This doesn’t always help though. The problem is, even when I’m surrounded by good friends, I often can’t relax or connect. The worst feelings is being in a room a people, and still feeling alone.
Sometimes I seek out bigger and bigger crowds. I go to massive costuming events in the city. Allow myself to get swept up in the frenzy of masquerade and merriment, dancing and drinks. When I’m in costume I feel more comfortable in my own skin. So many strangers, I don’t have to pretend. The feeling of disconnection from the people around me is normal because I don’t actually know any of the people around me. Match. I can let go, release all inhibitions and act out. The noise and music so loud it drowns out the constant racing in my mind. Sheer, beautiful distraction from the mundane.
It’s odd for me. Giant crowds of strangers don’t usually bother me as much as big groups of people I’m closer to. Strangers have no expectations of me. I can’t disappoint them because they have no preconceived thoughts of me. Groups of friends though, the pressure to not be melancholy or whatever I’m feeling can be oppressive.
Often I can’t face being with people at all. Too many people when I’m already in an anxious state can be overwhelming for me. I feel others emotions, constant volley of conversation, voices raised each a little louder to be heard over another, too much, too much, too much stimulus. I feel like I’m drowning in a crush of sensation. And then there are the eyes. When my body image isn’t perfect, I feel like every eye is gazed in judgment of my flaws. Every innocuous conversation directed at me is a way to focus everyone’s attention on me, malicious, drawing unwanted attention to my imperfections. I can’t stand to have everyone looking at me, I don’t want to be surrounded, but I can’t bring myself to leave. I sit there in a haze of conflicting thoughts, wanting to be unseen but not wanting to be left alone.
I often refuse to not be alone. If I haven’t already put myself in the position to be surrounded by people, the thought of that social pressure is too much. Just the thought of people looking at me, judging my body, it’s unbearable.
If I could be with people blinded by burlap sacks I would feel infinitely better. I wouldn’t have to worry about my physical failings, because what you see, is not what I see….