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Sunday, December 18, 2005

party pooper

I hate my brain/personality.

Recently I have been ignoring the tarot and my intuition in order to go to parties and socialise. Why? Well, first of all I love parties and being sociable and having fun. Secondly, I can't very well complain about being alone/lonely/friendless and then decline invitations to things where I can meet new people. That would be stupid, and unfortunately I'm not stupid yet.

So, what's the problem?
You know how I said that I love parties and being sociable and having fun? Well. Most people I know would laugh at that statement - i'm sure they think I am a shy loner who doesn't like people. Most of the time when I go to parties I can't do the sociable/having fun thing. Even though I really really want to. Even though I know how and have done it previously.

It is so frustrating that most of the time I end up being antisocial and weird. I end up glued to the couch in the corner or hiding out in some spare room.

The party on Friday was an extreme example. I think it was probably the best party I have been to all year. Great music, a wide variety of very friendly and interesting people, great costumes, great location. And I went with good friends. What more could I ask for?

Well a different brain/personality would've been very nice. I didn't enjoy the party much at all. I spent most of 7+ hours glued to the couch freaking out and spacing out.

The party was unusual in that I didn't drink any alcohol at all, but I don't think alcohol would've made any difference (apart from making other people more comfortable with me). In fact I learnt that alcohol does not really affect me - I learnt that most of my past "hangovers" have actually just been sleep deprivation.

Freaking out and spacing out.
Stupid brain. I won't go into the freaking out here - I was just very panicky over something that occured just before the party. I guess the freaking out may have contributed to the spacing out and to my antisocial behaviour...but it was not the only contributing factor.

I don't know if you have ever spaced-out. It is a strange feeling - it is like I am turning my brain off/down or at least putting a huge filter on it. I usually have to sit down and I stare into the distance at nothing hoping no one will come and talk to me. I don't want people to talk to me because I have no energy left and talking to strangers uses up a huge amount of energy. Although I can sometimes manage to talk to friends, and there are a few people who are actually energising.

I don't really know why I do it, I suspect it is because I have no energy left and it is just a means of surviving for an unknown length of time at a highly stimulating location. Maybe this is why I am so fussy about knowing how I am going to get home in advance. I usually have an escape route planned. As you may know I have been trying to change my personality and behaviour, so I ignored escape route planning for this party - I thought I'd just go with the flow and live in the moment. Which on reflection, was a very stupid thing to do.

I can't control the spacing out. When I get to the spacing out stage then it is too late to fix - the only solution is to go home and sleep. I have been sleeping all weekend to make up for the party. I hate that. I hate that I wasted a great party being antisocial and I hate that I wasted the whole weekend sleeping and napping and it has only partially restored energy levels. I hate that I can't enjoy parties like I want to.

I had a similar but not so bad spacing-out experience at my work Christmas party last weekend. I don't usually dance in front of people. Actually, I never dance in front of people. There's never been any good reason: I'm not shy, I don't get embarrassed, I love dancing...but I have always been unreasonably stubborn about it. I think I know why now. I danced at the Christmas Party. It was very fun, but it was also very tiring. Previously I had been relatively bubbly, but after the dancing I just shut down. I started spacing-out. Talking was a physical effort requiring energy I didn't have. It was so frustrating. There I was with cool people to talk to and lots of potential places to go and things to do, but I couldn't do anything. I didn't have the energy.

I don't think people understand. When I complain about my life (as I frequently do) they tell me I need to work on my social skills and I need to talk to people and work on ym confidence and I need to do this and that. They seem to think I am just being silly and shy and scared and not trying to change. They don't seem to understand that I have been trying, but when I try and do those things my brain/body shuts down and if do this enough then I get sick. It feels like it is more a physical barrier than a mental one.

Anyway, I guess it's not all that surprising that I come across as a boring, shy, stupid, weird party pooper who people avoid. I guess it's not surprising that I never meet anyone. I really really want a personality/brain transplant.

How are you feeling now, Suze?

I don't think you need a different brain or personality. These sorts of experiences, once figured out, can be very powerful and character building. Probably not the sort of character building that you would want, but then anything less wouldn't be as significant.

The important thing is to treat how you react at parties as a habitual response. The habit was picked up as some point. The thing is to understand when you react and respond habitually, what triggers the habitual response and what directions you can consciously give yourself to overcome the habitual reponse.

Simple, sort of. :)
I'm still worn out from all that not-socialising! :) No I don't need a diff brain/personality, I just want a diff brain/personality.

Yes, it is simple in theory...and there is plenty of fuel for extensive over-analysis ;-) It was an intense and probably useful experience, but not a fun experience.

I'm not sure whether my usual party survival behaviours are good things I should continue or bad things I should work to get rid of (eg preplanned escapes, minimising stimulation, don't go to parties when I don't feel up to it, take a camera and/or journal, drink alcohol before and during cause it numbs things a bit, only go to parties where I know a certain percentage of people etc).
If it helps, I went to a party on Saturday night - my first one in years, I think. I don't know if it was a good party as such, I just found myself completely bored by the whole thing. The way it was set up made it very difficult to mingle and we didn't know anyone except for the hostess. Still talked to a few people and my dress was a good conversation starter ... I really think dinner parties are far more satisfying.

I was thinking about your experience more and I you must have gone through a fight or flight response where you get a surge of adrenaline to either fight or run away. You did neither, so all that adrenaline instead kept you in a kind of frozen state where it had nothing to do. That will make you tired.
I suppose some parties are good for mingling and others aren't. Your dress must've been interesting :)

It could've been fight or flight - I was panicky and worried and scared before hand. And at the party I couldn't run away or fight for 7 hours ...interesting... it could explain the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion.
I have much the same reaction at parties or large, loud, social gatherings. I have a hard time talking with people, I have a lousy time, and I spend most of the time I'm there wondering how long I have to wait before leaving without looking too anti-social.

And I'm not anti-social. But those situations just put me in the wrong frame of mind, and it's not something I can break out of.

It used to make me dislike myself. I don't any more, but sometimes I still wish I was more of an extrovert. But then I wouldn't be me, and I do rather like myself.

I used to be OK with it. Now I'm just mad and frustrated with myself. Lots of people seem to manage to do the socialising thing. Why can't I?

Oh well...pity party tonight.
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