As an Introvert, I need time to “recharge” after a long social interaction. By “recharge” I mean time to myself, with my own thoughts, just to recoop from being around people in a social setting. One thing that will throw me for a loop is a spontaneous social situation. It’s not because I don’t like to be around people, but because I kind of have to prepare to be around people. It doesn’t matter who they are; I just need to get myself ready. This isn’t part of my mental health issues, this is just my personality . It does trigger my anxiety though, and that usually complicates things. Because I feel that I have to attend these events either out of obligation or not to hurt other people’s feelings or both.
The reason I am going into this is that a few hours ago my wife asked if I wanted to go visit her mother later today. Now, I love my mother-in-law and I haven’t seen her in a long time (Since Thanksgiving I believe); however I just had my first outing after coming off a big depressive episode that was riddled with anxiety attacks. I did spend all day today by myself and feel pretty recharged, but heading out again to be social just kind of feels too soon. However, part of me feels like I am just not trying hard enough, but at the same time part of me is feeling that I don’t want to push myself too hard and get my anxiety out of whack. I know that, if I do go down there, I don’t want to talk about me being laid off and I don’t want to be asked about what do I plan to do. I just got out of being depressed, and I don’t want to head back down that road. I am basically worried about hurting feelings and also taking care of myself. The latter makes me feel like I am being selfish, which is dumb to think that way.
While talking about this with my wife, I started talking about “my switch”. I used to be able to just detach from all of my emotions and fake my way through anything. I would just “flip my switch” and
turn off repress all of the anxiety and feelings of social claustrophobia and just roll with the currents because it was an obligation that had to be met as far as I was concerned. I used that switch for work, family functions, friendly get-togethers, and anything else that I wasn’t charged up for, anxious about or if I was depressed at the time.(Note: If I am manic or hypo-manic, you can’t keep me away from people and having a good time. I am Mr. Party-Man when that happens!) I reminisced about “my switch” and how I wish I still had it. Because “my switch” is dead. It burned out last year and I can no longer detach myself emotionally and repress my feelings. I am not invisible to my monsters anymore, and I kind of wonder if I ever was.
So, now I am sitting here at my keyboard at 6:23am; smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee. I am wondering if I am even going to get to sleep before dawn, much less go to my mother-in-laws today. I am still thinking about “my switch” and, to be honest, I think it burning out was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I may disappoint people, but if they love me they will understand. I hope that they will understand that the switch is dead, and the real me, with all of my monsters, is now what they are getting. No more fake platitudes, no more forced social graces, and no more nauseating small talk. It will be just me and my monsters showing up (when I can) to parties from now on.
The switch is dead.