The day I knew I had social anxiety disorder was the day I realized I was becoming an alcoholic. In the beginning I thought I was just drinking to get over bad days and situations but then I realized I change when I’m drunk.
I’m funnier. I’m full of more life. I’m Stefan Urkel but I’m not on a shitty sitcom nor do I transform in a glorified porter potty. People wanted to be around me when I’m drunk. I could talk to any woman effortlessly. Here’s the sad part though. I loved myself more when I was drunk. I could talk so freely. I was quicker in response to things. Judgement didn’t bother me. Whenever I left the house alcohol had to be involved. When I entered parties, events, functions already drunk I probably talked to everybody in attendance twice. I’m a Social God when I’m drunk.
When I go to festivals I HAD to have liquor. That many fucking people I figured there was no fucking way I could attend one without liquor. Alcohol would give me way more patience to deal with all those talkative people than me being sober because I’m a happy drunk not a angry one.
It wasn’t the alcohol though. It was that I feared my social anxiety so much that I would fuck up my body binge drinking everyday just to numb it. Suppress it. It gave me the courage to stand up to it. I was afraid of my anxiety that much. I don’t drink today and I don’t know if I’ll ever have a drink again but when I removed alcohol from the equation my fight against my anxiety has been the hardest shit I’ve ever faced and I can’t lie it’s been kicking my ass for the most part.
I’m sure most you reading this have heard the word anxiety thrown around lately because it’s been used during the “I’m a introvert” trend and people think social anxiety disorder is the same as introversion and it’s not. I’m going to go into more detail about that in the future but Social Anxiety is basically when you’re anxious in social situations. Introversion deals with your tolerance of social gatherings meaning you can be very talkative and outgoing but you place limits on it.
I want you to fuck with me and my anxiety. Meaning, those who don’t deal with this I want you to understand it better. If you go through it like I do then I wrote this so you know you have someone out there that relates to you. I’ll give you some scenarios on how it affects me.
Okay I told you on alcohol I would talk to EVERYBODY in the function. When I’m sober I am the complete opposite of that. Before I even step into the function I have in my head to keep conversation minimal unless it’s with people I know or there’s a potential plug for an opportunity. The reason is because I feel I’m going to humiliate myself somehow so I’ll lower my chances if I say less.
I’ll come in and find a space by myself and I’ll chill until someone approaches me. I don’t even approach people I know. Now that I’m writing this and reading it as I write it. I see that it’s the dumbest shit ever and I will stop that shit immediately or do better.
I am the world’s worse conversationalist in social settings. I hate small talk but I think I only hate small talk because I’m not good at it. People who can small talk really well get what they want easily usually. I’m so bad at it that I have to work harder than they do.
Anyway, when I try to talk to people in social settings. I fumble over my words, my mind goes blank, I become nervous as shit and then the conversation becomes awkward for the both of us. I feel terrible and then I awkwardly try to get away from that person because I feel I’ve made a fool of myself.
In my mind I’m asking myself “Am I talking about myself too much?” or “Do I sound and look like a weird lame ass nigga?” It’s just this constant doubt and this constant feeling of humiliation that stays cemented in my brain and I never like the feeling of it so instead of facing it I just avoid as much conversation as possible.
One thing is for sure. If I ever approached you when I first met you then you have a place in my heart because I never do that unless it’s with a group of people.
Same with women. My dating life was never shit because I don’t know how to flirt with total strangers without feeling goofy or looking awkward. Gimme 6 shots of Remy and I turn into Marvin Gaye at the Montreux. I could pull any woman off the liquor but sober I’m just Max Goof before the mini powerline concert at the school assembly.
Dating is already stressful but social anxiety doubles it.
My Social Anxiety Disorder tortures me when I text. It’s so sad. I hate texting because of my anxiety and I’m nervous as fuck. Texting with anxiety you always worry that your text was taken the wrong way. You know how fucking difficult to text a person you're interested in first? I can’t just let it fly and when I pretend to let it fly I’m beating the shit outta myself in my mind and afraid to pick my phone back up. I feel people who can relate do the same.
I always feel I’m annoying a woman when text her especially if I don’t know how she feels about me. Your anxiety makes you ask yourself all these questions just from a simple sentence you sent in a text.
“Did that sound okay?”
“Do I look/sound like a needy ass nigga/bitch?”
“Are they even in the mood to hear from me?”
“Do they even like my ugly ass?”
“Am I pressed?”
“Did they just read my shit and pay it no mind?”
“Did they get my text?”
“Are they showing my texts to their friends and joaning on me?”
“When will they text back?”
“Am I boring?”
“Is that old text convo the reason they’re ignoring me?”
“Am I talking too much?”
Yeah, texting isn’t too much fun but it’s how everyone communicates so you have to adapt and try to keep your anxiety in check.
AS AN ARTIST
This is very tough for me. As an artist when you start out you’re very naive you think that all you have to do is create shit and just watch people go crazy over your shit while you watch over them like Sting in the rafters. I believe the saying is "let your work speak for itself" and it’s kinda true but you really have to put your work out there. You have to speak about it too.
You have to go to events and shake hands. For example If you’re a visual artist you will want your work to be on display in galleries and of course you will have a lot of one on one’s with strangers who will ask you about your art. If you have social anxiety this will seem like hell. You’re gonna fear how you come off to people.
I never really talk about my writing to many people in person. I just get compliments on it and I just cheese a lot because I’m embarrassed. I do plan on trying to talk about my work more in person at events.
I’m always scared to share my work because I always feel it’s never good enough or I have a bunch of errors in it. Just explaining an idea to someone in person is tough because I feel like they think I’m insane when they hear whatever I tell them and I always feel that I should’ve kept the idea to myself.
When the day comes I have to talk about my work to someone who the plug and has influence, I will be ready. I’m just gonna put that into the universe now.
I've come a long way and I'm way better with my social anxiety than I was a couple years ago. I just take it a day at a time and I do mental exercises to chill the fuck out.
As the “Mental health matters” trend continues I pray those of you who genuinely give a fuck actually research and reach out to people and lend an ear to understand people who are truly going through something in that realm. Do more than tweet out mental health matters or downplay why someone isn’t as social as you. Actually reach out to someone and try to learn about them and their obstacle. Fuck with their anxiety and other mental issues (in a good way).