Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Truths Of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is a long-lasting and overwhelming fear of social situations. It is a common problem that usually starts during the teenage years. For some people it gets better as they get older, although for many it doesn't go away on its own and many take up therapy or take medication to help deal with it. It can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life, but there are ways to help you deal with it.



The truth is, I want to come to your party and I always did, but I told you I was busy to ease the stress on my behalf. See, if I make plans for social events, days, weeks and months before I will dread it. I will dread it until my eyes are bloodshot from the tears I have cried worrying over it and I will dread it until I cancel on you anyway.

You know what? The self hatred that I feel after cancelling plans or avoiding making them completely is just off the scale. Hating every inch of your being and picking fault with every part of yourself because you have made yourself feel so low for not even being able to complete the normal things any other person would. All I want is to be normal, to do normal things, to go out and meet my friends, go out for a meal with my girlfriend without freaking out and so much more.

Oh and the jealousy. People call me lazy, rude, boring, but I am not any of those. They think I have put this on myself, that I want to be this way, that I like being this way- that is definitely not the case, I hate being like this. I am so incredibly jealous of people who do not have to battle this every second of every day. I am jealous of people who are at work. I am jealous of people who are off travelling the world, seeing new places and experiencing new things. I am jealous of people living a normal life.

I have a phone, just like the rest of my generation do. But I avoid at all costs, the original purpose of the mobile phone: phone calls. My phone is permanently on do not disturb incase someone calls me unexpectedly. You have to make an appointment to call me, at least 6 months prior to the call so that gives me at least 5 months and 29 days to make up an excuse to cancel on you. If you call me unexpectedly, you can guarantee I will sit there, ignoring the call, watching it ring. I cant ring the doctors, I cant ring my friends, I cant ring anyone.

And school? School was a nightmare- one that makes you shake in your sleep. Teachers are ignorant to mental health issues minus maybe, 1? A lovely one that would swim across a shark infested ocean for any student. Social anxiety is beyond being shy, way beyond, like 92636841 times around the earth, back again and a few back flips in the air, beyond. Most teachers dont even accept that social anxiety exists and dismiss it as shyness, it is not. I cant even tell you how many tears I have shed over presentations: standing up infront of the class talking about a load of stuff I couldnt care less about, knowing I was going to mess up my words at some point because my brain was in 700 different places at once, feeling 100's of different emotions and sweating like I had run a half marathon, or even to my room. You know what angered me the most about teachers at school? They always pick on the students who dont raise their hands. Even though we're quiet, we are listening! Not all of us are extroverts, we dont like to hear our own voices. I dreaded going to all of my lessons incase the teacher asked me a question, when under pressure my brain cannot think.

I overthink everything. I still cry over embarrassing things that I said or did years ago. Something I did in year 8 still replays on my mind at  least once a month. If I say something wrong I think about it for weeks upon end without fail. If I trip up, even the slightest bit, I die of embarrassment inside and I pick myself apart for it and other things, even if other people most likely didnt even realise. It is invisible torture.

What is visible is the major sweating, red cheeks, heavy breathing, constant leg shaking which goes hand in hand with the tummy ache, headaches and sick feeling. Social anxiety may be a mental illness but it has physical symptoms. It is valid. It is just as important as a physical illness. It can be terrifying and debilitating and it mostly always is. It does not make you any less of a person and this is something that I need to learn!