I’ve just returned from a busy weekend in Scotland. It was our first visit back home since we moved to Birmingham and I was really excited to see my friends and family for the first time in 4 months. Unfortunately for an introvert like me, being constantly on the go for 72 hours turned out to be kind of a drag. I knew my time was limited with everyone, but after the first day my mind was so exhausted that I could barely hold a conversation or stay awake.
Combine my solitary nature with mental health issues and you’ve got someone who appears to be extremely moody and rude for a lot of the time. I’ve said I’m sorry again and again. I feel like it’s out of my control. When I feel a low mood creeping in, it climbs onto my back and digs its claws in. It doesn’t let go and then I feel anxious about how I appear to other people.
I know there are people who can’t understand this at all. But I also know there are people out there who know exactly how it feels. Here’s what’s going on in my head most of the time:
I don’t have the strength to talk
Holding a conversations when I’m drained, depressed and on edge with anxiety is near impossible. I’m caught in that horrible contradiction of being fatigued but my body is often producing a lot of nervous energy. Sometimes making small talk is just too hard.
I have nothing nice to say
When my depression sets in I feel like the world is a bad place. I suddenly think I can see everyone for who they really are; they’re all pretending to be happy, nothing is worth the effort and we should all just give up immediately. If I’m in this frame of mind and you ask me what shade of lipstick looks best then I won’t have anything helpful to add to the discussion so I try to just keep my mouth shut.
I’m concentrating on not freaking out
It might look like I’m just grumpy and quiet but secretly I’m scanning the room for potential anxiety inducing situations. Where are the toilets? Are those drunk people going to talk to us? How are we going to split the bill and do I have enough money? Are you going to ask me something I can’t answer? Am I going to look stupid?
I feel like I’m not enough
If this scenario continues on for more than a few hours and I feel like it’s obvious to other people then I tend to feel like a bit of a failure. Why can’t I just fake being polite for one day? Why can’t I think of one single thing to talk about? Why do my friends and family even want me around? I don’t deserve them. I’m such a waste of space.
I’m feeling guilty
When I start to feel like I’m cramping everyone’s style I am plagued with guilt. I feel like I’ve ruined the day, wasted everyone’s time and been a crappy friend/daughter/sister. Even when people tell me it’s not my fault I find a way to convince myself that I should be able to control my moods better or get better at pretending to be OK.
If I come across as rude to you, I’m so sorry. I’m working on it.