My daughter has been away with her Dad for the last week and during that time I've spoken to very few people face to face. Those that I have spoken with have been medics or strangers.
Aww poor you I hear you thinking, but the reality is that is the way I feel most comfortable. You see for as long as I can recall I have found people and social interaction painfully difficult, which is a tough break bearing in mind I've been a police officer for 28 years! It's probably little wonder that I've ended up the anxious mess I am, having had to interact with people all day every day!
Mind you the police side of things was never quite as bad because when you're wearing a uniform either literally or proverbially there is always a barrier between the person and yourself. A mask if you will, a suit of armour. You can adopt a professional persona and to a certain extent give as much or as little of oneself as you want to.
Socially however, I've always struggled, I feel awkward in the company of friends or strangers, I'm unsure what to say, I second guess what people are thinking about me continually and generally find myself in the corner of the room trying to hide away until a polite enough period of time has elapsed so that I can escape. The odd thing about that is that at the same time that I'm feeling desperate to get away from social events I'm also desperate to be accepted, to feel like I belong and to be cared about. It's positively ridiculous yet I can't fight the feelings of panic, the little voice telling me I'm not welcome and the even larger voice telling me that nobody would miss me anyways.
I wonder when and where this started? Was I always this way?
I think perhaps it's a product of many things. A stern unloving Mother, moving schools too often, ultimately being removed from my secondary school friends as soon as we had finished school to move away yet again?
Whatever the cause the reality of it is here to stay. I desperately crave some love and attention yet in the same breath know that I couldn't cope with the interaction that love and attention would bring. How can these two polar opposite emotions exist in tandem? That's a very cruel twist of fate isn't it?
My daughter returns from her holiday today and in much the same way as described above I'm both desperate to have her back and dreading it in the same breath.
When she's not here there's no conflict, no kids traipsing in and out of my house violating my personal sanctuary. No demands to leave the house and mingle with the rest of the world. When she's away I can merely leave the house to walk the dogs, come straight home, lock the door and be done with the world. Perfection! Yet my young and vibrant daughter wants to be a social butterfly, to do and see things, to fully immerse herself in the world. Of course this means I have to take a very deep breath and some anti-anxiety meds before dipping my toes in the world's waters too.
We've five whole weeks to fill and I know she wants to go here, there and everywhere. This is already causing the panic to rise and my heart to race, even more so I think after a week of solitude. I've to go from one extreme to the other. I reckon I'd be a hermit crab in another existence you know! At least I'd be able to carry my precious home with me!
But get out and about I will, I will not be beaten by the monsters lurking in my subconscious. She deserves to flutter about here and there and I won't have her saddled as I am needing the cloak of home. She needs and deserves people in her life.
Oh to be a social butterfly and enjoy the flitter flutter of society. To feel light and airy. To feel pretty and attractive. To enjoy flitting from one thing to another without a care in the world.
I had a very disturbing dream last night. I was in a production on the stage and it was in a massive venue, we're talking arena proportions! The audience were all arriving, famous people, everyone I knew. I was desperately trying to get to where I knew I should be ready for my cue but could I get there? It feels like I spent all night running here and there, going around and around in circles. I even got caught up in the audience on Louis Walsh's lap?! But I just could not get to where I needed to be. The panic was overwhelming, and of course the more I panicked the less able I was to think clearly and find my way to the dressing room.
I guess that's my subconscious having the same conversation with itself about the forthcoming weeks! My fear of the people, the feeling of panic if I go and make a show of myself, so my subconscious is trying to protect me by keeping me away from getting onto that stage of life!
Anyways enough rambling for now xx