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Social Stress During the Holidays

By Out-of-Sync Woman

It’s an act of courage for me to leave my place and interact with other people. I feel like I stick out and I usually feel out of place. I know I dress differently than other people my age. Even the way I talk is not typical for my age group. It takes energy for me to put aside my natural inclinations to draw as little attention to myself as possible. I really don’t like being the center of attention and it’s hard for me to speak up. I wish I felt like I fit in more and that spending time with other people wasn’t so tiring.

Being around other people, especially people I don’t know involves a constant state of anxiety. The stress of being so anxious means that I’m really tightly wound and that it drains my battery a lot faster than if I was happier or calmer. No wonder I have to be so careful about how, when, and where I engage in social interactions. I know that I’ve learned through painful experiences that I can’t afford to drain my battery before the end of the day. I always have to have enough to make it to bedtime. If I do drain my battery too low then I really struggle with emotional stability, for example, depression and anger. I used to spend hours when my family all got together and I drained my battery. After that, I would have the adult version of a temper tantrum when I got home. I found those experiences scary and deeply troubling to lose control of my feelings.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times I wish I could stay longer at an event. Being picky about when and where I go means I’m taking better care of myself but it sometimes means that I miss out on situations that could be fun. I guess everybody has to decide what they want to do and what’s best for themselves. I’m aware of my limitations and what’s best for me. Could it be that other people who aren’t on the spectrum have their own limitations or reasons that they don’t do things? I believe that everybody has their own unique needs and requirements to be happy and healthy. I know that part of growing up for me was learning to be able to speak up for myself for what I needed. Best wishes to my readers with your social interactions and speaking up for yourself as well.