This whole post is a perfect description of what it’s like to “go out and do things.” To contribute my own example, I think I’m the only person who still goes to new places using early Mapquest methods. I spend a lot of time on Google Maps, looking at aerial photos and half-memorizing the sequence of turns and street names. I write everything down on a post-it note, along with the place’s name, address, and phone number. Reverse directions might go on the back of the post-it note. Wireless and GPS on my phone are usually disabled, because Big Brother. I don’t like the style of driving encouraged by real-time GPS navigation. I like to change into the lane I’ll need to be in miles ahead of time, if possible. It stresses me out to type an address into a gadget and just…embark. If someone wants to hang out on the same day, there’s a 50-50 chance I’ll try to reschedule. When somebody moves across town I have to desensitize myself to the process of getting to their apartment and parking all over again. I’m less likely to agree to things involving freeways.
I know that stuff isn’t exactly normal, but I have no idea how much other people around me are masking similar issues, or whether it’s just me.
Because I can prepare, I don’t get too stressed out by public speaking. Because I have a lot of practice and pretty good falling skills, I can do skateboard stuff that would at least be scary to people who aren’t athletic. I was rollerblading yesterday, on my way to a local ledge spot. I was dodging pedestrians and turning sharply to go behind cars at crosswalks because it’s safer, etc. When I was waiting at a stoplight, a bicyclist lady said I was “pretty crazy on those rollerblades.” I guess I ride my BMX bike around traffic in a similarly reckless and unpredictable way, which made an old roommate say I “do everything to the extreme” and he didn’t like to ride places with me. I don’t drive like that all, because that would be scary. On wheels attached to my feet, it’s pleasant vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation.
I officially have Unspecified Anxiety Disorder. This stuff makes social life more difficult, but it’s not the same as being more anxious across the board, about everything. It’s just a different pattern of comfort and discomfort. I think there are certain work pressures I should probably feel more, but I can be relaxed on a well-rehearsed type of sales call with Big Company because I’m immune to feeling less-than just because they’re higher in a hierarchy I think is bad, anyway.