Friendship doesn’t come naturally for me. Add a mental health diagnosis and it’s downright fraught. I tend to treat friend making like double Dutch jump rope. I watch some girls jump in, dance around and jump out. I watch for a really long time. Then I finally feel the beat, take the risk and make my move. I end up thwapped in the arm and the ropes are down around my ankles. It’s harder than it looks, apparently.
I’m the intense friend. I put a lot of effort into guessing how other people do it, this friendship thing. I crave connection and yet seem to thwart my objectives by over or under doing it. I’m enthusiastic and have a tendency to overshare. Or I anticipate rejection and clam up, revealing nothing. Where are the instructions for the middle ground?
During this pandemic, I’ve turned into the anxiety ridden friend. I recently finished my first book, a memoir. I had seven friends read it as beta readers. I’m having a hard time with feedback. It took a very long time to write the book and now that it’s complete, I could ask, “What did you think of X?” all day long. I feel pushy asking my pals for a dissertation on my work. I need their input to make final revisions and it has my laser focus right now.
I know what I should do: Relax. Easier said than done. I have bipolar affective disorder which comes with a side order of obsessive thinking. I think I’m having a revelation hangover. My truth is revealed in the book and I’ve heard both sides of feedback. You shared too much and you’re incredibly brave. I’ll have to be the final word on determining what I want to share.
Until then, I have to stop hitting “send” on emails and sitting there with a stopwatch waiting for the “Re:” response to come back. This stay at home time has allowed my clock watching to get seriously out of hand. I’m happy, okay ecstatic, the snow has finally melted where I live and May has arrived. I have to get out of my spot in front of my laptop and enjoy a nice walk in the woods. Thanks for being here, checking out my post and easing the angst of opening up, a little at a time. Maybe I’ll try jump roping again.