To the people who hold their breath a little when someone comes close. The people who face the same battles each day and feel like nobody quite understands what they go through. To the introverts, the people with social anxiety and the people that just want to be left alone in a house on top of a hill but cannot do so because society presses them to conform and assimilate.
These are some of the problems that we face:
1) They don’t believe you, but they call you out
Nobody sees it clearer than you. You’ve got issues – both with people and with yourself. You’ve tried confiding in people, the ones that you thought would understand and be able to relate to. You made the mistake of thinking that they would.
They tell you that it’s nothing, you’ll get it over, or that you should get over it, like it’s within your control. They fail to understand that this is not a passing emotion, mood or an affliction. It is simply who you are. This is how you are wired. In a way which entails with it daily struggles that they could never understand. How could they? They’re outside looking in, you’re inside looking out.
The worse part is that they steer clear of you for the same reasons. You’re the weirdo nobody really wants to talk to. That’s good, sometimes. You get your space. It’s just, when they start whispering..and giving you those looks. Nobody believes you when you tell them about the looks but you see them, yes, you do. Through years and years of silent observation, listening and learning.
Without overt symptoms, you’re just another ‘normal’ person ‘choosing’ to be a weirdo, yet the irony is that your condition demands that you be as covert as possible.
2) It’s ‘cool’ to have a psychological disorder of sorts
Somewhere along the way, it was decided that loners were cool and sophisticated. Extroverts started imitating introverts, doing things alone (much easier) in public. Reading a novel alone in a cafe on a rainy day would have made a great kodak (or rather, Instagram) moment.
The people who are genuinely plagued with the issues are lumped into the same category of pretentious and pseudo sophisticated. In a bid to get out, you try harder. You speak up a little more, you hang out a little longer, you smile and laugh beyond your comfort level. You go through more than you should, more than you can handle and you destroy yourself on the inside to look better on the outside. You walk through the stares, the whispers and the looks until it hurts.
It hurts, but you’re not like that and that’s all you want people to see, really.
3) You’re viewed as lazy
Would you call a one legged man lazy if he takes twice as long to go somewhere compared to a man with both legs?
You wouldn’t, because you see that he has a disability. A disadvantage. With your issues, rooted deep inside so no one could ever reach in and touch you the ways that others are touched by one another, in film and reality, you find it twice as hard to do certain things. You take twice as long, you do half as much and you’re assumed to be lazy.
You can’t ask for help, not because of pride, but because you’d really like to be able to do it alone. It’s that simple, but people don’t buy simple, not today. They associate reason with assumption and it doesn’t take long before you’re the anti-social bigot who thinks you’re too good to be anyone’s friend (but that’s not true 😥 )
Likewise, you can’t help others because you can’t approach them, and they wouldn’t approach you because they don’t know about the wonderful sunken cities you have deep in your mind. You have so much to say, but the words that matter elude you. The words you need, to connect with others. So you hold your tongue and watch the world around you crash and burn.
4) Making appointments, meeting people
You usually plan your time well, carefully evaluating whether the people you are about to meet would be early or late for reasons that are simple to you, but not to them.
If the people that you are about to meet are likely to be late, you should plan to be late, or if the area is familiar to you and you know of places where you can shy away from prying eyes while you wait, you can be on time.
Having to wait for people at a public place makes you feel vulnerable and exploited.
Should the people you meet be early birds, you’d want to be slightly earlier so you can have them approaching you instead of having to live through that thirty seconds of having to walk towards them, not knowing where or how you should look. Sounds irrational to you? This article isn’t for you.
There is a delicate balance between enjoying a meal alone instead of having to dine with a group and dining with a group so you don’t have to go at it alone in a public place. You’d prefer to dine alone, ideally, but with most public places, there are other people. The patrons, the waiters, the passerby, these can get overwhelming and you’d be wishing for some company just so that people don’t notice you, or so you think. Still, it doesn’t stop you from fantasizing (and wishing) that you could someday dine alone at a nice place.
Until then, because eating with all the eyes weighing on you is hell, you’re likely to grab some food and have consume it at home (or simply stay in and eat whatever is there). Food delivery is a wonderful gift.
You’ve tried binge drinking on multiple occasions, just to see if you could let go and have fun like the others. You’ve seen them dancing, laughing and jumping and perhaps you’ve even tried a few times but eventually the stale of the moment gets to you. You feel the blanket of awkwardness wrap around you and you retreat back to your safe place – the corner. Ideally, with a glass so you can take sips every now and then, like a normal person.
These things just don’t sit well with you. You just don’t get the same high that these people do from their surroundings. Your gears tick a different way. You run on a different frequency.
Still, it has it’s moments. It’s usually dark, and it’s not often you get to watch people without them knowing. It’s not often you get to be the observer and not the subject of scrutiny. But, you cannot go clubbing and not dance, they tell you. They press you time and time again, telling you to ‘loosen up’ and ‘unwind’ but all you really want to do (and that’s really more fun to you) is retreat into the darkness and just ..watch.
7) Mental rehearsal
Most of every overt action you take has been rehearsed and carefully thought about before you actually commit to doing it. These actions are often trivial tasks such as making an order or asking for directions. You run through your lines in your head again and again and you think about the ‘worse case scenario’ and evaluate the associated risks.
Most of everything you decide or do is premeditated and that means that you don’t like surprises. It’s nice to have people appreciate you with a pleasant surprise every now and then but you’re not into being put into the spotlight without any prior mental planning and preparation.
It has to be done right.
Just a handful, more to come
but we really do have problems
These are just some.