Apparently email anxiety disorder is a legit thing that people have. I always thought it was just a subset of social anxiety but, apparently not.
I think social anxiety kind of falls low on the scale of anxiety and mental health. Whenever I mention it to people, they just gloss over it. What they don’t realise is that sets off a huge chain reaction and sort of makes me wonder if I’m being silly. I feel like this anxiety is secondary to the more generalised type. I definitely don’t have it as bad as some people and I am actually getting better everyday. So, I try not to talk about it.
I used to think that my social anxiety begun shortly after I began to have anxiety over emails from friends, but…even as a child I was unable to talk to people without feeling judgement and I often remained quiet. I just didn’t know what it was. I don’t think many people do. If not for the internet, I would have no idea that others felt the same.
Coincidentally, that was why social anxiety really grew into what it is now. I isolated myself because I couldn’t physically handle conversation or even be around strangers. I shut down whenever new people joined small conversations. I turned up everyday and said nothing. I was just desperate to return to my own space.
Anyway, the upside of social anxiety is that we can do all of this talking online now. If I have something to tell someone, I can text it or email it. There’s a whole other way of communicating.
But social anxiety can get you there too.
I used to be able to write anything I wanted. I was forthright and opinionated and I was unapologetic about it. Unfortunately in life, you get people that seem to revel in trying to take you down a notch or two. The first time it happens, you can chalk it off to one bad egg. When people berate you constantly and try to involve other people, it becomes an issue. That happened to me and suddenly, ‘online’ world seems to be too much like the real world. It may just be words, but the judgement is felt all the same.
Sometimes I feel like I have a split personality because I have moments where I just don’t care. Like my Supernatural blog! I am forthright, unapologetic and it feels good to get those things off my chest. Other times, I work myself up into a panic over the simplest things.
Eventually, it was easier just to resolve to do things later. Later becomes a day, two days, a month, two months and then I am replying to messages late. Out of guilt. Or a nagging sense that I have failed somehow. In my mind, I know that it’s not that deep but that doesn’t stop me from reading emails obsessively and trying to figure out if what I’ve said is okay. Rewriting it until it’s perfect.
These days, if I don’t reply right away, I often don’t at all.
The worst part is that I hate it when people don’t reply to my emails. Or I did. Lately, the apathy has grown and I sometimes barely remember that I’ve emailed people.
My inbox is cluttered but I honestly can’t bring myself to clear it out. It just makes me panic. So emails get buried. I have a lot of filters now that help me keep up but every time I sit down and hit ‘compose’ I just feel uncomfortable. I can’t just bang out a reply in five minutes (mostly, some people I can email normally, lol) so I really have to be in the mood.
Professional emails are even worse, ay dios mio. I have to get people to double check them for me, lest I go completely insane.
It’s all very frustrating.
So, I guess I should finally try and do something about it. This article has some good pointers. I like the check emails 1-2 times a day one but, it’s just not feasible in this day and age is it? I need to track applications and whatnot. However, prioritising a particular filter might help there, so….maybe it’s worth looking into.
At the end of the day, it’s just email. It’s not that deep. (Except for the part where it is!).