No dinner. It is just me, the few snacks I have over thought and the clock counting down to the book groups arrival. The children have been sent out of the house with the hubby leaving me to fester in the stress. As the time ticks by my anxiety fog gets denser until I am sweating and pacing. My level of fear would suggest I was prepping for a firing squad to arrive instead of the dozen neighborhood women I enjoy discussing books with each month. By the time the door bell arrives, I muddle through the evening knowing the worst part awaits. Interacting with everyone, sharing wine, discussing the The Hunger Games, devouring guacamole, trading stories of motherhood and life in our hood usually leave me feeling happy as the last guest leaves. Then I climb into bed and the negative thought wave kicks in. In the dark, all my actions and words from the evening go under the microscope of my insecurities and distortions. And the firing squad begins.
I have social anxiety. It has only become clear to me in the last couple years as it has gotten more and more crippling and isolating. My desire for solid friendships are hindered by the thoughts and distortions I tell myself, about myself. It prevents me from opening up, showing I care, and trusting others. Anything that is said or happens, my anxiety will twist to harm me. As I laid in bed watching my thoughts attack my pleasant evening, I realize my only way through this attack on myself is to be with each distortion and see it as the enemy instead of myself. I didn't get much sleep.
The next morning I did my walk in a daze of sleeplessness and vulnerability. Pandora sent me "Help I'm Alive" by Metric. My fears perfectly summarized. Sometimes surviving the event is only the beginning of the struggle. As I learn to accept my struggle with social anxiety, I believe it will deliver me to a place of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance, so I am told in my psychology textbook, is the foundation of solid relationships. So, there is hope. Truth be told, I can remember these fears and distortions all the way back to 2nd grade. When you choose to ignore something for so long, it can spin into an ugly monster. So, as me and my monster work through our issues I will clunk through more social events and gatherings so I can offer myself the challenge of working through it.
It's a start, right?
Help I'm Alive by Metric