To put it simply, it’s hard. That’s the only word that people who don’t know what its like can understand, when you break it down.
So, lets try to break it down. Waking up, is hard. Because you fear what the day will bring, or what you may have to do during the day. It could be something as simple as taking a shower, will I fall? That goes thru my head a lot.
Then you have to go outside. THAT IS A BIG ONE. If you have social anxiety, it’s a major step, just to step out of the door. You wonder what others are thinking about it you, so you look at the ground when you walk. I try to do mindful walking, so I’m not thinking about what could happen and rather on where I am going.
You feel uncomfortable because someone may speak to you, then what do you say? What if they don’t speak to you, then you think, what is wrong with me. Or my favorite, ‘what do they want from me?”
As a communications major I learned that the purpose of communications is to get something back from the other person. It could be an answer, directions or a simple ‘hello’. But YOU basically want acknowledgement. And sometimes, I can’t give that too you, I’m barely making it myself. I can’t feed your ego and function at the same time, sorry Bub, move on.
Then there are the ‘what if’s’. Worrying constantly about the future and always coming up with the worse case scenario. Making lists in your head of things that will have to fall into place in order for something to occur. Even if it’s months ahead.
Crowds make me anxious. I have to keep telling myself that everyone else there, in the crowd, are so caught up in their own lives, they don’t even see me or even give me a second thought. Which basically is true. Unless they want something, which brings us full circle in the social anxiety thing.
My therapist would say, go out and try something small. NOTHING is small when you live with anxiety. So, I ignored that little pearl of wisdom.
I find that pharmaceuticals are my life savior. I couldn’t do without them. I have tried and it was hell. I have tried and succeed with self talk. But I would need to be calmed down first to even listen to myself talking.
I have a daily dosage and a PRN ‘just in case’ things are too much for me. Hell, life is too much for me.
I’ve been described as a boat on the ocean and a tiny wave can teeter me one way, or the next. It’s those waves, which are constant, that I deal with everyday. I know they are coming, so I expect them and I take my meds, go to therapy, use my coping skills and do what I can, when I can.
I find if I have a specific purpose to go ‘outside’, it makes it easier. A doctor’s appointment or shopping for the week or month; I shop for the month. Less trips out into the WORLD.
There are days I feel calm enough to go for short walks, as my health allows it. They are enjoyable. And I am thankful for them. And when people walk past and say, ‘hi’ I can say ‘hi’ back.
What’s going thru my mind at that moment is, just say hi and keep moving. Which is what I do. I try not to read anything into it and I forget the incident and just keep moving.
Trying not to delve into the reasons or the triggers of feeling like I’m being used to make their day great. Like I could make their day great. Huh, maybe I could. Just by acknowledging them and saying, ‘hi’; I make them feel appreciated and like ‘hey, I’m a great person. Friendly and kind to strangers I meet.
The whole ego thing I talked about.
Anxiety stems from other issues that are going on inside of your head. Some have panic attacks from anxiety. ME! But I’m not going into that, too long.
Everyone has felt anxious at some point in their lives, it’s just to what degree you feel it and how long it lasts.
Either the speaker knob is on 1 or 13. There are numbers in between, but I usually dwell around a 11 or 12 without meds.
So, yeah, living with anxiety is HARD. If you met me, you wouldn’t have any idea I have social anxiety. My mask fits well enough to pass. At least it does sometimes.