Monday, February 25, 2013

My Crippling Social Anxiety is a Great Conversation Starter...

I've mentioned a time or two before that I have what I like to call Phone Phobia.  It's mostly just my ha ha funny way of dealing with the fact that I have social anxiety.  I'm quite sure that I've always had it, as a kid it was just that I was shy and would rather read a book than talk to someone.  In all reality I was terrified to have a random conversation with someone that I either didn't know or someone that I did know but that I'd have to make small talk with.  I still distinctly remember an instance when I was around the age of 4 or 5 when I was in an ice cream shop with my family and I thought my Mother was standing right next to me so I tugged on her arm to point to a flavor and I looked up and it was a (likely) sweet little old lady who said something like "oh dear, your Mother is right there".  I still remember feeling like I wanted to hide in a hole and die from embarrassment just from speaking to a stranger.  Email and the internet and texting have been wonderful tools to help me get by instances when I would otherwise choose not to engage with someone.  I can write an email or letter like no body's business (just ask any of a wide range of people from either of the kids' schools ;) )  My comfort level with various social events has no rhyme or reason.  I might be looking forward to something for months and then the day comes and the anticipation ramps up to an epic level that ends with me missing that event and hibernating in bed instead.  It's hard to explain and it's hard to admit and it's often a pain in the ass.  Mostly it's just some wacky bit of brain chemicals that aren't quite right.

I had a rough week last week.  I'm not sure if the chemicals in my body were off, if it was the seemingly minor stressful situation at work that had me on edge, or if the stars were aligned just enough to make me way crazier than usual (I can say that ;) ).  I felt out of sorts and exhausted and crabby and sad and like if I could just climb in bed and pull the blankets over my head and stay there forever I'd be content.  If you were my husband, you'd want to fix it and not know how.  If you were my kid you'd probably wonder why Mom would rather play games from her hibernation hole than downstairs like a normal person.  If you were part of my Bunco group, you'd notice that I didn't show up, backing out at the last minute.

By Thursday I was exhausted from feeling so anxious and I fell asleep around 6pm thinking I'd just doze for a few minutes while Matt took the kids to do their things.  I didn't wake up again for 17 hours (Friday is my day off to "get things done").  I didn't just doze in and out and wake and go back to sleep, I was unconscious.  My brain and body were exhausted.  The remainder of the weekend was slightly better and I kept things light and related to soccer, things I could handle.

I have a therapist and joke that I'm crazy but really I have social anxiety and lots of other people have it too.  It's painful and shameful and uncomfortable.  There isn't an easy answer or an easy fix.  If you're my friend or family member, just go with the flow.  I might be perfectly comfortable with something one time and not willing to deal with it another. You never can tell.  If I'm there, I'm probably fine.  If I'm not, it just isn't going to happen and we'll all move on.

I can't pick just one:

Mine actually does say this!
Oh and no need to worry about me.  I find that putting stuff out there makes other people feel less alone and eventually helps you too.  The more I share, the more people I find that are just like me (scary isn't it?).



(p.s. How does Blogger not recognize texting as a verb yet?)


  1. (hug)

    Thank god for the internet, right? At least we can still connect with people... but safe from our hole!

  2. Amanda, you write beautifully. So on the days that you feel that's all you can handle -- you're still way ahead of the game!

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  4. And all along I thought those times you did answer the phone I was fortunate just because I could steal your time. I will still love every moment you talk, now even more..

  5. OMFG, that third ecard belongs on my wall - or maybe can we invent video voicemail so I can just hold it up and stand awkwardly in the silence?


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