Social Seasons

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It is my social springtime. I know the world is still fully frozen outside here. We had another 8 inches of snow dumped on us last us. Another snow day with kids home from school. More days in brutal skin killing negative temps. But that doesn’t matter. It is my social springtime and time to come out of this self enforced cave.

I know myself well enough to know that I retreat into a deep dark winter of my soul each year. Winter is a perfect way to describe it, as I freeze up, and freeze everyone out. I hibernate. I withdraw so far inside myself that I can no longer be a social being. Not that I’m a party animal now…but this is extreme even for me. I slow down all emails and texting and blogging and chatting online in the fall, usually ceasing completely mid December. I rarely do phone calls anyway, but forget it during this time period, not going to happen. I look at a ringing phone like a torture device if I acknowledge it exists at all. Meetings at school? No. Talk to cashiers? No. Eye contact? No. Snuggle time? No. I shut down completely and become an empty shell going through the motions of life.

Somehow I survive this way. get through the holidays, and begin waking up around the end of January and start doing some clean up. Do I have any friends left? I start reading old unanswered texts and emails. I start replying and responding. Some people are angry. Some people don’t understand. Actually most don’t understand. I’ve lost many connections with otherwise good people that could not handle my radio silence. (It’s been a month girl and I’m supposed to just start talking to you again now? Its too weird, too rude, I thought you were angry with me, what did I do wrong…I’ve heard it all)

I’ve managed to find a few online friends that accept this quality in me. They are still there when I return, and I’m so relieved. The others…I add to my pile of casualties. It hurts, but I have to let them go.

I will never understand how a switch seems to flip deep inside me that I either need to speak to someone NOW or the loneliness will swallow me whole – or – I want nothing to do with humanity and I isolate myself as far away as possible with no feelings of loneliness, only relief when left alone. This is partially a form of seasonal depression, but more likely triggered by PTSD with too many emotions to handle regarding holidays and memories of that season. But If I can’t fully understand this switch, I certainly can’t expect others to understand it. I have accepted it though, and I am grateful for those in my life that have accepted it also.

Those friends have not my blog. I have chosen to keep the nitty gritty details private for my new friends. It is simply too much for anyone to handle. I do tell them vague bits, that I was abused and enough to be authentic, but not enough to overwhelm and frighten them away. I think I finally found the balance that works to form connections and start feeling human. So yay for that.

I’d still give my left kidney to have a real life friend to meet in person some day…but I’ll be patient. The universe will provide that once its ready I suppose. Or maybe I don’t get one in this lifetime. I’ve accepted, well come on, sorta accepted, that may be my truth.

Anyone else notice ebbs and flows where you can’t socialize at all or where you need people desperately? I’m curious

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5 thoughts on “Social Seasons

  1. Yes. It took a long time to learn ebbs and flows were typical. I was well into my 30s when I was blessed to have a friend, Flo, for too a short time, who struggled with SAD and other problems. We often made plans on which we didn’t follow through. She or I wouldn’t be feeling up to it, and we’d reschedule, over and over. Never any backlash, always simply grateful when we were finally able to both feel well enough at the same time to meet up for lunch, three for four times a year, maybe. Lost her to leukemia. It was a number of years later that I met a new friend who isn’t quite as forgiving, but I’m doing better anyway. Praying you find a friend like my Flo. They are rare and precious. Never give up because they’re also worth it.

  2. I’ve always wanted to be a bear too. I had a terror when younger of being “crazy,” (i.e., out of control) my therapist and I decided a while back that what I thought was insanity was clinical depression, so I’ve fought it, mostly successfully much of my life.

    That said? I completely understand. And, if you were my friend and you weren’t mad at me, I think I’d accept that you disappear for months at a time. Many of my friends and I, if we keep contact at all, there have been years (or decades!) where we didn’t speak or interact. There are many people I send an email to about once yearly, “Hey! What’s up?” and that’s all. If friendship requires continual contact, I’m doing it wrong. I’ve been doing it wrong for decades. And I have many friends who’re doing it wrong too.

    However, most if not all of these people do not live close. My family is not involved in my day to day life either, nor do I expect them to be.That is the way my family is, despite the fact that my abuser used this as “proof” of my horridness. Has nothing to do with my value, has to do with the examples we were given and how we were taught, our expectations, etc.

    There is no one, right way. It’s like Christmas. We hardly have a Dickens inspired holiday. Ours is quiet, peaceful and we enjoy being able to savor each other’s company, but it’s just my husband and myself. We have family where we’d be welcomed, but most often decide our money is better spent elsewhere and stay home.

    You disappearing is part of who you are. You wanting to hibernate is too. Nothing wrong with either. If you made dates with me you continually broke with no notice? Yay, I’d be miffed and likely not want to schedule something with you again. If you let me know, I’d probably let it slide… But just being around and available isn’t a requirement. Relationships take work, true. My experience is that integrity and respect count more than quantity. I’d rather have you around when you can, as long as you respect me enough to let me know when you can’t.

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