After watching a video by a hair guru on YouTube talk about her struggle with social anxiety, I decided that I would make a 2 part series post on anxiety, the reality of it, anxiety as I experience and how I deal with anxiety, when I first came to know of it.
Social anxiety, also called social phobia, is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. Anxiety and self-consciousness arise from a fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others.
Wake up. Shower and get dress. Time for breakfast – you’re worry about whether your house-mates are in the living room or in kitchen because that would mean interaction. You’re now sighing at the thought. You put on music, though you really only hear the beat of the song because the express train of your thoughts has started on its daily route. *thinks about random thoughts thought during the week*. They are in the kitchen, you debate whether to take your phone with you or not – I mean if you walk in without it and you don’t engage in much conversation, they’ll definitely think you’re anti-social. You take your phone with you. Warm up your cereal. Zone out… Oh! The thought express train has stopped at an old school memory when you s… did that really embarrassing thing. Why do you even still think about that? Zone back in. Eat.
That would be the first 2 hours of your morning. Now at x10, some of the things I would experience on a normal day.
On the way to the train station, you’re thinking about things you said to *insert name* in a conversation last Friday. You fear that you may say something wrong. You’re meeting up with *insert really admired friend’s name* with *insert group of friends name*, you worry about *insert really admired friend’s name*’s approval and disapproval. Now you’re anxious about how you are perceived by *insert group of friends name*. That evening after studying, you meet up with *insert church friends*, you had some much fun with them last time you met. Now you’re afraid of ‘conversational rejection’ since you know they are have such big personality. You don’t really fit in with them, do you? Now you’re anxious and thinking about things they talk about to memorize conversations to talk about. You’re sitting with them, talking. You are anxious thinking about enter a conversation, and this one is important, you’ll be afraid you’ll have nothing to talk about. This is going well. You worry about how your arm is positioned. You do something awkward. Your mind won’t stop replaying it. You’re sure they’ve noticed that weird movement. Now you feel like you’re being observed critically. They’re ending the conversation. That one friend hugged you awkwardly. Time to go home. Relief. On the train, your English student’s mother calls you. Not only are phone calls uncomfortably filled with awkward pauses, the mother only speaks Spanish. You answer, rush the call then end it. Relief x2
If you went back and asked all those people if they notice anything anxious about you, they’ll say “Noo, you were so chatting and social.“.