I googled Girl interrupted after a mention on Gilmore girls, and ended up on wiki reading about psychological disorders. After hours flipping through stuff like DID and ASD and schitzowhatsit, I’m a little worried about myself. I hear that’s what med and nursing students go through during diagnostics – learning new diseases and imagining they have them.
But my case is a little…different. I have always described myself as antisocial. I don’t like people. I think it’s called being a misogynist or a misanthropist or something. Or a hermit, a monk. A loner. Bottom line, I prefer my own company.
I do like to stand on the edge and watch people sometimes, kinda like being invisible. And I have a handful of people that I enjoy for extended periods of time, people I can spend a whole day with and not get uneasy or bored. I know all these people by name. But with everyone else, no matter how nice, warm, gorgeous, blood-linked or stimulating they are, after five minutes I start wishing they would leave.
I am generally quiet in groups, unless I’m provoked, and it’s hard to provoke me – or get me into a group. People have tried for years. I never know what to say, and I never feel the need to try. Those in my circle know I’m a chatterbox, there’s no shutting me up. But to everyone else, I may as well be mute. I can stay completely by myself for weeks at a time, I never feel the need for company or conversation. Solitary confinement is some form of paradise.
There are negatives too. I get depressed a lot, the dangerous kind. I sometimes withdraw into myself, even within my circle. I never know what’s going on around me. When I walk, I’m in my own world, inside my own head, so I never see the people walking next to me, and lots of times, I’ve ignored a greeting just coz I didn’t hear it. I’ve walked right past family and friends coz I honestly didn’t see them, yet they were right in front of me.
I hate to ‘suck up’ to people, bosses included, so there goes career progression; my bosses have misinterpreted my aloofness as a lack of interest, or a disregard for authority. One boss actually told me that my work is brilliant, but that I will always be passed up for people with less skill but better attitudes. Reason? I never cow or soft-step when I feel attacked [and i always feel attacked; i’m hypersensitive to slights], or when I think the boss is wrong, and I will never be awed by titles, cars, or prada when the wearer has blood as red as mine. Other people are far more … diplomatic.
I’ve lived here three years, and I don’t know anyone, [or any place beyond the beach doctor and bank] and it doesn’t bother me. I never actively make friends – I just don’t feel the need. The only people I enjoy, the ones I talk to, the ones in my circle, are people I clicked with naturally, no effort on my part. And mostly, it’s them who made friends with me. Of course when I do let people in, I can be smotheringly clingy, and that’s just a scary as my ‘goth’ thing. I wasn’t aware of it, but since it was mentioned, I’m a little paranoid about it, and apologize constantly, which is equally frightening.
The one person I allow [almost] unconditional access is Princess, but even she knows there are moments when mummy ‘isn’t really there’. It’s a blessing that’s she so sanguine and knows how to deal with me. She’ll stay on the other side of the house, peeping at me once in a while to hug me and make sure I’m not mad at her. And she never holds grudges, so even when I snap, she forgives me in five seconds. I love her for that.
I’ve never thought about why I like being alone. It doesn’t seem important, it’s just a fact, just the way I am. And I can usually tell within seconds of meeting someone whether they will penetrate my circle, whether they will be one of those people I let in, one of those people I’ll hang out with, and apologize to, and be terrified of scaring away.
But I got upset on Friday evening when I was talking to Princess’ doctor. He’s a sweet old ismaili man, great with kids and always gives me discounts on her meds coz he knows I’m on my own. He’s pretty chatty, and I enjoy talking with him.
He was telling me about a new Kenyan in the neighbourhood. He wanted me to be friends with her, since she doesn’t know anyone, and most of the Kenyans from the embassy are snobs. He sees me as friendly and bubbly, and thought I’d make a good friend. But for some reason I just felt boxed, like I was being cornered. I was irritated and I wanted to get out of it, to get away from him, and I wasn’t very proud of feeling that way. He gave me the lady’s number, and even now, I’m hoping he won’t remember to ask me if I called her.
I noticed that antisocial is the wrong word for me, since it clinically means people who deliberately fight ‘social norms’ like propriety and good manners and stuff. Sociopaths are aggressive in their dislike of decorum. They know what they’re supposed to do, but they choose not to do it – or are incapable of it. They do the extreme opposite instead, often with violence. Maybe i’m a mild version.
There was another term – dissocial, which means you can’t recognise social behaviour. Can’t be nice or polite or proper coz you have no idea what that is. Autistics are like that, and people with tirrets.
Then there was neurosis vs psychosis. Neurotics are total psyche jobs, bonafide mathare cases. Psychotics are crazy, but can still function and think rationally, it’s just that they just usually don’t, sometimes by choice.
My favourite was borderline personality disorder. Unable to form close personal relationships, tendency to see things as either black or white, good or bad, unable to process that good people can do bad things and vice versa, prone to depression and it’s trimmings. That one had me worried for a while.
I think the biggest reason I refuse to “believe”, the reason that lately, I’ve been trying to crush my romantic side by convincing it that it’s redundant, is that I’m afraid. I’m scared of exposing another human being to my dark side, with its creepy moods and dark thoughts and neediness. I’m afraid of loving someone, then hurting them 15 times a day because I want to be alone. I’m scared of finding that one person I want to be with forever, loving them enough to overcome my fears and commit…and then scaring them away just by being me. It won’t be the first time.