Calm But Curious

Since Sunday, I’ve found myself in two social situations where I might usual feel uncomfortable, with symptoms of anxiety might kick in. My sister recently celebrated her birthday and so, we’ve been out for two pub meals with different parts of the family. Both times, I wasn’t the one in control so, I guess that helps to relieve any feelings of stress of pressure. Also, I was amongst friends and family that I knew, even if I don’t get to see some of them very often. I even managed to sit through an entire meal next to my dad without coming too close to losing my temper!

I’ve been meditating each evening for almost one week now and, I wonder whether this is a sign that it is helping and that my situation is beginning to improve…

In the past, I would’ve felt quite uncomfortable, sitting in a busy pub with lots of people chatting, making noise and, looking and walking around. I would be very aware of the presence of each individual, even if we made no formal contact (or, even, basic eye contact). My face would feel ‘tight’ (people often tell me that I look worried) and I’d sometimes find breathing becomes harder (I also used to generally worry about whether others would notice each breath). Now though, it seems I am able to sit back comfortably in a chair. I feel no discomfort or pain in the expression of my face (usually between the eyebrows) and I can concentrate and keep up with the conversation on our table.

My daily meditation consists of simply listening to a ten-minute piece given to me by my counsellor. It consists of some relaxing music (sounds like sea waves and a breeze) with her words and instruction recorded over the top. I choose to do this as I go to bed, usually  between 23.00 and midnight at the moment. I can feel comfortable physically while sat in a chair but, I prefer to have the lights off, when it’s dark and I know that (with a downstairs bedroom) there’s a reduced chance of anyone else disturbing me in this time. I’ve copied it from the CD and on to my iPod, for even greater comfort and I’m instructed to control my breathing and, basically, to give myself positive thoughts. I do give it a go, even though I was a little unsure at first but, after three nights, I found I was pressing play while automatically telling myself “this is going to help me“! 🙂

It seems as though it is beginning to help and I feel good knowing that.

I still have some difficulty with conversation and I’ve never really understood why this is. I can sit amongst others, understanding every word but, I don’t feel compelled to say or add anything, even when asked. Quite often, I don’t even have an opinion (if it’s something general, like the news). Unless it’s something I’m extremely passionate about and interested in. I used to feel quite anxious about not saying anything  but, this week, I’ve felt quite comfortable just sitting back and being a calm observer. I noticed myself naturally breathing deeply and calmly, as the recording is training me to do.

I don’t feel too down or low in these situations; just flat. I can laugh when something really tickles but, I’ve always thought of it as being strange that I’m like this… I don’t intentionally distance myself from others in these situations and, for several years, I used to consider that I have a form of ‘autism’ or something that affects my connectivity with others… (Apparently, I was tested as a kid, due to some habits my mum had noticed – I cannot recollect this.) This year alone and, through online dating, I’ve found that I can engage myself with women so, the self-diagnosis seems less credible now.

Perhaps I get on better with these women because being matched or found through a dating website means you end up meeting someone with similar interests? I’ve not had many creative friends in my time and, without that encouragement, I’ve shied away from art and drawing since my A-Levels. Also, it’s on a one-to-one basis. I can remember feeling anxious in a busy pub in April, when I went to meet someone in Bath. But, we kept the conversation going, even if she was mostly the one ‘leading’ and asking most of the questions. There was rarely a dull or quiet moment and, it’s been the same with the others I’ve met.

I’ve always found it easier to chat to someone online (avoiding the face-to-face contact) and I was known as an avid user of MSN Messenger amongst friends while at school. We talked about things like football and what had happened that day. Now though, I look at my Facebook friends list and I struggle to think of anything I would say to many of them. I can do the usual ‘How are you?‘ but, I feel the conversation die too soon after that. I do feel awkward when someone unexpectedly sends me a chat (messenger) message with the same question.

Does anyone else understand this or feel this way?

Thank you for reading.

2 comments on “Calm But Curious

  1. I’m glad the meditation is working so well for you. I have a similar recording attached to a monitor that helps with my hypertension (high blood pressure) sometimes. it’s amazing what the mind can accomplish. I like that drugs aren’t always the best response.

    I sort of know what you mean about the social “flat” feeling. 90% of me feels that way too. Where I literally just do not care to contribute to conversation. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending), due to my parents, family, and friends forcing me to be “appropriately social” from a young age, I have a couple sides (alters) that are specifically for socializing the “correct” way. They’re pretty good at at least faking interest and not getting paralyzed with anxiety, like most of me.

    I’m not sure how it works for other people.

  2. Kat says:

    I went to meditation for the first time this week. I am generally not very good at sleeping. I dont sleep well most of the time. The lady that did the meditation said we would sleep well and I did. It’s all a bit weird and Im a major skeptic with anything like this, but will go again. It’s worth a try.
    With talking to people, I am much more confident on the phone, so tend to talk more. Face to face with people I have only spoken to on the phone or online, I am not so confident. Kat

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