Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One Big Day

It's not from too much drinking... anymore. At a certain point, towards the end of the week, someone will inevitably ask, "How was your week?" or "How was last weekend?" Small talk, mostly. Polite. Curt. Maybe they really want to know, but mostly I find it an accepted norm of social behavior. Those suffering from social anxiety miss these cues for conversation, or grow frustrated trying to keep up with them.

My days smear together without a job. Everyday feels the same were the weekend no longer has a certain significance. TGIF? What's that? I strive for TGIW, Thank God it's Wednesday, because that means the week is half done. I am tired of living just to pass the time. I thought that maybe I could fill up my days with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but it is proving hard. I do have a lunchtime meeting that I can attend, but I am scared. It's new and different. Unfamiliar faces will stir that old nemesis of mine, social anxiety. What if I drove all that way and there is no one there? It is a lengthy drive. The Internet is fallible, you know. Can I manage to sit down in a room of all those strange people? I usually end up wanting to go bursting out of room to the safe confines of my car.

I remember my work days at the University. It was hard to get up, but I would drive that long drive without fail everyday. Breakfast would often be a couple of scrambled egg and cheese biscuits. A cup of coffee. I would always check my email when I got in my office -- usually enough to keep me busy for about an hour as coop members had questions or needed help. Research projects would then be worked on in the greenhouse. I was in charge of designing and building a timed irrigation system that only allowed more water depending on soil moisture. I felt busy. I felt productive. There was a purpose to my days.

The social anxiety grew worse though. I found myself shutting myself in my office all day afraid to come out. I would avoid all the other professors that worked with me. Paranoia. Delusions. Schizophrenia would take hold and I would design and invent grand schemes by my co-workers to oust me from my job. When I left, I just knew one professor was "out to get me." I was on a very low dosage of Risperdal at the time and it just wasn't working. I was too afraid to tell my psychiatrist or family because I fear they would put me in the hospital. It is amazing I held it together enough to get married.

So... back to that lunchtime meeting. Should I go? Should I face my fears and bite the bullet so to speak? I long to be with people who have experienced what I have in alcoholism. Rosa can have a beer on occasion and just doesn't understand. Right, let me go for my morning walk and get a shower and put on some nice clothes. I can do this...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You CAN do it. It is worth doing whatever you feel may be of help to you. You don't have to do it forever; just try it for today. And if no one is there, just enjoy the drive and music on the radio.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

You will be able to do it. will yourself to get through the first 10minutes and after the 10minutes are up, work towards 10more..or get up and leave.
Get there early to plan your exit and entrance route-not to mention to get a spot closest to the door to duck out if need be..
Always,
Crusty
we'll have you in our well wishes..
baby steps...

Portia said...

i agree. you sound like you genuinely want to give it a shot, so i hope you do. if you wind up staying for ten minutes and then feel the need to leave, that's okay too. try not to be too hard on yourself.

Nikita1 said...

Go for it! You WILL be able to handle it...you're a strong person...and...like others say...duck out if you feel like doing it..it's your choice to be there or not...so if you don't like it...leave...

If you don't go...you might wonder...what it was like...

Tee said...

YOU CAN DO THIS! Did you ever think that there are others there that have the same fear(s)? You never know what people are dealing with at the moment. We all have issues. I note you worked in an environment that dealt with, perhaps, gardening/landscape. Have you considered gardening as a hobby. You could end up with a yard/garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood. Not only is flower gardening fun, but vegatable gardening is really fun, especially when you reap the harvest.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I hope you do go - I hope you find that community and structure in your life that we ALL need in order to be alive. Feel alive. Can you volunteer somewhere? Take classes? You seem to have an amazing soul and I hope you find a new path that takes you where you want to go.

Stacy said...

Yep, I know you can do it!!!

simonsays said...

You can do it Andrew, you have amazing strength. Frankly, we all feel that we have little/no purpse at times....while you don't know it, your purpose is inspiring all of us. And you magically do that, each and every day. Don't be so hard on yourself! :)

CarmenSinCity said...

You will feel right at home when you get there. It might take a few minutes, but as soon as they do the readings and you introduce yourself to being new at the meeting, you'll feel a wave of relief and you'll realize you are in the right place!

Leann said...

I pegged in after lunch my time so I knew it's past your noon meeting there. I hope you went and that it went well.

Are there groups you can join for the social anxiety so you can get the same support as with the alcohol?

I certainly understand, having been there, about feeling productive in your days, like your life matters for something.

Have a wonderful afternoon Andrew.

Blessings
Leann

Summer said...

You CAN do it. Did you ?

If it makes you feel any better, my weeks smear together too.

Start your art classes!

Le Fleur said...

Yes, art classes! I understand what you mean by filling time...I hate vacations simply because I drive myself up the wall trying to fill up all those hours and I'm so thrilled to be back in school and doing something again. I hope your meetings help you and that you like your art classes when you start them. Painting has kept me occupied through so many tough periods :)

M said...

hm. i have bouts of anxiety too. i am not sure what advice to give except ride it like a wave. be an emotional surfer. just be aware of the feeling but keep going forward with your day. if the wave tips you over, get back on the surfboard when you feel better. somedays the anxiety will not be so bad and you can ride its wave all the way to the meeting or wherever you need/want to go.

good luck!

pattycakes said...

just wanted to say your not alone andrew , we are all pulling for you . remember there is no shame in leaving , if it makes you uncomfy they leave im sure everyone there has felt the same thing at one time or another too. you know how hard that first step is for everyone to just get in the door :) your not alone we care for you

miriam said...

Take it one minute at a time, if necessary. It gets easier!