Today’s topic is yet another issue plaguing my psyche. I have so many mental frays that I wonder how is it that I’ve made it this far without turning into a lunatic. By all appearances, I look normal. I’ve been told by others who know I have social anxiety that they wouldn’t have been able to guess, by just seeing me on the street, that I have it. I suppose I have the evolution of mankind to thank for my ability to endure mental hardships. Some of the coping mechanisms I have had stayed with me since I was very young. I wonder if, had I grown up in a more primitive era, could the sheer necessity of focusing on my survival only have allowed these mechanisms to not blossom into such profound problems in my adult life? Thinking of my life now, I have all the time in the world to sit around, tucked away in the safety of a house, and contemplate this and that. Had I lived a life where every second meant life or death, where the choice was to kill or be killed, I wouldn’t have the luxury of frequently being stuck thinking about my anxiety and would instead be forced to act to stay alive.
This issue relates to my post on being verbally withdrawn in some situations. Another layer of this conundrum is the fact when I’m in a bad mood because I’m thinking very hard about something that is bothering me, my irritation at the situation can bleed into my interactions with other people. In these situations, I speak as little as possible and only manage to bite out a few words if someone asks me a question. I know this is a terrible mentality. I’m consciously aware that when I get like this, it’s my mind’s way of protecting myself from outside forces, although I can’t say it’s very effective.
The tipping point of this where things get out of control is when I become so fixated on staying in my zone of not wanting to talk. And if the people around me attempt to start a conversation with me, I feel compelled to answer because I don’t want to be rude. It could be as simple as my dad asking me if I want a side dish with my oatmeal, but being in the state I am in of wanting not to be bothered, I will feel slight irritation that I can’t just be left alone in my own silence. I’ll answer him and try my best not to sound annoyed. Then if he tries to interact with me again, depending on what he says, my mind takes in what he said and flips it around, whispering negative feedback at me. I believe this happens as a result of my mind fighting against having my bubble of isolation popped and resisting the breach.
This is what the negative feedback is like in my mind. I take what my dad says, something mundane like one of his quips about how I need to eat more; a comment of his that usually doesn’t bother me because it’s such a dad thing for him to say. However, when I’m in this mood and I am being talked to, my agitation increases as I feel an obligation to respond when I really don’t want to. I start feeling attacked by my own body, but I barely register this and instead cope with the rush of discomfort by blaming it on my dad, or whoever is currently talking to me at this point. I think, What the fuck is his problem? I don’t need him telling me how to eat. He doesn’t own me. I trick myself into believing that he is out to get me, that somehow he is saying what he is saying on purpose to rile me up and make me feel even more shitty than I already am.
I must sound like an unhinged madwoman by now if you (the reader) is still reading this. I’m aware there is something deeply broken in me if I’m dealing with feeling anxious by trying to isolate myself and then internally lashing out at others if I don’t get my way by being isolated. It’s taken me a long time to really work out what is going on in my mind when I have one of these episodes. The instinct of going from feeling anxious to suddenly pissed off is so impetuously fast that many times I didn’t have time to process my feelings. In past incidents, I would’ve blamed my attitude on not enough sleep or being too tired to talk. Or be so deluded in shielding myself from anxiety over the broken isolation bubble that I would believe the other person is the one with the problem, not me.