Family - you love them and you hate them. For me - I really, really struggle at family gatherings. I have been secretly introverted my entire life so much so that family gatherings are extremely stressful. Basically I fake happiness during social interactions as my mind screams for me to hide. I almost cannot stand it and without alcohol I would not be able to handle more than a couple of hours with family. This includes my immediate family, Heather's immediate family, any extended family and even gatherings with friends. I suffer greatly at any family gathering no matter how large or small.
No one in my family has heard this before and I would be willing to bet they had no idea I felt this way. I allow a false arrogance to take over me as I internally shut down, get quiet, eat a lot, and drink. Obviously this is not healthy for anyone's physical or mental state. This completely sucks because not only is it stressful, this feeling is not fair to me or my family. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am already freaking out about having to deal with the 21 other people who are coming to my house to eat turkey. My anxiety is high and I will shut down.
The question is why? Why do I suffer? Why can't I handle being around family? These are the people who love me unconditionally. I should be ecstatic to be with them. I actually don't think it is family that causes my distress - it is being with people in general. In other words - social anxiety. Family events are always in very close contact so I think the feelings are magnified. My social anxiety is obviously not extreme because I can and do attend public events and go to parties. It is just not my choice or favorite thing to do. I can always manage my anxiety with a good bottle of tequila which turns me into the life of the party. Is this really a good way to live? NO!
|Self -medicating during a family gathering in 2012|
So I am still trying to answer the question of why I really do not enjoy family gatherings. I think it is because I am afraid that someone might discover the true me. I have always had a false arrogance that hides my self-loathing self and my perception of personal weakness. Everyone knows me through my arrogance and if they ever find out how vulnerable and alone I feel inside myself, they would be shocked - even Heather. I absolutely fear anyone getting too close to me just in case they find out about my true feelings for myself (I guess the cat is out of the bag - fuck!). My feeling of being a complete and total loser dominates my psyche and life when with others. This is very hard to change regardless of the support, love, and affirmation I receive because this feeling has been so ingrained into who I am. I am changing this mindset right now with this blog post.
Let's get this straight right now - I do NOT want any pity from anyone. Please keep loving me as if I never wrote this blog post. Please remember - this is my blog written for myself. You are just a voyeur in my mind. I also have an amazing and wonderful therapist supporting me as I discover myself during this 40th trip around the sun.
Back to my social anxiety - I have to deal with it tomorrow. I already have accepted that I will self-medicate with alcohol although I am not proud of that. Until I find myself and can move forward in a social setting with my paranoia of discovery gone, I am forced to carry on as I have ever since I can remember. Maybe this blog will help move me forward.
|I used to take "beer selfies" as part of my justification for self-medication.|
Thankfully this stopped about a month ago as I really began to discover my true self.