#ctmeetup and social anxiety …… and neck sweat

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This is happening — and is has been organised by the highly efficient and very talented Cindy.  She has a great post with all the bodies who will be attending.

Sounds great.  I am sure it will be better than great.  More great!!

Right?

Me?  I am feeling nauseous.  I have neck sweat and the feeling of bile sitting in the back of my throat.

I do love social anxiety.

I checked my diary –  it is the 9 August 2014 – nine days away.  Only 8 days.  I can already see myself staring at the ceiling at night wondering what hell I have set myself up for.

I am sure it will be lovely.

I am sure it will be more than lovely.

I am sure it will be fabulous.

I am sure I will trip as I walk in.

I am sure I will be more socially awkward than normal, which is already pretty sad and tragic.

I really am feeling a bit ill.

I am trying to work out whether I can write myself a sick note.

I get flushed at the thought of having to make conversation with anyone.

I called Charlotte and asked her if she would hold my hand — the entire time.  So we are going.  Like a couple.  An awkward couple.  She suggested we drink Appletizer.  I suggested she take her medication.  {no I didn’t}

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Morbid fear of social inter course ….

I must confess that my social anxiety is getting worse.  I was hoping that good sense and medication would tame it down a bit.

But jeepers creepers it is so out of control, that I should be wearing a white furry bathrobe and r0cking myself in a corner somewhere.

It is ridiculous.  I know it is so stupid, and a bit creepy actually.

I can rationalise why I should not be anxious or nervous – and it is not like everyone/anyone is out to get me – or are they…… but it does not assist the situation and my brain running off into the most bizarre directions.

My way of coping is that I block out everyone outside of the “immediate circle” I need to socialise with.

Before I go somewhere I work out who will be there, and what I will say {more or less} and what they will say {more or less} and then we go from there.  If it veers from the course I have worked out, then we are all well and truly fkd and odds are something bad will spill from my mouth …..

Add “surprise” people to the mix, and it throws it all on it’s head.  I literally “panic” like Bambi’s mother should have done before that hunter shot her.  Yes, had Bambi’s mom been a bit more socially anxious, we would have had a very different outcome to Thumper and his co-conspirators, just saying.

This weekend I have a wedding to go to.  I have a wedding I want to go to.  I really am excited to go.

Kennith is in Germany/Bolivia/Gibralta {leave the correct one) so I will be going on my own.  I need to be able to drive back afterwards, so wine is not there as a social crutch either.

Can you spell social panic?

I am so looking forward to the wedding, I am  reallyexcited {not sarcasm excited, really excited}.  But the idea that there will be dozens of people and a chance I will need to interact with them in some way, frightening the heabies-jeabies out of me.

I keep talking myself through that it is going to be a wonderful day, and I am so in love with the couple that have decided to get married, and I will be there and I am really thrilled.   It is all about them, and not about me.

But then I feel an overwhelming urge to throw up and my armpits get really moist, and I wonder if I should wear a large sanitary towel so I can feel free to pee in my pants and will, and throw up in a plastic bucket from Mr Price that matches my outfit.

It will be fine.  It will be fine.  Repeat 27 times and if all else fails, drink too much wine, and curl up in the corner with the cat.  Right?

Strange things happen in social situations …

I have a bit of a social phobia – social anxiety is probably a better term.

It has it’s ups and downs, and generally I can imitate “reasonable” functioning when I need to.

When I am going through a particular difficult anxiety/panic or depressive exercise, then socialising is very difficult for me.  I tend to want to avoid it and duck for cover.

Of course I handle alcohol like someone who shouldn’t be allowed to drink.  At all.

When I am in a socially-making-me-nervous situation I tend to drink more.  The more I drink, the more comfortable I feel.  But the reality is I do not feel more comfortable.  If anything it makes me more anxious as the more I drink then the more I worry I am about to do something socially inappropriate.

And the more I drink increases the chances of me saying something inappropriate – and often something I do not really feel, but it is what is running in my head.  Drinking = stop valve in head not working = emotional puking on the table.

There are always a stream of socially inappropriate things running through my head.  All the time.

It is a bit like having this gnawing feeling to say something, but knowing that you shouldn’t.  The more you are under pressure (because you are in a social setting) the louder the gnawing becomes and the more you just want to say something.

When I am at my less than ideal stages, I opt to go to the bathroom and then I talk to myself in the mirror.  I blurt to myself in the mirror as then I hope by blurting I can join a social situation and nod-and-smile like everyone else. Strange much?

I know it sounds grade-3-and-Sally-just-cannot-keep-a-darn-secret, but there we go.

The interesting thing was that few weekends ago I was at a birthday party.  I knew some people, was comfortable in the location, as I knew it.  But I still felt a bit out of synch.  I was quite stressed when I arrived, and I tried to calm down a bit, but I remained anxious.  It is a kids party, so really what do I have to be anxious about.  Nothing.  But that does not stop me being anxious.  Over nothing.

