My so-called social life... I've been really putting effort into getting out and doing things at least once a week, instead of hibernating at home. Each time I go do something, I have to conquer my anxiety. No matter how excited I am to do a particular activity, at the last minute I start thinking, "Maybe I just want to stay home." My brain starts thinking of excuses like, "I'm really tired. I shouldn't spend the money. I don't want to hang out with people I don't know. My dogs will miss me."
This past Saturday there was an event I had signed up to go to, with a new Meetup group just for women. The event was to go to this place where they have a whole lot of trampolines. I have always wanted to go there, because I really like trampolines! But of course at the last minute, I kind of decided I didn't want to go. I really had to force myself. I reminded myself of the times in the recent past where I did something new and ended up having at least a little bit of fun, like sledding at a family party, tubing with another Meetup group (even though I ended up tubing by myself), the salt cave, etc.
So I went! Only two other people ended up going, which was kind of nice because I do much better in a small group. If there is a bunch of people, I kind of get shy and get lost in the shuffle, but with a small group I feel more comfortable. We bounced on the trampolines for a while (not nearly as long as we thought we would... after half an hour of jumping, I felt like I would collapse!) and then went out for dinner at TGI Friday's. I had a lot of fun, and now I am signed up to go to a game night with them next Saturday! So far I haven't made any actual friends, because it is usually different people each time. But at least I am practicing talking to people, and having some fun experiences!
|Who is in your herd?|
ANYWAYS... it went really well again. With Julie's help I figured out a whole new aspect to my difficulty with making friends and connecting with others. See, when I was a kid growing up, my parents, probably unintentionally, discouraged me from having close relationships with other people, including aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, etc. Even with the people we were permitted to be close to, such as my maternal grandparents and two of my maternal aunts and uncles, we were expected to keep things on a polite, light-hearted level, and not allowed to talk about anything very serious. For instance, once when I was about 11 I mentioned to someone from my mom's family about my dad being an alcoholic (he had recently joined AA and admitted his alcoholism problem to me and my brother, which was why it was weighing on my mind that day) the family member literally walked away from me. When my brother and I started getting close to an adult neighbor lady (she was the guardian of one of our friends) my mom would always say negative things about the lady, and sort of subtly discouraged us from spending time with her. So, in addition from having Asperger's Syndrome, I also got very little practice in making connections with people, and was actually kind of conditioned to avoid connections.
The weird thing is, when I was a teenager and into my early twenties, for a while I had the opposite problem, and would latch on immediately to anyone who was even a little bit kind to me. This got me into a lot of trouble in life because I latched onto people with some serious problems (like drugs) but it also did allow me to have some interesting experiences, and taught me to see past any stereotypes and into a person's real self. But I was pretty indiscriminate about who I would try to befriend. If someone smiled at me, I would probably follow them off a cliff back then. Much later on, I was working with children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, and I learned about the different types of attachment issues kids with RAD have. One of them, Indiscriminate Attachment or Disinhibited Attachment, means that kids quickly get attached to people who are more or less strangers, and will interact with those people as if they are best friends, because they don't really recognize a difference between family members and strangers. It happens sometimes with kids who were badly neglected from an early age, or kids in foster care who have been moved from caregiver to caregiver since they were very young. When I learned about it back then, it sort of reminded me of myself.
But I digress.
ANYWAYS AGAIN... when we were talking about it, I was feeling a little sad about it, and guilty about talking about my parents. And every time I started feeling kind of bad, Brownie would move over and put her head right by my face or my shoulder, like she was trying to give me a little support. It was pretty cool!
Julie said people and horses are alike because we are both herd animals, and when we can't find a herd of our own (not that humans literally travel in herds like horses, but you know what I mean, a group of people that you can depend on) we get anxious and depressed.
This blog entry is getting a little long. I should stop. I need to go walk my dogs. But one more thing.
My blogaversary is coming up on April 5. I was trying to think of something to do for it. I already did the "I'll answer any question you have" thing for my 100th post, so I wanted something different. I saw a great idea on Simple Moments Stick. She made a survey for her blog readers, and published the results. I thought I'd steal the idea. But I am doing it a little backwards. She put out her survey on her blogaversary, and published the results a month later. I am going to post the survey ahead of time, and publish the results on my blogaversary.
So, even if you have only read my blog once in your life, will you please take my survey? It is anonymous, multiple choice, and won't take your email or anything... just fill it out and click "Done," and you really will be done. It should take five minutes or less. And if you do it, I'll be your best friend!
The survey is here. Thanks so much!
Okay. End of post. I gotta go. Goodbye.