As some may know I’m not exactly the most open person in the class, let alone universe and struggle to find friends or keep friendships going because of my life with social anxiety.
Why is this? I hear you ask.
When looking back I have realized that this has happened even from my early days at primary school when my friends left for other schools that created subconscious trust issues and a hesitation to make friends. From here, my self esteem lowered and so I often became close with those who were teased more than others for various reasons until I finally only had the one friend, my ex.
This was not a happy or healthy relationships belieeeve me and resulted in me being alone and not trusting anyone at all.
Despite now being in a happier, alot healthier decent relationship I still take refuge every now and again in not talking to anyone and just sitting at the back of the class. This is not personal to anyone in class, I just enjoy my own space.This is because I sometimes feel claustrophobic when in a large social situation that can result in triggering, so I often keep my phone with me as a comfort and not an act of rudeness because it stops me picking at my nails (slaps wrist.)
Do you ever feel like that? That the world is against you and everyone is caving in, ‘choking you’ per say? That is how I feel when I get anxious, a tight throat. A hand around my throat stopping me from speaking or being myself so I have to put up an act.
The place I personally find I put on an act most is the workplace. This maybe common with people of my age group (13-19 years) as we are told to get part time jobs to experience the ‘real world’ and earn our own money. This is often a job we need than want which drains our passion of life for those temporary 4-8 hours of the day serving customers and ‘earning a living.’ I put on a brave face during this time and focus on great customer service and trying to up sales the best way possible to keep my mind off of it despite some customers looking down on me and thinking it is because I couldn’t get good grades at school that I am there, a common stereotype of those in retail. Wrong! I am on an English degree working my butt off, the weekends just happen to be my only free time to earn the money for my meals.
In order to overcome this, I tell my bosses at work my mental health issue straight out. No it doesn’t effect my customer service but it effects me mentally so will need the odd ‘time out’ when stressed. I share posts on Facebook and write simple statuses just claiming that I’ve had a bad day, this gains me unwanted attention but at least it has raised the issue for strange behavior in the next coming days for those concerned about me. Finally, I talk to a professional. This doesn’t have to be a councillor but someone who will listen within a working environment (uni, college, school etc.) who will listen on a 1 to 1 basis that I personally find less daunting than facing a whole group of over-friendly friends. They are there for a reason, to listen.
For those of you who feel this post is relatable (and age 11-18) check out Childline’s website below for someone to talk to if you do not feel you have this support accessible in your environment (I know I didn’t in secondary school.)
If you are 18 plus, I’d recommend just talking to your GP. This does sound embarrassing believe me but think about what you can achieve by talking about it. It may even mean that you need to be put on medication for it that can be helpful in the short run.
Have you ever felt like you’ve had to perform to someone because of anxiety or depression? What did you say or do? How did they react to your efforts?
signing off and out,