Every now and then I act in a way that feels like a huge kick in the teeth. Sometimes I get so trapped by what’s going on around me that I find it really difficult to ‘participate.’ And trust me, it sucks. There’s nothing worse than wanting to be able to get up and get going, to have fun like everyone else is, when it just doesn’t seem emotionally possible for me.
Thankfully I’m surrounded by some pretty wonderful people, who are all understanding. Yet I like to convince myself that even though they say they understand really they’re just annoyed at me for not being able to join in with their festivities.
I went through a period of years where I really struggled to keep up with everyone else socially. I was doing really well professionally wise, but it felt that although I was doing some pretty cool stuff with my life the simplicity of socialising, of turning up when I said I would, of not running away and hiding from ‘everyday’ things felt unbelievably hard.
Throughout university I had a few different social circles, and as harsh as this sounds it felt as though those social circles catered to my different needs. Which actually I guess is what social circles are all about, if we didn’t get different things from different people then it’d just be one big huge wave of people? (Imagine trying to control that). Honestly I loved everyone around me dearly, but sometimes I got a little caught up in the heat of the moment making plans to go and do things that ultimately I knew I wouldn’t follow through on. Then there were the plans that I made that I really wanted to get on with, but when the time came it just felt too big a task. (That sounds like I was trying to plan a heist or something, when really all I’m talking about here is house parties and stuff like that).
I’d go through phases of really being able to get involved and then suddenly being terrified of going out. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have fun, it was that I knew that when I was with others I’d be questioning my worth constantly, questioning whether those around me actually wanted me there, pointing out in my head every ten seconds how I didn’t fit in, how they’d all have more fun without me, how they’re just humouring me by inviting me along. It was exhausting. Everything that was going on with my personal / social life was completely conflicting to the ‘big’ things I was doing with my professional life, and I couldn’t keep up.
So naturally I found a hole and I crawled into it. Kidding, but man I wanted to. It was difficult trying to explain to my friends what was going on, but then when they all left university and moved back home etc it was almost a nice excuse to take some time to figure out how to change things. I regret not being able to be as sociable as others, but I had time to figure out a balance between socialising and taking time to look after myself. I also learnt to just push everything in my mind to the dark depths of my brain, and to just get on with things (which ultimately isn’t the healthiest of ways to deal with things…)
I graduated back in 2014, skip forward to 2017 and I’ve learnt to be honest with myself about what I can and cannot take on. I’ve also learnt to identify when I really can’t do things and when I genuinely am just being ever so slightly lazy. Sometimes it’s actually really nice to fight back those annoying rogue thoughts in my head and go out and have an ace time. My housemates are wonderful at gently pushing me to participate, they do it in a way that doesn’t make me feel obliged, and if I want to run away and hide I can. They’ll still be there for me taking me for breakfast the following day.
However, there are still times when really I can’t ‘participate’ and I feel awful. My housemates, and my friends, my family and so forth don’t make me feel bad for not getting involved, but that feeling of missing out is so overwhelming. That feeling of missing out because it’s my fault is pretty difficult to deal with. It kick-starts that negative thought process of not being good enough, of not being worthy, of being pathetic etc. The thought that if I don’t get involved now then I’ll never be included. Let’s be honest I could easily just sit in my room, ignore life, go to work when needed, then get back home and ignore life. I’ve been doing that this past week, and I’ve done it before, but it’s not fun. It’s not healthy for me, but I can’t help it. Sometimes it’s too much to even try to get to work; sometimes the thought of having to socialise with others is exhausting.
Sincerely I apologise for all the times I’ve not ‘participated’, simply I cannot always keep up, and trust me you may be feeling annoyed at me, but I can promise you I feel awful. I know I shouldn’t have to ask you to be patient, and you can just give up on me, but you haven’t so far, and I’m grateful for that. I’m so thankful to have such wonderful people in my life, and yes you can continue to gently push me, I appreciate that, but understand that I cannot always keep up, and for that I’m sorry. It doesn’t mean I hate you, in fact it most likely means I hate myself. Which is backward I know, but hey if my brain – my life – made sense then maybe we wouldn’t be in this boat.