Social Anxiety

img_5453Fear seems to prevent me from doing a lot of things.  When I was younger, I thrived on the thrill of danger and in being in precarious situations. At twenty-couple years old, I and my sister would go alone to a large and dangerous city and attend concerts that were much too hardcore for our young selves.  We would be on the fringe or inside of the mosh pit, sometimes even crowd surfing (not me, she would though).  Even younger than that, I was obsessed with finding the highest, fastest, scariest roller coaster rides and going on them as often as possible.  I’ve always wanted to bungee jump or skydive (my sister has gone and done both I think).  Now, I can’t even seem to be in the same room as more than five or six people without being immensely uncomfortable and counting down the minutes until I can leave.

Take today for example.  It is thanksgiving, and I used to LOVE thanksgiving.  Nobody really likes to spend a lot of time with all of the awkward conversations with family you haven’t seen in forever, but since I was very close to all of my family, I loved it.  Now however, my thanksgiving family consists of family friends of over 18 years.  I know these people very well and adore them as well.  And yet, I spent the entire night down in the basement, away from these people I care about.  Is this anxiety or just the fact I don’t feel like working in order to talk to people?  Do I just not want to TRY and converse with others, since I’m awkward and never know what to do or say?  Is it because I am not great at small talk?  Why can’t I just suck it up for 4 hours and enjoy being upstairs around a group of people I’ve known most of my life?

It’s extremely frustrating to be torn in two like this.  I want to WANT to be around people.  Once upon a time, I used to be a social butterfly and loved people and activities and events.  Now I’m terrified of them.  I don’t know what to say or how to act and can’t seem to figure out what would make me look “normal” as most of these people don’t yet know my diagnosis (that I know of anyway).  Even as I’m almost feeling guilty that I hid downstairs, I did get to spend time with my cousin and his sister that I adore.  I suppose that makes my fear and turmoil worth it, because I know they are even more uncomfortable than I am.  If I can get out of being around a billion people to be with them, I’ll call that a win.

I hope everyone enjoyed their thanksgiving and was able to find at least one thing to be thankful for.  Today I was grateful that I have family that is understanding enough to let me hide away with my cousin and be myself.  I don’t have to worry about being forced to attend and interact with everyone; it’s okay to be who you are here.  As that is not something that a lot of people are fortunate to have, I’m extraordinarily grateful that I do have it.

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