I was browsing reddit like I am prone to do now-a-days and came across a picture that completely captures me in social settings:
For those of you who have been with me at parties – there are typically two ways that I respond. I show up long enough to be spotted and then quietly and discretely leave without telling anyone, or I blend with the walls and pretty much hide. This was very evident at one of the wedding showers I attended for Stephen/Danielle’s wedding this past March. Why do I do this? I’m usually completely overwhelmed and my brain shuts down. Thus I do the two things that will bring me relief. This is also why I do not allow parties to be thrown on my behalf – It’s hard to escape a party when you are the center of attention and I would be so mentally exhausted that it may sometimes make me physically ill. Before my Asperger’s diagnosis, I thought this was entirely social anxiety and shyness – but that doesn’t explain the mental exhaustion toll that social interactions may cause me. But now I understand why I respond in this way and I need to work on how to help solve this problem.
Small groups are easy (6-8 people). Technical meetings are OK for me at almost any size. But social gatherings are very very difficult. This explains why I tried to hide when I used to attempt to go to my “mid-sized” small group at church.
So if you see me like this, you can understand why I’m doing this. It isn’t a sign that I’m dissing you. It’s just means I must escape to my “happy zone” from time to time.
(Credit to Aspie Strategy blog for the image)