6/12/2017

on social anxiety

Sometimes living with mental health issues feels like trying to win a losing battle. Not just with your mind but with the majority of people around you. People that think you're faking it or can just click your fingers and be better. People who think, because you're with loved ones you'll be fine, no matter the situation, that you can be somewhere you're supposed to be happy and just be happy. And... no. Just no.

I have Genralised Anxiety but I also suffer from Social Anxiety and here's the thing -- I always thought social anxiety was being shy and introverted but, for me, it's not. Because, yes, I'm an introvert but I also enjoy dancing in public with my child and being an absolute idiot the majority of the time. I rarely care what anybody thinks of me. I don't care if I say the wrong thing to a waiter or if I say "good thanks" totally out of context. None of that stuff has ever bothered me.

 My social anxiety comes from being out of my comfort zone, my home. It doesn't matter where I am or who I'm with. It can come at any time. It's happened at weddings where I'm "supposed" to be happy but have had panic attacks instead. It's happened at B's school events where the crowds of people and noise of children has caused me to shake and collapse into tears in front of hundreds of people. Shopping centers where I'm convinced that I'm about to be murdered. Pregnant at the markets where I fell to the floor entirely convinced that somebody was about to try and cut B. from my stomach. Screaming fits of anxiety because just being around people hurts.

If I could switch it off I would. I can't. I want to but I can't. Being out in public scares me. Being in new places scares me. Being anywhere at anytime scares me. Most of me wants so badly for last years recluse-ness to return because it was lonely, sure, but it was also safe. I didn't go anywhere or do anything. I didn't have panic attacks. I didn't fear death. I didn't feel the walls closing in on me. I didn't feel suffocated in a group of people. That was nice.

I think some people don't get, can't get, won't ever get, that I am not going to subject myself to places where I don't feel safe. So no, I won't go to a club because loud noises and crowds cause panic attacks. I won't go to special occasions of yours if there will be a crowd of people. I can't. And I shouldn't have to subject myself to pain for anyone. I don't do that for my Husband. In fact, the only person I have done it for is Bailey and even with her I know my limits. I do miss school things if I know I can't spend the next few days recovering from the experience. In fact, I miss a lot.

I don't like crowds. I don't like being around people. And you know what? That sucks for me but it's okay because it has to be. I used to care so deeply about how other people felt that I missed their things but I don't care anymore. I don't care if you think I looked unhappy at your celebration or that I missed one. I don't care. I either push through the best I can without making a scene or I send my apologies because I know I can't do it. I know my limits. I know what my head needs. You and your feelings can't come into it. And they never will.

I am not rude. I am quiet. I am not a flake. I just know my limits. I am not selfish. I am just living with mental illness.

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