Solitude, My Fortress

I don’t like people.

Crowds of people. New people. Old people and Young people. Couples, families (not just mine), adults or children alike. Just in general – people I don’t like them.

They make me feel uncomfortable, ill at ease. My skin itches and I want to make them stop looking at me, even if they may not be looking at me.

I feel like I’m obligated to interact with them, to want to be interested in their needs and desires. It’s rude to just kind of walk away from them as they’re talking or just kind of pose random questions that have nothing to do with them.

There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation whee data is kissing his girlfriend and she asks him what he was thinking about during that kiss.

If you don’t want to watch it – he talks about configuring a warp core, indexing the various works of Charles Dickens, how much pressure to apply to her lips without hurting her and more… I can relate to that. My mind is doing all these other things when I’m supposed to be focused on an individual or task. I don’t want to stop my brain from doing the other things it’s doing so I can focus on someone else… it’s selfish I guess.

During the brief time I was engaged I struggled pretty regularly with how much attention he expected. While I was just comforted by him being there near me and for us to communicate and have sexual relations – he wanted me to be interested in his interests and do what he was doing, regardless if I liked doing that or not. It wasn’t ideal for me.

With my two best friends, Suzanne and Eric, I find I don’t really worry about that. I just am and they are just there with me. Sometimes they talk and I participate but I don’t mind them and it doesn’t seem to interfere with what I am doing. When they met I wasn’t even aware they were meeting at the time – I was sitting by the pool with my headphones on and eyes closed. Suzanne had come to find me and sat next to me without disturbing me and then Eric came to find me and they introduced themselves without me even really having to be there. It was comforting. I honestly put my headphones back in without a care that they would be offended or want me to be part of that conversation. I love them – they are just right.

On the cruise ship we had dinner with a bunch of folks one night and were joined by a woman, who I heard was a little sloshed, and she was telling me that I was going to make so many new friends and best friends on the ship. I told her two is enough, more than enough – they call a couple times a year or I do and send emails. It’s a lot to deal with really – why would I want more of that? I don’t know. I told her as such and I was half joking but she was insistent that having more friends was such a great thing – I don’t get that.

During the muster – when we learned how to evacuate the ship in case of an emergency – we were packed pretty tight in there with the other passengers and it was taking forever. I don’t like that at all – don’t want those people to be near me breathing my air and keeping me from an exit. Always look for exits, that’s a good strategy.

Not liking people causes me some issues when I want to meet a guy.

I don’t like bars, too many people – I don’t drink and drunks can be rather annoying. I don’t like pride – way too many people. Or parties – small talk omg please no.

The trick at parties is to ask them questions and then hope they start rambling on and you can just void out of the conversation – once in a while nodding or saying “uh huh” or “hmmm” and you’ll be just fine. If you’re very lucky they catch on and will leave you alone. But that doesn’t really get you a guy.

So I talk to folks on dating apps – Growlr and the like. Many of them would like to meet me and I’ve considered meeting some of them – once in a rare while I will meet one of them out and about.

I went bowling with a nice guy – but started to feel very uncomfortable during the event and shortly after wanted him to just hurry up and bowl so I could go. Nothing to do with him, just wanted to crawl out of my skin and hide somewhere safe.

Mostly on the app I don’t want to meet them, I would rather stay home and not deal with another human being. So I take long breaks off the app and/or men 🙂 Probably not very good for the psyche.

A friend will invite me over, say to meet her new puppy, and I’ll agree to go, but getting to that point when it’s actually time is the difficult part. I start dreading going days before the agreed upon time and wonder if there is anything I can do to get out of it. I don’t like lying so it’s hard to find legitimate reasons to not do things others want me to do.

While in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) I learned skills to deal with people alone and in small and large groups. Shake their hand, ask how they are, try to listen. In groups stay busy – have a job you can focus on and think about – has it been done properly, was there something else that needed doing with that? It gave me a reason/excuse to get away from people too – I either had to shake someone else’s hand or a task needed doing so I could excuse myself – supposedly without hurting their feelings.

