Lately, I have seen so many people talking about anxiety in causal terms, they use it to describe being awkward or uncomfortable sometimes. This bothers me because anxiety is something that many people deal with daily and it so much more than getting nervous every once in a while.
When I decided to move to London I knew making friends would be the hardest part of my experience. I have a hard time branching out and meeting people, I also have diagnosed social anxiety. I feel paralyzed when I am in social situations on my own and I have to remove myself immediately or I burst into tears. I’m scared that this is keeping me from exploring and finding new things while I’m here. Some days I don’t leave the house because all I can think about are the different ways that I could end up in an uncomfortable situation.
Often times when I do meet people that I feel like I connect with I end up losing contact with them as well. I feel like I’m annoying them when I reach out to people and way more humiliated than I should if the person is busy.
When I confide in someone about this I often feel like they don’t take me seriously and it’s disheartening. I went to an event last weekend and after 10 minutes I had to go. I spent the entire train ride home humiliated and trying to answer that question I get so often of “Why did you just stay and find someone to talk to?” I don’t have an answer to that question. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to be social and I hate it. I want to go out and meet new people without needing the crutch of my phone or another person.
I try to find small ways to handle my anxiety like makings lists, they bring me back to reality and give me a tangible sense of what I need to do. I also try to plan at least one outing that might make me uncomfortable, sometimes it’s just going to the grocery store. I do think I am making some progress though, a year ago there’s no way I would have went to a party by myself. So although I didn’t stay long the act of even being there at all was a big deal. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll have the strength to walk up and introduce myself to someone!