Saturday, November 10, 2018

I Have Social Anxiety

"Tormented" Photo by Distorted Views Photography

I have social anxiety.  Just having to stop for gas gives me a feeling of dread.  When I force myself to participate in any sort of social gathering I'll constantly stumble over my words, words that hardly make sense to anyone else.  I have little to no conversation skills.  Talking scares me.  I get a knot in my throat, a crushing pressure in my chest.  I'm afraid of what I'll say and how it will be taken.  It's exhausting, the amount of worry, shame, and constant hits to my self-esteem.  I'll hide in my phone.  People probably think I'm a snob.  I'm sorry for that.  It's just easier than feeling stupid.  Even once I've made it home and am "safe", every word I spoke, every strange look I received, every real or imagined reaction I perceived will run through my mind over and over again.  I'll go to bed thinking about it for hours, twisting and turning and sometimes crying myself to sleep.  I'll wake up the next morning tired and irritable.  Which in turn will create those not so good mommy moments that I will regret and hate myself for.  I shouldn't have yelled.  I should have been more patient.  Am I a bad mother?  Is my social anxiety causing issues with my children's social development?  Am I failing?  

It's about then that the depression sets back in.  And the depression creates an entirely different devil, (one that would require its own post).  I withdraw from society because of this.  It's just too much.  It's more than just being more comfortable at home.  It's better for my sanity.

I do better when I'm with my husband.  I don't feel as awkward walking into a room full of strangers.  Sometimes it feels like he's my only real friend.  And I don't mean to say I don't have friends, I do, and they are good, caring friends.  The way I feel with them is through no fault of their own.  But he is the only one that I feel I can be 100% myself with.  I'm not standing alone against the rest of the world when I'm with him.  I never feel embarrassed or judged with him.  But it's created a kind of codependency that I'm not proud of.  

I need to learn how to function in society without him walking me through it.  I just don't know how.  I don't know where to begin.  I've heard the old adage, "The more you do it, the easier it'll get."  But it seems that the more I do it, the worse I get.

How about you?  Do you suffer from social anxiety?  How do you handle it?

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