When the Tank Is Empty: Social Interaction and Neurodivergence Part Deux

Okay, this is a follow-up to last week’s post about social interaction. In it, I told you how leaving the house is a major goddamn negotiation for me. And while I did tell you about a time before I was aware of this shit, I didn’t really talk about what happens when I miscalculate and my tank runs out while I’m out in public now that I am aware. That’s what we’re talking about this week. As you can guess, it’s not pretty. As you’ve also probably guessed, what happened in that story about the wedding reception is not a thing of the past. I have to say, it’s kind of fucked up that my social interaction issues stemming from neurodivergence would still be a thing at this point in my life.

The World Is Fucking Exhausting

Of course, I had no idea they would still be a thing at this point in my life but shit rarely goes the way I think it will. So, why is it still a thing? Two reasons: 1) I’m not 100% at doing those calculations (I suck at math, remember?), and 2) you motherfuckers are a lot. I know I can’t be the only one who’s tired of all y’all’s bullshit, right? I’m sure you’re tired of mine and I’m a goddamn ray of sunshine. I mean, just being in the world is exhausting enough but when you add people? Fuuuck.

Social Interaction, Neurodivergence, Empty Tanks

Okay, so I know everyone contends with this shit, that it’s not just socially awkward weirdos like me. But there are extra layers of bullshit that neurodivergent folks have to contend with that make it worse for us. Like sensory issues (crowd noise fucks with me hard), the dizzying goddamn array of rules–all unwritten of course–that polite society insists on, or the tremendous energy drain that introverted folks face whenever we’re out among the mob. Like I said, it’s a lot.

Y’all Like Being Around People?

I know there are people who absolutely fucking thrive on being around others. And, we call those sick asses “extroverts”. But, how do they do it? Just out here all talking to people and shit? The most I can swing is a couple of hours before I’m trying to pull the old Tokyo Sayonara (Where’s that kitty?). And, that’s when I have the opportunity to prepare, have a plan in place, and all that shit. If I don’t, that time is drastically reduced. My only saving grace here is that, to a certain degree, planning has become second nature to me. I tend to make a plan for a social outing without even realizing it. Not that it always works.

What To Do When It Doesn’t Work?

You mean besides freaking the fuck out and having a meltdown? Not that much, really. I mean, once it’s gotten to that stage, there’s only one thing to do: get the hell out. And, do it as fast as humanly possible. Because if I stay in that situation, a freak-out and a meltdown are inevitable. Oh, I may be able to forestall things a bit by taking a break from people, maybe going outside and enjoying some fresh air and goddamn silence (because y’all are fucking loud), but that’s just a bandaid. At best. Basically, it’s an imperfect answer to a fucked up situation.

Of Comfort Zones, Social Interaction, and Neurodivergence

I know I should get out of my comfort zone every so often and exercise my social skills. And, I do. But, let’s be honest; that shit is hard. It’s called a comfort zone for reason, goddamn it, and stepping out of it fucking sucks. Because the area outside of my little bubble is filled with people and people make everything so goddamn difficult. All the rules, social conventions, and other bullshit–again, none of which are written down–seem calculated to trip up people like me. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Because, for that to be the case, neurotypicals would have to actually think about us and give a flying shit about what we need.