Last week marked one year since I was formally diagnosed with social anxiety and generalized anxiety. It was a diagnosis that I knew was coming and honestly was overdue for years,possibly even decades.
So I thought I’d answer some questions about how I am doing that people have asked informally over the time since I got diagnosed.
How am I doing? How do I think I’m doing?
I’m doing good. I think I’ve come quite far since my diagnosis. There are times that are and have been proven to be challenging,sometimes to the point where I feel like I’ve regressed even though I know it’s far from the truth. I do think I am getting better and hope to make a lot more progress in the time to come.
How are my relationships with friends and family members? Have they improved? Have they worsened?
I think being diagnosed with social anxiety has given me a chance to strengthen friendships with people that truly do care about me and treasure my friendship with them. One thing I’ve realized is that people who care about you and make an effort with you are the people who are worthy of being a close friend to you. Trying too hard with people who make next to no effort with you will leave you in as bad or even worse shape mentally than you were before. We all want to be loved,but people who don’t love you back don’t deserve to be in your life because you feel otherwise.
As far as my family,they’ve been absolutely supportive of me since my diagnosis. They just want me to be happy as much as I want that. I was a little afraid of how my dad would feel about me being on an SSRI, but he didn’t have much of a response or really cared one way or another, I’m sure he just wanted me to get better in any way that I could.
What do I think has improved? What could I work on?
I think I have improved my communication with friends and family and vice versa. It used to be that I would get impatient when hoping to hear from someone and that impatience shows every now and then, but I think overall communication with me has improved greatly. I don’t hang out or talk to them every day,but I think the times we are able to get together are without a doubt some of my favorite times.
I think what needs to improve are my social skills around strangers. It’s easy being around the people you already know,but with others you haven’t gotten to know yet can be difficult for folks like me. I know that when I am at a gathering and there’s maybe only a few people I know that are there (and in some cases only a few people I really want to talk to) that I’m not going to feel very comfortable. It’s kind of like on the show “Friends” where anytime the main characters are at a party,the only people they ever talked to were themselves. That’s me!
What are some things you’ve realized about yourself that you hadn’t previously?
I have realized that there are some things I won’t put with now that I’m older that maybe I did previously.
I hate it when people are cursing in front of small children. I tolerated it when I was younger,but now that I’m 33 and am hoping one day to have children of my own, I don’t necessarily care for it. I understand that these kids will one day hear and probably use these words themselves,but in their beginning years is not one of those times. Another thing is drunk people, it’s becoming harder and harder for me as a teetoalist to be around people who are totally wasted. Why? Because they’re not on my level. Also,if you’re “White girl wasted” and you’re 30, it’s probably time to find a different set of priorities and it’s also a safe bet that we won’t be hanging out very much under any circumstances whatsoever.
I don’t mind being around people who have a drink or two (and I do regularly),but when you’re sloshed and making zero sense whatsoever, I’m not having it. I’m too old to put up with shit like that.
Last year I got my first massage and have been back many times since. I feel like it’s a big time stress reliever,especially with the job that I have now,and having a nice massage after work really is the best medicine.
I also did cuddle therapy a couple times. I saw it on the news and thought it might be a good thing to try. It very much was. When you’re suffering from anxiety,you often run from the things you shouldn’t be afraid of, like being close to people. Trying this has brought back my desire to be in a relationship someday. I don’t know if it will happen anytime soon,but I feel like I’ve never been closer for it to happen.
What situation makes me the least bit socially anxious?
That’s easy, being at Disneyland. When we went last year, I wasn’t afraid of anything. I went on every ride and talked with people in line about where they were from, why they were there,and it was wonderful. It’s really is a happy place and I can’t wait to go back in two weeks!
OK wait, you have a job where you work with the public,and you’re socially anxious. How the hell do you do it?
I get this question a lot whenever my condition is brought up.
Well,I’ve worked with the public almost all of my adult life,so for starters that’s one way I do it. I’ve already been doing it. Also, at my job,I’m in a cubicle all day and there’s a barrier between me and the other person,so it’s natural for me to feel comfortable doing my job the best way I know how. If I wasn’t behind a desk, I don’t think my job would be as easy.
So overall,I’m getting better everyday and with time am becoming the person I want to be. I think in some ways, we’re all doing that.