Imagine a woman in her early 30s without a job, sitting at home all day, not going anywhere during the day unless it’s to the store for milk or cigarettes, just living her life out beat by beat with her heart and not doing anything about it. Imagine this woman would LOVE to go and socialize with the friends she thinks she’s lost for more than an hour or two at a time, but can’t because the crushing anxiety she feels goes above and beyond what she can handle. How she struggles to call friends to ask them to hang out because of her fear of rejection or just a fear that her anxiety will get to her and she’ll have to leave her friend hanging, them asking what is wrong with her. Parties are her biggest fear though because there may be people there she doesn’t know, and the crushing amount of people there might trigger almost a claustrophobic feel.
It wasn’t always me though. I used to have text conversations with my friends, go out every weekend, be the first one at parties and the last to leave. I used to visit friends all the time, go to the diner on Thursday nights with gusto, only leaving when the last remains of us finally thought it was time to go. I used to live somewhere where there was hope and friends, not stuck in the same chair every day wondering what beautiful lives were doing out there. I was ALIVE and not afraid and the world was so open to me. Then came the social anxiety that left me a shell of what I was… the description above.
But good things can come out of this, I think. I’m challenging myself more often to get out there and DO things. There are still roses in my life and they know who they are. I have a loving family that supports me. Sure, I feel rejection when hanging out with those I used to spend entire weekends with, but I know it was my fault for pulling away. I just don’t have the guts to contact them anymore. But like I said, I’m as healthy as I can be with the weight-gaining medications that I’m on, I have a loving family all around, and I have a couple of friends who took the time to be with me even when I was at my lowest. I’m looking up and moving onto brighter futures right now. The last party I went to I actually spent more than 2 hours at, which was a breakthrough for me.
I used to think social anxiety ruined my life, and it did for a time being. Now I’m seeing that I can be whomever I want to be, anxiety be damned.