If my wife takes me to a cafe, for my one outing a week (two if I’m lucky), I find I can handle noise far better than I can from a large family gathering…?
I finally worked out why this is. At a family gathering I feel obligated to join in conversations, smile, be animated to a certain extent and be aware all the time of what is around me. I also need to answer the question “How are you? Any better?” which although well meaning and asked out of genuine concern, requires a response every time. Basically my condition has remained unchanged for two and a half years and I wish they would actually read this blog to keep up on how I feel. Far easier for all concerned.
At a family gathering, of all the most important people in the world to me and whom I love dearly, I feel the need to be polite, to appear well, to put on an act for them. This drains me so much it takes days to recover from.
At a cafe it’s just my wife I need to listen to and converse with. Far less concentration required and if I start to slouch she knows my energy is gone, hurries up and gets me out of there. So if it is noisy it is extraneous noise and doesn’t apply to me and can therefore be immediately ignored. With family I feel I have to be aware of what is going on around me or I will appear rude. My problem I know but it is the way I feel.
Also at a family gathering you cannot, or at least I can’t, leave mid-sentence or without saying goodbye to everyone. I would feel incredibly rude and yet for my well-being this is exactly what I should do.
All this boils down to me not being able to be as I need to with family because I love them so much and know they love me in return. They would understand, I am certain, if I suddenly got up and left or just shut down and retreated from all conversations, but I cannot bring myself to do this, so suffer in silence.
My own fault, but there it is and I cannot change it.
So when I say no to going to a large family get together yet enter a noisy coffee shop do not judge me. You know not what I am suffering, or more accurately making myself suffer.
But then who doesn’t put on a face for family and want to show them how much they mean to you, that their support is everything to you and keeps you going through the dark days?
And so I can stand noise in a coffee shop for maybe twenty to thirty minutes but not go to see a large family group as it immediately drains me for days.
Thanks illness, another fine mess you have gotten me into!
At least my guilt is happy, as it is very well fed.