When most people think about social anxiety they think of a hermit afraid to go out into the world.
That is a thing. They were not wrong. It’s just not social anxiety per se.
..its a lot more like this…..for me…not everyone.
….looks around…watches some people
… looks around…..someone caught my interest. Then it happens.
oh god they looked at me okay breathe..
oh god they smiled. NOW WHAT!!!!
okay I can do this..Deep breathe….maybe….maybe if I return the smile a little they will just go away..
They smiled back. They start moving closer to me.
no no no no that was not an invitation to come talk to me.
no don’t talk to me. Did I brush my hair? I bet my teeth look really horrible. I wonder what they see when they see me. I bet they see a person who is a mess. They are clearly judging me. No no now come on they probably don’t think that. ….probably…but what if they do. Oh god. I don’t care what they think. oh but I do. Even as I am telling myself I don’t I do.
They say Hi
Oh god okay.. um..Hi.
How old is your daughter?
small talk why is there always small talk. No no I don’t care how old their kid is. Oh but she is kinda cute.
Does she go to school here?
Why? why would they want to know that do they look safe. Do I feel safe vibes from them? Am I really flipping out about this question?
Sometimes that is all it gets too… Sometimes its worse..Sometimes I end the conversation abruptly because of a bad vibe or my own uncomfortableness. Sometimes after a good chat with this new person I think. Hey that wasn’t so bad. But every time it happens…EVERY TIME. Why do i get all flipped out about this…my confidence returns a little bit and I can tell myself that what the other person thinks does not matter. Sometimes I even believe it. Its a daily struggle with this for me.
Just because you can’t see how uncomfortable I am doesn’t mean I am not. Sometimes being in a room with a lot of people makes my skin crawl. Even if no one is talking to me. I am sure they are looking at me. I am sure they are critiquing what I am wearing how I look and on and on and on. I feel like there is this big beacon light shining on me. Even if its not. Even as I tell myself its not.
I know some people are much worse. I know some people it triggers all kinds of other things.
I really really really honestly truly wish I wasn’t like this even just in my head.
My daughter talks easily to others. Enjoys others company. Seems to enjoy small talk with other kids or adults. I admire that in her. Inside I am like No no don’t go talk to that kid. The mother/father/grandparent/guardian will feel inclined to come talk to me. At the same time I don’t want her to have my restrictions. In a lot of ways I have put myself in situations that I would have totally avoided because of my daughter. Because I don’t want her to have the same social anxieties I do. Mommy and me groups, School functions/performances, and so on. Its seems when you are a parent a part of you is always seeking out social things for the kids to do, even if it makes you cringe on the inside. Sometimes dealing with the social anxiety from going to the book store at story hour or the library is better than staying at the house all day, again.
I have a few friends that have it worse then me. One who actually has battled agoraphobia and another who if it flares she almost runs out of where ever she is. I get it. I understand. I get through a lot of my uncomfortable situations through gritting my teeth and pure Irish stubborn will. I joke about it. I post about it not just on chronically sick page but on my personal page as well. I try to use photography as a distraction to lessen it. I use sarcasm and humor. I really abhor that I have to take anti-anxiety meds at all. I really hate my dependence on them. I hate that I have to take something that both addresses anxiety and depression. They are separate things don’t get me wrong. They do however like to hold hands ….. a lot.
Social anxiety is not fun but it is also not what a lot of people assume it is either.