do. Just maybe, you might find one of those people and click with them….and you can rescue each other.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. Most people I know genuinely love parties (they’re theater people) or drink enough that they do, or if they don’t, have meds that MAKE them like them…so since the first two options are out for me, I’m looking into the third.

      (Your plan is a very good one. I’m impressed you can just talk to people! I could never. I don’t know that I’ve ever started a conversation with a stranger in my life. You are EXTREMELY brave and possibly my new hero.)

      Like

  • becomingcliche

    You were so brave to go out even though your brain told you not to. You win!

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! My friends who got married – they’re really special to me. I really didn’t want to miss the wedding. Although I equally just wanted to run home and hide under the bed. (Or in the pots and pans cupboard.) At least I got to see the ceremony – that was the important part.

      Like

  • Krysty

    Totally understand. I have anxiety disorder so my normal state is one of barely concealed panic. I can handle parties if I know no one will talk to me, but parties where I’m expected to mingle? Nope.

    The idea of spending extended time with other people frightens me. Even just sharing a ride with a friend I’m not very close to can make me panic so I end up babbling because I don’t want people to think I’m odd and closed off.

    The weird thing is I’m a teacher. I can teach. I can talk in front of forty students. But if a student comes up to me after class and talks to me I get really awkward and try to avoid these situations as much as I can. I tell them to email me instead.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I am an incessant babbler in those situations, as well. Mostly because I think people will think I’m weird if I DON’T talk, but then I can’t STOP talking, and in my head I’m all “shush shush STOP STOP TALKING WHY ARE YOU TALKING NO NO NO” but I can’t stop. Utterly cannot.

      Like

      • Krysty

        Exactly! I end up looking like more of a nut, which was what I was trying to avoid in the first place.

        Like

        • cynthiaw

          Oh god – the babbling. I do it, too. I’m a storyteller and I have a set number of party-appropriate things that I can talk about/tell a story about. And I will babble and launch into the next one if it’s quiet for too long. Like more than a few seconds.

          And the voice in my head will be screaming “shut up, shut up, shut UP. You’re talking to much – ask the other person about themselves and STOP TALKING!” But… I still keep talking. The result is that other people think that I’m either a. a stand-up comedian b. a complete lunatic or c. that chick that never stops talking and should be avoided at all costs.

          Sigh.

          Like

          • lucysfootball

            Most people seem to be charmed by the babbling, so I’m safe…but in my HEAD I’m all “GOOD GRIEF WOMAN YOU ARE OBNOXIOUS!” and my head’s louder than the people who are being nice about it.

            Like

  • peteonsport

    Reblogged this on Pete On Sport and commented:
    This is a great post on social anxiety, something that I have suffered from for years but always struggled to describe to other people. This sums it up better than I ever could.

    Like

  • Heather

    Although I don’t have social anxiety (at least not to this extant), I am much more comfortable with a small group than I am at large functions where I don’t know half the people. For the few days leading up to a large event, I’m super nervous and bitchy and all “Do I HAVE to go? Isn’t there SOME WAY for me to get out of this?!” A large party/whatever just never sounds like a good time to me. Especially if there’s alcohol involved. I don’t do well around drunk people unless I REALLY trust those people (long story), so a room full of drunk people I don’t know makes me Anxious Alice (sweaty, shaky mess). Ugh.

    [hugs]

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Agreed about the drunk people. Drunk people are loud and unpredictable and I am not at all comfortable around that (maybe once; not anymore.)

      Stupid parties, anyway. WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP HAVING THEM.

      Like

  • Brain In Overdrive | Miss Four Eyes

    […] This is not my idea of a good time […]

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  • lucysfootball

    WordPress is being a doucheknuckle and won’t let sj comment, so here’s her comment. This is not a workaround I approve of. FIX THAT SHIT, WORDPRESS. Seriously, some people have been having problems with it for OVER A MONTH.

    sj’s comment:

    I read this the other day but was having commenting trouble.

