In Chapter Two, we hear from A, an anonymous poster on how they learned to accept their social anxiety.
How I learned to accept my social anxiety.
(Note: There will be no stats in this post)
Birth. Life. Death.
These are the only cemented elements in life. While it is commonly accepted that you will live, your way of life may be tailor-made for you. Some may become extroverts, fuelled by the energy of others 24 hours a day. Others (like yours truly) may, on the other hand, seek the solace of a book, a piece of timid jazz music or a glass of single-malt whisky.
Since I am not in anyone else’s mind, I must talk about my own ongoing fight with social anxiety. I grew up with a physical deficiency. For 12 years, I was the real-life brother of Quasimodo. My eyes were so big that I couldn’t close them. My nose was so badly shaped that I couldn’t breathe from it and I couldn’t clean it, whenever I had the flu. To say that I wasn’t invited to parties, as a kid, would be an understatement. People want to invite clowns, not freaks.
Having these physical elements can create an emotional and a psychological toll on anyone. In my own situation, they caused a rising social anxiety, the remains of which are felt to this day. Whenever I’m having a conversation with anyone, I rarely keep my eyes glued on them. Some may feel that it would be as if I wasn’t listening to whatever it is they had to say, but it’s not entirely true. It’s all due to my brain’s neurological mechanisms. (I tend to not listen whenever the conversation is about the banalities of life, though. This is between you and I, my dear reader.)
Whenever I’m in a public spot, I immediately seek a way out. I can’t walk in a slow pace and I can’t stand being in a crowded place. I can’t sit being in such a place, either. This is one of the reasons why I adore social media. It allows me to be the person I want to be, within the confines of my own little world.
Social anxiety is a harsh mistress. It is my mistress and I have accepted it, as a part of me.
Mental health can be hugely isolating – stories have always been my safe space since childhood. I want to give that safe space to others and to do that, I need stories. Storytellers is a guest blog series that I will be including in my regular posts. Some posts will be anonymous. Others won’t. Some will be supportive. Others will simply get their story out in the world. I hope you find some comfort in the words of our storytellers.