Dear Social Anxiety,
We’ve known each other for quite some time now. There isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t surface. Most of the time you’ll linger around in the background, sometimes throwing shade when I’m feeling low or vulnerable but lately you’ve totally consumed me and I’m kind of fed up with it. You’re like the little devil who sits on my shoulder chipping in with your unwanted opinions but there’s no angel on the other side to compensate.
You make me obsess over every social interaction I have. I dwell on conversations I’ve had or messages I’ve sent. Was that message too long? Am I too intense? Did that come across as rude? They haven’t replied, I’ve done something to annoy them. I’ve talked too much about myself, they’ll think I’m so self-absorbed. I’m not messaging them, I’ll be bothering them. I must be so annoying to talk to. Day in, day out, you implant these notions in my head.
You make me afraid to initiate conversation with anyone on any platform because you don’t deem me as someone worthy to have a conversation with. You (as well as your friend we call depression) have implanted this notion in my head that people only talk to me or hang out with me out of pity, that people don’t like me and dread talking to me. You like to taunt me when people don’t reply to messages; you make me believe I’ve said something to offend them or annoyed them when really, the most likely case is that they’re actually busy, y’know, with their own life. You make me analyse all of the conversations I have with people, making me read them over and over; making sure I haven’t embarrassed myself but also trying to interpret the received messages (and most of the time, you get the interpretation wrong).
You’ve made me write this blog post three times now because “people will think it’s too long”. You’ve made me read over it about five times to make sure I don’t sound stupid or made any silly mistakes. You make me reluctant to share my thoughts and opinions on things in case it starts a debate or comes across as confrontational. You make me afraid to strike up new friendships with people in case I humiliate myself, make others think I’m weird or come across as too forward.
You tell me I have to find my worth and value in what others think of me when really all that should matter is how I feel within myself and whether I’m happy with that person. All that should matter is whether I treat others like I want to be treated (which I try my best to do).
You’re a difficult one to turn off. You’re like one of those annoying joke candles that continues to light up no matter how many times you try to blow it out. You didn’t intend to but you’ve helped me to become a better person (amongst the anxious feelings and overthinking) and that’s what I’ll hold on to whilst I try and combat you. Maybe I never will, but you’ll not stop me from trying.
With no love,
(I didn’t write this to get sympathy – I’m big enough and ugly enough to cope with it myself and I’m aware this is quite similar to my other anxiety post, but I needed to get this out of my head and I guess this is my space to do so).