I want to give you all an idea of what it is like to live with my head full of social anxiety. The following thought patterns are NOT just for big social occasions (birthdays weddings etc) but almost any occasion that involves a group of 2 or more people. This will give you an idea of what it is like and why I find it so difficult to come out sometimes. I’ve actually always struggled with all these thoughts but now they are magnified even more.
OK…… So you get the invitation, “we are planning to [insert appropriate], let us know if you / who can come”
Then the thoughts start flying into my head thick and fast…
‘I dont know if I can do it?’
‘Do I have to go?’
‘I’m sure I must be doing something else’
‘Can I get out of it again’
‘What can I say’
‘Will they even really miss me?’
‘They’ve probably only asked me because they feel they have to’
. . .
. . .
. . .
NO EMMA YOU HAVE TO GO!
Replies: “yes of course I’d love to come, count me in”
Then from that moment until the event (no matter how big or small) the thoughts really start spiraling. . . .
‘shit what have I got into?’
‘do I really have to go?’
‘can I get out of it?’
‘how do I get there?’
‘how long will it take for me to get there?’
'what time do i need to leave home?
‘how do I get home?’
‘who else is going?’
‘what should I wear?’ ‘what will everyone be wearing?’
And the list goes on and on. . . .
On the way to wherever I am going the following thoughts continue faster and faster. . . .
‘ I hope I am not late, but I also hope I am not the first’
‘ I look fat…'
'I should have worn something else’
‘what will I talk about?’
‘what if I run out of things to say?’
‘what if no-one talks to me?’
‘what if. . . ?'
‘what if. . . . . .?’
‘what if. . . . . . . . .? '
Exhausted yet?? I am and I’ve not even got there yet!!!
Once I am there the thoughts don’t stop. They carry on fast and furious about every last little thing. Even if I am having a good time those thoughts are always running round the back of my head.
For big occasions multiply these thoughts by 1000 and you are somewhat close.
I know some people will say that they have some of these thoughts too and aren't they normal? Well yes, it is normal to have a few of these but not at the constant speed they race around my head and difference with social anxiety are these thoughts disrupt my life and they actually stop me from going somewhere and doing something even if I really really really do want to.
SO if I don’t turn up to something that is because all these thoughts have taken over and I am exhausted before I even leave the house.