Social Exhaustion

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to deal with people. I really want to give everyone a chance. I want to take time to get to know them and hear their story and discover something amazing and unexpected.

But, too often, I just don’t like people. I can’t deal. Both of my parents like people. My grandma loves people. But I’m just very rarely in the mood for them. It could be my depression sinking into my bones and seeping out my pores. It could be the anxiety of having to face a real-life interaction. It could be some kind of mutation in my very gene makeup. Whatever the reason, it’s a real part of my life.

As soon as someone in the TSA line says, “Good thing I wore my fun socks today,” I’m done. I no longer have the patience to get to know them. It’s not a personal quality of which I’m particularly proud. I try to work on it, and with enough mental preparation, I can sometimes even be charming. But throw me in a situation where I have to make unexpected small talk…visible cringe.

People watching? Yeah, I can get behind that. But people talking? No thanks.

The worst part? I do this to people I love. My poor mother continuously (and I do mean continuously—there hasn’t been a break in 26 years) tries to talk to me. And I just can’t handle it! It’s social overload.

Sometimes I’m alone and I think about what I want to tell her about my day. Then I walk in the door and she greets me, and that’s it. I shut down. “Never mind, it wasn’t important.”

Is that even a thing people do? Can I blame this quality on my mental illnesses or am I just a stone-cold bitch? Honestly, someone diagnose me.

There are so many things I don’t tell my friends and family simply because the act of speaking is too much. Yikes. It’s a problem, and I need to come up with a way to solve it.

So what’s my plan of attack?

Normally, it’s to retreat back into myself or order a drink and quickly “prepare.” But that can’t be my go-to. What would you recommend instead? Practice conversations in the mirror? Deep breathing exercises?

I really don’t know. Because it’s not social anxiety. It’s social exhaustion. I’m exhausted by the task of interacting with my fellow man. Wow! That’s harsh. But, that’s kind of how I feel.

Deep down, I know people are amazing. I know that if I gave them each a chance, we would have a lot in common. What’s that quote…“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Agreed! One hundred percent agreed. So why can’t I just be kind?

Maybe this is all a cosmic test. Maybe all the cheesy one-liners and personal-space invaders will one day force me to throw up my arms and say, “Fine. You win! Let’s talk.”

Then again…maybe not.

Please tell me I’m not alone. And if I am, please tell me how to overcome my social exhaustion and rejoin society.

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