Again, my seemingly non-productive therapy session has turned into quite a lot of introspection. It prompted quite a few questions, and maybe a few shifts. It’s amazing how simple shifts (and insights) can seem like nothing–on the outside, to anyone else–but they can make a world of difference. Essentially, not a lot happened during therapy on Tuesday, but since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about the few things that did happen. I started writing a post briefly detailing each one, but I want to step back and hash each one out. So I’ll be recapping therapy for the next few posts.
First, today is the last day of the semester. I had to half-ass a paper, which is not my style (and honestly it felt good to turn it in incomplete [really jabbing my perfectionist side]), but other than that, I got everything done. I’m now left with a month and a half break before the start of the next semester, and I’m a little worried about how I’m going to spend this break.
What am I going to do with myself?
I am going to Kansas City, to visit my family, for 11 days around Christmas, which will probably be stressful, but at least I’ll get some social interaction.
That’s exactly what I’m worried about this next month: social interaction. Even though I am going to school online, just interacting in that format–message boards, conference calls–is better than nothing.
What’s more, my girlfriend and I have been entertaining the prospect of moving as of late to save money, live closer to the train, and to have roommates (so we can both be a little more social). I’m all for having roommates, but I hate the stress of moving, and I don’t want to be tied down by a new lease. So, I’ve been resistant. Anyway, on Tuesday night my girlfriend, frustrated with me, called me a hermit, which I did not appreciate.
I do things. I have (a few) friends I talk to (mostly online). I go out and buy groceries and go to the library and volunteer. I’m sure there’s more.
That said, it really ticked me off because there is a part of me that is afraid that she is right. Maybe I am becoming a hermit. I may not be there yet, but I’m slowly pushing people away and becoming more and more isolated. I’m scared.
At least I’m aware now and, hence, can make changes. I’d like to spend this break reading, writing, and running, but I probably should do some volunteering, (re)connecting with friends, and hanging out with my girlfriend’s family as well. Maybe I’ll join Toastmasters.
Are you scared because you do want relationships and yet are not making the effort, or are you scared because you think there is something wrong with you because you don’t need or want a lot of people in your life? Because it sounds like talking to friends, going shopping, going to the library, volunteering (with people?) and having a girlfriend doesn’t make you hermit. It sounds like you are a regular person. Is your girlfriend very social? Maybe she feels that compared to her, you are a hermit.
Frankly I don’t blame you for hesitating in regard to roommates. It’s one thing to socialize with people, a totally different thing to live with a bunch of them.
Many many people have one, two, maybe three people in their lives that they communicate and socialize with and they are perfectly fine with that. Do you feel you are missing out on something?
You’re kidding about Toastmasters?
I’m scared because no matter where I’m at in my life, I feel like I’m spiraling out of control–in this case, becoming a hermit. Compared to her, compared to other people, yes, I do spend a lot of time alone. Does that make me a hermit? Depends on your definition, I guess.
I actually want roommates. Having structured social interactions everyday is really good for me. Even if they are superficial. Even if they are just “Hellos” and “Goodbyes” and “How are yous”, they help keep me level.
I do feel like I am missing out on something. In this case, I’m not happy with the amount of social interaction I’m getting. I want more, but it’s hard for me to do that right now. In the past, it’s been me wanting deeper friendships. Maybe this comes back to my unhappiness inside and perfectionism?
I’m sort of kidding about Toastmasters. But I think that would be really good for me. I am going to look into it.
I too got my degree through an online college… I tried the “old fashioned way” but I ended up dropping out for numerous reasons – then years later tried again but it just wasn’t for me – waaaay to much anxiety… couldn’t handle it – all I can say is THANK GOD for online schools!! 🙂 🙂
Also – I’m with you on the Holiday “family time” – I’m stressed about it – it SHOULD be a fun time, but there’s just too many people around… so I plan ahead – I have to or I’ll freak out… I like to have a schedule in mind – and alternative options just in case… “always have an out” – it’s been my life-long motto I guess…
I think you’re not giving yourself enough credit for what you ARE able to do… instead you’re focusing on what you can’t do… I hate to realize that for myself too (via my therapist) and when I did it made a huge difference.. it took a while to grasp – not forever – but once I did I felt better about myself and the progress (no matter how small) I was making…
From what I’ve read about you – and just as Harriet mentioned above – you don’t sound like a hermit at all… if you’re a hermit, then I’m a hermit… because it sounds like you and I do the same about of “getting out and about”… but I don’t feel like a hermit… some people are more social, and others aren’t… nevermind the fact that you’re dealing with social anxiety??? I think you’re doing pretty great in spite of it!
I used to feel like if I didn’t go to everything everyone else was going to that I was missing out on something – on life… or something… but we each have our own path in life – and what works for one person doesn’t work for another… I think this winter break you should do whatever YOU feel like doing – whatever makes you happy and COMFORTABLE…
Thanks! It’s really hard for me, but I am starting to be a little easier on myself and give myself credit for the things that I have accomplished. It’s not easy changing my thought patterns but I am–albeit, very slowly.
Looks to me like you’re doing great in everyday life! You said you’re worried about the break because you’re going to have some social contact. I’m with you, my friend! I would go visit my parents during the winter holiday season when I was younger, but I’m not going to do that anymore.
I can relate to your feeling of missing out on something. I’ve met many great people online and still do have a few people offline who support me like my English teacher, but I often feel confused if I want more social contact or not. Maybe I do. I think you’re helping a lot of people dealing with depressin by blogging about your experience. I would suggest that you keep blogging and become honest with yourself. I try to stop comparing myself to others too much because I tend to end up feeling bitter toward myself.
I always enjoy reading about you, you know! As for spending time with your family, I think it will be more than enough for you to do only what you feel like doing. You will be amazed by your accomplishments when you look back. Hope you’re feeling well, Mike!
Thanks! 🙂 As hard as it is sometimes, I am going to continue blogging. I mean, I’m not just doing it for myself–I hope that others get something out of it too. As for being social, I sometimes need to remind myself that I can’t be as social as everyone else–I should take it slow and only engage when I want to engage. It’s just the holidays can be stressful, because there’s a lot more pressure to be social. Anyway, I am feeling better.
Thanks for the comments!
Decided to give myself a more anonymous user name than I was going to. Just wanted to say I really like your blog. I found it recently. I’m identifying with your effort to trust your feelings, and not to give yourself a hard time about things. It is helpful for me to read it.
That’s really great to hear! I hope you continue reading, and thanks for saying hello.