Socially Awkward

I am totally socially awkward. I know I see myself differently than others. Certainly I have been hurt in social situations due to not being able to share appropriately, appear inviting, have healthy boundaries, fear….I suppose that’s not a comprehensive list.

I have the problem of wanting to be understood immediately when I have a disagreement with someone. I can’t let it go. Maybe that’s too absolute. There are times when I can’t let it go. If I feel I am misunderstood. When that happens, I get tightness in my chest. An urge in myself to resolve it. I don’t back off. People get boxed in to the point where they end up having to say something really blunt to me. It’s just a misunderstanding of people-hood.

I am not very good at ignoring that urge to make contact. I can’t let things go without being said.Even when I know…and I mean I KNOW I should walk away. Maybe I don’t have enough to do.

I read this, this evening and I totally relate to it:

‘I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.’ Jane Eyre

I know that’s not healthy, but it gives me some solice that I don’t have to have a ton of friends. I don’t have to put myself out there. I am socially awkward and I have social anxiety. That is what I am right now. I tried for a long time to be more outgoing…ignoring what is just fundamentally a part of me.

Can this change? Probably.
Does this change have to happen today? No.

There is a price to social anxiety. Henry Cloud, in one of his books, spoke of starting to trust in relationships. I wish I could find the exact book now, but you’ll have to take my word for it. The thing of it was, I don’t trust anybody. I have had some longish relationships that have broken off, presumably because of me. I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself, I’m simply am saying that I don’t know that I can have trusting relationships.

Don’t mean to be a downer tonight, it’s just what I’m working on. With misgivings, with pain…yes, it is pain.

Socially Awkward

Darkness

I’m in the midst of a depression. It started at the end of last week. It kept me up at night worrying, fretting, remembering all of the horrible things in life. It has perpetuated through today.

Everybody in life has things to be upset about or depressed about. I don’t even have as much as a lot of people, maybe most. That doesn’t seem to matter.

I have a lot of techniques to employ when I am depressed. It helps very little. My depression feels chemical in a way…hormonal….a chemistry in my body that has nothing to do with reality. I have no interest in things that fascinated the day before. I become aimless.

On the other hand, things have been horrible for a long time. It does wear on me.

I have done a lot of work on myself, but doing a lot does not result in better relationships. That is disheartening. I have to live with it. It isn’t ok, and I suppose it could take decades. Maybe until I get to heaven.

Life isn’t all about being happy. That is something I have learned. I’d like to have contentment. Not being comfortable. Growing in Christ is not a comfortable process. It could be, but it has been my experience that it is not. Even in a dungeon you can have a sense of well-being.

Christ died for our sins. He, being without sin, overcame death so that every person might have abundant life in him.

So why do I get depressed? Why do I struggle with the same sins I have had my entire life? That should get better.

Paul said that he rejoices in suffering, because by his weakness, he is strong. It is Christ in him that is strong. He has the opportunity to be weak and watch what Christ does in that weakness.

I get that and I believe it, but actually I seem to have a lack of it being manifest in my life.

I understand that we have faith and God does the work. I pray all of the time, but it doesn’t seem to amount to anything. I don’t want to live a defeated life.

I have always said that when you commit sin you will pay for it. Pay for all of it. Every bit. That is just not true though. Christ died for our sins. He pinned them to the cross forever. That means we are not going to be punished for them. We don’t have that consequence.

That gives me a modicum of hope, that the situations in my life that are painful might be healed.

Darkness

Honoring others

Maybe it’s me, but when I look over my life, I find that I somehow haven’t paid enough attention to the details.

When I was old enough to wrap presents, my mom taught me how. It isn’t difficult, right?

Apparently it is. I don’t think I cared enough. I just wrapped things as fast as I could. I would measure wrong and cut a piece to ‘patch’ it up. The goal was to cover it as fast as I could.

When I got married, I received the most beautiful packages at my wedding shower that were adorned with ribbons. We took the ribbons from the packages and put them on a paper plate as a ‘faux’ bouquet to carry during my wedding rehearsal. The bows were lovely. It wasn’t the cost so much as the fact that these women really honored me by making a small effort to make their gift special.

As far as my own wrapping strategy went, ribbons went by the wayside pretty darned quickly. They get smushed. Waste of time and money.

I am a big proponent of the gift bag. Just throw it in there. But I don’t want to do the whole tissue paper thing. Since I must, I buy white paper in bulk.

I get the impression that using gift bags is ok, but they should be used sparingly enough that others won’t notice how lazy you are. There must be a formula, but i am not sure what it is.

Years and years ago, I had a friend who had a new home and was showing me around when we came upon a room she set aside for wrapping gifts. A whole room for gifts! How msny gifts can a person give in order to qualify for a gift wrapping room? A bit extreme, I believe, especially when you compared it to the paper scraps tucked under my bed.

This is about noticing. Paying attention. This is all about honoring myself and the ones I love. Putting time, effort and
thought. I get it now, or at least I think I do…..can’t guarantee I won’t ‘patch’ my paper anymore, but I will be more thoughtful about it.

Honoring others

The story of suffering

I am finishing the book of Job, the account of a man being tested by the Lord through loss of money, his family, and his health. Much can be said about this, but I want to share a couple of thoughts from the end of the book.

