Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Social Anxiety? Or Just Me?

I quit my quilters' guild. I was supposed to go on Monday night, and I just couldn't deal with sitting in that room with all those women that I don't feel I have anything in common with...except that we all make quilts. Of course, my quilts don't look anything like theirs...mine aren't these pretty, traditional things in country blues and pinks with perfect points and lovely neat blocks. My quilts are abstract-flowing-full-of-rivers-of-color things that look like someone spilled a paintbox and then threw water all over it...

Okay, well I like them!

So anyway, I'm not sure what it is with me...I have a really hard time belonging to groups. Part of it is never feeling like I have anything in common with the people in the group. Part of it is not wanting to commit to anything too far ahead (this comes from the bipolar thing...not knowing if I would be too depressed to get my butt off the couch when push came to shove). Part of it is me being me, which is to say, shy and introverted and just not needing or wanting to have a whole lot of people around me. Crowds irritate me to the extreme. I can't stand that amount of energy around me.

I'm sure my psychiatrist would be happy to diagnose me with Social Anxiety Disorder and put me on Seroquel for life. But what if I'm quite happy with the way I am? What if I've learned to adjust and accommodate for my needs, and know what I need to do to keep myself happy and functional? Is that still a disorder? Or is it just me?

And why should someone else decide that I'm not the way I should be, that I should be more like everyone else, and that I should therefore be medicated?

Writing Prompt: In what ways are you different from the rest of the world? Do you see these differences as strengths, or do you wish you were like everyone else?

14 comments:

Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
Your quilts sound quite lovely. I haven't liked groups of people since my first depressive episode so many years ago.

I've always thought the problem is the "group mentality." People usually talk about such superficial things that it feels like a waste of my time.

In the "old days" (meaning a few years ago), I, too, could never join groups because I was never sure when a depression would hit, and I got tired of having to quit or explain my absences. But that's no longer the case, and I can't even describe how grateful I feel.

And now that I think about it, the few large groups I now attend are classes at my local community college, or my singing class with seniors.

In the former, I have found people I like--perhaps because the subject matter--photography--provides a common interest. And in the later, I have found a few people I genuinely like as well. Maybe I'm changing!

Susan

Marissa Miller said...

Let's see if this comment thing works today...

Writing Prompt: In what ways are you different from the rest of the world? Do you see these differences as strengths, or do you wish you were like everyone else?

K. Let's break this down:
- I'm 26
- I'm black
- I'm married to a white guy
- I'm a Neil Diamond fan
- I enjoy video games
- I rarely watch TV or movies
- I don't listen to modern-day rap, R&B, etc.

Of course I wish I was like everyone else. I'm not accepted by my black peers and I'm always told I'd look better "if..." I'm not really into makeup but if I was, then I wouldn't be such an outcast.

Anyway, my husband loves my individuality but I'm too eclectic for the rest of the world.

/end negativity

Marissa Miller said...

Btw - I understand what you mean about dropping out. My attendance at Bible Study is shoddy. Good thing everyone at church knows I'm just a flake. It might make you feel bad but I think it's better to avoid a situation that brings you down rather than makes you feel better. It's best for your mental well-being.

Jazz said...

Susan--
I think you're right...it's the "group mentality" and the superficial junk that bugs me so much! I've never been one for fitting into the group mentality thing.

Jazz said...

Oh, Marissa, you sound like just the sort of person I'd like to be friends with! I don't like TV and movies either, and I adore video games. And I also can't be bothered with makeup. It's too bad most people don't look beyond the surface, isn't it?

*hugs* to you...sounds like you need one!

Gianna said...

Marissa doesn't need make up she's awesomely beautiful! I don't think anyone would possibly even notice your weren't wearing it Marissa!!

As for groups...yeah...I've never fit into groups either and it is the whole group mentality thing.

I was never in a clique in highschool and felt painfully out of it.

One of the reason I'm so happy I'm moving to a more urban area is because where I live is really cliquey---in this remote rural area and I don't fit in at all---AND I don't want to. There is no other social scene other than the clique---I guess I've made two friends but I don't see them often.

what I loved about being urban is that I can meet INDIVIDUALS that I like who are also proud of their individuality and don't need the group dynamic to give them validity.

In CA I had a ton of friends but they were all one on one friends and we all were unique interesting people...and they all had similar loose networks of friends...not a tight knit group or clique.

I love people and I found many like minded souls in CA--I don't know if that will ever happen for me here..I'm alone most of the time here and haven't made those sorts of friends in the 6 years I've been here, but I hope I can expand once I'm in town.

I'm planning on going to yoga classes, and checking out other classes at the community college seeing what else is available to do like book readings and stuff...I just want to be out of the house were I can meet individuals and NOT group minded people..

And bullcrap to social anxiety...it sounds like you're just like my husband...somewhat introverted and you like it that way...

Jazz said...

I think you've hit it right on, Gianna--I prefer finding people who are individuals and don't need group approval to validate them. They don't necessarily have to share my views...in fact it's refreshing when they don't. But I can't stand talking to people whose personalities have been forumulated by what society says they "should" think or feel or be.

naturalgal said...

I think the group thing really depends on where you are in your life. I used to feel the way you feel and it was frustrating.

I don't think I have ever met "bipolar" person who felt like they fit in.

Marissa Miller said...

Thanks, Jazz. Hugs to you too. Today's a day.

Thanks for the compliment, Gianna. I agree with you on the urban thing. I went to NYU for a year and everyone was so different and so eclectic that nobody cared whether you were different unless they were yuppies. But the individualists far outnumbered the yuppies so it was, like, who cares? Perhaps that was just college.

Not so in the suburbs. I can only imagine that it's painfully worse in the rural areas.

I appreciate your posts on this, Jazz. I think it's helping me to explore who I am in all of this social mumbo-jumbo. My online personality obviously doesn't translate quite well in person!

Jazz said...

Kevin,
Right, but that's a medication, and a highly addictive, difficult to withdraw from one at that. I'd rather not go down that slippery slide...

Gianna said...

Jazz,
I think Kevin is a spammer trying to sell Xanax.

Jazz said...

Hmmm...I suppose now I'm going to have to get tech-savvy enough to drive him and his ilk away...

Never fear. My hubby is a Very Important Firewall Engineer type, and if anyone knows about getting rid of spammers and other vermin, it is him.

Jazz said...

Note that I have DELETED the SPAM comment above by "Kevin", who was trying to advertise medication to the masses via my blog.

The nerve of some people...

Jazz said...

DIE, SPAMMERS, DIE!