I have a condition that means I find social interaction tiring and difficult. Yes, there are those out there that will disagree, but I have a medical certificate which shows I am ‘functioning’. In other words I can appear normal, I hide what happens on the inside. My social life is difficult to me and very limited. I am happiest working at my own pace and stopping when I want. It’s one of the reasons I am a writer.
I can function socially and no one realises that there is a problem. I meet people’s eyes and I smile in the right places. But these aren’t because I was instinctively able to. I have taught myself. It took me six years to meet people’s eyes. At first it was painful, I just couldn’t. Then it became something that I would be told to do. I had a friend who for two years would remind me.
“Look at me.”
And I would.
But it was an uphill struggle. Now I don’t think. I just do. I still don’t know if I have upset people, or if they find me attractive. I just can’t interpret the signals. And as long as I’m not stressed it doesn’t show. I am as normal as the person next to me – honest.
When I am stressed I can’t look at people, I mumble and trip over words. The worst case is that I trance out. I appear to be listening but I’m not there. I once went away for a whole hour. It is as if the hour never existed. I’m not daydreaming or thinking of anything else. I am just not there.
Then I need silence. I need to withdraw and go to my own place and just exist. Now I have a place – I write in it and the workshop is an integral part of my day. Without it I would be a different person. So for me silence, my silence, is golden. It keeps me sane.
This is written as a result of the daily prompt – A source of anxiety.