I went camping in Big Basin over the weekend with a friend (Ms. M), my girlfriend, her brother, and two of his friends. It was rough weekend.
I hadn’t seen Ms. M. for quite some time, and, honestly, I think that my girlfriend connects more with her than I do at this point. But since I have very few friends, I’m very protective of the ones I have, so I’ve tried to keep my girlfriend and Ms. M. somewhat apart. (Which is a separate issue altogether.) Anyway, I rode down with her on Saturday, and it didn’t go well.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to somewhat reconnect with her. I had to say the right things. I had to be funny, witty, and interesting. I put so much pressure on myself and I worked myself up so much beforehand that I had to take something. I wanted to take an Ativan, but I took Propranolol by mistake. All my pills are getting mixed up because I have to cut them and I keep all of the cut halves together, in the pill cutter.
Mental note: pink = Ativan, round and white = Propranolol, triangle = Lamictal. Or maybe that’s pink = Propranolol, round = … ?
Anyhow, I didn’t live up to my expectations on the car ride. I didn’t always say the right things (I never do), and I wasn’t funny enough or witty enough or even interesting (I never am, never am, never am); and thus, I was very anxious throughout the ride. I think the second I got in the car in fact, I just wanted to be somewhere else. It was a different kind of hell being in that car with her, but it was still hell.
When we got to the campground, I stopped worrying about conversing with Ms. M. and started worrying about meeting my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend and her friend. They arrived with my girlfriend a day earlier. I was actually supposed to go with them but I avoided it, opting instead to ride with Ms. M. on Saturday.
Once I got through the formal introductions (which I think I’m great at)–
- To my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend: “It’s nice to meet you.” (Smile, shake hand.)
- To my girlfriend’s brother: “It’s nice to see you again. (Smile, shake hand.)
- To my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend’s friend: “It’s nice to meet you.” (Smile, shake hand.)
- To my girlfriend: “I missed you.” (Smile, hug, kiss.)
–I didn’t know what to do, what to say, or how to act. I wanted so much to make a good impression, but I really just sat there at the picnic table while everybody else conversed. I didn’t need to be there. Nobody cared.
After a quick breakfast, Ms. M., my girlfriend, and I went to Santa Cruz so they could register for the triathlon. I wasn’t in it but I wasn’t about to stay behind with the others. On the drive into town, I sat in the back, while my girlfriend and Ms. M. conversed, while I consciously told myself I wasn’t going to compete with them (or anyone) to say things: instead, I’ll just be quiet until there’s an opening. What that really meant: I just won’t talk and feel like shit because I’m not talking. I just stared out the window, wondering how I’d get through the weekend and why I was there to begin with. They acknowledged me once during the whole ride, commenting about how quiet I was.
I didn’t need to be there.
Back at the campground, I avoid conversation by taking a nap–and by that I mean I pretended to. I stayed awake, hoping that someone would say something bad about me so I could confirm my suspicion that I am a piece of shit. It didn’t happen, though, but then again, no one seemed to mind that I wasn’t around. I got up around 5:00 to help make dinner.
After dinner we all sat around the fire talking–everybody except me, that is. I didn’t say much to anyone the rest of the night.
Put simple, I felt very depressed throughout the day. But was my depression caused by my anxiety, or was it a mood swing? Probably both. I binged on Friday night and felt like shit (even more depressed) in the morning, and I think I went into the weekend feeling depressed, because of a mood swing, and then that depression made it even more difficult to engage socially, which, in turn, brought me down even further.
I barely slept that night, but I woke up on Sunday feeling a lot better. My girlfriend and Ms. M. left early for the triathlon, while I stayed behind to help the others pack up the campground. I ended up staying with them most of the day, watching the triathlon. I never really felt comfortable but I got by.
Pic of the athletes warming up:
I love watching endurance events because everyone gets so emotional. At the end of the race, I hung out by myself watching the runners cross the finish line. Some laughed. Some cried. Some shouted. Each one evoked emotion inside of me, and I started crying at one point. It was therapeutic.
When my friend crossed the finish line I gave her a big hug. I felt the connection between us. It felt good.
On the ride home, my elevated mood rose even higher. I couldn’t stop talking. What’s more, I was witty and funny and interesting and felt no anxiety, and I didn’t really want to say goodbye.
Overall, Sunday was a much different day than Saturday. On Saturday I felt so depressed I couldn’t converse with anyone, and during the night I felt suicidal. I didn’t feel even the least bit depressed on Sunday. I sought out social situations and spoke up rather than hide.
I hope others didn’t notice this swing.
Finally, I want to end with some positive thinking. I don’t think my girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend liked me very much. I don’t really know why I think this, but I could just sense it. She didn’t really talk to me much and when she did it felt forced and she gave me some funny looks. I know it could be anything, but I’m interpreting it negatively. Interestingly, I feel somewhat okay with that–I’m not a bad person because someone doesn’t like me. There isn’t something inherently wrong with me because someone doesn’t like me. I don’t need to change something every time I come across someone who doesn’t like me.
I hope everyone’s day went well, and I hope this good mood of mine lasts for a few more days!
That’s so interesting–I’ve often had that same experience myself. Stuck for a few days with a bunch of people who terrify me, I spend the majority of the time silently freaking out and not saying anything. Then, it’s like my anxiety needle flips back to zero and I’m suddenly, randomly, relaxed and ok.This is not to say, though, that that relaxed feeling sticks around. It’s so frustrating because there’s no way to mandate it–I wish I could bottle that feeling, though. I’d be a millionaire (and much more laid back!)
Yeah, I had the same thing going on at my former job–one day I’d be depressed and anxious and not talk to anybody, while on other days I felt great and could do anything. I think that has less to do with social anxiety and more to do with my mood swings. I wonder, though, how social anxiety affects my mood swings? I can control them a lot better now, but I still get them. I think they are like my anxiety–they will always be there, and so the only thing I can do is learn how to manage them better.