Sponsee’s were another matter entirely – It’s your job as a sponsor to listen to them and listen intently so you can help them find a solution. Ugh. That’s like the worst thing in the world to do to me. I never thought I was a good sponsor – I just wanted them to get better so they could go do things and talk to me less… yes, that’s my goal in AA, talk to me less.

Work is similar to AA. I have certain tasks to do, I can stay very busy and focus on those things without too much interaction with people. But they usually think I’m a good trainer or something and then I have people to teach and manage. Those people ask me questions – sometimes annoying questions they should know the answer to already and I just want to scream out loud and send them all scurrying away.

They don’t fear me, they know I’m usually patient and have an answer they’re looking for. Today one of them came up asked me a question, answered his own question and then asked if that was ok… honestly that was annoying, I likely could have done so many other things during that time.

Employees are akin to sponsee’s I just want them to get better so they can go do things and talk to me less. If they talk to me less I can work more and that keeps me from realizing all the people that keep interacting with me each day.

Work though gives me things to do to keep me focused. I feel comfortable there as it’s an every day thing and I know what to expect (usually).

Truthfully, I feel comfortable and safe in my bedroom. If I have to venture out I try to arrange it so I encounter as few people as possible and can return home experiencing minimal interactions.

Tonight though I drove to the middle of the city to attend the semi-final game for the high school girls basketball team I like – Mesquite Wildcats! I sat comfortably in the stand, surrounded by a couple friends and a bunch of folks I don’t know and was fine. I was focused on the team and how they play.

There I’m comfortable too. But still happy to be home in my room this evening.

Originally published on Niume – same day.

Oral Follow Up

There I am, sitting in the dentists chair waiting for the periodontist. I can hear the dentist next door talking to a patient about getting a bridge after he has two extractions. The dentist then goes on to tell about an incident where he himself was in a motorcycle accident and have to have his lower set of teeth replaced with implants and how painful it was to have the procedure done…. Honestly, the whole room can hear you talk about that crap while we’re sitting here anxiously awaiting our own torture – LIE or something. It really wasn’t at all helpful for keeping me calm.

I think I sat in that chair for twenty minutes (really – they were late starting on me) listening to the dentist tell tales of horror and the drill and other noises in the background and the sweat was collecting on my forehead and back when the periodontist finally showed up. They got me seated again – I can’t stand sitting too long when my back is drenched in sweat you know – and started some oxygen and then the nitrous oxide. I felt him place the needles in my mouth for novocaine at least I think it was novocaine and that was all I felt for the whole procedure – not a thing more.

Before I knew it I was signing out and getting in the car to go home. I went to get the prescriptions 1 bottle of antibiotic, one bottle of special mouthwash (as I wont be able to brush on the right side for a few days) and one bottle of Vicodin (containing 4 pills). At home I handed the bottle of Vicodin to Gary for safe keeping – I had given him instructions on how to handle me and drugs earlier.

Around 8 or so I had a bowl of cereal and that hurt a little bit so I took two Aleve. The Periodontist said I’d likely need at least one Vicodin to get to sleep the first night so I took one and hit the hay… I didn’t sleep well, I wasn’t in pain I don’t know why I didn’t sleep I just mostly tossed and turned.

The next day I had a minor ache in my jaw most of the day and took two Tylenol, ate cautiously and napped vigorously. That was it – nothing to it.

Before the procedure I had several people tell me how painful it was and that they were thinking of me and really felt for me. I appreciate the concern and care – even if all it did was make me more paranoid and anxious! 🙂 I don’t know why this wasn’t that painful – all throughout the procedure I kept finding myself tensed up and I would force myself to take a deep breath and relax back into the chair, over and over and over again I did that – not due to any pain, just the imagining of pain or worse… maybe all that relaxing and conscious effort to not tense up helped. No way of knowing I guess.