This is the text:
‘After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his prosperity and doubled his previous possessions.  All his brothers, sisters, and former acquaintances  came to his house and dined with him in his house. They sympathized with him and comforted him concerning all the adversity the Lord had brought on him. Each one gave him a qesitah   and a gold earring.
So the Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, his second Keziah, and his third Keren-happuch.  No women as beautiful as Job’s daughters could be found in all the land, and their father granted them an inheritance with their brothers.
Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. Then Job died, old and full of days.’ HSCB Translation

What I notice is that God didn’t comfort Job, his brothers and sisters did. They were sympathetic and comforting. There is a sense of community there. God’s plan is  for us to live in community. He works through his people.

How healing to be understood and validated by others. Isn’t it true that we long to experience love?

In AA we say, as one of the AA promises is that ‘no matter how far down the scale we have gone. We will see how our experience can benefit others.’ Why? Because we get it. We have sympathy, and empathy. We have been there. Empathy is hard to come by. The only reason I have any is by the grace of God getting me through many difficulties.

The other thing is God’s restoration to Job, family, money. And health. He died content in old age.

I believe this is what God does for his children. I don’t believe it necessarily occurs in this life. I think God will sit us down to a banquet with brothers and sisters to give us comfort and sympathy.

Revelation 21:1–4 says –
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away
(Revelation 21:4).

Why would we be crying? I think is due to the hurts we have had in this life. I don’t know what other people feel, but I ache for understanding. For someone to understand. I take comfort in knowing God will wipe away my tears. I look forward to be a part in comforting others and being comforted.

Doesn’t that sound lovely?

The story of suffering

Evidence

One of the tools I use is the Evidence Box.

You see, when I am full of negative thinking, The only way to stop and change my mood is to think of something positive.

Maybe that’s easy for some people but I find that in my life it’s very difficult for me to pull myself out of negative thinking.

The Evidence Box is a List of truth in my life that I write down when I’m in a good place.

For example, last week my daughter brought me a box of photos we took through the years. When I pored over them a little bit, me so sad, it broke my heart. The sadness the loss.

Then I told myself the truth. The truth is that there were good times, and bad times. To allow the bad times to color my whole world is a disservice to me and to my children. It isn’t true to paint any of it as just black or white.

So what goes into my Evidence Box is that it is ok to have sadness, but have joy as well. I’m okay, the kids are okay. They have a lot of love in their lives.

Today when I looked through that box i had bittersweet feelings, but I also reminisced about the good times.

Evidence

Anxiety – again??

I could write extensively on anxiety. It is part of my life. I thought I would share some of the things I have learned about it. Information can be really helpful.

I’m going to split this post in two because of all the information I want to share.

Anxiety, as I understand it, is fear and false pride. Certainly I have a lot of fear because I am self-centered and I will explain that.

I get scared about everything. I didn’t used to, and I certainly want to be rid of it. The anxiety I feel is most pronounced when I’m in social situations. In social situations, I try think of what I’m going to say, and I worry about how I am perceived, So, I’m not listening to the other(s), I am thinking only of myself.

Or, I compare myself disfavorably to others.

Either way, it’s self-centered.

Anxiety – again??

Cuckoo’s Nest

I debated writing this because it makes me vulnerable, but it’s worth talking about.

One of the facets of having bipolar illness is the random trip to the psych ward.

It reminds me of a trip I took with the kids, Noah and Dana, to Michigan to visit their grandparents in some ways.

Noah was 3, and Dana was 1.

We spent a week in Michigan, and were flying home. I had drinks snacks, blanket, toys, and just enough diapers to get us home after a 2 hour flight. We got seated, and to my delight, the kids both fell asleep. I breathed a sigh of relief.

During our visit, we had taken a couple of trips to urgent care

So I sat there and we didn’t’ t take off. On and on we sat. No go. No explanation, no estimate on takeoff. We were on the tarmac, and we weren’t’ t moving, nothing was happening.

Inevitably, the kids woke up. They played with their toys and ate their snacks. I asked for drinks, and was told they could not serve us. This plane sat on the tarmac. There was no getting off.

The kids became restless and began running up and down the aisle, and I was given the tasks of trying to corral them. So I did the best I could. They weren’t’ t horrible, but it was work.

After 2 hours on the tarmac, the plane had burned enough fuel to need to fill again.

Back to the gate we went. We exited, and were given the direction to go to the ticket counter, and get on another flight. 

It was disheartening to see the length of the line. 2 hours we stood to get another flight. I was holding Dana in my right arm, my bag in my right hand, and held Noah ‘s hand with my,left.

It was nothing short of miraculous that the children did not become restless. I got up to the ticket counter, and asked for my flight, and was told I couldn’t get one until the next day. I started to cry and said I needed help. She gave me a phone number and told me if I called I might get a room in a hotel.

So, that’s a heart, but what does it have to do with the psych ward? It has to do with control and your voice.

See, the psych ward has a structure where your voice doesn’t’ t matter. There are no special requests, and there is no opting out. You are not believed. You cannot leave of your own volition. There is an ocean sized lack of autonomy.

It is not like treatment at all. I do not want to go back. 

Having been there, I have to say that what is worse is the lack of support I have gotten. Not that anybody is obligated, but it would have helped me to not be so isolated in my illness. I know it is hard to know what to do. But anything is better than nothing.

Cuckoo’s Nest