About Social Anxiety

It’s easier to write a post about fashion or skincare, because there’s a lightness to it, a freedom almost. Whereas talking about something so personal, something I find hard to speak about even with friends, something I feel I don’t understand myself, gives me great pause. It makes me want to erase the title, and write about anything else, like winter skincare products or something. I think for the longest time I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind. And every time it comes up in conversation with friends or family, I fumble a bit, not knowing exactly what to say. I find myself trying to explain something I don’t fully understand, choosing my words carefully and swallowing them at the same time, because well, I don’t want to have it.

I don’t want to feel it.

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I don’t want the pacing around until my feet sticks to the floor, I don’t want the sweaty palms and fiddling around with hands, the nail-biting as though I’m just killing the time. And I most certainly do not want the conversation, the one I have with myself around the set arrangement – The Plan. A date with people who you enjoy to spend time with but can’t explain why you don’t want to spend the time with them, why you can’t go to that particular cafe at that specific hour, or just and entire area in general, an uneasiness about places & crowds, that make you shake inside. There’s something that’s not right with The Plan, there’s something in it or even all of it, that is without your control.

And that’s when the guilt sets in. When you call to cancel, knowing you would never go in the first place, knowing you’d never be able to leave the house, but trying to trick yourself into being social – yeah sure perfect sounds great. But shortly after the details run words through your mind and it’s too much for you. Meeting up with new friends is too much for you. Going to a cafe is too much for you. Leaving the house is too much for you. And you let people down. People who you care about. And the ones who care about you, the ones who speak only good things about you, who in their kindness persist on sending you invitations anyway, hoping you could make but one.

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Photography by Jeff Simone

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I’m not sure if it gets easier. But people do understand it, even if you don’t. And people will accommodate your needs if you’re able to express them. And they’d even be happy to work around the places which make you comfortable. Because that is how friendships work. And you feel an insane amount of guilt for what feels like a set of T&Cs which you put forth, and it stays with you, lingering at the back of your mind, bringing you down for feelings you can’t control. And they make you realise if anything, that you do have an amazing group of people around you who will love you anyway. Even if you do feel undeserving.

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Special thanks to these ladies, Zahraa and Manel, as well as my favourite guy Jeff Simone and Liv from Livbombs who still hang out with me and help keep me sane!


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