I am socially inept. Some of you may be thinking well duh, you write about what you’re thinking to the public rather than just keeping it to yourself like a normal person. Hear me out, hear me out. That should probably be normal in this day and age since a lot of people tend to overshare on social media.
I’m talking about how I can’t hold a conversation with someone I’m not close with for more than forty seconds before either one of us starts to get really uncomfortable, well they do, I was already uncomfortable from the start of that interaction. And by uncomfortable I mean my throat is dry, there’s a pit in my stomach, the insides of my arms begin to twitch, you get the general idea.
I have social anxiety. It’s not something I like to bring up a lot, but have. I would tell people, but 1) our society believes mental instability or mental illnesses are taboo and attention-seeking and don’t believe them, and 2) I don’t like the pity attention. A few days ago I had to tell a few of my friends, though. I had been in a situation where someone had asked me to call someone on the phone. This is one of my triggers, and the person who asked me to do it did not take my reaction well and said I had to practice being in that situation more often. Towards the end of the interaction I was in tears.
Social anxiety is not a joke. Nobody ever wants to be cursed with something that takes over and controls your life to such an extent.
As someone who is a huge fan of punkish/ alternative-ish/ ”songs-that-sound-really-scary-but-are-really-just-about-how-we’re-scared-kids” music, I love Green Day, especially the American Idiot album. One of the most well known songs on this album is Boulevard of Broken Dreams which talks about his feelings of loneliness which he feels are killing him from the inside.
People who haven’t experienced mental instability and are trying to help by saying, “I felt like that once, you just need to force yourself to get over it,” I know that you’re trying to help but it’s extremely frustrating because you’re not dealing with it and you have no idea what we’re going through or to what extent it affects us. Everyone has a different trigger and a different response to the trigger.
I wanted to talk about this today, to put it out in the open because I recently read Siddhartha, and in it are a lot of really insightful quotes, one of them being “Their vanities, desires, and trivialities no longer seemed to disturb him; they had become lovable, understandable, and even worthy of respect.”
Basically I saw this as a chance to explain to everyone about how I am affected by social anxiety and how you should generally respond to someone when you find out that they are dealing with social anxiety.
Once you see past these people’s ‘vanities, desires, and trivialities’, they will ‘become lovable, understandable, and even worthy of respect’. What may seem like nothing to you could mean a world of difference to them. It makes us feel less alone and not feel guilty. I know that if I ask for someone else to pick up the phone or call someone on the phone it makes me so relieved if they ask no questions.
Never question someone’s ability or work ethic by judging their mental health or press them into talking about it. It really is up to them if they want to tell you about it or not. When they do, just accept it and don’t try to minimize what they’re going through. Ask if and how you can help and then help them to the best of your ability. This isn’t out of pity. This is how to prevent ignorance, and to accept that not everyone has perfectly stable synapses.
That’s all that I have for you this week. Until next time eat well, sleep early, work hard, and follow me on twitter: twitter.com/learningwkaity
If you are one of the people going through these situations, I leave you with a song that many have used to cope, myself included.
A/N: I totally lied in the title of this post, didn’t I? I wrote a ton. I mean I still wrote about the punk music but still. It’s okay though. It’s all completely heartfelt because it was written later in the night. Did you know that the longer you’re awake, the more truthful you are about the way that you feel?