So, this isn’t something I talk about too often, but figured I might try. I’m ridiculously socially awkward 99.9% of the time, and it’s not all about the anxiety (though there is a ton of that too). I’m talking about the socially awkward that comes from so many years of dissociation and depersonalization/derealization.
I’ve been called vain and stuck up so much of my life by others. I’m actually quite the opposite, but it’s difficult to describe as a kid that you are not staring at yourself in the mirror out of admiration (no one that age would get it anyway). It’s about being fascinated that there’s a body associated with whatever non-corporeal being you would describe me as. It’s about not knowing what to say, so saying nothing at all. It’s about fearing that what you say will be laughed at, or worse yet, many people will realize you exist… it’s all about both a lack of understanding, and being misunderstood.
I often re-visit some really awkward social situations in my head, wishing I had the opportunity to correct the misunderstanding. The one that bothers me the most lately occurred with De in that month we were terminating. I don’t even really remember what happened exactly, but I noticed I was staring at her leg only after she shifted in her seat and adjusted her skirt. Most people would probably interpret the starting as a lustful thing, and she would be (was anyway?) rightfully uncomfortable. The thing is, I was more fascinated that someone had legs without scars on them, and that maybe my leg would have looked like that had I never decided to cut there… I felt bad at the time when I realized I had made her uncomfortable, but wasn’t sure how to explain my fascination with a “clean” leg, one that looked normal and that the person was not ashamed of (I get extremely easily flustered in social situations also). It probably would have been easier to do with her than with the average person, but I caught myself up in being embarrassed at my staring (something I know to be a faux-pas, yet find myself doing way too often). I could have told her then that I was in awe of the fact that her leg did not have scars where mine were so obvious. I could have apologized for making her uncomfortable, but I didn’t know how. So I’m left wishing I could explain it to her so she doesn’t think of me as such an utter creep.
I often find myself “zoned-out” in awkward directions also (as if I am staring at someone but I’m really lost in thought). It happened at the beach today. My towel positioning happened to be aligned with a row of sun-bathers. I got lost in thought in their general direction (had we been closer together, they would have noticed the glazed-over look to my eyes and the lack of focus). One of the women shifted and glared at me. Her sudden movement caught my eye and I happened to look in time to catch her glare. I wanted to apologize for making her uncomfortable, but again, we were far away, and I had no clue how to explain myself…
I feel like I should probably address this at some point in therapy, but no one has seemed to know what to do with it beyond hearing my description of it. Even Dr. C (who was likely the most experienced therapist I have ever worked with) only took in the information and moved on. I want to actually do something about it. I want to stop being so awed at having a reflection. I want to stop being so awkward around others. I want to be “normal” at least in the social arena so I can stop making others uncomfortable, but I just don’t know how. Yeah, when the stress is less and the symptoms are not as intense, I have a better connection to the concept of myself. But at times like now, when I’m almost always dissociating to some degree, and my stress is sky-high, I don’t know how to be human. I walk into the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror, studying how I look because it doesn’t look familiar to me. I’m surprised that the reflection is supposed to be what I look like… I don’t really have a good picture of myself in my head, even with all the staring I do. I’m still caught off-guard when I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflection. I don’t look “right”. I should be younger. I should be thinner. I should be a different color. I should have different colored eyes and hair… I should be different. I’m not exactly sure what I should look like, but it’s not the “me” I see in the reflection. Or I shouldn’t look like anything at all, because I don’t connect to a physical form, more like just a ghost floating around.
:sigh: How do you match things up when you don’t actually exist? (ok, so clearly I exist because I’m typing this, but I guess I mean that this part of my head doesn’t feel like it should have a physical form, or that the physical form is really, really wrong).