Has your efforts changed social gathering avoidance?

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
Not clear exactly what forum to place this within… so sorry Admin

I can not seem to decrease my interrupting rumination, sleepless nights or get my stress level down enough to attend celebratory gatherings for my immediate family with their friends. I finally opted out firmly as I needed to sleep and do self-care. I felt bad to disappoint and will talk to my T again.

**But can we ever get better on crowds? **Is there statistical evidence that supports possible norms in socializing? **Have you done it? I feel so trapped in my symptoms at times.

I have tried exposure therapy, talked myself hoarse with the T, various visualizations and each time I end up cycling the gambit of PTSD Disability symptoms and trigger my other disease. So if you have managed to handle the dynamics of group noise, body spacing and pleasantries with ease…let me know with perhaps how you reached that zone. I feel like a Ef ing failure after all this T time (which is not a downer to me but very frustrating to see my family hurt by my rejection of such gatherings). Thanks for any insight.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
Not sure I am understanding this right but giving it a shot. Before Covid, I had some gathering avoidance but could do it occasionally. Seems to take a lot of energy. While I had a very limited social life, I did enjoy some socializing.
Since Covid.....well, at first it was so hard not socializing. Then it got easier. Then it got really comfortable. Now that restrictions have lifted, I am still in avoidance. My husband wants to go out to dinner, I would rather do carry out. I have some fear of the virus even though I am vaccinated, but I have also developed a bit of agoraphobia. Im quite content not leaving my house and when I do, I feel anxious and not even about Covid.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you @brat17 for sifting through my post and offering your prospective as well as journey.

I am still in avoidance.

I quoted this part of your post because, I am wondering if you are currently working on it or have worked on socialization techniques in therapy or some manner with some success?

I have been digging around the internet and finding government plus various research psychology papers/articles that offer C-PTSD often carries comorbidity factor of Socialization Affected Disorder. All three docs (which I admit are not conclusive) offered rarity (if at all) of shaking it off or healing in that manner. I will ask my T to verify the current position but I thought members who actually walk the walk might know best. So thanks for offering, again.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
No actually I’m more reclusive . What I have accomplished is I know why. I don’t blame me or feel guilty. I was kinda of arguing with the therapist yesterday about this. I feel like she accuses me sometimes about not wanting to get better? I guess she thinks it’s challenging or stimulating somehow to say that or maybe I’m projecting. But no, and if I think about my trauma, of course I feel like that. How else could I feel?
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
No actually I’m more reclusive

Interesting. Me too. Not sure however, how much Covid allowed firming roots within elected (?) avoidance or if it is lack of integration of introspection from sessions.

I feel like she accuses me sometimes about not wanting to get better?

I can relate to those types of feelings, however, it is with family. Not clear how much is projection either as narratives alter on situations depending on whose viewpoint emerges.

How else could I feel?

Maybe ^ this is the million dollar question for me regarding socialization! Acceptance of an premise of stilted social interaction for life or clinging to another member’s experience of overcoming and then doing so myself, I suppose is dicey—possibly cognitive distortion. However, I would like to be the one that decides my outings not the blooming’ PTSD, you know? Thanks for adding your voice.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Interesting. Me too. Not sure however, how much Covid allowed firming roots within elected (?) avoidance or if it is lack of integration of introspection from sessions.



I can relate to those types of feelings, however, it is with family. Not clear how much is projection either as narratives alter on situations depending on whose viewpoint emerges.



Maybe ^ this is the million dollar question for me regarding socialization! Acceptance of an premise of stilted social interaction for life or clinging to another member’s experience of overcoming and then doing so myself, I suppose is dicey—possibly cognitive distortion. However, I would like to be the one that decides my outings not the blooming’ PTSD, you know? Thanks for adding your voice.
Yes I want to overcome too and “thrive”. I’m stuck with not being suicidal mostly but that’s a big step up . I get fed up with telling myself that but it’s real. People trigger me or I trigger myself around people? It’s just easier. Everyone likes to tell me I can do so much better. I don’t tell myself that as much anymore. Is this it? It’s hard not terrible . I make progress here and there. I hope it gets easier. : )
 

grief

Sponsor
mmmm. i like to be around people, actually. my social skills are f*cking terrible and i've been accused more than once of being "weird" "creepy" etc.

but having experienced profound early isolation too often. it is nice to just be around other people. what ever the opposite of claustrophobia is.

but that does not mean it still isn't challenging. or that breaks aren't necessary. it's still a stressor/stimulus that happens even when you enjoy it. 🤪
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
@grief , I hear you and am giggling again because I understand! It’s like being that vocalist who best stays singing at home with their karaoke device.🥸 Sometimes they can sing a part of a song before hitting the flat notes and making others shutter.

I think that is why I kept a barrier like front of the class, stage, office to allow direction of flow where I was in charge. I do like people too somedays quite much but my crazy often blooms into their ‘weird’ category as well: hence anxiety lol. Thanks for adding to my post and bringing laughter.

