Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm a Hermit, But I Want Social Butterfly-ness!

It is rare that I put myself out there for people.  I have severe abandonment issues and a general fear of leaving the house for more than an hour at a time.

This weekend I did that.  I saw...more people than I have seen in a couple of months.  It was an odd sensation, as though I was disconnected and watching someone else at play instead of myself (even though it was spent in nearly complete honesty!).  I hate showing my true self to people, so I have NO IDEA why I write such personal bullshit.

I hate to look frail in public - I hate that I can't come up with an interesting blog post because I've slept the last 18 hours and my brain doesn't work - and I hate that I need people to help me with my recovery, but I have no idea how to access them.

I feel like my recovery is faltering and this disturbs me.  I have been sleeping more than I ever have in my entire life.  I can't put together a to-do list for the life of me, or do the dishes, or put away the laundry...My brain and reality just are not connecting after the amount of special control required to seem properly adjusted in public for so long.

I wish it wasn't so easy for my feelings to be hurt.  Everyone who knew/knows me always said that I would build a tougher exterior eventually...I'm still waiting for that to happen, and doubting it ever will.

Even so, I will keep trying.  I need friends.  I need family.  So I will keep attempting to put myself out there!

(Images from WeHeartIt)

Does anyone else have such a hard time going out there and acting normal?  I know I have a few readers who can't really go out at all, so I can rephrase to having in friends and family.  Does having illness push us into being hermit-like?  Why is this happening?



Toni said...

Annie -- I have that same feeling of disconnect if I'm around a lot of people, as if it's happening to someone else, not me. And before I got sick, I used to teach to classrooms that sometimes had over 100 students in them!

I can't tell if this sensation is due to being out of practice talking to others or whether it's due to the neurological effects of my illness. I suspect it may be a bit of both.

Whichever it is, I always experience terrible payback the next day or two -- sometimes even longer -- and that reinforces my determination to just learn to make a good life out of being a hermit.

Sonja said...

I find I don't relate to people very well. Their petty stupidity annoys the hell out of me, and how the heck can I find that stuff important when I wonder if I'm gonna be able to get out of bed the next day, or wonder if my pain meds will be effective.

Also too, spending so much time by myself, I've been just exploring my interests (history, religions) which other people find boring.

So I talk to my cat.

Or, if I do go out, I make small talk out of sports. That's the one thing that links me to "normal" people.

Lee Lee said...

absolutely! I can only have people over for an hour or so and even thought I desperatly want company I have developed some odd fear of social intereaction ... what if I get dizzy, what if I feel unwell, what if they don't know how to react and its awkward ... it's just crap really ...

Rachael said...

Oh, Annie, yes, yes and yes. What I'm struggling with most is the guilt for having my off days and being unable to get a damn thing done - simple things like dishes & laundry. re: Social Anxiety = Not as bad as before, but I usually have to mentally prep myself, like I need a plan & schedule the day before.

Anonymous said...

I hate going out. I went to a family birthday party a few weekends ago and there were a lot of people I didn't know and tons of kids. I couldn't think of anything to say....I am so boring. What can I talk about? My illness? My new RX? My dog? I hate it too Annie...it is definately because we spend so much time alone that we just don't function anymore.

Anonymous said...

I've always been an introvert but when I was younger, it was easier to get out and do stuff. My family and a very few close friends were always my social circle. In high school and college I had acquaintances with whom I was friendly but no one really close. We have reunions coming up this summer and I'm not going to any of them. I don't do the social thing.

For me it's more of a choice than something forced on me by circumstances.

I do enjoy my online friendships and connections with personal colleagues and my support groups. I think that in this world of technology we need to change our perception of "friends" -- online friends are every bit as (and sometimes more than) special and important than those we "see" in "real life" -- at least that's what I've discovered over the last ten years of working and socializing online.

Blogs are great for meeting new people (I just recently found your blog). But online support groups and discussion forums connect us with a lot more folks.

Good post - I've enjoyed reading your blog.

Phoenix Peacock said...

I am a complete extrovert. Since moving here two years ago - no one seems to know this about me. I never go out. I never have the energy to do anything. Not even hold a conversation on the phone. People suck up too much energy. So I stay home. and pout. the entire time! I just cried last night to my husband that I don't have any friends here because I don't have the energy to be a friend to all these new people. Completely sucks. And while I understand why I do this and that it isn't really a choice - I am way too hard on myself about it too.

Annie said...

For some reason my comments are refusing to show up, but I want you all to know that I really appreciate your replies and love feeling like I'm not the only one out there with this problem.

xoxoxo to all of you.

elisabeth said...

I struggle with this also, but for slightly different reasons. Since I expend so much energy accomplishing things (like work and errands) once I get home all I want to do is crash, physically, mentally and emotionally. I *want* to socialise, but I have no reserves, and spur-of-the-moment plans throw me in a tizzy (pure introvert in that regard).

Usually once people arrive or we get out of the house I enjoy the time I spent, but knowing that I will pay for socializing takes some of the fun out of it, even if I cherish it a bit more. All of this becomes completely moot when it comes to meeting new people. I doubt I've met anyone new other than through work in ages.

