In case you didn’t already know this, I am very socially anxious. And no, not shy. Sure, that’s what it looks like most of the time but I wish I was just shy. I was this was just pre-show jitters. I mean even talking with my friends still makes me uncomfortable and anxious. In the past years, I’ve gotten better at hiding that so my anxiety isn’t always visible because really nobody wants to hang out with the person I am when I don’t. That awkward, quiet, and just all around uncomfortable and scared. That’s not something that’s fun to be around. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, if I can say so myself. Sure, I’m a bit awkward still at times and even more so if you ever met me in person because that’s something I don’t ever think I will ever fully be able to hide. Even during those times where I’m not consciously thinking about hiding it. At times it does come off naturally, but even then I still myself feel really off. I feel like I’m constantly in fight or flight mode even when I’m with people who make me a bit more comfortable than the rest. It’s exhausting. I am torn between wanting to talk with my friends so I’m not so shut off and I don’t feel so alone, but at the same time I am really afraid to so I end up just not talking because well I’m used to being alone and that comes off easy. Talking and socializing is hard and sometimes I don’t have that energy to fight against my unfounded anxieties. Sometimes I just let it do its thing because it’s easier to. Everyone has their anxieties about one thing or another so fortunately when I tell people that social situations makes me anxious I don’t have to explain what that means but sometimes I still do since people don’t quite understand right away just how serious and much of an issue this is for me. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve put myself into a shitty situation just so I wouldn’t have to speak up and say something. Years ago when I first got diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, they psychologist when I asked if there was anyway I could overcome this and become normal. He straight out said no, that with therapy I could only hope to achieve next to normal. Which was depressing and very upsetting. I didn’t want to believe him because I thought who the hell was this guy to tell me I wasn’t capable of achieving more than just below normalcy. Now that I’m older and seeing how strong this disorder is and how quickly it wraps its claws around my neck, I get it. I was naive and thought willpower could help me accomplish anything, which was easy to believe when at the time you don’t have any willpower, thinking at some point I would manage to acquire all that I needed.
I feel like often times I’m running at a limited amount of patience, empathy, understanding, etc. and I eventually always get to that point where I need to just get away from everything. Hide away from my friends, my family, just everything that’s stressing me and causing me anxiety so I can build up my tolerance again. And every time I hang out with people, talk with someone it takes a little bit out of my pooled up “resources” and some people take more out of me more than others, but ultimately everyone takes something out of me each time and once I’m out I need to recover. And I’m out right now, at least that’s how it feels because solidarity is seeming more and more like the better choice especially when there are some people in my life who won’t understand that I need time for myself and will make their own reasoning for my absence and they’ll yell at me, they’ll tell me “I’m just like the rest of them.” Some of them bring up old scars because they know that that’s an easy way to get to me. To hurt me. So no, I haven’t left because I’ve chosen someone over you (that whole idea by itself is pretty ridiculous but this is the number one thing told to me, they attribute the reasoning to other people). I haven’t left because I like playing with your feelings and leaving. Sometimes that might be the end result, but I promise that’s never the intention. And the times that that has happened it has mainly been due to how people reacted while I needed to recharge. During these times I’m not my best self so if you try and insult me or call me out during, I at the time will have already been used to hanging out by myself that clicking remove is super easy for me. That sounds awful, but people like to keep make everything about themselves and it’s usually the very same people that I’ve needed a rest from. Whether it be because they’re too self-absorbed that it’s become irritating, they’re manipulating and put me through a lot of stress (often making sure to say something negative that had happened before they ask me to do something so I feel bad and do it out of pity/guilt, or sometimes it’s just that they’re too social/extroverted and bring in too many people into our hangouts despite me telling them that I really don’t like that. Social anxiety and all.. In fact a lot of these people that have fit into the previous examples one way or another.. I have tried talking with almost all of them to try and maybe make it so they aren’t as emotionally exhausting, but some people just don’t care or they think what they’re doing is the best way/right way and I “just don’t know better.” To that I say “go fuck yourself”. Most of my friends, at least the close ones already know that sometimes I just need to step back from the world before I can step back in. And those that don’t end up finding out anyway. Some people can’t be positive and social all the damn time so to anybody who can’t understand that, farewell.
Living with crippling anxiety is really awful, and it’s not just that fear before I want to do something but it also causes my mind even when I am relaxed to overthink things. I have irrational thoughts that quickly jump from one thing to another. I have a hard time explaining how it feels. I’ve used this movie a lot though to describe my feelings just because of how much I related to the character and how almost all of the events pretty much happened to me just in somewhat different ways.
I think this scene from It’s Kind of a Funny Story best explains it:
There’s just all this stuff I’m worried and stressed about and I feel it just keeps building up at least until I blow up and let it all out. And even then I still feel like I’m just going emptying the bucket of stress and anxiety to fill it right back up again a couple months later. That’s about how my brain works, when I’m thinking about all of those frightening unknowns in the future. For good measure I’ll also give a more in the moment example of what my mind goes through and its from the song that originally inspired me to write this post (music inspiring me to write posts is a recurring theme you’ll quickly learn to discover if you haven’t yet.)
Even worse than talking to these girls, I get infatuated
Send a text and it go green, wonder what that fucking mean
Like did it send, has it been seen?
Why ain’t she writing back to me?
Probably chatting with some other guys and I feel jealousy
Two days later, she write back, like S-R-Y, I fell asleep
I don’t feel like i have to explain too much how I relate to this. Especially recently. I’ve been in situations where maybe I’m quick to answer questions that didn’t really need answers to. Sometimes I let my self-doubt and anxieties ruin my relationships with others. Sometimes I let my stress and anxiety, stress me out and make me anxious even more. My anxieties also make me panic when someone else withdraws a bit, so I would like to say people who acknowledge my distancing and aren’t okay with it. I don’t think of them as bad people, when I say farewell I really mean that I hope you fare well in the future. If you can’t understand sometimes I need my space, than this friendship wouldn’t work. I’m not going to stop having my moments of solidarity and you probably won’t stop being upset by it so me saying farewell is really the best for the both of us. And if I get upset by you distancing yourself than it’s also probably best you distanced yourself anyway because at the time I will still be upset even if I knew why. I actively try and not do that but sometimes I get attached to things/people and I forget about that. And then my anxieties turn me into someone who I don’t like in other people, but hate even more so in myself, but that’s really all I have to say on the subject so, congratulations for making it through this far. This was your introduction to my anxiety.