Once this blog started picking up steam last summer, I was awarded a freedom I didn’t know I craved. I will call it ‘public seclusion.’
Public seclusion is the ability to disseminate information without any personal contact at all. I can share my deepest feelings and most private physical evolutions and reach thousands of women and families who tell me I have helped them, yet, I don’t actually speak to anyone.
I generally do well in social situations, but as of late, they tend to stress me out and exhaust me. I even get nervous in advance of spending time with people I know really well and trust.
I’ve realized that I want to stay behind the protective barrier of the blog. There seem to be a few exceptions to this:
- I have no issues talking to strangers. They don’t know my story and usually are only interested in a quick convo about whatever we are connecting over, like the pesky broken gas pump that is inconveniencing us both or the bad weather.
- Speaking to a large group. Not that I have actually done this, but if called upon to speak publicly, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.
- Helping someone with a specific problem. Cancer-related or otherwise.
What seems to be my Achilles heel is one on one interaction. I just don’t want to do it. I want to have people submit their questions to me in advance and I will email, text or blog my responses.
This sounds so crazy.
I’m not sure if it is the anxiety of the unknown course of a conversation? Or perhaps I have just gotten so used to controlling a narrative that the concept of someone else getting involved shakes me?
Or maybe it’s just my generalized anxiety. I have had generalized anxiety since I was a child. It waxes and wanes, but right now it is waxing on.
One hot spot that is NOT HELPING is any thing to do with the sale of my house. We are financially locked into the house we are buying, but have yet to sell our existing house meaning that in less than 45 days, we will own two houses. On the same block. This is not ideal.
The stress of getting the house ‘show ready’ by moving 70% of our belongings into storage and the constant stress of keeping our house show ready with 4 kids and 2 dogs is basically frying my brain and soul.
I have to assume that the stress of selling (or not selling) a house has kickstarted my anxiety to a level that I wasn’t ready for. And it has caused me to regress to snail lady status.
Or maybe a glimpse at my own mortality has subconsciously spurned me to pull away from people? For their own safety? Like in case the cancer comes back at least they wouldn’t have gotten too close to me?
I saw my oncologist the other day for a regular check up. It was scary as hell. Everything went well, but that certainly didn’t help my mental state either. Just being in the waiting room again, still 40 years younger than anyone else there, I sensed my mortality looming.
It’s so morbid, but these are the kinds of thoughts I have, then shove back under the rugs I had to put in storage.
I feel ill-equipped to fraternize with people I love. I have resorted to hiding in my perfectly staged house and manically mopping.
I want my blog communication safety net to save me, but I fear it becoming a crutch. I can’t shy away from personal relationships forever.
What is the answer? I don’t think it’s forcing myself to do things I don’t genuinely feel like doing, but I also think it’s a bad idea to nuzzle deeper into the hole. Perhaps a stronger anti-anxiety medication? Perhaps more therapy? Perhaps someone could buy my damn house for christssake?!
In the meantime, if you know me personally, grant me some space. Know that I love you, I just don’t have max capacity to function like a normal human right now.
Gregarious Grace will be back.
PS- 3/4 of my big toenail just painlessly slipped off. Thanks chemo!!