Has anyone else ever watched that programme Snapped: She Made Me Do It? At some point during the show you realise you are sat there waiting for a legitimate reason this guy killed on behalf of a woman, even though you know in your heart really he just killed because he loved her and she asked him to… Every damn time I watch that show, I know that really, she didn’t make him do anything. He was a fool in love and made the mistake all by himself.
Well I have a brutal mistress that makes me do things I don’t want to. But unlike those lovesick guys I actually am made to do them… I’d like to point out rather hastily I am not talking about murder anymore, I have not ever killed anyone, nor do I intend to at any point in the future but man slaughters a bi**h ain’t it? (I’m pretty sure my humour is getting darker these days…)
Right so back on track, my brutal mistress is called Social Anxiety (it’s a beautiful name isn’t it?). I get really nervous in social situations and it’s worsened by the added anxiety that comes with my depression. I desperately want people to go away thinking what a wonderful, talented and intelligent person I am… which makes me nervous and act weird so they inevitably do not think any of those things at all.
Social Anxiety causes me to make decisions and do things that I pretty much instantly regret. In a bid to people please I agree to a lot of things I don’t want to.
Last night a colleague of mine, that I am vaguely acquainted with turned to me, after a sitting near me silently for 20 minutes (silently because I like to avoid socialising with my colleagues). And she said ‘S, we exchange numbers yeah?’ I looked at her with puzzlement because when I call her a vague acquaintance, I’m not just being rude. A few nights a week we sit within 5 metres of each other for 20 minutes and rarely talk, I’m not sure of her name, I don’t know what department she works in and I have never asked her a single question never mind a personal one. But undeterred by my puzzlement she continued ‘phone numbers yeah?’
Now the sensible (if a little rude) response for me to go with would have been ‘I’m sorry but even though you gave me a Christmas card, I’m not even really sure what your name is… I don’t feel comfortable giving you my number.’ And that’s what I wanted to say, I had the response lined up and ready to come out but instead that bi**h social anxiety takes over and says ‘uh… yeah, sure.’ So now a virtual stranger has my number and I have no clue what she intends to do with it. I certainly hope it’s not contact me…
This is not the first time I have agreed to things I don’t want to. Oh no. As long as someone traps me in a face to face conversation I will pretty much agree to whatever they ask of me. So the question is, am I going to end up on Snapped: She Made Me Do It? I am genuinely concerned that should someone trap me in a face to face conversation and ask me to help them kill someone, social anxiety is going to take over and I’ll just say ‘uh… yeah, sure.’
I’m mostly joking of course but the social anxiety struggle is real guys. And it’s not just the things it makes you do, it also makes you avoid things that you’re pretty sure you’d actually enjoy if you could just get your anxiety to shut up for long enough.
My university offered a full term at a university in America, but did I take it? Nope. The thought of heading to another continent, a full ocean between me and Europe, so far away from the comfort of home, meeting all new people and having to do all that socialising terrified me. Even though I knew that Americans are generally excited just to hear a foreign accent, social anxiety convinced me it would be the worst experience of my life and it would be far smarter to avoid the whole thing. I’m also terrified of sending my book to an actual publisher not just for the usual fear of rejection, I’m worried about what happens if they don’t reject me. They might want to meet me, they’d ask me all these questions that I would answer wrong. They might convince me to change parts of my book I don’t want to, but because I was trapped in a face to face conversation I’d just say ‘uh… yeah, sure.’
Ugh… social anxiety. Am I right?
The good news for me is when this post publishes I should be well on my way home. I will be social anxiety free for a few days. Yay.
I’m heading home for my mother’s birthday. Because if there’s one thing I learned from all those fairytale posts, it’s that I should be thankful my mum has never tried to kill me…