    It’s funny what you say about putting on an act. I feel like I’ve been putting on an act most of my life so that people don’t know just how paralyzed I am by having to be around other people.

    Even now, my dad is always asking if I don’t miss working and/or socializing and the answer is always NO! I do not miss that, I was always a giant ball of stress and I HATE THAT.

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  • b.h.quinn

    I spent 9 years at the same school, from kindergarten through the eighth grade, and then I got into a highly competitive, but large high school where I didn’t know anyone (well, I knew five people, which is not a lot in a class of 200). Out of the three months I “attended” the school, I was only in class for about a month.

    My parents, being loving and wanting me to graduate from school at some point, pulled me out (although they kindly kept my seat open for three years) and put me in the same school several of my friends had gotten into with the same size class I was used to and… the same thing happened.

    It turns out that I had (have) a somewhat severe form of social anxiety known as School Avoidance Disorder. Yeah. Try to explain *that* to your teachers/counselors/professors.

    It means that while I’m of a high intelligence, I’d panic going to school and class. I needed to have a strict routine and several systems in place for when my panic would be too much for sitting quietly in class (which meant I was in my counselor’s or the campus minister’s or the vice-principal’s office sobbing). I also refused to do homework for absolutely no good reason. So… I had perfect or near-perfect standardized test scores and I nearly failed out of school every year until I left my high school my senior year to go to another one.

    My social anxiety is pretty minor compared to the school-related anxiety. If I know the majority of the people, I’m perfectly fine and my normal self. If I don’t, I either fake it and panic later or I’m clinging to whomever I know best. My boyfriend’s friends all thought I was an adorable, shy little flower of some sort until one of them said something incredibly stupid and I was obliged to make him cry like a small child.

    I haven’t been on medication for any long period of time (the one time I was on meds other than beta-blockers, I ended up very depressed and unable to sleep). Depression is still an issue, but that’s not completely unexpected. I’ve had some bitchy friends and not graduating from college (yet, I hope) with my IQ makes me feel more than a little inadequate.

    There are a few tricks that I’ve learned that have helped me when the anxiety’s encroaching, although I tended to find my own ways of dealing with it instead of the ways that were prescribed. I’m not sure how much of an overlap there is, either, because I was usually okay once I was in class.

    (I am very sorry for the length and confessional nature of the comment, but it is 2:30 AM, I’m still feverish (those damn kids) and I do not believe I am thinking straight anymore. So… I’m going to beg your forgiveness, hit enter, and run off to bed. Sorry.)

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    • lucysfootball

      Never apologize. As long as you’re not being a loony (which has happened) or a spammer (I just delete those) you’re always good to comment away. That’s what they’re for!

      Also, screw feeling inadequate. Sincerely. You know what college gets you? A load of debt and 99% of the time a diploma you can’t use. The best thing I got out of college was the friends I met there. Otherwise, I wasted a lot of money. I learned some things, but I’m not convinced I couldn’t have learned them elsewhere for free.

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      • b.h.quinn

        A good deal of my friends from high school turned out to be not-so-very good friends and we have since ditched each other. The friends I retained are of the mind that they are petty and selfish, so I should not worry and I will be fine whenever I decide to do whatever I want to do.

        I have two years of college down, but I didn’t know what I wanted to major in when I finished them and I refused to pay money for something that I might (and probably) would change in my senior year. Luckily, I’ve decided on a degree that works for what I really want to do (write stories) and gives me a possible career. It is also not-to0-expensive. Yay.

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  • mfennvt

    *hugs* I’m sorry you struggle with this. I do, too, to some degree. I can do parties, but I don’t like them. I can’t make small talk (little conversations) to save my life and tend to latch on to one person (usually my husband) like a leech. And afterward, I’m exhausted. Speaking in front of people is almost impossible. If one of my new stories gets accepted, I may be invited to do a reading with other authors in the anthology. The thought terrifies me.

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