This past weekend I had to do or actually I chose to do quite a bit of socializing. I had a family wedding, an overnight at a friend’s house and a 1st birthday party for a nephew and they were all out of state. The first event was the wedding. My nephew, Stephen, got married. It was a beautiful event and I was glad I was there celebrating with my family. However, I had great difficulty being in a large group.
In addition, I had difficulty with the noise so I found myself separating lots of times. Furthermore, it was hard to follow any conversation; everyone became a “talking head”, so I kept conversing to a minimum. I really just enjoyed observing my family from a distance. After a few hours I had to leave because I was experiencing significant distress.
After a night of socializing at the wedding and being away from my home, I was really tired. I desperately wanted to head home but we made a commitment to go and stay at a friend’s house. I really enjoy this couple and their energy so although I was tired, I was willing to continue our socializing weekend. After arriving at their house, my fatigue really hit and I had to take a nap. I remembered that I needed to take care of myself. I could not socialize anymore so I did excuse myself and took a nap. It felt really awkward to have just come to visit for an overnight and I take off for a nap within a hour or so of getting there. However, taking the nap made the rest of my time at our friend’s house enjoyable even though I had difficulty participating in any conversations because I would find myself dissociating during conversations again. It is hard not to get bombarded by people’s energy and emotions, even if it is only a few people.
By the third day of being away from home and socializing I was in distress, however, my husband and I still wanted to go to our nephew’s 1st birthday party. The party was to last 2 hours. It was great to celebrate with family but I had to limit my visit to 1 hour. I just could not do anymore socializing, it had become to disabling. I slept for most of the ride home.
What I did learn from the experience is that I do know how to care for myself while engaging in activities that bring me a great deal of enjoyment, distress and an increase in my dissociation. Throughout the weekend, I continued to take the time to use a few of my tools – exercising, journaling and solitary time – for managing my PTSD. For example, we chose to travel the day before the wedding so I could try to manage my day before socializing. Also, I was very aware that I was able to care for my husband as well. I find social situations really difficult and he thrives in social situations. I think this weekend we might have met both our needs. However, for the next 2 days I was completely wiped out. Daily self care – brushing my teeth and eating – became the successes of the day. This was the reason there was no blog for last week. In the future, I think I would need to limit number of social interactions in a weekend. It would be a gentler way to care for myself.
I am writing this at 3 am because I have not been able to sleep all night again. I am using my awake time to touch into my creative outlet.
FYI – I have added an about me section, a copyright section and a first article to this website. The article is a timeline of my life.
Social situations are so incredibly hard for me too. I have tried to be more open to them, but large groups or new people just freak me out. I really need to learn to cope with it better. One day at a time though. I like what you said about self care. Often times that is so easy to forget.