It was an early day thing, so I would not have my wine crutch.  Though I knew a few people, I was still nervous/anxious/stressed- and when I am nervous, I try to find a quiet place away from the crowd.  I really struggle with multiple conversations, people and trying to tune in to everyone’s social ques and it is like my brain is trying to play pick-up-sticks (remember that game) in the dark.

The day went along and it was all quite nice as parties are, it was lovely and sunny and I could sit on the grass.  I find that I am less socially awkward if I can give myself a task to do – move furniture around, do the dishes, take photographs … you know that sort of thing, so I am distracted from myself.

We stayed after the party for lunch – and again it was very nice, I decided not to drink more than one glass of wine as I was already feeling “heady” – I was just wired from the day and being in company and feeling socially awkward.

I got home in the afternoon, and I felt like I had been drinking all day – I was drained and I felt my head was woozy, and I was wrecked.

The thing with social phobia – for me – is that what is meant to be a relaxing situation becomes fraught with anxiety and tension over nothing, and by the time it is over I feel like my adrenaline has been pumping two gallons to the dozen (I have no idea if that is a term … just thought of it) and by the time I get out of a social situation, I am lie on the bed exhausted.

Years ago I did a really interesting Myers-Briggs personality test, and one of the issue was whether you are introvert or extrovert.

The focus was not whether you like people or socialising, the issue was “where do you take your energy from” – and for me anything social is totally energy sapping.  Some people move into a room full of people, and the longer they are there the more energised they feel, whilst other people (me) start edging towards the bar, away from people, then trying to find a place to lie down and go to sleep.

Again, this falls into my stuff that I do, even though I don’t always want to, I try to socialise more than I probably feel I want to.  There is value in appearing normal in main stream society, for one your kids get more invitations to play dates.

Social phobia = social pariah = alone at home = not so great after the first 3 months!

Sun on my face, wine in my glass …..

In my little journey of ying meets yang, and get a clue, I had a moment yesterday.

The kids were eating dinner, I poured myself a glass of wine, and went to sit in my back yard.

I need to explain that my backyard, is about the size of a large postage stamp. It has been the bane of my life since we moved in to our house.

I hate gardening and I hate attempting to be good at it.  The backyard quickly turned into a wind-blown, sandy and really annoying area.  Just ugly.

I am fine to shut the backdoor and not give it a second thought, but our house/property is built on levels, with the result that the kitchen looks directly into the backyard – it’s almost on eye level.  So I was assaulted by ugly all the time.

Nearly every day – either whilst putting the kettle on or off, I would grit my teeth and it irritated the crap out of me, to stare into this sand trap and then I would get angry.

Then Alice introduced to me to Roderick.  And my life changed.

Roderick is fabulous.  Roderick appears to know loads about gardens and plants.

His most significant skill is his ability to remain amiable when a husband and wife are giving him totally contradicting instructions.  He handles this with such grace, he makes me snort.

Anyway.  I blew my children’s education on lavender, jasmine, thyme, rosemary and petunias and Roderick has kindly planted them for me.

He helped plant some tomatoe plants (which I am not convinced are weeds that we have lovingly tied to thin sticks, as these plants do not smell anything like tomatoe plants, and more importantly have not sprouted one frkn tomato yet!) and he comes and lovingly assists the garden to see that it is quietly ticking over.

He reminds me when to get compost, or worm poison, or which plants I need to replant.

He makes cuttings of existing plants and plants areas I had not even known exist.  He created a fabulous garden in an area I thought was “dead area” that now has rosemary, petunias and some other stuff that smells great, but I have no idea what it is.

He has stopped rolling his eyes every time I explain I have bought more plants, and then he arrives and the plants are all “lavender.”

He appears to understand my little lavender fetish.  Or doesn’t and prefers not to judge me any more.

My back garden has become my  secret garden.  Though it is hardly a secret.  But it has rapidly become my happy place.

My makes- me-mile place.  I love sitting there.

Yesterday I sat on the step, and surveyed my stamp sized garden, wine glass in hand.

I smelt the smell of lavender, and the sweet smell of jasmine.  I sat there with the late afternoon sun on my face.

I heard the birds singing.  I was just still.  I was there.

Here is the part that was incredible.  The noise/internal conversation/the constant heckling inside my head was quiet.  It had been for a few days, I just had not noticed until that moment.

I could hear the birds, and I was not scheming/self-flagellation/future worst case scenario dissecting/constant dialogue about what I had said/done/felt/thought …… all of it was quiet.

I can’t explain it really well, without making me sound a bit like Jack from the Shining.  The value of just having quiet in my head and my thoughts, which are not negative or self-hatred.

It was a lovely moment …..and I really love my little garden.

<Today I bought a Gardening Magazine.  I think the world might come to an end.  The odds of me reading a gardening magazine is shocking enough, the fact that I chose it over Marie Claire might be comment enough on my mental instability!!!>