I’m stuck with not being suicidal mostly but that’s a big step up

That is a huge step up!!! Thank you for the reminder of priorities as well as achievements within our walk. Kinda puts my $hit into prospective right quick. Respect…full respect.
 

Friday

Moderator
It took a few years, & I practiced on strangers, not people I care about (or that I cared about their opinion of me, either/or).

But even after my life was -perhaps- 80% social?

to attend celebratory gatherings for my immediate family with their friends.
OMFG. FAMILY.

I love my family.

I don’t attend holidays or celebrations with my family, if I can at all help it. The lead-up & after-parties? Are fine. Lovely. But whilst I will be there Friday for the day after thanksgiving, or the day after xmas, etc? The day OF whatever sort of celebratory thing is going on is almost impossible. Not completely impossible. I have gone. And I have always regretted it profoundly, in addition to losing weeks/months to symptom tsunamis.

Other people’s families are fine. My own I know too well. And they cannot relax. They’re not at ease in their own company, when there’s a holiday on. After the holiday? They return to being people who aren’t SCREAMING LIES at me with their every word and gesture, but simply themselves again. Nope. Can’t handle that. It’s not fun, for me. It’s pure, unadulterated, misery. On top of stress. On top of what quickly becomes hypervig, anxiety spikes, and emotional volatility. It’s like the thing at the fair with the giant hammer & the bell? BOOM! Stress cup maxes out almost the moment I’m through the door. And it only gets worse from there. Rapidly.

***
So my mom has this thing, where she puts on an extra cheerful voice to SCREAM at you that it’s time to get up, when you’re sleeping.

It never fails to kick my son into a panic attack merged with full on fight or flight mode. Guaranteed it will be at least 3-6 hours before he can calm down enough to go to school, and sometimes it means he’s going to hit a depressive cycle with the speed of a vault filled with lead bricks tossed out an airplane door. 32feet per second per second be DAMNED... some things drop fast enough to risk drilling a new volcano. It took over a year of living with my parents after my divorce, before my mom would admit the pattern “might” be true, and stop trying to be “helpful”. Brick wall. Bang head. He has an alarm! Stop screaming at him 10 minutes before it’s supposed to go off!!! FFS. Stop, full stop.

^^^
There’s just something about otherwise reasonable, lovely people... being on their best behaviour, all cheerful on purpose?... that seems to trigger wanting to rip throats out. I can’t explain it. It makes no logical sense. I can be lied to all day every day and not even twitch, much less get such a violent reaction to it... but there’s just something about family. No idea why.

Don’t know if any of this applies to your family gatherings... but really. I’d be eyeballs deep in people almost all week long, and be fantastic. 5 minutes with my family at a holiday? I’m molecules away from needing to be sedated in restraints.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
OMFG. FAMILY

Well actually just my Son, Grandchild, my DIL-her folk and their friendly entourage which can vary from 10 to 20 now that Covid clamp down is being removed in a few week in this location.

So my mom has this thing

OMFG …you see your Mom? Kudos to you and yours. I am still in “no contact“ to remain sane. You are amazing, honest.

Brick wall. Bang head

You reminded me of Anthony: I just had to say it.😁

here’s just something about otherwise reasonable, lovely people... being on their best behaviour, all cheerful on purpose?... that seems to trigger wanting to rip throats out

^^^This resonates a deeply held secret of mine. When pleasantries are noticeably socially contrived, my hypervigilance begins. The microexpressions of their smiles, stilted body language and sing-song pitch starts the trigger. Certain sound ranges of twittering aging valley girls will also promote a knee jerk reaction. These are the moments, I start breath control instead of….impulses.

Authenticity decompresses me within a certain groundwork of subject matters or congruent body language with tonal quality. I normally have to find an outskirt position of their group movement to relax. However, as I am now deaf in one ear, if I attempt placing it towards them, perhaps I might be able to handle a closer proximity in the future.

Don’t know if any of this applies to your family gatherings

Lol…I think we are related. Thanks for being real.
 

Freddyt

Confident
There are two dynamics here. Strangers and friends/family.

Strangers? I used to be a sales manager up a year ago. No problem with strangers.

Family relationships are.... one of the most difficult things to get right for me now. Working with my T on it and all I just seem to do is get in trouble being around them. In a group? Just can not handle that right now, in any form, not even on Zoom.
 

SeedMan

Learning
Re: Social Gathering Avoidance - I have to admit I've rather enjoyed avoiding social gatherings due to COVID-19 and the social distancing was rather refreshing. As far as meeting with my family of origin, I, like many of you have found it horridly toxic and, with my T's advice, ceased contact. I'm sad that others also have such a horrible time with their family of origin.

On the plus side, I have a couple social groups who are aware of my challenges and don't think any less of me when I freeze-up, scramble my words, or have any other of my PTSD symptoms, be they in person or on a video-conferencing platform.

My T suggests I re-engage the in-person events gently and give myself plenty of recovery time after each event. I can see why 12-step groups have the saying of "Easy Does It". Patience is definitely a virtue for us with PTSD, and especially so during these COVIDy times.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all well in your journeys of keeping on keeping on.
 
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