OK, I went into my shell there for a while. Sorry if anyone was offended by my little rant, it was precious and self-pitying and not the way I prefer to be.
My clownsome workmate has been changing his Facebook profile’s date-of-birth every day, then loudly mocking the innocent souls who send him cheerful birthday wishes. After the third or fourth day I was getting sick of this, so in his absence one Friday afternoon I sat down at his laptop and simply wrote “Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone. Drinks on me tonight!”
Unknown to me over the weekend several people got irate calls from him accusing them of doing it. I had forgotten about it when I got to work on Monday morning, where people were laughing about it. He wasn't. I said “Oh, I did that.” We were all surprised that he was so upset - he is known as a person who knows no embarrassment and loves to provoke it in others. He will impersonate someone else if it gets a laugh. But he was deeply offended, and I felt bad that I had done it. It’s technically illegal, and not something I would ever do to anyone else.
He effectively would not accept my apology and went on about it daily for two weeks, in front of all our colleagues. I said, “Well, I have apologised and that’s the end of it as far as I am concerned”. I shut down my Facebook, starting feeling quite depressed and guilty, and in that frame of mind decided to cease writing online.
This last week I have realised that this stupid business actually affected me quite deeply. I was shutting down in all facets of my life, and more or less scrunching up in a ball. I have just had a week of indigestion and mounting social anxiety. On my way to work on Thursday I felt that I would be able to get through the day if I could just hunker down with my headphones on and mind my own business.
The only problem would be if it was someone's birthday, in which case we would all be expected to stand around while clownsome workmate made one of his speeches. His life is a continuous cabaret stand-up routine, and I have decided I do not want to be part of his audience any more. As it happened it was someones birthday, and so things came to a head when I continued to work, with my headphones on, while he made his speech.
I don't really like to announce to people “I have social anxiety” but neither do I like to be rude. So I emailed the clownsome one to explain - I have a form of agoraphobia, and sometimes I just cannot stand to be part of a group. I just want to be invisible. What I need to say to him, but haven’t yet, is that although it is my problem not his, it is manageable unless there is someone performing constantly, who at any moment is going to involve you and pull you into his spotlight.
So - I was wrong to start shutting things down, as it can spiral inwards to the point where I am a mean, shrivelled, gibbering mess. As far as writing the blog is concerned, I have missed it, I think I need to keep doing it, and if would you would continue to read it I would be very much obliged.