Most people hate Mondays. The day of the week when playtime is over, and they have to go back to work. For me it is Friday.
I have an issue with Fridays.
As someone who operates seven days a week, Friday should theoretically be no different from any other day. Fridays are always a battle.
Friday’s signify the beginning of weekends. There are usually more people on my premises on Fridays. More people that will need attention. More people to have to interact with. Strangers. More people to have to be responsible for, even though they should be accountable for themselves. I just cannot and do not trust people in general. I don’t know what they are doing within my buildings. Are they going to cause damage? Are they going to get drunk and throw up everywhere? This has happened too many times. I dislike cleaning up other people’s vomit. How noisy are they going to be? How often are they going to need me, call me, ring my bell or text me?
I find it hard to leave the premises. What if something blows up? This happens. Usually, water mains burst. We have high water pressure, and I have a lot of plastic pipes. Power outages. They occur too frequently. Then I need to be here to organise things; to calm things. To get people to share space, to share a gas BBQ, to provide foam eskies and ice and well … just everything. Just in case.
This is true or should be true of most days but for some reason, weekends are the worst. I just sit and stare and wait. For people to come or go, or just need me. I am tense.
Fridays also mean more people on the roads; as do weekends. That is a lot of traffic. I don’t like traffic. I want the open road, in fact, I enjoy it immensely – but traffic. People drive cars and who knows what state they are in when they are behind the wheel, or how competent, or how well they are concentrating. I become extremely anxious when there is a lot of traffic.
Fridays also mean more people locally. People in the street, in the pub, at the cellar door – just everywhere. Crowds and crowds of people. Noisy people. Audio sensitivity is an issue for me. Human-made noise stresses me. Nature sounds don’t.
If you haven’t cottoned on yet, you may realise I am not a great fan of people. People cause me anxiety.
But I also know that I must deal with this problem; face it square on, so on Fridays, I try to force myself to go out. I cannot go far from the premise in case I am needed. There are two options in town. One a pub – waaaaaaay too many alcohol consuming, dangerous, scary people or the local cellar door which seems more civilised.
The people I meet there all seem fine. Overall they are not too terrifying. Some appear quite nice. They have interesting stories to tell. But only in small doses. Mostly they are women. I don’t understand women, and I have been told they mask and hide things. Knowing this makes me worry that they’re un-authentic and therefore untrustworthy. It causes discomfort. As noted elsewhere, I have problems interacting and understanding people, I often get it wrong, so I feel very self-conscious and inadequate.
I feel comfortable speaking with introverts. They are safe. But extroverts kinda freak me out. They are loud, brash, confident, overbearing and in my disordered, frequently panicked state, I tend to find them threatening and hostile. When I am out and about, I am always on alert. My fight or flight is primed and ready. But this skews my perception. I read ambivalence as hostility; I read off-handedness as hostility; I am hyper-sensitive to volume and tone of voice and take the merest hint of a tone change personally and feel that I should not be present and am not welcome. I will pick up on keywords, such as “friends” and “customers” and I know that I am not a friend, I am merely a customer whereas all around me are “friends”, so this makes me feel even further out of place and unwelcome. The more this happens, the more isolated and alone in the crowd I feel. The more the environment becomes hostile to me. Quiet conversation with two or three ‘soft’ people, is ok. The greater the number of people and the louder and more bonded they are and anxiety is replaced by sadness and a strong sense of being different, of not belonging and I become an isolated oddity and must leave.
I go home and feel miserable and wish I hadn’t gone out.
I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. I stress from the moment I get up on a Friday. But I need to practice. I need to learn. I need to socialise. I need to control these feelings. I need to breathe through them; acknowledge them; counter them … but it is so hard.
Fridays also raise the possibility that someone else may be around. Someone I like and would like to catch up with. Someone I actually know very well. There is always the chance that I may bump into this person. BUT I do not know how to behave with people I know out of context. I bumped into this friend at the store once; grunted a hello, turned my back, panicked and left, only to get a text message five minutes later from a very confused person.
So I don’t know whether I ought to go out; whether I ought to say hello; I never know whether anyone who actually knows ME and is accustomed to seeing me in a particular location, will be comfortable seeing me in public; whether I am allowed to approach and behave as I normally would; whether it is appropriate to walk up smiling, give someone a brief hug and a peck on the cheek. A normal social greeting yes? People do it all the time. But I cannot unless I have specific permission to behave that way. If I see this person, I hide. Then I feel miserable and alone, and this can quickly spiral into depression.
I really wish Friday’s didn’t exist.
But they do, DBT has definitely lowered Friday anxiety – I can function through the day without my brain screaming too intensely. I am no longer completely wired, freaking and obsessing that everyone in town hates me. I am stopping the paranoia, but I still need to do a lot of work on coping with Fridays.