Thursday, 22 July 2010

School's (nearly) out

Only one more day to the end of term - hurrah! I am so much better in the holidays, because a major source of my anxiety evaporates - in term time the other Mums and their perceptions of me weigh on me heavily. I assume that they don't know about my mental health problems, but I still worry that I am visibly odd or different from the majority of the other mothers. Other people seem to find it easier to bond than I do, especially in groups. Groups of people intimidate me intensely - I have lots of friends but I prefer to see them separately.

I guess this must go back to my childhood - lots of stuff does. I know that the night before my eldest child started school, when I was sewing nametapes into her uniform, I felt the strangest nervous fluttering in my stomach, a feeling that we used to call 'butterflies'. It took me a few minutes to realise that I was having a physical flashback sensation, to the way I used to feel as a child before going back to school for the new term.

The disappointing thing about becoming an adult is that internally you never really grow up - although maybe this only applies to those with trauma in their childhoods, like me. So standing in the playground waiting for my child to come out at the end of her first day, I felt the same things that I did twenty-five years before - Who should I speak to? Will anybody like me?

As the term went on I realised that there was a definite element of competitiveness in the playground - who spoke to who, who wore what, all sorts of undercurrents were apparent. Admittedly, I am one for reading things into situations - it irritates the hell out of my husband, who can never understand what I am winding myself up about, but this was not my imagination.

Before long I ended up seeing a counsellor at the surgery - I felt so ridiculous having issues about school when my four year old was sailing through the experience, and she was the one in the classroom. What the counsellor said surprised me - she claimed to have hordes of female clients with the same issues as me about the playground situation.

I believe her, although I still find it hard to switch off from it all. It is like a tribal cliquey thing - women can be quite hard towards each other, sometimes quite inexplicably. I suppose it is a sort of competitiveness, a Darwin thing. It is a shame though that we can't be more supportive, especially if so many of us do have the same sorts of worries and troubles.

I have a lot of children home to play - I live close to the school and my kids are very sociable, which I encourage. I am grateful that none of them is growing up shy or standoffish. But this means that I have to make an effort to socialise with the other Mums and I do find it hard - I am always trying to fit in, and sometimes I know I try too hard.

This afternoon was a case in point - I was trying to join in a conversation between two other Mums, just to be friendly, but I was slightly off the subject, and I turned suddenly to see the two of them smiling to each other as I was speaking, and I am sure that they were laughing at me. I do have an almost uncanny sixth sense about stuff like this - I am not paranoid, honest - but I could really do without it. I am unduly sensitive - too eager to want others to like me, so I yabber away unecessarily and end up alienating them, then I realise what I have done and feel awful about myself.

It is a repeating pattern. I am regularly invited to the Mums' evenings out in my eldest daughter's year group because one of my close friends is the one who always organises these evenings. I want to go, because I want to be friends with these people, and also to show a good example to my children, because it is a positive thing to socialise. But I dread the occasions, and usually my nerves mean that I end up talking and behaving like a bit of an idiot. And I also get the strong impression that there are a few Mums who would prefer me not to go - I do unnerve people a bit, partly because I talk too much when I am nervous, partly because I tend to scrutinise people. This sounds weird I know, but it is not exactly intentional - I am just so interested in people and in what makes them tick that I do stare a bit, and some people are very conscious of this. Then I get conscious that I am staring and it all becomes even weirder.

Anyway, most of my life is normal and I have hopes that most people I meet think I am just like everybody else. And I know a lot of other people do have anxieties similar to mine. But this blog exists because I am not like everybody else at the end of the day - I do have various unsettling symptoms. But what I battle with mostly is my diagnosis - which I tool on board years ago, and which means that despite my lovely husband telling me that I am just like everybody else, but better (he really does love me) I still have skewed perceptions of myself which make me overly analytic of a lot of average everyday stuff.

Partly I don't have enough of substance happening in my life. When I am writing regularly I am sure I will be happier - all this over-thinking can go down on the page and be healthily expunged. I have been thinking about putting Toddler into nursery in September instead of waiting until January, so that I can move forward with that. Anyway, for now I can blog, which can be done in short bursts, and will hopefully keep me sane in the short term. x .

No comments:

Post a Comment