It's pretty simple really: I need " by myself" time—lots of it. The only time I get that time is after everyone goes to bed.
One reason the holidays are stressful for me is that there are more people around than usual. This year, everyone came over to our house for dinner. That meant more people and it made me feel uncomfortable. Not that these are people I don't know—not that kind of awkward—but I feel weird all the same. When they decided to move the party down to my in-laws down the street and there was a sinkful of dishes that needed to get done, I was happy to stay behind. It was a relief, even if it was a bit of work.
I am not exactly terrified of large groups of people, though there was a time when I was terrified of public speaking. In 7th grade, I tried out to be the MC for the school's talent show. I was one of the MCs for the school talent show in 5th grade, but for some reason I was scared as hell to even audition for the one in 7th grade. I eventually got over that as I was, for a time, a technical trainer.
I think being around people takes a certain kind of energy—an energy that seems to ebb and flow in me. Some days, I tolerate it more than others. When I'm around others, I have to worry about a lot of different things—things that are hard for me to even be conscious of. Or I get too self-conscious and can't enjoy the moment for what it is. Just thinking about it all makes me anxious.
Alone time at night when everyone's in bed is my coping mechanism for dealing with day-to-day interaction with people. It's my time to recharge before I, well, "recharge." Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just messed up? Probably both. ;)