I Apologize for Going Dark
Do you ever experience times when being social in any form is out of the question? When engaging in online or in-person conversation is draining, or when the thought of going out just seems unimaginable?
It’s not necessarily depression, because it’s not as heavy, but you still feel a sense of withdrawal. It’s partly a desire to be around people you enjoy and an even stronger craving to be in solitude.
That’s where I’m at. Sometimes, I don’t open the Facebook Messenger app for days to avoid conversations. There is no reason for this other than that I don’t want to type out conversations. I understand that avoiding interaction has caused a massive amount of misjudgment and misunderstanding. But it’s difficult to explain. How do I say, “I just don’t feel like it,” without sounding like an entitled brat?
There really is no way around that, so I go dark. Meaning, I turn off the chat on all social media platforms, purposely don’t check my emails (I have three accounts, for whatever reason), don’t fulfill projects, miss deadlines, and don’t answer my phone.
The problem I have with going dark is that I don’t tell anyone when it happens. It grinds my gears when people drop the ball on me, but I have no right to complain when I do the same thing. Writing about myself and dealing with Friedreich’s ataxia has helped me reflect on these moments and identify common triggers.
Earlier this week, I was reading journal entries I made this year, and it got me thinking about ways I can try to do better when this happens. I know this has nothing to do with FA directly, but I also know that my writing about FA inspired this new attention to a behavior I want to change. I’ve always talked about facing things head-on and holding myself accountable, so it’s only right that I address this.
To those who have emailed or messaged me and received no response, and to those who have attempted to communicate with me in other ways and I never answered, I apologize. If I seem withdrawn, it’s because I am. Too often, I wait to respond and then forget until it’s too late or awkward. That is completely my fault, and there really is no reason for this to continue.
I’ve always had trouble finishing things I started. For example, I would talk about parties or other plans I wanted to have in the future. But the follow-through was never strong, and I wasn’t true to my word. Everything was all talk. It’s taken me a while to step back and actually take note of my behavior. It was easier to pretend like I had everything under control. But life has a funny way of smacking you in the face and reminding you to grow up.
Although going dark has cost me friendships and other relationships, I’m trying to navigate through a little list of ways to do better. I’m not sure if other people experience the same kind of withdrawal, but I would like to hear from you if you do. Thank you to everyone who has kept in touch and given me space to figure this out. I’m working on being a more consistent and dependable person.
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