Ha! Well put!
Wait, I lied. I did finish The Gunslinger and was kind of bored to tears by it. But I’ve bombed out of Eyes of the Dragon (my gf’s favorite King tale), The Stand, whatever book 2 of The Dark Tower septology was, and The Shining at various points over the years. Been ages since I made a serious effort, but something about his prose was offputting to me, and I don’t really love horror. But the gf was a big King nut in high school/college, so I wanted to try so she’d like me more :-D
Put your girlfriend on. Me and Christien want to talk to her about The Stand. ;)
I totally would man, but she’s currently hiding in her car in our apartment complex’s parking lot because some of the stoner bro’s who live downstairs from us are standing in the parking lot about 30 feet away and getting out of her car now “would be weird.” Not afraid of them, or what have you. Just thinks it’s weird to get out of her car if anyone is nearby at all. We’ve gotten stuck waiting outside restaurants for 5+ minutes because someone else pulled in next to us and was slow to get out of their car, and she had to finish makeup (which also can’t be done if anyone is within visual range).
I think I’ve mentioned before that living with an introvert with crippling anxiety is a hell of an experience for me :)
Wow, man. I have anxiety that is pretty bad at times, but I’m only an introvert sometimes.
Edit: Sigh. I have about 6 or 8 books in my backlog. But I really want to read the full version of The Stand again…
I don’t know what I am, but if I sit with a group of 5 or 6 at a table just for conversation, it wears me out. I like one-on-one conversation. That can energize me.
I’m more agoraphobic than just anxious. I have Buspirone and Paxil for that. And at times, in party situations, alcohol. Although I learned the hard way that Buspar and alcohol is not a good combo if you like to remember the fun you had. :)
I only quote unquote read that. I downloaded and listened to it while running, and even I grew tired of it. But…that might have been the miles.
Being an introvert who has to be an extrovert is weird. I always felt guilty about it because I thought actors had to be extroverts. I can be both, but I’m more like a dog. I’m comfortable in my den, with my pack. Once I establish trust with somebody, I’m better.
Is it scary for her when you have folks over for meals?
I love cooking for people, but it helps that I have tasks to focus upon. Manning the grill while folks are milling about is good. And board gaming is similar. We have stuff to focus upon. And then small talk develops about movies, because they know I’m into that, and things tend to glide. It’s just the barrier for entry that hinders me, I think. I’m trying to get over that right now.
Dang that’s a good way to put it. I love engaging people in conversation, but afterwards I’m just tanked. I feel like I’ve just run a meeting, and then I still need to clean up the kitchen and they all get to leave.
BINGO! I am in no way an actor. But sometimes I feel like one. Going to a party at the wife’s request but not being interested. Get there. Try to mingle. Oh, beer, cool. I end up being a great conversationalist. Then at some point the wife pulls me aside. Ease up on that stuff.
I can’t win. :)
I suspect most of us here resemble this remark. I’m usually good for 1-2 hours of socialization when forced into it. Then I run into a wall and need to go hide. Beer can extend that a bit, or hanging with people that are awesome like-minded nerds. But the most I think I’ve ever gotten is 5-6 hours before it’s time to go curl up in a corner somewhere.
My gf has a rather severe expression and seizes up around people she’s uncomfortable with. There was an unpleasant time in college, her freshman year, when her mental illnesses really came to the fore and took her out in a very bad way, that a lot of our old high school friends who’d gone to the same college as her basically decided she sucked and said a lot of very nasty things about her behind her back, which eventually made their way back to her. It was extremely painful.
So now she has a crippling fear of my friends not liking her. So her anxiety seizes her up, and her face defaults to its usual severe-and-somewhat-disinterested expression. And then some small element of the social interaction will inevitably kick the anxiety into higher gear, because most of my friends are nerds who sometimes do or say “awkward” things, and her hyper-empathy makes her freak out on their behalf, because if she’d done anything awkward, of course everyone would have noticed it and been mean to her forever about it. . .
. . . it often becomes an unending cycle she can’t escape from, basically perpetuating the very image she is so afraid to showcase to people.
So she mostly just avoids my social gatherings like the plague. It doesn’t help that our interests don’t overlap much, so if I did have friends over for boardgames or RPGs or hangs, she wouldn’t have much in common with any of them, and she does take a pretty dim view of most nerdy pursuits, so it’s hard for her to even feign interest in them.
So I rarely hold things here. Three times, actually, since we moved to Raleigh ~8 years ago, and one of those was just hosting a couple we knew from back home who were here for a Con. I pretty much do all of my socializing outside of the apartment, which has the unfortunate downside of taking me away from the missus a lot. And obviously, as a party-loving extrovert crazy person, I desperately wish I could host folks much, much more often than I have been able to.
