In terms of social anxiety, I think I’ve come a long way from where I was year ago. A year ago I could barely walk into McDonald’s and now they have card reader machines that mean that I can do even less talking. It’s awesome.
Jokes aside, social anxiety is so fucked up. I don’t think it’s as bad as other types because it’s mostly mental and the worst thing it’ll do to you is keep you indoors and jobless.
Okay, so it is kind of bad.
Let’s look at some of the different aspects.
I can’t make phone calls. Unless it’s to a family member or someone I’m really comfortable with. Even then, after five minutes I start to feel extremely uncomfortable. I feel like I’m speaking too loud and then the other person says that they can’t hear me. I feel like people around me are staring at me. I feel like the other person is silently judging me because I sound like an asthmatic cow. It truly sucks. I have resorted to bribery and literal begging to get out of phone calls.
Oh, yes. I discovered this place that sold Bubble Tea at my university one time. A normal person would stroll in and order whatever. Not me. First I looked up the menu online. It was surprisingly difficult to find. And then I literally looked up how to order bubble tea and then I planned how I’d do it, what I’d say. I chickened out several times before I finally managed to go. Did I stick to my script? Nope. I wanted the banoffee pie flavour but I just ordered the first thing I read off the menu because I wanted to get out as soon as possible.
Vanilla saves the day.
And then I was waiting in the wrong place after (apparently they just abandon your drink on a counter somewhere WTF) and I had to talk to some girl who was looking at me like I had three heads when I asked if her that random drink on the counter was hers. This is my life in a nutshell.
This is basically what social anxiety is. Feeling so out of place that you have no idea how to express yourself, so you just don’t. Or I don’t. I can’t say what it’s like for anyone else. I would say that I’m reasonably well liked. I am nice person. However, I know that basically it’s only the people who are willing to talk to me that do talk to me. Or maybe that’s just the anxiety talking?
Half of the time I convince myself that I’m a terrible person and half of the time I’m sure that everyone else is the problem. They’re too loud. They’re too talkative. I think that’s just life. Nothing is ever perfectly swayed in one direction.
These days, I tend to just give myself the space to be quiet when I need it. If that’s six months, then so be it. I still can’t deal with crowds or anything like that, but my one on one interactions are better. I only make fifty percent of my conversations awkward compared to a hundred percent. Ha. But hey, progress is progress!
Written for the Daily Prompt of ‘express‘.