Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Little Social Anxiety

It's funny how I love it when others are brutally honest in their blogs, and yet it feels like a surprise to me when I think of doing the same in mine. Even when I've done it before.

So, camp brings out some social anxiety in me. And in the past, social anxiety has triggered depression.

Since having Calliope, or really, just getting pregnant with her, I've been very stable. No depression. Scarcely a bad day. Phew. Though I think I can safely say that I'm no longer on cloud nine like I was during pregnancy and nursing.

Anyway, camp is kind of lonely.

Most of it is my "fault," if you can term it that.

I think I've gotten more introverted since I had Calliope. Maybe because I spend so much time with her, I am less interested in socializing with others. I'm just tapped out, socially?

Regardless, I am finding it hard to connect with others. I try to ask thoughtful questions of people, but it doesn't seem like the conversation ever gets flowing. Other times, people ask me questions (a lot less often); I hope I do an okay job at responding.

But I just don't have a lot to say. I started playing the banjo as a way to become more interesting... but guess what? Playing an instrument actually is not a great way to stimulate conversation. At least, not if you're not at banjo camp. Shocking. Instead, it's one more thing I do by myself.

My fellow nurse, Francesca, is kind and sweet but very, very quiet. But other people want to be friends with her, more than me. Which makes obsess about what I am lacking. Maybe it's that she's twenty-seven versus my thirty-eight. She's a lot closer in age to the counselors. But then there's some older staff, two others with toddlers on staff. We were friendly at first, but don't socialize much at now. Is it something wrong with me, or just that they are both very busy with their jobs, and already know lots of people to be friendly with?

I try to focus on the fact that it doesn't matter. And I'm mostly okay with that. But I do wonder about it. And feel a little self conscious about not really having friends at camp.

Apart from loyal Calliope. She's thrilled to be my "friend." In fact, she can't bear to be away from me... unless, of course, there's no babysitter in sight, in which case, she's usually running away from me as fast as her little legs can carry her.



  1. I probably could have written this post myself (other than the camp part), actually I have been trying to describe this feeling in a post for a few days now, but I can't seem to fully put my finger on the issue. Years ago I started going to the gym daily thinking maybe I would meet some new people there...I ended up taking up swimming and swimming several miles a day...ever try to have a conversation while swimming laps? Not exactly the most social workout choice! Oh well.

  2. Thank you for writing this post. It makes me think of many things. Firstly i completely agree with you that playing banjo may be more useful as a method of meditation than making friends. Probably so for most instruments with the exception of guitar - a lot of straight single men seem to play it (alone) but you would have to find a guitar camp to go to!
    I am so sorry that you are finding camp a bit lonely. I feel certain that you are lacking nothing and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! You have just not connected yet with the people who will properly appreciate you.
    Its also good to remember there are tons of people who may seem to have lots of friends and yet they may still be lonely - or come to find their friends are not as good as they had thought.
    Hugs to you.

  3. I think it is hard for working mothers to connect with others because you really do want to spend your time away from work with your little one. In my experience (and all of my children are now grown) the more social their lives became, the more mine became. We did lots of extra-curriculars such as Boy Scouts, little league, church - my boys even took dance and theatre classes. And all of those activities brought me into contact with other mothers who still, even now, are friends. Hang in there! It gets better!

  4. I know so well that feeling of just not connecting with others, especially when there's an age gap. When I first moved to LA I didn't have a single friend for about three years - this was pre-internet, and all my coworkers were much older. It was an awful time. Once I found the swing dance community, though, that was it. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding your "tribe".

  5. I've attended a few parties since having kids where I've felt clumsy at socializing - couldn't think of good conversation, same difficulty getting the flow going like you describe. It's like I've become one-sided and boring as a mother... sigh. Normally, at least pre-kid, I found it so easy to socialize in any situation so this has bummed me out. I think the all consuming nature of single parenting very young kids makes it harder to switch gears in social situations. I do hope you can still enjoy yourself!

  6. I can so relate. I think I have been more lonely since becoming a mother than at any other point in my life. I feel like any part of me that isn't "mommy" has disappeared and I can't relate to anyone anymore. I feel completely uninteresting and holding a conversation is almost impossible. Beside socializing takes so much energy, at the end of most days I just want to sit down and exhale. Sometimes I really hate it, but then I lack the energy to do anything about it (take up new hobbies, put myself out there). I hope as Annelise gets older, some of my old life will start to return or I'll discover new social opportunities as she starts to participate in different activities. I try to stay connected to old friends but we don't hang out like we use to and I don't have many opportunities to make new friends. Hang in there, I think (hope) it gets better.

  7. Thank you for writing and sharing this post. Not only can I relate but reading the comments has made me realize that (you and) I are not the only ones. I agree that when you are a working, single mom it is very, very difficult to maintain old friendships much less make new ones. Yet these social connections are so important and we feel lost without them. I wish I had some good advice rather than just commiserating with you. I do like the comment about finding "your tribe". Lately I find I connect best one on one (I'm an introvert as well) with other working moms. But gosh, it's hard to find time to do even that.

    Again, thank you for posting this.