This year has been a challenging year, one in which I’ve over come many obstacles in regards to my recovery, but the one that I still struggle with the most is learning how to relate to people. I didn’t really have the opportunity growing up being stuck under the ever controlling oppressive thumb of an abusive mother, and then when I did finally branch out during adolescence I was already so self contained to maintain my small sliver of sanity I never made much of an effort.
Now, here I am, finally able to put all of my past struggles behind me nearing 30 and I still can’t relate to people face to face. Writing has been my one and only outlet, which is great but I’m ready for more. I love talking to people, I love being with people, yet I am such a socially awkward penguin ticking through my list of “proper” responses to lower my defenses and engage people tend to avoid me. I turned to writing because it gives me the ability to organize my thoughts so I don’t sound like a complete jerk when the first thought that comes flying into my head tumbles out of my mouth.
Then, there’s the whole being very open about everything. If you ask me a question, I’ll give you an answer that could last for days which most people aren’t honestly invested in. I can’t tell the difference. Who’s interested in what I have to say, vs who is merely being polite. Especially here in the Hoosier state where mostly everyone is exceptionally polite but very rarely do people have a genuine interest in what you have to say. Hubs teases me about this all the time when we’re in line somewhere and the cashier asks “how are you” and I launch into whatever saga has happened from the moment I woke up until the moment I arrived at the store. You would think the awkward stare or forced smile would stop me, but… nope. Not yet.
There are probably people who have been genuinely interested, whom I’ve mislabeled as being polite and vice versa out there in my network. Plus, I have to worry about my stalker and their shenanigans. As much as I want to be open and expand my social networks it seems like every time that I do, I fall prey to a “spy” sent in to gather “evidence” on my stalkers behalf. Even people I had known for years have been guilty of this, so there is always a tinge of anxiety letting people into my world outside of the blogging realm, which then gives me the appearance of hiding something or being paranoid. I am hiding a great many things, but out of vigilance and necessity not an irrational fear.
THEN, we have the fact that so much stuff has happened over the course of my 28 years that is outrageously hard to believe, and hard for many to absorb when I do finally open up to people I tend to scare them away either because they think I’m making it up, or because it’s too intense. It happened to me. I survived it, and often times I forget just how emotionally devastating the events are to hear about especially when genuinely empathetic people inquire. It’s almost like a catch 22. If I share my experiences people don’t know what to do with me and shy away, but if I keep it all inside I come off as incredibly fake. Piled on top of the misunderstanding most people have for mental illness it’s all very difficult.
None of it has stopped me from getting up when I get knocked down to try again, but it is currently my biggest struggle and main focus on my journey. It’s going to get derailed for a while when the Twins arrive, but… what’s one more challenge, right?