Sue Jackson said...

Sorry you're having such a tough time right now. I have that exact same feeling you described (you did great describing it by the way) when I'm feeling badly crashed and my CFS is flared up. When I feel better, I feel more normal in public or even around friends. Before CFS, I was very extroverted and loved being around people.

Also, even on a good day, being in social situations exhausts me and leaves me feeling wiped out the next day. It happened to me on 4th of July. I was doing pretty well but after 4 hours with friends (really close friends), I went into over-stimulation mode and started to get that disconnected feeling. I was exhausted when we got home from the fireworks.

Sometimes, it's impossible to figure out what's causing a flare-up. Just listen to your body and rest as much as you need to. The dishes and laundry will still be there!


Nessie said...

Hey Annie:
I am not really introverted but not exactly extroverted either. That may not make sense. Let me try again. I don't talk a lot. I'm usually the one who listens. But when I get with my friends (rarely, most live in another state or another country!), I can be comfortable and be myself. Since my high school friends and I would always do something low-key — like sit at a diner for hours or playing video games or Risk in someone's basement — those outings were never super tough for me, even after I got sick. I miss that, and I miss having that connection to people. I don't really have that where I live now; most of the people I know are my husband's friends. It's hard, especially since I'm pretty private and I don't like telling people I'm sick.


I sort of a have social phobia but only when surrounded by strangers but one on one I'm more social. I can't do small talk that much.

rlee8235 said...

Yes, yes and yes. I also have those issues probably due to adoption and the subsequent loss of parents and my marriage...it just goes on and on. What I've noticed is that I get fearful now of going out. I want to be cocooned in my home. I thought I was the only one but I can see that I'm not. At least it's one less thing to be anxious about. I'm normally private but I'm getting worse.

I love you posts and think you write really well!


Anonymous said...

Hey, not 'on topic' but too much to type in 160 character bursts...

Govenor Vessel 20;
At the top of the head on the midline between the tops of the 2 ears and in line with the to of the nose. Locate the point by placing thee thumbs on the top of eash ear and stretching the middle fingers out to meet at the top of the head. Apply pressure perpendicularly into the scalp, using the middle or index fingertip of one hand. For firmer pressure you can rest the middle or index fingertip ot the other had on top of the nail of the finger locating th point and apply gentle pressure with both fingers simultaneously. The point should be felt as a small depression in the scalp and may feel slightly tender. DO NOT over-stim if you have high blood pressure!

Anonymous said...

Another: At the back of your head, in the depression between the bottom of the skull and the neck muscles (I find, press a finger slowly at base of skull, to the left or right of the neck muscle at the top of the spine.. when you find a bit that hurts, you got it!)

Technique: Rest fingers on the back of the ehad and locate the point with the thumbs. Apply acupressure angled upwards under the edge of the skull on both sides.

Anonymous said...

This one's a doozy...

Stomach 36:
Location: four fingerwidths below the kneecap on the outside edge of the legbone (tibia); flex your knee whilst seated, and find bottom of kneecap. Lay your four fingers beneath that point; with other hand, use a finger to record 'depth'. Press your finger gently along that line, from the middle of your shin till you feel the gap between the two bones; you may find a tiny indentation, you'll probably find a bit that hurts. Press it :)

Technique: Place fingers behind leg for support and locate the acupoint with the thumb. Apply acupressure, angled slightly downwards towards the foot, on both legs simultaneously or one at a time. This is an important tonic point for the digestive system and releives headaches due to digestive imbalances, dietarty intolerance or fatigue. to relieve migraines, add the following: Gall Bladder 1

Location: in the depression level with the outside corner of the eye.

Technique: Resting the thumbs against he jawbone for support, locate the acupoint with the index or middle fingers and apply acupressure angled slightly away from the eye on both sides.

Benefits: relieves one-sided headaches, blurred vision and sore eyes.

Hope that provides some relief xxx

Anonymous said...

Right, back to the *actual* topic, lol (sorry about that folks, our gorgeous hostess has a migraine and, given there's the Atlantic separating us, am trying remote acupressure!)

I'm getting better at allowing myself to be fragile with friends, but it's not easy and tends to happen whether I want it to or not (my walking stick's a bit of a giveaway!)

I wholly identify with the feeling of increased detachment as I get more tired/ill, I think it's a symptom of the brain fog everyone gets when incredibly exhausted, but it still feels disorientating :(

As to why you hate showing your real self in public but are compelled to do so on your blog: the same reasons I do it, perhaps .. because sensitive, expressive people who feel and think deeply need a safe way to let out the pain and emotion of our lives. This way you can't see people's eyes glaze over or reject you, you can reveal your loneliness only to those you *know* are taking an interest, and pray to the Universe that you are not alone (which, really, you're *so* not, spiritually).

I wish we were closer so that we could be more than 'internet' friends, but I am your friend despite the distance, and we here are members of your family, too [hug] Thank you for pushing yourself out there, and giving us the permission to reveal ourselves too xxx