She’s come out to a couple of parties with me, including my birthday parties. It’s very obviously everything she can do to put on a good show of being there for me; she usually hibernates for ages afterward, just completely wiped out by the strain of needing to put on that mask for so long. I feel pretty guilty about that, so I’ve also started to shy away from inviting her out to things with all but a tiny handful of the people I know that she’s come to know well enough to be comfortable around (at which point she can be lively, vivacious, hilarious, charming, gloriously crude, and deeply invested–there are quite a few reasons why we’re still together after 15+ years, after all!). I just wish there were some way to short-circuit the process so that circle of “safe people” could expand :(
Would it be going to far to ask what meds, if any, that she takes?
She’s on a high dose of extended-release Wellbutrin, which levels out the Bipolar Type II enough that she can get out of bed and stay conscious for a full day of work without depression just shutting her down completely like it used to, and she really hasn’t had a serious manic episode in a couple of years thanks to that.
But the concomitant ADHD and anxiety are more or less untreated; her work schedule is very intense, and her current mental health office doesn’t offer late or weekend appointments, so she always manages to convince herself it’s not okay to go to appointments at all. She knows she needs at least one other drug in the mix, and probably some pretty hardcore therapy, but I suspect most of you who have struggled with these things know that the gap between “knowing I need help” and “taking active steps to get said help, or even letting someone else take them for me” is pretty enormous.
Yeah. It’s a damn crapshoot. 90% of the time therapists, psychiatrists and the like are shooting pills in the dark. Maybe something will help. The best guy I went to in NYC was a psychopharmacologist. He knew drugs better than a simple psychiatrist, and he was very careful to prescribe due to that. Might want to look into it.
I was going to reply to these above, but that post got big and has a pretty clear thesis statement already, so I’ll risk double-posting to remark just how much all of these posts remind me of most of my closest friends here in Raleigh (and, obviously, as described at length, my partner as well), yet how utterly incomprehensible the sentiments they reflect feel to me on a core level.
Other people are the fuel that allows me to do anything at all, it feels like. Conversations–be they one-on-one with a close and trusted friend over a meal or a walk, or shouted over pounding music and shenanigans at a bustling party–are my ultimate drug, and the sheer experience of being surrounded by others, sharing experiences and moments and memories with them, feeling their emotional reactions to those things, experiencing the give and take of talking to one another, learning about them, showing them sides of myself, doing favors for them, begrudgingly accepting help in return, going on adventures and roadtrips and concerts and more. . .
. . . usually, when I come home after a major outing (or series of outings, if I’ve stacked my day particularly well) is almost always accompanied by a sense of loss as the atmosphere I’ve been vibing on for so many hours is suddenly pulled away, replaced by echoing quiet and solitude (since, in all likelihood, my partner’s passed out in bed after yet another all-nighter for work).
Chatting online helps, and I’ve got half a dozen or more individual and group chats, plus Discord and Slack and MightyText, all running at all times, but it just can’t truly compare to the experience of other people right there with you. Goddamn.
Of course, since almost everyone I know is an introvert, those moments of quietude are a must, lest I run them all off forevermore ;-)
You sound like rock musicians that I have talked to. They live for the live shows. That energy that the audience gives them. I think the song by Bob Seger covers it.
Yeah extroverts draw energy from crowds. Introverts tend to energize alone. It’s not hugely a like or dislike crown things although there maybe underlying issues in addition to that sort of thing.
I don’t mind crowds at all, can go from sun up to well past sun down in theme parks, and a week long vacation like all alone would sadden me but I need hours or a day of just… down time in between crowds, family gatherings and events.
This is very well put, Randy. I think my problem is the barrier for entry. I love having people over. I love entertaining people. I do not like the idea of throwing parties. And yet, when folks come over and we throw a party, I can thrive. It’s exciting to meet people in the moment and figure out what makes them tick. What moves them. I love that. But it is exhausting as well.
It’s a hard balance to maintain. Because I do hang out with people who can be a little taciturn, and I feel like I need to draw them out. I feel like that’s my job at the table. And it often pays off. But it’s also taxing.
So when I have a good evening with folks, especially when I’ve cooked, I feel great. Fueled as you say. But also…I dunno…out of breath.
There’s a state of being here in Seattle, folks who move here from elsewhere call it “the Seattle freeze.” You’ll meet someone, exchange pleasantries, maybe hit it off and make plans to meet up sometime in the future. Hey, you might think, I’ve made a friend! We’ll go do fun stuff together! And then - they never call you, and politely put you off when you try to nail them down. Are they avoiding you? Secretly judging you? Performing a weird social experiment?
It can be tough for recent transplants here, not knowing anyone and running into The Freeze. But me, I fucking love the Seattle Freeze. I meet people, they’re nice, we talk a bit and then we move on. Maybe I’ll see them again and maybe I won’t. Either way is good! I don’t need a commitment.
So that’s the kind of guy I am, not really an introvert or an extrovert as best I can tell. I like people, but I like them best in small doses.
The Long Walk
It’s his best book, and he wrote it as Richard Bachman so I think the style ends up a bit different and might work better for you.