Friday, September 05, 2008

An Involuntary Set Of Masks

There are two parts to me I am becoming uncomfortable with. In a large group, say more than three people, I clam up and only engage with my food. Or, a switch gets flipped somewhere and I push myself to perform grabbing inappropriate amounts of attention in a group.

Both of these states feel somewhat beyond my control. I know that is not technically true, but I haven't figured out how to break through these behaviors on my own. So, when I had my yearly check-in with my Psychiatrist, I brought these issues to her attention. Are there any groups that can assist me with these issues?

To my great relief and surprise, such groups exist. Due to my strange background, some emotional exchanges between people also baffle me. I went for an intake interview for this group and will start on a three week "try out" next week. This group may not be what I need, but after three sessions, I can evaluate and go on from that point.

I can not express how good it feels to be able to tell the truth about an issue I've labored under for years. I hide my emotional in-experience with total silence, or with hyped-up performance. These behaviors have their place, but I want the freedom to choose how I behave. I no longer want to have my fears control my behavior.

Another victory of late was my successful visit to the grand opening of Barack Obama's Northern California campaign headquarters. I really wanted to go and see what it was all about. The first time I've ever desired to see a campaign headquarters for any candidate.

My less mature behavior used to be to plan to go, but not go at the last minute. Mindlessly repeating a pattern my family had of promising to include me in something, but changing their mind at the last minute. I am joyful to share that I actually got the transit information I needed and went to the campaign headquarters.

It was very crowded and set up with a bunch of tables where a large group of people could come through, sign-up for different activities and grab a snack. I'm talking a large crowd in a relatively average sized room. After looking around a bit and signing in, I decided it was more then I was ready to deal with alone. It would have been unfair to buttonhole one of the staff member and tie them up with being my "helper". So, I got some lemonade and left.

From this experience, I now have the confidence to visit the medical supply company in Berkeley to get a different, hopefully, lighter weight walker. A walker which will fit easier into small cars.

I have had to work very hard not to break promises I've made to myself. I used to let my fear keep me from attempting to go somewhere new. Now, I check things out. If I really wanted to roll along with a big crowd, I know I could ask for and receive help from friends. What a wonderful bit of knowledge THAT is. Truth be told, large crowds frighten me. I truly fear being trampled. But I'm no longer coping out on myself by not exploring things which interest me.

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