It’s something I’ve mentioned on this blog before,but it was never official until recently. There is no easier way to say this; I am suffering from social anxiety disorder.
I was diagnosed back on Mar. 17. I admit that I have been going through this for a very long time. How long? I would say over a decade. It’s nothing new for me, but the last couple months have made matters for me a lot worse. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as lonely as I do now.
It’s gotten to the point for me where I can’t even pick up the telephone and call somebody to see if they’re interested in doing something with me. I am very afraid that they’ll decline, won’t pick up the phone, or they do make plans and then cancel on me at the last second (it’s happened before). It has come to a point that I pretty much only consider going somewhere if I am invited, that way I have some reassurance and piece of mind that I am welcome somewhere. There have been times,however, where I have to decline because I feel like once I’m there I will have nothing to talk about or am afraid to meet new people.
Case in point: my office’s Christmas party this past December. There were so many people I didn’t know there and it felt like everyone else who was there had known one another for years and years. I didn’t know what to say or who to talk to and it was suffocating me. I felt like I had no business being there. Everyone else has such a great life with things going on and something to talk about and I really didn’t. I was embarrassed.
To understand what one goes through with this, you have to have been through it yourself or are going through it currently . I honestly don’t think a majority of the people who know me know exactly how I feel. I don’t think they know they fear of speaking to someone because you’re unsure if they want to or are unsure of what to say or talk about with them. I don’t think they know the pain of not asking a lady out on a date because she may turn you down or because you don’t think you have anything to offer her. I don’t know that they know what it’s like to feel alone amongst others. I don’t know if they’ve ever felt the same jealousies as me where it feels like others seem to have the things that you want but you feel you’ll never have because of the hump that you can’t get over. It makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you and makes you feel like you’re the problem. I honestly don’t know why people don’t want to hang out with me. I wish I did.
There is a difference between me and many others who do suffer from this, I got help. Not everyone who goes through this even seeks help and it’s a statistic I didn’t want to be a part of anymore. I felt that it was time that someone close to me cared about my own well-being,and that person is me. I started seeing a therapist in March and am thankful I have. Through her I went to an advanced anxiety class that helped with what I was going through. I have also gone on an SSRI to help with increasing my serotonin levels and I also have a couple of books about social anxiety that I am reading in the hopes that those resources can help in aiding me through a condition I have been suffering since my early 20s.
In our first session, my therapist asked me how I thought I would know if this was all over and behind me and I stated simply “I wake up one morning next to the love of my life and smile.”
I honestly don’t know when I am going to get better. It could be tomorrow, it could be months from now. But if I was betting on myself here, it is going to take a year or more. Changing yourself doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a long process and a journey. However, I am 32 years old and am not getting much younger.
If I am going to change, the time is now. What I do know is that despite everything, I am still a very friendly person who does have a lot to offer. I just want other people to see that.
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