Sunday, November 20, 2011

Boo for Sunday Nights


Sitting on the couch, getting myself stressy as I think about work tomorrow and whittle away at some tasks here and other little ones there and take in deep breaths as I catch glimpses of other ones I've been avoiding.....

This is me every Sunday night:

But it wasn't how I was planning to spend this one.

There's a WWE pay-per-view on tonight and we were invited to go watch it. With friends. Catch: at their aunt and uncle's house. Whom we've never met.

Alas, M's anxiety strikes again.

You can actually see it build. And progressively take over his body and brain to the point where he's not even thinking straight. Because all he can think about is this future social interaction in a place he doesn't know. With people he doesn't know. Where he will have little, if any control over his surroundings. It completely consumes him. He will definitely lose sleep, and will usually make himself physically ill in the process.

So I go from wishfully thinking "maybe this time will be different..." to cheerleader "c'mon! it'll be fun! give it a shot!" to mild annoyance, which quickly builds to flat out annoyance. And then crisis point is reached. And I need to downshift to concern, shake off judgment, and focus on the person who is truly in pain - both physically and emotionally - in front of me.

And then we cancel all plans.

And then, after a while, he's fine. But exhausted.

Me too.

So now, he's chillin'. I'm chilling. Disappointed, but I'll shake it off. It is what it is. As a penance, I'm making him find and download the tune that Eden rocked out to in one of her latest vlogs. His eyes are rolling at the premise of having to use his computer to acquire house music. I don't care. I WILL find some time to dance with abandon sometime very, very soon.

In the meantime, I'm wondering if any of you have partners who experience anxiety around social situations? Not the usual spastic colon Sunday variety - the immobilizing I cannot move even if wanted to kind. Has loss changed or heightened it? Coping mechanisms? Ways to address it? Soothing words? Open to all thoughts here. Anonymous comments are welcome.

And if anyone wants to tell me what's going on over at S*rvivor S*ries, I wouldn't mind that either.


Danielle said...

Actually, I AM the partner with the immobilizing social anxiety. Only in my case, it plays out with me complaining about every aspect of what we're about to do and then picking a fight with Alan to distract myself. Good times. PM (see? I remember what it means!) me for more, so I don't take over your space. It's taken us a long time to figure out how to do it better- many, many paragraphs worth of a long time.

TracyOC said...

Similar to Danielle, I think I'm the immobilized one in our partnership. Lately I've just embraced my awkwardness and it's made it easier to get out there. Even if it means getting out there and enjoying the social gathering from a lonely, silent corner. Whatever. Now that I'm on the downward slope towards 40, I've stopped worrying about what other people think about my weirdly quiet ways. I can seem social and still use the time to attend to my inner-fretting. So, it's a two-fer. And maybe, just maybe, I seem somewhat mysterious.

Enjoy the short work week.

dana said...

Argh. I wrote a long, thoughtful comment and then got the dreaded ERROR when I attempted to publish. Shorter version:

I'm the one with the social anxiety in our relationship, though probably not as extreme as M. T ALWAYS offers to cancel plans, but then I feel like a douche bc T is pretty much the Social Club President. This can be difficult, if I let it. But, like TracyOC, I've just embraced my social awkwardness and I don't hide it. It is what it is. Self-deprecation helps..haha!
Being social and part of a big group and surrounded by people is just T's thing - he LOVES it and THRIVES on it. Me? I'd rather burrow myself under the covers. BUT. It's a big deal for him - so I just suck it up and deal. And tbh, I rely on T a lot when we go out. I kind of feed off of his energy to get me thru the night - it doesn't make me social or talkative, but it makes ~me happy to see him enjoying himself...even if it means I'm a nervous wreck on the inside.

Breath in. Breath out. Repeat.

Not much help, I know. I hope you have a good week.

much love-

m said...

ladies, thank you. THANK you for sharing.

@Dani, you are always welcome in my space. For as long and as lengthy as you want to be. But I will PM you too. Ah, the pre-event fight. Kind of a given over here too. And I wish I were grown up enough to see it coming and know its not about me. But I take it personally, then escalate it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

@TracyOC, I love proposing the air of mystery. I may try that...Here's the thing: as you (and Dani) have seen, once there, M is usually ok. If he's not, he fakes it REAL good. Sometimes, he is the life of a party (even if his bowels completely empty afterwards from the stress of it all) Sorry. That was TMI.