So I’ve got a week and a half more to go before I should be all better and I don’t expect to use the other three Vicodin pills so they’ll get dumped in the toilet so the alligators can have a treat. Even though this was relatively simple I really hope I never have to do it again!

Dreaded Dentist

A small cavity had me at the dentist this morning, the decay was located on my lower right wisdom tooth. Going to the dentist for a cleaning is a stressful situation for me so going when I have to have a cavity filled is even worse.

I arrived 10 minutes early in case they could get me out of there sooner, sadly I was there until 10:25 (25 minutes after my scheduled appointment) waiting and letting fear get the better of me. I imagine every conceivable and inconceivable scenario that can possibly go through my mind – they’ll need to do an emergency root canal, maybe they’ll have to pull out all my teeth after discovering a rare form of mouth cancer, perhaps this batch of Novocaine is faulty and it doesn’t dull pain but enhances it… yes, my mind goes to all those places for the entire 25 minutes.

The Dentists office has several dentists working there and dentists that I become accustomed to leave right when I’ve gotten used to them – Is it my breath? So this current dentist I’ve only seen once and that was the week before, she seems nice, but like all dentists, is an evil monster who thrives on causing others pain. That smile, it’s only in anticipation of hearing a patient scream. I remind her that I usually get nitrous oxide when I’m at the dentist and she didn’t know that so I had to sit in the chair longer while they prepared the gas. This is not a good sign, they haven’t read my chart and know how fearful this event is for me – it reminds me of the last time I had a cavity and a new dentist was there and he was talking about my root canal – I wasn’t there for a root canal so I freaked out a bit and had one of my anxiety attacks – never saw that guy again fortunately.

They give me the gas, I breathe in and out in deep full breaths. I picture a nice ocean front beach with blue water, palm trees and serenity – I can’t concentrate on that for long though, before I know it I’m anticipating pain again and then the sweat starts to roll off my body in all places conceivable – it’s possible I sweat more in the dentists chair then I do at the gym – ok, not really, but it all pools into the lower half of my body and it’s icky. My heart is racing pretty quickly even with the gas when she arrives to puncture me with a needle that makes the right side of my head feel heavy and tingly in places. The gas has started to affect my legs and they are numb – I think to myself, stupid gas my legs don’t need to be numb my head does get up here!

The dentists female assistant suddenly leaves and is replaced by a male assistant and this is another thing that worries me – was what they were about to perform in my mouth to gross for the female assistant to witness? Again… Is it my breath?

The dentist informs me that they are going to start and stuffs huge balls of cotton in my mouth and reminds me to continue to breath through my nose so I can continue receiving the nitrous oxide, I gladly obliged and am starting to feel fine – then I hear the drill.

This entire time I’ve had a tight grasp on the arm rests and when the drill kicks in I squeeze a little tighter. The dentist instructs me to raise my hand if they need to stop – like I could suddenly make my hands release their death grip on the chair and lift up in the air in a panic – yeah, that’s very likely to happen. I’ve also not opened my eyes since I sat back in the chair, I know they’ll be grinning evilly and their instruments of pain will be dripping with blood and enamel.

I’m actually doing ok for a while then they hurt me and I cringe, but I think it’s going to be ok it was just a minor pain – then they hurt me twice more in rapid succession and my body squirms all over the chair. The sweat pouring off my body has tripled and my breathing is more panting then anything else. She stops and they pretend to be concerned for my welfare, but I imagine they’re giggling up a storm and savoring the pain that is evident on my face. They give me another shot of Novocaine and we wait for a few minutes for it to take effect. The dental assistant uses one of their tools to blow air on my face and I start to relax again.

Shortly thereafter they finish up and the dentist asks me to bite down – after doing so she asks if that “feels normal” I try to tell her that I have no idea if it “feels normal” the entire right side of my head is numb, how should I know…

As I approach the counter to pay my co-pay the receptionist person asks “How was your visit?”