Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hello, my name is PLEASE DON’T TALK TO ME.

“…Sometimes you wanna go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came.
You wanna go where people know
Troubles are all the same.
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.”
Cheers theme song

No, Cheers.  No.

I’d prefer to remain anonymous everywhere I go.  Nothing but scripted, meaningless small-talk, please.

“Hi! How are you?”

“I’m well, thanks! How are you?”

“I’m well! Did you find everything you were looking for?”

“Yes, thanks… This conversation rates 10/10 for total lack of meaning! :)”

I do tolerate people knowing my name and expecting conversation when I’m at home, with friends, or at work. Life can be hard sometimes…

I’m not unfriendly.  Really, I’m not.  I just don’t think it’s fair for people to assume that their familiarity is welcome.

angry cat

Okay, I have to admit that came across as unfriendly.  In fact, I re-wrote this blog post several times trying to reach an end result that didn’t leave me looking like a huge jerk.

Let me try to explain.

Social anxiety holds me in a state of near-constant worry that people are judging me and finding me lacking.

jury caption

It doesn’t help that I have the perverse habit of interpreting compliments as gentle insults that I then obsess over for days/years – the addition of “friendliness” to a generic small-talk script can be frankly traumatizing.

what they said what they meant

And this sort of exhausting mistrust is not reserved solely for strangers in public places.  I trust my family and friends, and love them and respect them and blah blah blah.  But it can be pretty exhausting fighting the urge to second-guess and over-think.

bette davis

Not surprisingly, the idea of becoming a “regular” at a bar, restaurant, grocery store or gas station terrifies me.  I need safe places where I can keep my head down, spew scripted responses, and smile when required.

The problem is, my fear of basically everything on earth leads me to establish routines;   I visit the same stores, gas stations, and restaurants over and over again.   I fear the day when the words, “Hello, again! How have you been?” signal that it’s time for me to move on to more anonymous pastures.   Pastures where people will at least pretend not to notice that they’ve seen me more than once in their lives…

What do you think?  Is it unhealthy or unreasonable to crave anonymity?  I genuinely and for-real would love to learn your opinion. I’m trying to grow as a person and stuff. 🙂

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“Nothing to be anxious about…”

Hi, everyone! Here follows a post written from my couch, where I sit in my pyjamas, paralysed by anxiety – so please forgive the rough patches that are sure to arise from me using my cell phone to compose this entry.

I tend to react rather strongly to the statement, “There’s nothing to be anxious about!”  My general response is,

“YES, THERE IS A LOT TO BE ANXIOUS ABOUT! THINGS ARE OBVIOUSLY VERY DIRE AND LIFE-THREATENING! Otherwise I WOULDN’T BE FEELING THIS WAY!”

I’ve recently been encouraged to take a step back and try to acknowledge that there are reasons that I react with panic to certain situations; the anxiety is real, but it is not caused by a true threat. As opposed to panic caused by OH MY GOD A BEAR, A FREAKING BEAR!

image

In this spirit, I acknowledge that no one is going to die because I have sweaty Latin dance class tomorrow… followed directly by a committee meeting.

A committee meeting that I want to leave early to attend another event, only I have to give my treasurer’s report and an update on our contest entry, only the youth club declined helping us with the video element and I hate giving bad news. And I have to making planning for the theatre and music classes I facilitate later this week, and with typing and reading board meeting minutes for the email sends and cleaning the house because husband is at work while I sit on the couch and whine about feeling anxious and HOW CAN I EAT ANY BACON HE BRINGS HOME WITH ALL THIS GUILT SAUCE?*

In conclusion, everything will be fine. Right? I’m going to put my head under the covers. Maybe eat a sandwich.

*To be clear, my husband does not pour the guilt sauce. My brain does.