@Dana, I'm sorry you lost your comment. :-( I HATE when that happens. Like your T, I love being in and among people - at least, once upon a time I did. Loss has dampened some of that, trying to be attentive the extra layer of angst it gives M is another. And I know this really, really adds to his anxiety - the fact that he knows I want to go. He feels immensely guilty that he's "letting me down" and not being "a good husband" which, of course, breaks my heart even more, which makes him feel worse....lather, rinse, repeat.

I so appreciate you all sharing your thoughts here. I would love for all of us to go be socially awkward together sometime soon. Xmas Candylane at Chocolate World, anyone?

That's a real invite, BTW.

Silver said...

Oh YES! I know your pain! My husband has raging social anxiety, to the extent I have considered grinding up the medication I have to keep my BP level which is also supposed to help social anxiety and putting it in his coffee - don't worry, I wouldn't, but oh the temptation! His even extends to his own friends - not that he doesn't like them, he just fears being judged or being "less" than them. It has led to arguments between us on a monumental level as, not only does it mean he often doesn't want to come out with me, he also won't go out by himself so I never get time on my own at home. And yes, loss and IF did make it worse (although our losses were at a much earlier stage than yours). I would like to say that having our son has improved things, but it has only had a small effect so far - maybe that might give you comfort though - it's not one of these things having a baby will "fix" (in fact, I've discovered that really, the only thing having a baby totally fixes is not having a baby!!). He is aware that he doesn't want to transmit his anxiety to our wee boy and make him anxious too, so it's something he knows he needs to work on. My only advice would be counselling and/or medication - as I explained to my husband, I know medication is a sticking plater but like a sticking plaster, it lets you get on with things while you're still wounded. I have not been able to persuade him into medication and we can't afford counselling after all the IF treatments. Sorry not to be more help, but sending sympathy and a hug from a fellow SA widow!

Wish I could join you all over there - anyplace called Chocolate World has got to be good!

Anonymous said...

I'm like you, I can't wait to get out and yack yack yack to anyone who will have me around. DH is much quieter. I only really noticed it a few months ago, because for the past few years since my dad died, I've been hiding from the world. Suddenly I want to live again, and I have to try to drag DH with me. Interesting to see this happens with other couples too!

Just Me said...

III has social anxiety. It's not as terrible as your DH it sounds, but definitely makes it difficult to meet new people and have new experiences. He'll go with me, but I end up being so nervous for him that neither of us has a very good time.

I, on the other hand, have anxiety around just about everything else. Which often results in 'spastic colon' so I can totally relate to hoops and yoyo on that one!

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. :)

loribeth said...

Social anxiety, not so much (he doesn't particularly like going out or socializing, but he hides it well -- you'd never know) -- but my dh struggles with anxiety & depression, & yes, it does sometimes make my life difficult. There are times when I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around him. (((hugs))) You are not alone.

Nadine said...

I meant to comment a while back, but, somehow it got erased.

My mother and sister both have carrying degrees of generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety is the Same thing, it can be fixed, but the person has to want it, fight for it. It takes hard work. My. Other is 64 and we finally learned how to address her anxiety, and key is to stop feeding it, so what ever she is obsessing about, we don't fuel it(example, if she starts calling over and over again, i unplug the phone and avoid her until she rationalizes her fear herself).

All mental illness isn't a choice, but anxiety disorders can be treated with hard work.

So, because I have personal experience with this ( I too suffered from extreme social anxiety) but I dealt with it(developed coping skills, read a lot of books, practiced their suggestions) it takes work, but, it van be done, and slowly the anxiety does melt away. I did it because I had to do it, if I wasn't forced to, I her would have

I have more to say, but, fear I may come off as a raging bitch, but, please know that feeding the anxiety never ever results in progress, and if you both want to move ahead and be happy, then it's going to take the hard work.

Okay, enough, you know how to reach me if you want more details on my experiences, feel free to email me.