Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself

(Ghandi)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Xenophobe

I really don't play well with others.

I love y'all here in the virtual world, you don't require anything from me apart from occasional touching base and a modicum of honesty when I do so. As part of the online mental health community, I know that my friends understand how hard it is to form sentences and make sensible comments when in the grip of madness. In the real world, it's SO damn hard to fit in and feel comfortable. The way I have coped with this past year, with psychosis and diagnosis, is to stop being part of the "real world" in anything but a token way. Leading up to my breakdown I was permanently "on"- hyperattaching, falling in love, falling out, imagining enemies, experiencing vendettas. It exhausts me to even think about it now. No wonder I am spent... strung out and tired of the nuances and negotiations. These days, I prefer my own company and can barely make the effort to hang on to the couple of friendships that have survived the post-BPD-mania fallout.

At work, everyone gathers at noon to have lunch together. I can't tell you how irritating this is. I'm using all my coping skills to just stay focused and be productive, and then I have to sit and make chitchat with the nice ladies? Oy. They are the friendliest group of people I've ever worked with, and I know that compassion is something they have in spades, but for obvious reasons I don't feel inclined to share the whole "crying/slashing/screaming/blackness" that was the first half of 2009. I've been really strong, and followed Dr A's advice in not over-sharing or being trusting with people until I make real connections with them. In the past, my MO has been to throw myself headfirst into social situations, showing off and sharing all my gory details in an attempt to impress people and "make friends". I'm not interested in being that person any more, truthfully, I cringe at the memory of it.

I'm embarrassed at the so-called bonds I imagined I had with people.

I'm hopeful I'll never leave myself open to manipulation and ridicule like that ever again.

Even if it means living a solitary life, I need to stay away from that kind of behaviour and its consequences. Since I've retreated into my own world, things have been undeniably smoother and calmer. Away from the drama and potential fuck-over that is "Other People", I'm making some headway and feeling like I may actually live to see 40. It's not reality, and some day Dr A is probably gonna expect more from me than "getting to know myself". I really think, though, that I might be someone who needs to live a life somewhat removed from others. The big areas of catastrophe in my life have been those involving connections to other people (both men and women, platonic as well as sexual).

Meanwhile, I am finding myself "finishing up" at my desk for ten or fifteen mins after lunch has started. Then, I take a while to make my lunch. So that hopefully I only have to face the conversational firing squad for twenty minutes maximum. I try not to, but I feel guilty for being so "antisocial". These are kind, sweet ladies, who just want to get to know me. How can I start to explain the grocery list of reasons why they really DON'T want to know me??

5 comments:

Just Be Real said...

Lil, I so much appreciate your honesty! While reading this post, I can so much relate. I think for us who are not in denial, it is harder for us to face the reality, as your so called compassionate friends. I am not saying that they are not compassionate, but how "real" are they. I can totally and understandably relate to pulling away, as it is simplier, no explanation necessary. Still, in my case, it is a painful killer and right now this is how I feel.

I certainly understand that it is safer and easier for "us" to correspond and share via internet as IRL. I find myself more free to do so, again I know where you are coming from and do not feel bad. This is how it is now. There is some healing in it, even if we do not recognize it.

In time, at the right time, there may be 'just one' person you can relate to IRL and be able to share that grocery list. I am too on that quest. Blessings dear one and I appreciate you!

Anonymous Drifter said...

You have no idea how closely I can relate to this post. You've put into words exactly how I feel.

Wandering Coyote said...

Two things, Lil.

1. I think it's so great that you've learned enough from your experiences to realize how your actions have consequences. It's a terrible lesson to learn, as I have experienced lately, as you most likely know. But I think it's a really important one to learn. It seems very much like you're learning to live in your "wise mind" so I give you huge kudos.

2. Work-social situations like the ones you describe are really hard for me, too. I would think however that the ladies wouldn't ask you anything too intrusive, unless they are lacking in social skills themselves. But also remember that there are nice ways to set boundaries with them, and it is totally OK to set boundaries with them. In fact, I think it's important you do for the very reasons you wrote about in the post. They don't NEED to know all kinds of shit about you, and you are certainly under no obligation to tell them anything you're uncomfortable sharing. But I fully realize how hard it is to set boundaries. You'll find your way, though; I have faith!

tricia said...

"In the grip of madness." Where I have spent most of my life. Like you and the others who have commented --- I get it. And I think I can speak for us all when I say-- I so much wish I didn't get it.

Borderline Lil said...

Thanks guys! Means so much that people understand. Even though I wish you DIDN'T "get" where I'm coming from...

WC, I think you make an excellent point - I need to learn how to set friendly boundaries, rather than just remove myself entirely from relating. It's part of the growth, and part of me learning how to not live in "all or nothing" land.