I have always hated writing about my anxiety, simply because unlike other emotions, such as heartbreak or elation, this doesn’t fix anything. It is the hardest topic for me to write about, and I don’t feel like I do it well. I am basically journaling my situation to help you better understand whatever it is I’m trying to convey.
The college experience entails endless house parties, wild tailgating, and never-ending loud, crowded events. Being social helps to not only find friends, but network for future jobs and opportunities. Great! Except, not really. I am not a social bug, and there is no way I can force myself to be one. Even if I was thrown into a Greek house, late on a Friday night, I would feel too uncomfortable. Everyone would smell the fear. There would be no point in me attempting to go out, because I already know how nervous I get, and I would retreat back home.
The idea of me shaking, and awkwardly trying to maintain a conversation with some kid just because we have the same major is a horrible thought. Trying to look cool and calm while having heart palpitations is an incredible feat, and unfortunately, I haven’t mastered that yet. I stay in, because I don’t know how to socially be okay going out.
I used to go out when I was home, and surrounded by people who I trust. I get nervous at the idea of being alone, especially in crowds if I have no one with me. I don’t have any friends up here, yet, that I entirely trust. None of these people make me feel secure, or comfortable enough to go out.
I was invited to a cinema party tonight, and I would love to be there. I would love to meet some more people who are in my field, and I would love to get my name out there, and let them know I would act for them. I would love nothing more than to get over my own fears and have a good time, but I know that it won’t work. The last time I attempted to go out, I had a major panic attack in the car on the way to the house.
My social anxiety has impacted me in the worst ways. Making connections is incredibly difficult. What is equally difficult, is having not many people understand the situation. I constantly hear, “It won’t be that bad,” or, “You just have to get out of your shell!” And, my personal favorite, “You just need to talk more, and you will be comfortable!” The connections I’ve made have been solely through showing my talent. The fact that they acknowledge my abilities is flattering, however, being able to go to screening events and shake hands and discuss film theories and ideas with other people, instead of worrying about stuttering or pronouncing a word wrong, or being terrified of not being coherent, would be so nice.
Let me know if you suffer with social anxiety, and how your day-to-day life is impacted. Is there anything that helps you put yourself out there? What are your tips? Advice? Stories?