We raise our voices without a sound
We are the face of silence
Bury our future deep in the ground.
If you’re an Orden Ogan fan, I have no doubt you sang that with me.
Let me tell you, I’m this type of introvert: I will either be a motormouth around you or not make a sound unless I really need to. One of the biggest issues that arises is whenever I’m at the dinner table with my family, I tend to stay quiet most of the time and just eat my meal because if I do participate, I’m often worried inside that I will say the “wrong” thing, I’ll get triggered by certain subjects making my anxiety go through the roof, take a joke literally, or get irritated when someone talks over me.
The easiest thing for me to do to avoid all those possible events from occurring is to remain silent.
Like any other person with ASD, I excel at one-on-one conversations, but the moment someone else butts in for any reason, I almost feel threatened like great, another person here who just cuts me off when I’m not finished explaining things to the person who was with me first. Now if the other person entered because it was something urgent then I would understand, but other than that, let me finish my damn sentence.
I hate being put in group conversations because everyone is talking at once and I am anxiously sitting at the table waiting for a gap in the conversation so that I can talk. Sometimes, the moment I hear one, boom, another person starts to speak just as I’m about to start and it irritates me. Because of that, the situation only increases my anxiety over time where I feel like I have to leave before I start to really show that I’m anxious to speak. You could say I have an obsession with saying what I need to say in any conversation.
I don’t know if I’ve ever received a diagnosis for Generalized Anxiety Disorder but I’ve dealt with anxiety all my life and what I experience strongly links to GAD. Sometimes I want to give up trying to socialize due to how anxious and frustrated I get because it seems that there are too many damn rules when it comes to conversation, rules that don’t make any sense to me, since I view the world differently than others, another ASD trait. But the reason why I never surrender is because deep down, I just want to be able to interact like everyone else.
As I write this, I recall earlier this evening how my brother had some friends over, they were chatting and having drinks out on the back deck. I came outside with our cat when I said to my brother he looked like Lucas Baker with his hoodie on. So, we were talking about video games for a few minutes where one of his friends started asking me what I play, in addition to me sharing what I was currently playing or going to play next (Village is currently installing as I write this!!) before I decided to go back inside. It’s almost as if my brain said that my social battery is about to die, it’s time for me to go inside and be alone to recharge it.
My mom would disagree on my introvert thing because one time when I was at a party at my cousin’s house in 2019, I had no problem chatting with my uncle and some of my cousin’s wife’s friends. But still, deep down, I have the desire to just get away and be with their cat, or just to sit and speak with only one person! But not all introverts are totally silent, we can be chatty, given the right circumstances.
It becomes a lot easier for me to have conversations with multiple people if it’s about a subject I like like movies or video games. But even so, my anxiety can kick in if something is said that could be a trigger, like a negative opinion on something that I may like and my anxiety often interprets it as a personal attack, or once again the flow of the conversation feels like there are no gaps for me to insert my words into.
That is why I am better at one-on-one. I am capable of being very chatty, but it depends on the situation, what we’re talking about and how many people there are. Otherwise, I just have this urge to be completely quiet and either pet the cat in the corner, eat my meal, or look at my phone to avoid having an anxiety boost.
I think the only time group conversations are not stressful for me is when I’m with my friends, I don’t have a lot of friends but other than what circumstances there are in a conversation, I’ve never been a huge social butterfly over all.
Do you ever have this problem? Doesn’t it make you just want to retreat to somewhere you consider “safe”? My games, music, books, and bed are the safest!
I will try to write more posts like this, it’s just difficult because sometimes I don’t know where to begin.