While reading a survey question yesterday something became crystal clear. I’ve been denying it, even to myself, for awhile now. It is that I do in fact avoid most all social interaction outside my immediate family. The question asked how much time I spend per week with friends.
My answer was none. I even shy away from family gatherings.
Speaking quite candidly, I’ve always told myself it is because most people just don’t get me. I’ve always said they just aren’t worth the effort.
The truth is I just don’t get most people. Social interaction drains me. I’m constantly trying to fit in or hide the fact that I’m afraid someone will figure out I don’t belong. It’s led to being ostracized in some circles I’ve desperately wanted to be a part of. I struggle to hide myself behind a persona I don’t wear well.
It’s pathetic, I know but there it is. There’s the truth.
If you’re familiar with different types of anxiety you’ll recognize these traits as classic social anxiety. It’s common among people with Bipolar Disorder. It makes me appear awkward and aloof to everyone. I was once told someone I considered a friend didn’t trust me. He came right out and told me to my face. The statement bruised me. I could see where he was coming from though. Somehow people can usually sense when something is being concealed.
He failed to realize I’m one of the most trustworthy and loyal people he will ever meet. I suppose I tried too hard. I tried to be someone I’m not. I felt weird – rejected. It validated my reasons for feeling I’m just no good in social situations. It just pushed me deeper into isolation. I’ve always said if I could be a hermit, I would.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my own company but I know it’s not good to isolate myself all the time. The longer I do it, the more my avoidance tendencies grow. I’m comfortable around my children and my husband and that’s about it. I even feel weird around my parents and in-laws. I don’t want to be a disappointment.
I’m always so concerned with what others think of me. I overanalyze everything – every facial expression and every word – until I convince myself my fears are true. It’s the fear of sticking out like a sore thumb. The only way I can describe it is if everyone else is green, I’m the red one in the room. I am a chameleon but it’s tiring trying to match everyone else.
It’s easier to just avoid everyone.
There are times, though they are few and far between, that I do feel like being social. My anxiety has left me with few friends so even when I want to interact, there’s really no one to talk to. I don’t do well putting myself out there. The fear of rejection is just too strong.
I know it’s a problem I need to address. I need to step outside my comfort zone and let people see the real me.
But it’s easier said than done.