Sunday, December 16, 2012

First Impressions When You Have Social Anxiety

First impressions.  I'm horrible at them.  I've never really been secretive of the fact that I'm incredibly shy. (How can I be when I can't talk to people?)  But I don't think people who only know me over the Internet really understand what I'm like when I meet people face to face.  It's easier to be confident over the Internet.  I have the ability to edit this post as much as I want before I post it.  You don't have that ability in real life.  And it terrifies me.

I'm not even sure what it is.  In theory I could care less about what people think about me.  I don't hide the fact that I'm into nerdy things or worry about being judged for what I like.  But whenever I'm stuck in a social situation I suddenly fumble over my words, drop things, basically do anything possible to make the situation awkward.  I don't need to be officially diagnosed to tell you that I have social anxiety, so I guess I could excuse the whole thing because of that.  After all, disorders aren't necessarily rational.  My phobia of blood most certainly isn't.

Still, it tends to make life difficult, and I can't help but wish it would just go away.  I tend to adapt to social situations, and I'm able to get used to things after a while.  That leads to me feeling comfortable, and for a while I won't have many problems.  Then just out of the blue something happens that forces me out of my comfort zone socially, and it can screw with my anxiety for weeks.  And it's not rational at all, which means no one around me really understands, and that just leads to more problems.

When I did Hoosier Girl's State a year and a half ago, my roommate told me at the end that she'd thought I hated her when we first met.  She said that she eventually realized it was just shyness, and we became friends.  Still, the fact that she'd actually thought that bothered me a lot.  I don't like thinking that I make people think that.  I don't mean to come across as rude or mean or anything like that.  It's just that when I meet new people my body and brain tend to enter panic mood.  I have no idea how to handle it, which doesn't make sense considering I've probably met new people just as much as the last person.  My brain doesn't seem to realize that.  It basically shuts down, and I'm forced to try and operate without it.  This tends to lead to me doing things that seem awkward, weird, or outright rude to other people.  Often times I can't even force words out of my mouth.

Since most people can't possibly see what's going on in my head, they can't possibly understand that I'm basically unable to function because of the situation I've been thrust into.  Then, my brain realizes that it's not doing it's job, and that's when I tend to really start to panic.  No one ever realizes though because this is all happening in my head.  The only outward signs are my complete lack of social skills.  People don't know how much I'm panicking inside.

There's really no point to this post.  I don't have a solution to my problem.  Maybe I should go to a psychologist (believe me, I've thought about it).  Maybe I should just live with it like I have been.  The main reason I wrote this though wasn't because I'm trying to figure out how to solve this.  Honestly, what I wish most is that people would just understand.  I'm tired of people thinking I'm rude or that I just don't want to talk to them.  That's not true.  Almost every single time I do want to talk to the person.  I just can't.  My brain's not forming words, and I usually have trouble forcing anything out of my mouth.  I just wish people could understand that because no one ever seems to...

And there's my somewhat disjointed and depressing thoughts of the day that probably make no sense.  I don't even know what else to say.

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